11 Must Pack Items (in Your Bag and on Your Phone) for SXSW


Don’t panic, but SXSW is only two weeks away.  By now you have probably already RSVP’d to a few of the best parties (enter to win VIP access to ours), perused the SXSW Schedule to plan out your days, and maybe you’ve even started thinking about what to pack. 

While you debate whether to pack your blue and black dress or your white and gold dress, take a look at this list of 11 things you absolutely must pack (in your bag and on your phone) for an awesome SXSW.

In your Bag

The Right Shoes

SXSW is a sneakerhead's delight. You’ll be impressed by the variety of sneakers, sandals, and flats that pound the ATX pavement. But comfort is key—make sure your boots are made for walking, if you know what I mean. (I mean you're going to walk a lot.)

All the chargers! 

This is something people forget on all kinds of trips, but for a connected conference like SXSW, you definitely don’t want to leave your charger plugged in the wall at home. Bring wall chargers and external chargers and mophies.  (Oh my!)


One of which is preferably water resistant. Austin weather this time of year is unpredictable at best and SXSW has been a rainy affair the past few years. Sure, you could probably find some smart start-up to have your back (literally), but I'd pack a light jacket or mini-umbrella, just in case.

Emergen-C and Tylenol 

You’re going to shake a lot of hands and drink a lot of drinks.  You don’t want to let germs or hangovers keep you from shaking more hands and drinking more drinks.


Think indoors and outdoors. If you’re like me, you don’t wear glasses or contacts every day (“But you really should!”- Your/my mom.) In the convention center conference rooms, they’ll help you see what’s going on. As far as shades go, you’ll probably leave with 11 new pairs of plastic wayfarers, but you might want your own pair to stand out from the crowds.

Your Wearables

If you aren’t from New York, you’ll be shocked at how much walking you’re going to do. So grab your Fitbit/Jawbone/Pebble/Etc. and go on with your quantified self. Want to show off your SXSW OG status? Wear the Nike+ FuelBand you bought at SXSW 2012 so you could get into the hottest shows.

On Your Phone


Well this is the obvious one, right? Make sure you’ve updated your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook (I prefer the Paper app), LinkedIn, and SnapChat apps. Hot tip- add Spredfast on Snapchat for exclusive content during SXSW.

Mobile Payment

You’ll probably want a peer-to-peer option like Venmo or Square Cash, retail ready apps like Apple Pay or Google Wallet, or PayPal (which does both.) 


You’ve got options. On four wheels you could take Lyft (CEO Logan Green is delivering Monday’s keynote at the conference) or Uber. You might get around faster on two wheels though, use the B-cycle app for real-time availability data for this bike-sharing service.

On-Demand Delivery

If you find yourself in need of nearly anything and just can’t bear to face the crowds, try Favor. Want to order from an Austin Restaurant? Try PostMates. Need to stock a long-term rental for the duration of the conference but don’t have a car? InstaCart partners with local grocers, including Whole Foods Market for one-hour delivery.

Group Messengers

Plenty of options here, from Facebook Messenger to WeChat to Line to GroupMe to WhatsApp. Hugely useful when you are trying to stay connected with a roaming group of friends during SXSW.

In Your Heart

As I was thinking about this post, I asked the Spredfast Community to share their SXSW Packing Tips. HyVee's Nathan T. Wright reminded me that the most important thing to bring is the right attitude. Read his tips to survive SXSW.

That’s my list. I left off a few things, for instance dating apps like Tinder (no judgment) and obvious must-haves (plenty of clean socks and underwear, please and thank you!) What would you add? 

cdoman@spredfast.com's picture

Courtney Doman

Courtney is the Content Marketing Manager at Spredfast. She focuses on sharing smart social ideas and insights to transform the way companies connect with consumers. Courtney is a passionate football fan (supporting Arsenal and the USMNT), curious traveller, and ambitious home cook.