While waiting for our trains, Miranda and I brain-stormed a list of the necessities that we must remember to bring next time. This is the exhaustive list, the list that allows you to ship a trunk of things like someone in Downton Abbey. I put asterisks next to the objects that are worth the extra effort. Please note that almost all of these items can be purchased at the Yale bookstore after your arrival for 100% more than you would pay at Walgreens.
Your own twin-sized sheets*
Pillow that smells like home*
Flip-flops to avoid athlete's foot*
Feminine hygiene products (you're there for 10 days with a bunch of other women. Why be surprised like I am every single time?)
Kleenex (in case you cry in class or at a reading)
Eye make-up remover
Water bottle (I spent most of the conference in a state of dehydration though water was readily available at breakfast and lunch from those soda machines)*
Detergent if you plan on doing a load of laundry
Reading lamp (or you can borrow a lamp from the shared common room, which is what I did)
Noise machine to drown out the incessant sound of motorcycles' revving and the blare of ambulance sirens (do the motorcycles lead to the ambulances in most cases)*
Your manuscript* (if I had been aware that we would have the chance to meet with editors, I might have brought along another story or stories to pitch)
Something good to read out loud at the student readings
Thumb nail drive
Business cards if you have them*
Ear plugs (only if you don't bring a noise machine)
Stamps so you can send postcards to your friends back home and make them jealous
Miranda also recommends that you read and write your critiques for the workshops prior to attending so that you can spend your down time focusing on your own work based on class prompts and other things that inspire you during the day. Very solid advice and I wish I had done that. It would've saved some anxiety too on printing up the end comments, though the copy people were very nice.
I was going to add "snacks," when Miranda revealed to me that there are vending machines in the basement that take debit cards. You can get chips and candy bars and Snapple. I didn't know this and it's best that I didn't, because along with eating ice cream with Hershey's chocolate sauce on it every single day for lunch, I would've likely added a Snickers bar to the intake around 9 PM each evening.
I hope, hope, hope to be back next year.