Ahhhh it’s only 4 days until YALC. It’s come around so quickly and I’m so excited!
If you’re going this year, the chances are you’ve already packed, or are in the process of packing. If you’ve never been before then I thought I’d create a quick post of essentials you’ll want to pack for the weekend trip to London. Some of these are self explanatory, some I learnt from attending YALC last year.
I hope you find these tips useful if you’ve been to YALC before or not. Happy packing, and I’ll see you there – yay!
1. Cool and comfortable clothes (and shoes)
This may sound self explanatory, but comfy and breathable clothes are so important for the convention. The YALC floor in particular gets very warm. I was wearing a cotton jumpsuit last year with strappy sleeves and was still too warm. There’s a lot of waiting around and to get some fresh air you’ve got to go outside of the venue which you can’t always do if you’re waiting for an author to sign your book.
Comfy shoes are a must too. This year I’m going for some converse style comfy shoes. Although there are seating areas and a chill out zone, it’s surprising how tiring your feet will get so the comfier the shoe, the better!
2. Water and plenty of things to drink
As it gets so warm in the venue it’s important to stay hydrated. Another self explanatory tip, I know, but in the moment it’s easy to forget to drink enough fluids. As it’s going to be in the late 20’s temperature wise, transport to the venue will likely be very warm and also crowded too.
Bringing along a bottle of water or other drinks is a must. You can purchase drinks at the venue, but the prices aren’t cheap.
Quick tip: On the LFCC floors of the convention you can fill up your water bottles for free at the Crush Juice bar stand, which is good to know!
3. Snacks and food
There are some food stalls in the LFCC section of the venue and also a cafe on the YALC floor. There’s also a Pizza Express and Tesco Express right near the venue. As to be expected the food stalls and cafe are quite pricey, I think I paid around £4/5 for a small salad last year.
Quick tip: The Tesco Express, while super handy as it’s near the YALC entrance, gets very busy and does sell out of a lot of things. You should be okay if you go there in the morning, but if you’re waiting until the afternoon/evening, there may not be a lot of choice left.
It’s always worth taking some sandwiches/food with you and some snacks to tide you over throughout the day, especially if you’re trying to save money. Of course there’s nothing wrong with buying food at Olympia if you want to though.
The Pizza Express is great to visit at the end of the day. It’s quite a big restaurant and when my boyfriend and I went last year at around 5pm it wasn’t too busy. It may be busier at different times of the day though, so if you would like to go, it may be worth booking a table beforehand.
4. Suitcase/comfortable back pack
This is something I WISH I’d done last year. I vastly underestimated the amount of books I wanted to buy and take with me.If you’re planning on taking books to be signed or buying books while you’re there, either take a small suitcase or a sturdy rucksack.
Quick Tip: There’s a lot of book swag at YALC too so you easily end up with a big pile of things to carry!
With a suitcase you can pop all the books you need in there and place it in the cloakroom. Throughout the day you can pop back and forth taking out the books you need, that way you don’t have to worry about carrying all of the books around all day. The only thing I would say is that the venue will probably charge to use the cloakroom.
If you don’t fancy putting a suitcase in the cloakroom, you can wheel it around the venue. There are plenty of lifts so you don’t have to worry about having to lift it up stairs.
If a suitcase isn’t for you, a good back pack is the perfect alternative to carry around everything you need. A rucksack is probably better than a handbag, especially if you’re buying lots of books!
4. Books you want to get signed
I mean, this is an obvious one. While you can buy books at YALC to get signed, it’s always worth making a list of all the books you already own and take them along with you. 😊
6. YALC schedule
This is a great way to keep track of what you want to do on the day and where you need to be at certain times. It’s super easy to get caught up in all of the excitement and forget to go along to signings or workshops.
If you’ve got a printed copy of the schedule it’s easier to plan your day and get around to doing everything you want. 😊
7. YALC floor plan
It’s always worth printing off a copy of the YALC floor plan when it becomes available to ready yourself for all of the booksellers, publishers and stalls that will be there. You can plan which ones you want to go to each day and it’ll help you find the stalls you’re looking for quicker.
Top tip: Once you have your floor plan printed out, it’s definitely worth following all of the publishers and stalls on Social Media and turn their notifications on. Often throughout the day they will host giveaways and may even do the odd arc drop. If you’ve got all their notifications on, you’re less likely to miss out on all the fun. 😊
8. Tote bag
Tote bags are always handy to fold away in your bag, that way you have extra room if you’ve bought extra books and they’re also easily accessible. It saves on using plastic bags or a paper bag that breaks like mine did!
If you do put a suitcase into the cloakroom, you’ve got a smaller bag to put anything you buy in. It’s a good way to separate out the books you’ve bought, and the books you brought with you too.
Some of the stalls will accept card payments, but the majority probably won’t. Last year I underestimated how much money I needed to take out. While there are cashpoints near the venue, I can’t remember if the venue had card machines.
If they do have cashpoints it’s likely they’ll be ones that charge you for taking money out. The best thing to do would be to take out enough money each day before arriving, just in case. As the stalls only tend to have a limited amount of stock, you don’t want to be left disappointed if you can’t buy something when you want it and then it sells out.
10. A battery operated fan
I’m really debating taking one this year, especially for the tube travel to Olympia. Everywhere is going to be so hot, so if the heat does affect you – a fan is a must!
I’m not lying when I say the heat can become unbearable, and if you’re staying out of the centre of London, a 20 min tube journey can become unbearable as most tube lines don’t have air con or train windows that open.
11. A lanyard with your blog name and details on it
This was super helpful last year. Quite often us bloggers know each other’s Twitter handles and blog names but aren’t great at recognising each other in person. It’s difficult to recognise a person just from one photo, so if you’re wearing a lanyard with your details on it, it makes it a lot easier!
Last year I included my blog name, logo, Twitter photo, blog url and email address, and posted a photo of it on Twitter beforehand. I did feel a little silly at first, thinking uI’d be the only person wearing one, but a lot of bloggers were and it helped us to all recognise each other. It’s always worth printing off a few copies to give out too. 😊
12. Notebook and pen
You never know when you’re going to need a notebook and pen so it’s always worth carrying the both around. It’s especially handy if you’re writing a WIP as you may get some inspiration while you’re at YALC. If you’re attending any workshops you may want to write down any hints or tips the panel give too!
13. A hair bobble/tie
As it gets warm, a hair tie is always useful to carry around if you’ve got long hair you’re planning on keeping down!
14. Antibacterial Gel
This is always a must in my handbag all the time. You never know when you’ll need some antibacterial gel, especially when using public transport and public toilets, so it’s always handy to take one with you!
Again tissues are always super handy to have in your bag, you’ll never know when you’ll need them so it’s always worth packing a handbag sized packet just in case!
So there’s my 15 packing essentials for YALC 2019. Are there any others I should have included? Let me know in the comments below. I hope this was helpful to you. 😊