The ABC of ELT

ELT Conference Survival Kit

Picture of a boat on the beach in Scotland

With IATEFL Poland coming up (er today), I thought I’d go into what I’m taking with me to this ELT conference, my ELT conference survival pack if you will. Some of these aren’t really necessary but make the experience much nicer in my opinion.

a bottle of water

Four years ago I heard a podcast say that staying hydrated was really important for feeling active and awake during the day and it often takes a bit of time to get used to drinking more water. Since then I’ve aimed to drink half a litter first thing in the morning and last thing at night. It really helps to wake up feeling fresh. I also carry a bottle with me all the time so I stay well hydrated during the day. The conference will be no exception.

mini lunchbox and snacks

I keep a mini little lunchbox in my bag with a few snacks in them. Usually protein based stuff for slow burn energy. So nuts, berries and bananas (because bananas are the best fruit ever).

Notebook and pens

Despite being a huge tablet advocate and having a fancy new iPad Pro with Apple Pencil, I’m going to stick to analogue tools at the conference. I prefer the lack of distractions that paper affords, and people don’t give you as many looks when you have a notebook.

I picked up a square Moleskine as I like the freedom that square grids provide and the Moleskine should last a while. As such, it’s my new conference/development day notebook. For pens, I like Uniball airs and I have a faber caster drawing kit.


I’m sure you know how useful smartphones can be (as well as distracting) but in addition to the common things such as phone calls and messaging, I’ll be using my phone to capture pictures from talks (including my notes so I have a digital backup), of interesting materials to persuade my DoS to purchase, record audio from sessions, find good places to eat at in the evening, get directions to the event,

I have an iPhone SE as I like the smaller size but really appreciate the improved camera and processor from the previous one. It also has a really good battery and was cheaper than most top of the line phones. Plus iOS apps and support for other apple products.

iPhone SE

Back up battery

Sometimes it’s hard to get through a day with a full battery, I picked up a backup battery YEARS ago when I was playing Ingress in Spain (basically Pokémon go with a sci-fi twist) and found my battery life dying quickly. I rarely need to use it nowadays, but this conference might be the exception to the rule so I’m keeping it with me.

Travel charger

When I was on my way back from the UK this summer I popped into the airport shop and noticed something I’d been keeping an eye out for. A travel charger that was small and discreet and could charge two devices.

Seeing as I often take my iPhone and iPad, It’s useful to charge two devices. That’s not hard to find a charger for, nor is a travel charger, but a travel charger which can charge two devices is very rare for some reason. When I saw it, I picked it up immediately. So far it’s proven to be pretty effective and very portable.

My iPad

Although I’m not planning on using the iPad to record notes in sessions, If I want to keep up with the #Hanachallenge then I’ll need to write something on my iPad. Furthermore it is the tool that I’m using to present my talk (so I’d better bring it!) Plus I like keeping my phone freer of distractions like email and leave them on my tablet instead. So I’ll bring the iPad Pro 10,5 with Smart Keyboard and Pencil to take notes.

Day bag

A big travel bag isn’t great at a conference, so I’m bringing a little bag with me. I thought about buying one of those 10 liter hiking bags…but I’m cheap, so I’m bringing a bag I got at a street photography event. It’s one of those canvas bags that I’ll probably get another one of at the conference…but I won’t have it before I head there for the first time. Maybe I won’t use it in the end. I usually like those drawstring bags that you get at gap or similar shops, they can carry a bit, and go on your back.

Travel bag

Just over three years ago I picked up the Minaal travel bag on kickstarter as I was looking for a smallish bag that I could take on flights and not check in. I had seen a few similar ones but there were several features that Minaal stressed that suggested it was the right bag for me. Now I’m not so sure but I bought it and it has survived a lot. It can carry “25 liters” but it seems a generous 25 litters. I can basically get away with about a weeks worth of clothes plus computer, wires, documents and a good book or two. Last year, I went to summer school and took just my Minaal (full of things) plus a laptop bag to use there.


I like taking photos, such as the photos in this post. And so I have a camera…well a couple. While one is better at one thing than the others, the Fuji x100t is my favorite (even though there is a new x100f). I don’t think it’s down to it’s hipster looks but more the great quality images and colour tones it applies to photos as well as its simple controls. So I’ll take this camera along with me, though that will be for the events around the conference rather than the conference itself. At the conference I’ll probably just stick to using my phone camera.

What’s in your conference survival kit

That’s my conference survival kit, but maybe there is something I’m not thinking of that I really ought to bring, or something that you really need. Leave a comment and let me know.

About Chris Wilson

I'm an English Language teacher based in Krakow, Poland. I enjoy writing, using technology and playing the Ukulele.

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