14 Things To Bring To The Women's March You Might Not Realize You Need
Inauguration Day is steadily approaching, and hundreds of thousands of demonstrators are expected to attend the Women's March on Washington this weekend. If you're able to attend the primary event or any of the sister marches taking place across the world, you've hopefully started making preparations already, including figuring out what to bring to the Women's March. But there's a difference between forgetting to pack something and not realizing you needed it in the first place, which is why many women have been sharing preparation tips online.
In case you somehow managed to avoid the news for the last three months, Donald Trump's inauguration as president is taking place on Jan. 20. Turnout isn't exactly expected to break any records, but the Women's March on Washington, which takes place on Saturday, Jan. 21, is anticipated to draw enormous crowds demonstrating against the upcoming conservative administration. The rally has been something of a grassroots movement, growing from an idea posted by a retired woman on Facebook to a widely-publicized, intersectional event.
Whether you're headed to the main event in Washington, D.C., or a sister march, it's important to prepare well beforehand for what's guaranteed to be a historic event. Here are 14 items you might not realize you need to bring to the march. They're all small; bag restrictions are pretty tight, after all. But they're all valuable, and they can pretty much all fit in a pocket. Better to have something like change for a pay phone and not need it than need it and not have it, right?
1. Emergency Phone Numbers
Don't assume you'll have access to emergency phone numbers through your list of contacts; your phone could die or you could wind up separated from your belongings. Write down emergency numbers — your friends' as well as that of the National Lawyers Guild, just in case — on index cards and in permanent marker on your arm. It can't hurt to be prepared.
2. Change For A Pay Phone
Believe it or not, pay phones still work. (Gasp!) Make sure you have change in the event you have to use one; cell signal might be questionable, due to the sheer number of people (all of whom will also have cell phones) in the area.
3. Information About Rest Stops
It's something you might not think about until you need one, but read up on rest stops before you head to the march. You can find information about available bathrooms during the march over at the Washingtonian (and about breastfeeding stations, and places to warm up from the cold, and more).
It's going to be a long day, especially if you've traveled from outside the city. Bring water and snacks to keep your energy up.
5. The Women's March On Washington App
6. Small Bag
Preferably a government-issued, photo ID. A real one. Don't be McLovin. Being able to prove your identity is always a good move, particularly when protesting. (Even during peaceful demonstrations like the Women's March.)
8. Enough Cash To Get Home
It's not usually recommended that you bring all your cards with you to protests (for a variety of reasons); do, however, make sure you have some cash on you — at least enough for a cab ride home, just in case you need it.
9. Plastic Or Gallon Bag For Food
As you can read on the Women's March website, food can be carried in a plastic or gallon bag.
10. Poster Materials
Even if you don't have an idea for a poster yet, bring the stuff to make one: the poster itself, markers, biodegradable glitter, and so on. If inspiration strikes, you'll be ready. (Know, though, that your sign can't be mounted on a wooden stick.)
11. A Prepaid SmarTrip Card For The DC Metro
Given the size of the expected crowds and the limited parking, you'll probably have to take public transportation to the rally site. Make your life easier by adding to your Metro card balance before you have to head to the rally — you can add to the balance or purchase a new card at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) website.
12. Hand Sanitizer
According to the Women's March website, there will be portable bathrooms around the march and rally site, so it's probably a good idea to bring hand sanitizer.
13. Portable Phone Charger
The buddy system is important even for adults, and it's easiest to navigate crowds as a group when your phones are all working. Even if your phone usually has a long battery life, bring a portable phone battery just in case.
14. What Not To Bring
Now that you have some ideas of what to bring, make sure you don't bring prohibited items. You can check out the full list on the Women's March FAQ page, but folding chairs, bicycles, flag poles, and anything that could be remotely construed as a weapon are all restricted. If you're bringing a bag, make sure it fits the regulations: Backpacks must be clear and smaller than 17"x12"x6". Purses should be 8”x6”x4” or smaller. As mentioned above, if you want to bring food, you can bring a 12”x12”x6” plastic or gallon bag.
This isn't an exhaustive checklist by any means, but it should give you a few starting points. Be angry and enjoy making your voice heard, but above all, stay safe.