I have been happily attending conventions for over a decade and have picked up a few packing tips to make the best trip possible. My goal is to reduce stress and maximum the time I have at these hectic events! Check out all the bullet points below.
My FOUR main rules for packing are:
- 1. Have your flight and hotel confirmation info available. I save mine as a screen shot in my phone’s photo album. Double check when you need to arrive at the airport and your check-in/departure times at hotels. No need for surprises!
- 2. PACK LIGHT! You may be tempted to pack shoes, outfits and accessories for a myriad of possibilities. RESIST! No one cares what you’re wearing and neither will you once you get into the mix of things. Also, packing light leaves room for swag! Imagine trying to jam a beautiful piece of newly purchased artwork into an already bursting bag. Save space for purchases!
- 3. In the spirit of #1, avoid checking a bag at the airport if you can. I cannot tell you how many fellow convention buddies have had their luggage lost in transit. If you MUST check a bag, be sure to keep all medication, chargers, event tickets and immediately needed personal items with you. Anything you would be devastated to lose in transit should be on your person.
- 4. Comfortable shoes. You are on your feet exploring the convention and the city literally pounding the pavement! Flip flops seemed like a good choice to me a few cons ago because they were light, I could slip them off for airport security, and I’m a Floridian where sandals are the State Shoe. I wore the padding down to almost nothing in 3 days and incurred several toe injuries from people stepping on me. Wear comfortable walking shoes to alleviate foot and back pain.
Now that we have the basics, here’s what I am packing for 4 days in Seattle. Currently the forecast calls for rain and I’m taking that into account:
- Comfortable Walking Shoes and comfy socks
- 2 pairs of shorts/ 2 pairs of jeans
- 4 nerd-centric shirts (no one else understands them, show them off here!)
- 1 Hoodie
- I shouldn’t need to tell you to bring underwear, but just in case, definitely bring underwear.
- Toiletries – most notably deodorant. Stinky nerds are a stereotype for a reason – don’t perpetuate the stigma! I even keep some in my purse AT the convention because all of that walking, hugging, anxiety, tension, excitement, and gaming doesn’t make you smell fresh.
- Add a swimsuit to your list if you are staying somewhere with a pool. I’ve actually never had time or energy to go swimming/hot tubbing after a convention, but better safe than sorry since they take up so little space.
MUST HAVE ACCESSORIES FOR PAX:
- Pax Badges and ID
- Phone, Tablet, DS, etc and all cases, headphones and chargers.
- Itinerary. Make a plan or you’ll miss out on what you came to see. Panels, signings, and tournaments can fill up quickly. Use the Pax Schedule to plan, install the Pax Guidebook for iPhone or Droid, Add the Uber, Lyft or other transportation app to your phone and browse the internet for non-Pax related things you would like to do, see or eat in Seattle!
SHOULD HAVE ACCESSORIES FOR PAX:
- Water bottle and Hand Sanitize. Pax Pox is a real thing, stay hydrated, cover your nose/mouth with your elbow if you need to sneeze or cough, avoid touching your nose/ears/eyes and wash your hands. We’re all sharing controllers, cards and air. Stay healthy!
- Cash. Most places take debit, but I’ve been desperate for ones at the coat check & vending machine and cash is universally accepted in an emergency.
- Healthy snacks. I’m bringing pistachios, trail mix and granola bars. Keep your energy level up and stave off hunger with quick snacks so you can KEEP GAMING.
- Business Cards. If you are a streamer, dev, writer or aspiring to work in the industry this is a great time to meet like minded people who may want to work with you!
- Chapstick and throat lozenges/mints – All that talking, laughing, oohing and awwing makes my lips and throat dry.
- Eye drops – I wear contacts and the overhead lights plus the booths’ lighting wear out my peepers.
- Excedrin – See above. Between walking, exploring, coping and LOUD NOISES I tend to get headaches.
- Umbrella or a hat since it will possibly be raining. I’m opting for a baseball cap since it can fit inside my small shoulder bag for the con.
- Tabletop Games – I opt for smaller card games so that I don’t have to carry around a board game, but this is one of the funnest ways to take a load off of your feet at a con. There is an area set up so you can hang with your friends or make new friends! Good stuff!
WORD TO THE WISE:
Though there is free wi-fi it has been my experience that it’s slow and bogged down from other people JUST LIKE YOU so designate a meet up point for later if your concerned about getting separated from your friends.
Those are my basic tried and tested guidelines for having the best convention possible. It will go by impossibly fast and you’ll miss out if you’re not prepared.
Please share any of YOUR tips or tricks that I missed with our readers and HAPPY PAXING!!