Imagine you get to the NFA Convention, but you soon realize you forgot something important. If you want to avoid that, you should follow an NFA packing list.
The right packing list will include essentials. You can always add your own essentials as well.
Before we get into the list, this post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy to learn more.
Personal Packing List
As with any trip, your NFA Convention packing list should include some personal belongings. These will probably make up the bulk of your luggage, so I’d recommend packing them first.
You should be able to fit other items in with your personal stuff. Either way, here’s what I suggest you bring on your next trip.
Obviously, you’re going to need to bring some clothes. Make sure you have enough stuff for the number of days you’re traveling. The convention may only be four days, but a lot of people travel for longer.
This year, I’ll be out of town for probably seven or even eight days. I might rewear a few items, but it’s good to bring extras. You never know when something can get dirty.
Also, consider if you’re scheduled to perform in anything. If so, you’ll want to figure out the dress code if it’s a large group. When performing solo, you can choose what to wear.
Along with your clothes, you’ll need some good shoes. I’d recommend bringing a comfortable pair to wear as you walk around all day. This is especially important if you’re not staying in the convention hotel and need to walk to it.
If you’re performing, you might want to bring special performance shoes. That way, you can match the shoes to your outfit.
I wouldn’t recommend bringing more shoes than necessary. Two pairs should be plenty. That way, you can wear one pair while you travel, and you’ll only need to pack one pair.
Next, you’ll want to bring your toiletries. I’ll be bringing my toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash, and anything else you need. You can usually get away with the hotel shampoo and conditioner.
If you’re staying somewhere that won’t provide that, be sure you bring your own. You can always buy the things you need, but that gets expensive.
Be sure to consider if you’re flying as well. If so, you might want to get travel-sized versions of your toiletries. That way, you can take them on the plane with you and not have to check your bag.
I don’t know about you, but I take a slew of medications every day. I’ll be packing plenty of stock of my medicine for the trip. Bring extra in case one of your medications falls on the floor or gets lost.
Even if you don’t take prescriptions, I’d still recommend bringing over-the-counter meds like Advil. You never know when you might get a headache or when someone you know might want to take something.
If you get car sick or plane sick, you should bring something for that. Then, you can take it before you hit the road or take off. And when you’re flying, don’t check your meds in case your bag gets lost.
Of course, who can travel these days without their technology? Be sure you bring your phone and any other devices you need. And don’t forget to pack their chargers as well.
I’ll be bringing my iPhone and my iPad Pro. I use my iPad Pro to read sheet music, but I might also use it to watch something during my downtime. The iPad Pro will also take up much less space than print sheet music.
Now, I probably won’t bring my laptop. For one, I can do most tasks on my iPad, and I don’t think I’ll have time to do much other stuff while I’m at the convention.
Music Packing List
Going to the NFA Convention is exciting, but it means you should also use a music packing list. That way, you can make sure you have your flutes and other music gear.
Here’s what I suggest you bring when traveling for any music-related event.
Obviously, the NFA is a flute event, so you should bring any flutes you have. I’d recommend at least bringing your C flute. The piccolo is small enough to fit your bag, so it’s good to bring that.
I won’t be bringing my alto flute because I don’t need it, and it’s not as small as the other flutes. However, if you want to test new altos, you should bring your current alto flute.
Make sure you’ll have room to pack your flutes. And if you’re flying, get them in the cabin with you. Don’t check your instruments if you can avoid it.
Along with your flutes, you should also bring cleaning supplies. You might end up playing your flute a lot at the convention. Or you could try other flutes that you want to buy, and it’s good to clean your instruments.
Now, I recommend you keep your cleaning supplies with your flutes to begin with. But if you keep them separately, be sure to also bring the supplies.
The good news is that many vendors have cleaning supplies. So if you forget to bring yours, you can buy an extra set. But you might not want to use your convention money on stuff you already own.
Music and/or iPad
I briefly touched on this in the devices section. But I’ll have my iPad Pro with me at the convention. It’s what I use to store and read most of my sheet music, and it’s super convenient.
You can use paper if you prefer, but you can only bring so much of it. Otherwise, you might take up a lot of space in your luggage. The iPad takes up the same space whether you use it for one piece of music or dozens.
Either way, you’ll want to bring music or your iPad. If you have downtime, you can practice your instrument and work on music you need to learn. Having music also helps you compare flutes that you might purchase.
Flute and/or Music Stand
I’d also recommend bringing a flute stand or music stand. A flute stand is nice if you need somewhere to set your flute safely. That’s especially important if you’re performing at the convention.
You might also need a music stand as a performer. Or even if you just plan on practicing, it can help to add a music stand to your packing list.
Not everyone needs these things. I didn’t bring a music stand to the convention a few years ago, but I did bring a flute stand. Most flute stands are small enough to fit in your case, so it shouldn’t take up much room.
Other Things to Bring
If you still have room, I’d recommend adding a few more items to your NFA packing list. You don’t have to bring these things, but having them might come in handy.
The exhibit hall is probably my favorite part of flute events. If you want to buy something or think you might, you should have money. Sure, you can use your card, and you’ll probably bring that.
However, it doesn’t hurt to have cash. That way, you can still buy things if a vendor isn’t accepting cards. Some vendors have even started charging a higher price to card customers, so you could save money.
Now, I wouldn’t bring thousands of dollars in cash. But bringing a bit of cash should help you get by if you can’t use your card for some reason. Of course, you can also use money to pay for things in the hotel, around town, or during your travels.
Especially if you’re flying, I suggest you bring instrument receipts. You can bring a print copy or flag the file or email on your phone. That way, you’ll be able to prove that you own the flutes you’re traveling with.
Having receipts can be even more important for expensive instruments. If you don’t have a copy of your receipt, you have options. You can contact the store where you bought the flute and ask if they can give you a copy.
Or you can go to a flute tech and have them appraise your instrument. That’s not as ideal, but it can at least prove the value. If you’ve gone to the same tech for years, they may even be able to vouch for you owning the flute.
You might also want to consider bringing some food. I brought plenty of snacks when I went to my first NFA Convention, and they were nice to have. If I got hungry, I knew I had something to eat.
Yes, there will probably be restaurants. But the food can get expensive at the restaurant, on the plane, or at gas stations. I’m also just a very picky person, so I like having food that I know I’ll like.
If you’re picky or have a dietary restriction, you might also want to bring snacks for yourself. Then, you’ll have something that’s safe for you to eat.
What to Do Before the NFA Convention
Even if you know what to pack, you should consider what to do before the NFA Convention. That way, you can prepare for the event and take away some of the stress of traveling.
Here are some things I’d recommend you do now or as soon as you can.
If you haven’t already, you should register early for the convention. The price will be cheaper, and you won’t have to wait in line to register on site. All you have to do is prove you are who you say you are, and you’ll get your badge.
You can go to the NFA website and pay the registration fee. If you aren’t already a member, you’ll also have a chance to become one. You need to be a member to register for the convention.
Review the Schedule
Another thing you can do now is review the schedule. The schedule comes out a few months before the event. That gives you time to review the times of any events you’re participating in.
You can also figure out what events you want to go to the rest of the time. I made a list of the events that interest me as well as their dates and times.
Unfortunately, you can’t go to every event or performance. But you can list out the things that interest you now. Those things might change once you get to the convention, but it doesn’t hurt to create a plan.
Arrange Things at Home
You should also think about what you need to do at home. Maybe you have pets that you need someone to watch. You can look for a friend or family member to watch your home and pets for you.
If you have roommates, you can ask them to watch your pets. Now, if you live alone, you might need to have someone stay at your place. Or you can take your pets to a boarding place.
You might also want to pause the mail for the days you’ll be gone. If someone does need to get into your home, make sure they have any keys or codes they need.
Inform Your Clients or Job
Next, you’ll need to let your clients, students, or boss know about your trip. If you work for yourself, you usually have more control over when you take off.
When you have a traditional job, you might have to request time off. The company might require you submit the request a certain number of weeks ahead of time.
Freelancers and business owners should still give clients and students plenty of notice. Then, you can either reschedule meetings and lessons, or you can find someone to outsource the work to.
Inform Your Bank
I’d also recommend you talk to someone at your bank about the trip. This is particularly important if you think you might spend a lot on a flute. If your bank doesn’t know you’re traveling, they might flag the transaction as fraud.
Even if you don’t plan on buying an instrument, it doesn’t hurt to alert your bank or credit union. Then, they can make a note on the account that you’re traveling.
When you go to notify the bank, you can even take out some cash. Once again, you don’t need a ton of cash, but having some is good.
What’s on Your NFA Packing List?
Going to the NFA Convention is an excellent experience for any flute player. But you should make a good NFA packing list.
That way, you’ll have everything you need for the trip. Did I miss any essentials? Share your packing list in the comments!