Hello and welcome to Sunday, readers! I mentioned last week that we would be prepping for Gen Con this week (it’s so close!) and since I’ve been attending so many conventions in the last year, there are certain things I’ve learned to depend on when it comes to having the best experience possible. So in the upcoming weeks, I will share with you some of the hints and tips I’ve formulated to help you survive your next convention. This week I bring to you Con Survival Part 1: Packing.
Maybe we should have packed the kitchen sink, too?
There are always a number of things to consider when packing for an event but conventions are a special sort of animal. There are definitely some questions that need answering before we even start making a packing list:
- How far away is the convention and how are you getting there? If you are driving, you may be a little more accommodating in your packing as you are only limited by how large of a vehicle you are taking. If you are flying or taking some other form of public transportation, you will be more limited on how much you can cram in to your bags. If you are close to home, fantastic, but you still aren’t going to want to lose valuable con time because you had to go back for something.
- Where will you be staying once you get to the convention? If it’s a hotel, snacks may be limited to non-perishables if there will not be a fridge to store them. If you have rented a condo or apartment, you may be able to stock up at the local grocery store. If you are lucky enough to be staying with friends in the area, don’t forget a thank you gift. Scout out the distance to the convention center and where local stores may be just in case you forgot something.
- What will the weather be like? Even if you plan on being in the convention center for the entire weekend, you will still need to travel back and forth. You definitely do not want to be stuck under a vent in a freezing cold complex while dripping wet because you decided not to pack a jacket or umbrella. You also don’t want to get a nasty sunburn because you did not pack sunscreen and were stuck in the food truck line for an hour (not that I would know that one personally).
- Are you cosplaying? This is a very large consideration since all of the props and pieces will have to be transported and stored as well.
Ok, have you answered those questions? Good. Because next we make THE LIST. I am a master list maker, if I do say so myself. My significant other often laughs at the lists I have for my lists but you know what? They get the job done. Over the years I’ve used grocery list paper, the backs of used envelopes, napkins, and even tried a list making app but I hadn’t quite found something that really helped me remember everything every time. Until I found the Pack This! pre-printed lists from The Container Store*. Man, these things are awesome!
Even if it’s not already on there, the categories are the biggest help.
Ok, so now you’ve got your list going. The one big consideration for packing we mentioned was the cosplay bit. There are special considerations for the care and keeping of your costume pieces! I found this lovely article from Cosplaying on a Budget about cosplay con survival kits that should pack pretty easily if you plan it right:
Also useful for making new cosplay friends if costume repair is needed!
The last but no less important thing to consider for packing is snacks. Going to conventions is an expensive endeavor and you can save yourself money with added health benefits if you bring some of your own little nibbles to keep you going through the weekend. I found some great ideas for snack tackle boxes on the web, including this one (wherein I’d probably include more nuts and dried fruits):
The chocolate can stay, though.
This should hopefully give you a good start on packing for the trip. Next week, I’ll give you my con bag packing tips so that you don’t strain your back nor have to make a dozen trips back to home base.
*CraftHackers is in no way affiliated or sponsored by The Container Store, we just happen to be really big fans.