Swag bags are bags pre-filled with swag (stuff we all get) that you hand out to attendees. The best stuff to put in them is food. Everyone loves food. You should also allow sponsors to provide you item(s) to put in the bag as promos. This can include coupons, brochures, and ideally, food.
If no sponsor provides food, we strongly recommend that you consider buying some! You can get small things like candies for a reasonable price.
You might be tempted to get a nice canvas tote bag. Don’t bother. There’s a good chance that the people coming to your event already have ten nice canvas tote bags at home, and these are expensive. We recommend you get a cheap recycled paper bag. You can get these as cheaply as $0.50 each including the cost of custom printing, so you can put your event logo on the bag. If you forgo printing these can be even cheaper.
Stuffing bags with sponsor items and food is a significant amount of work. We find that it takes 8-10 volunteers 3-4 hours to stuff 1,000 bags with 10 items in each bag. If you have more items or more bags, you’ll need more time.
Transporting bags to the venue can also be a challenge. We recommend renting a truck like a U-Haul. Don’t underestimate how much space you need. We rented a 10 foot truck in 2013 and it ended up being a bit too small for all our equipment and the bags. We should have rented a 17 foot truck at minimum.