Don’t Forget: 5 Things to Bring to a Convention

Date Fri, July 26 2013

I recently had a blast at a SciFi convention called CONvergence. We drove three hours, walked plenty of miles, endured 90+ degree days and spent a lot of money. Aside from a single misplaced item, I packed everything I really needed in one small bag. There are a few things that people seem to forget every year — you know them because they’re complaining about not being able to walk another step in those shoes or they reek of three day’s worth of BO —  and a couple new things I add to my list based on personal experience.

1. Cash and Plastic

If you’re traveling from out of the country, then you might have traveler’s checks. Get these converted to cash. If you’re a local, stop by a free ATM before making your way into vendor and art rooms. Cash also gets you food, whether it’s available from the hotel or the convention. I personally found that I spent a few bucks as tips in party rooms at CONvergence. Not every convention has party rooms, but you’ll need cash when you least expect it.

However.. with things like Square and iPads, many vendors are able to take plastic if you’re in a pinch. It’s a definite change from the convention that I attended

2. Comfortable Walking Shoes

Listen, I cannot commit to the plant on my kitchen counter let alone a costume that requires me to wear heels or boots that are going to be sweltering in the summer heat. Nosirree. You can try, but I bet you’ll have more fun if you’re comfortable, especially when you’re walking several miles every day. I don’t know what style of shoe you want. Make you want to try to tone your butt with some ShapeUps or you’re more like me and wear a pair of Chucks. Get some insoles for your shoes if you’ve got room. You’ll be glad.

Let's fix that rip!

Let’s fix that rip!


3. Sewing Kit

Okay, so you’re meeting me halfway when it comes to costumes. You’re wearing some decent sandals to go with your Codex costume. Awesome. Now, what do you do if your costume breaks? Tears? Runs? Comes undone? A sewing kit is a necessity if you did it yourself and even if your costume isn’t your own, it doesn’t hurt. This sewing kit is around $10 and includes a safety pin, which can get you through the day if you can’t fix it yourself.

4. Toiletries

I cannot even begin to describe how awful CONvergence smelled on Sunday. It started Saturday morning and just kept getting worse. If you think that you can go without showering, you’re wrong. So so wrong. If you’re staying in a hotel, you might be able to get by with their shampoos and soaps, and I certainly understand not wanting to cart a giant bottle of shampoo.  You can get a bunch for less than $5 on Amazon; however, Wal-mart and Target sell them individually for about $1 each. They’re great if you’re flying, too. Can I also just suggest that you pack a pair of tweezers?

Energizer Instant Charger for Micro USB

Energizer Instant Charger for Micro USB

5. Device Chargers

Kindle. Nook. iPod. iPad. Camera. Smartphone. I had multiple devices that required charging with me. I used my phone so frequently that it died every day well before it was over. In some rooms, I would have been okay if I had my wall charger, but you’re not always close to an 0utlet, either. I think, especially if you use devices frequently and won’t have a chance to charge during the day, then an emergency charger is a must have. I wish I’d had one on me. There’s a bunch of microUSB portable chargers available for less than $20, including one from Energizer that just runs on AAs. This one is also super portable. I could pop it on my purse.

So whether you’ve gone to a huge convention, a tiny one, one for fun or one for work, you probably have your own tips that make the trip go a lot easier. What would you add to this list?

One Response

  1. Collin July 4 2015 @ 4:55 pm

    I highly recommend bottled water and protein bars or your snack of choice. Oh and Tylenol, don’t want a headache.

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