It’s my first DjangoCon US. What should I bring?

It’s your first DjangoCon US (or maybe even your first tech conference). Are you concerned about what you should pack?

I (Drew Winstel, the 2019 Opportunity Grants chair) was in that position two years ago at DjangoCon US 2017 in Spokane, WA. Here’s what I think you should pack.

Notepad and pen/pencil, or a laptop and charger

Perhaps you like your notes a bit more analog? A notepad is exactly what you need. Many people like to leave their laptops in their rooms entirely during talks and take notes on paper instead. Plus, it’s great for logging contact info of people you meet if you don’t have the time or patience to log their contact info into your phone’s contacts immediately.

If you can’t live without your laptop, make sure you bring your charging cable. There’s ample Wi-Fi at the conference provided by the Marriott, so you’ll have the internet at your disposal. Many attendees will have their laptops open to take notes, follow along with slides, and/or test out the concepts being presented during talks. Plus, it’s much easier to live-tweet talks from your computer than your phone if you’re into that sort of thing.

Refillable water bottle and/or coffee cup

It’s pretty annoying getting thirsty in the middle of a conference talk. The Marriott provides water dispensers in the hotel lobby, each of the conference rooms, the green room, and the Rio Vista Pavilion, so there are ample opportunities to keep yourself hydrated. Plus, you can be greener by reusing your own vessel instead of single-use disposable cups.

There are coffee and tea in the Rio Vista Pavilion as well, so if you’re a coffee/tea drinker, bring your own tumbler if you want extra for the talks.

Comfortable clothes

Everyone is welcome, and dress casually and comfortably, whether that’s shorts, pants, a dress, or whatever makes you feel good. It’s up to you to decide what you would like to wear. As long as it isn’t a Code of Conduct violation, it’s pretty much up to you.

Some of the rooms can get a bit chilly, so you might want to have a jacket or sweater handy.

Cell phone

It’s practically essential for survival in suburban America. The mobile coverage is great in the venue area for all four major providers, so about any device will work.

Sunglasses and sunscreen

It’s San Diego, California. It’s going to be warm and sunny. Preliminary forecasts show no meaningful chances of rain between the time I wrote this post and the tutorial day, with highs around 75-80 °F (24-27 °C) and lows around 65-68 °F (18-20 °C). There’s quite a bit of outdoor space to relax at the Marriott, and the walk between the conference rooms and the Rio Vista Pavilion (where breakfast and lunch are served) involves a brief outdoor trip across some bright concrete. Plus, there are lots of outdoor tables for eating under the sun.


The Marriott will have breakfast, lunch, and snacks during the breaks (11:00 AM and 3:40 PM on main talk days) on all conference days as well as appetizers for the opening party on Monday. If you’re an early riser like me, you’ll probably want a snack before breakfast (8:30 AM on Monday, 9:00 AM Tuesday and Wednesday). Also, if you have special dietary needs, it can’t hurt to have a spare snack on hand just in case.

Exercise clothes

Before or after a long day of conference talks, I like to at least get a brief workout in. The hotel has some exercise machines indoors and outside on the pool deck, which is a refreshing way to unwind while catching up on my favorite podcasts.


The hotel has a nice pool and hot tub in the courtyard. While outdoor temperatures may be a bit cool for most of us to enjoy the pool, the hot tub gets lots of use after a day of sitting in meeting room chairs. It’s open until 11 PM every night.


Thanks to @Obidecoque for inspiring this post and @Rachell_Calhoun for suggesting refillable coffee mugs.