The countdown is on, and the days and minutes tick away; it is time to start thinking about packing for the con. The first piece of packing advice is avoid con crud at all cost. Yes, this has to do with packing, please think of yourself and others. Pack some Germ X, or your favorite brand of sanitizer. Some conventions will provide stations with sanitizer, but not all do. You will be shaking hands, touching doors, and playing with lots of game pieces touched by all the other attendees. In addition to the sanitizer, I always bring Airborne with me; I find it works best if you start taking it before and during the con. Of course, this is a personal preference, but for me, it works great when I am traveling on the con circuit.
Also, a little cash in hand is always a good thing. Remember to notify your bank or credit card company beforehand that you will be traveling, so there are no untimely holds put on your card. You wouldn’t want to miss out on new games, or energy drinks and snacks needed to fuel your play. Conventions are full of exhibitors with lots of great games and items for you to take home. Subsequently, don’t forget to tip those along the way that help during your travel and the hotel staff that is helping take care of you.
Now it’s time for a June Cleaver moment: “Don’t forget your jacket, dear.” It will be pretty cold in the convention space, no matter where, or what time of year. Cooler temps help kill germs and keep a room of gamers comfortable. But comfortable for some, could be too cold for others; be sure to bring your hoodies or sweaters. Along with your hoodie, here are some other clothing items you should consider. Climate appropriate clothing is a big one. While you may be inside gaming all day/night, you may at some point want to venture out of the hotel for some local fare… Don’t freeze or overheat. Pack tennis shoes, or at least very comfy shoes; it may be quite a walk from your room to the actual gaming area. You may also really appreciate good shoes when leaving the hotel. Consider bringing con shirts from other events you have attended. It is a great conversation starter and a way to meet other people who perhaps have attended those same cons, or are considering attending them in the future. Pack your favorite lanyard or neck wallet. Different cons use different sorts of these and over time you will find one that you prefer. Use it! By wearing your con shirts and lanyards from other events, you bring awareness to those events and help them out in the long run as well.
I am sure this is a given, but it doesn’t hurt to remind everyone: Don’t forget your toiletries. Some hotels have toiletries readily available should you need them, but usually only soap, shampoo and conditioner. Things like toothpaste and Tylenol can be purchased, but at a premium hotel price. If you are flying, check ahead to make sure to stay within the TSA guidelines. Remember all the important things like medications, glasses, contact solutions. You don’t want to be away from home and not have those things that make your life better. For me, it’s my favorite blankie…yuck it up, but it’s true. A little piece of home can go a long way.
In our day and age of technology, be sure to have extra chargers or battery power packs for electronics. You want to make sure you can Tweet, Facebook, or Instagram all your con fun, without the worry of losing power. You are going to want to keep your gaming friends, that couldn’t make the con, well-informed. Plus a charged cell phone is important to have in case of emergencies or to make plans with your fellow con goers.
Last but not least, as you are packing, make sure to leave some space for all the potential games and swag you may acquire during the con. There is nothing worse that realizing you don’t have room to take home all your stuff. While most hotels have an onsite FedEx or UPS store, having to make a large shipment home can be a costly expense. A little pre-planning of your luggage space can help avoid this.
Hopefully these tips can help make packing for upcoming cons a little easier. What are some of your own packing tips? Please feel free to share in the comments below!
Until we CONnect again!