It’s event day, and you’re ready to tackle every problem that comes your way! You’re sure you have every tool necessary, until you reach in your bag and discover you’re missing the one thing you need right now. Sound familiar? Every planner has been there.

Just about anything can happen at a meeting—a broken shoe heel, contract confusion, a sudden headache or the dreaded dead phone battery. It’s hard to know which items are necessities and which will just weigh down your bag. To help, we’ve created a handy list of things meeting planners should find useful.

Until scientists invent a tool that can predict the future, the best way to prepare yourself for any situation is by keeping these nine items on hand.


1. Hand sanitizer

If you’ve ever heard the term “con flu,“ you’ll understand why this item is absolutely essential. Large groups of conference and convention attendees from many different places congregating in confined spaces for hours on end means they are exposed to many potentially harmful germs.

During an event, you’re likely rushing from one thing to the next, which doesn’t leave much time to run to the bathroom to wash your hands. With hand sanitizer, you won’t need to. A tiny travel-size bottle can fit perfectly in your purse and it’s easy to pull out whenever you have a spare moment.


2. Laser pointer

Don’t be caught unprepared if your speaker’s laser pointer malfunctions or was forgotten at home. Bring a spare laser pointer so you can make sure every keynote, educational session, brainstorming exercise or team-building activity goes off without a hitch.


3. Aspirin

Demanding attendees, last-minute changes, jet lag and long nights spent preparing for the event are just a few of the countless factors that can cause an event-day headache for a planner. Stop that headache in its tracks with an aspirin or Advil. You’ll be in top form in no time.


4 and 5. A Swiss Army knife and duct tape

During the 1980s, MacGyver taught us one very important lesson: There are few problems that can’t be solved with a Swiss Army knife and duct tape. Fortunately, that lesson applies not only to secret agents, but also to planners. Whether you have a box of programs that needs to be opened or a booth display that just keeps falling apart, these two essentials will save the day.


6. Foldable flats

For many women, the mental debate between high-heeled shoes and flats is never ending. Lots of women like the look of heels but can’t stand the discomfort. Instead of having to choose between the two, you can buy foldable flats. These lightweight shoes can easily fit in your purse so that you can easily switch from heels to flats.


7. Tide to Go stain remover pen

If you’ve ever felt the despair of looking down only to realize you’ve been walking around with an unsightly stain on your shirt, this tip is for you. This pen isn’t magic, but it might as well be. It makes stains disappear so you can always look your best.


8. Spare phone battery

In this era of constant connectivity, it sometimes feels like we might not be able to live without our smartphones. For meeting and event planners, mobile devices are becoming increasingly important tools for getting the job done. Being able to fully utilize social media and access event apps, online check-in tools and cloud-based event management software is just one of the reasons you might want to have a spare battery or charging pack in your purse.


9. Magnifying glass

Need to find a specific detail buried in the fine print of a hotel contract? It might be a little difficult to do a last-minute read of a contract in a crowded, noisy and dimly lit ballroom. In case of a contract emergency, it’s good to have a magnifying glass handy.