There are all manner of lists on what you should pack for going to a convention. And this blog post is really no exception. Of course there are the staple items needed for a great convention, such as money (withdraw before the convention if possible as any cash machine around will quickly develop very long lines and then run out), a drink, snacks, your camera, a small repair kit for your cosplay, etc. But here are a few more items I often have on my packing list which perhaps you’ll also find handy.
1. Multi gang sockets
If you’re at a convention for more than one day, you probably have a lot of stuff to charge between. Your phone, phone charger, Nintendo DS, camera, etc. Wherever you’re staying, there will be a limited supply of power sockets, especially if you’re staying with other people. So I find one of these very handy for recharging all my stuff overnight and then just pop it away in my suitcase when I head back out for the con.
2. Portable Charger
These are appearing on more and more packing lists and rightfully so. If you’re like me and on your phone all the time without properly closing your apps, the battery drains pretty fast. Having a portable charger is really useful for when you’re about to run out of juice. There are more and more of these things coming out, many of which now have multiple ports and will charge an item more than once so can be a very good investment.
3. Photo ID
Photo ID can be handy for if you’re buying age-restricted products (adult rated anime, weapon replicas, etc), planning to go for a few drinks after the con and also for proving you are who you say you are should the hotel carry out a spot check.
What do I mean by that last part? At a large convention I attend, it was reported on social media that one of the surrounding hotels ejected some people from their room. It would seem this particular group had a family room, which was intended for two adults and two children. Two of the party were asked to leave as the hotel did not believe they were fifteen years old, as claimed. It would seem hotels surrounding conventions may be clamping down on people over-crowding their rooms with spot checks, so photo ID here will be handy to prove you are the person on the booking and rightfully occupying the type of room you reserved.
Use a search engine to seek out what photo IDs are accepted where you’re from or going to.
4. Period Items
If you’re a person subject to a monthly cycle, you probably already know what a life saver a spare pad or tampon can be. Even if you’re not due your period, take some anyway. I for one have been caught out before. Luckily my sister sharing the hotel room with me at the time was more prepared. Even if you don’t need them, you may encounter someone who does.
You may want to also include any pain relief you’ll need should Aunt Flow choose to visit during the con, and possibly a change of garments and small bag.
5. Bobby Pins
If you’re a cosplayer, you’ll know what a life savers these little things are. They’ll keep your wig under much better control and if you have an especially thick one you’ll probably find yourself inserting more through the day. I have three different colours of bobby pin and I take a sampling of all of them with me to cons incase anybody needs.
They may also come in handy for temporary repairs. I gave one over to a lovely Mikasa from Attack on Titan who was having some strap issues towards the end of the day and it seemed to work just fine for a quick fix.
Important at summer conventions if you have any skin showing. Face, back, arms, shoulders, legs, anything.
When I wore Ariel’s mermaid outfit I didn’t put any sun lotion on and got a sunburn on my shoulder which I didn’t discover until I was suddenly in pain under the shower that evening. In a way I was lucky to get away with just a burn on my shoulder. But it still wasn’t pleasant. Look after yourself and put on some sunscreen.
7. Cardboard-Backed Envelopes/Poster Tubes
I’m putting these two together because they serve the same general purpose. Popular items to get from conventions are posters, prints from artists alley, sketches from artist guests, autographed pictures from guests and photo ops from guests. All things you don’t want to get crumpled in your bag. A sturdy cardboard-backed envelope and/or poster tube from your local stationary shop (or saved from something you received in the post) will help with that little extra peace of mind that your items will remain in good condition.