5 HIMSS Conference Essentials


What Should You Take to HIMSS?

Having the right HIMSS conference essentials can really make an impact on how much you get out of the HIMSS experience. The HIMSS conference only lasts a few days so it's a great opportunity to avoid checking a bag. You will probably be able to pack most of your essentials in your carryon or personal item, but there are some items that you should ensure you don't forget to pack.

Plan and Avoid the Madness

There is so much to cover at HIMSS in just a few short days. So how can you make sure you'll have what you need? You guessed it: make a plan!

  • Determine your conference objectives
  • Pack attire matching the events planned for each day
  • Make a list of your must have items and check it twice
  • Avoid bringing any items that aren't a necessity


HIMSS Conference Essentials

Portable charger

Avoid the painful feeling of watching your phone make the transition from electronic device to paper weight. Investing in a portable charger will keep you connected and avoid being labeled “that person” who is always looking to borrow someone else’s charger. Trust us- there are not enough plug outlets to go around. Even if you can find a USB port to jack into you should be cautious of where you decide to plugin. Any device you attach your phone to could potentially steal data or cause other issues. So just be prepared and have your own backup charger. You can pick one up for less than $30. Make sure you charge nightly. It is highly frustrating to have a dead smartphone and dead backup battery.

Laptop Bag with Shoulder Strap or Backpack

Let's just be real here, there's going to be SWAG at HIMSS. While I don't recommend you make it a personal goal to pick up every pen, stress ball, or sticker, there's no shame in picking up a few cool items.  However, you're going to look awfully silly walking around the exhibit floor with an armful of said items. Plan for the mandatory SWAG you will get, but don't look silly carrying it.

Odds are you will leave with gifts from vendors, business cards, and many pieces of collateral. While it might be tempting to just bring an iPad or laptop bag with handles, the shoulder strap bag will provide flexibility.

Notepad or Note taking App

This is a must-have to keep track of those random conversations in the hallways and meeting spaces. Remember that possibly the most valuable part of a conference is not what is gained in the sessions, but what is learned from the other attendees by discussing the session topics and getting their perspectives. This informal learning may prove to be the richest information from a conference. However, if you didn't document it, then it wasn't done and you might forget key parts of the conversation.

Extra Business Cards

You can never have enough business cards, ever. When you think you’ve packed enough, add about 100 more. If you’re going to hand out branded tchotchkes, they should be relevant to what your company does. If cards just arrived from the printer, check and make sure all your information is correct before bringing them along.

Comfortable Shoes

Keep the stilettos at home ladies and opt for some supportive insoles men. This is no time to try to build those calf muscles or make fashion statements. Most conference attendees will walk miles everyday in business attire. It can be a challenge to find shoes that are both comfortable and stylish, but it's not impossible. If you're looking into getting new shoes for the event make sure you wear them to break them in before you reach Chicago. You certainly don't want to list blisters as one of your pieces of HIMSS swag.

What Are your HIMSS Conference Essentials?

Have we left something off? Do you have an item that you can't leave home without? We want to hear from you!

Share your HIMSS conference essentials in the March to HIMSS community.