Convention Tips: A HANDY DANDY CONVENTION CHECKLIST!
I was asked to put together a convention packing checklist! So here it is, disregard anything that isn’t relevant to you!
Make sure you remember to print out all your tickets in whatever format they take! That’s email confirmations, or your PDFs convention tickets, photo ops and autographs, plus meet and greet invoice if you’re doing one. Hotels have printers of course, but it’s easier to have them ready to go, rather than trying to find somewhere to print them out while at the convention – because you’ll be busy!
Camera – with spare batteries and memory card and associated cords.
All your chargers!
All your charger cables!
It’s also great to bring an extra battery pack for your phone, because there usually isn’t anywhere to quickly charge your phone without going back to your room, so if you have a pre-charged battery backup with you that can help keep in touch!
* if you do forget something, you always have fan backup – someone will lend you that charging cable that mysteriously got left behind!
A pen – for filling out reupping forms – and for writing down your email or twitter for new friends!
Highlighter pens – for highlighting the schedule
Coloured Sharpie – if you don’t want black or silver for your auto, bring your own coloured Sharpie pen!
Always bring some kind of notebook – just in case you want to jot down notes from a panel, or something someone told you, names, emails, twitter handles (as Jensen calls them) etc!
SOMETHING TO PUT YOUR PHOTO OPS IN
You need something to put your photo ops in so they don’t bend and get ruined! You can buy hard sleeves in the vendor’s room, but I find that the photos can get stuck in them! A document display folder with plastic inserts, or a ring-binder with plastic inserts is great. Or just a hard plastic document envelope. The photos printed out at the con are 10x8, so anything that fits A4 or larger works.
WHATEVER YOU’RE GOING TO GET AUTOGRAPHED
If you have something specific that you’re getting signed, don’t forget to pack it! The Vendors room has photos and books and some other items that can be used for autos if you don’t have something specific.
SNACKS AND WATER
Soooooo important! Many of the convention hotels/convention centres don’t have much (or any) food available, or you have to go out to get food (and did I mention how busy you’ll be?), or it’s super expensive. So pack your own. If you’re travelling and can’t pack a sandwich or anything, even if it’s just some fruit or nibblies to take into the convention auditorium, that will help to keep your energy up.
The days are long, you might not get much sleep, you might be drinking more alcohol than usual, the hotels and convention centres are heavily air-conditioned, so it’s also super important to stay hydrated. If you can pickup a bulk pack of water at Target or a supermarket or something, that’s going to save you money and you’ll have water in your room and to take to panels! Seriously, snacks and water. Get on that!
*CREATION CON SPECIFIC - There is also a large water dispenser with cups inside the auditorium. You can use that water throughout the day, and you can also fill up your own water bottle from the supplied water dispensers to save more money. (tip courtesy of Krista)
TWITTER HANDOUTS (tip courtesy of Kate)
Print out your Twitter @ or/and email on little pieces of paper that you can hand out to your new fandom friends who want to be able to follow or contact you. You can make them simple, or into cool little business cards!
EXTRA MONEY – BUT BUDGET!
Um. Cons are expensive. Outside of the costs of hotel accommodation and all your tickets that you’ve already paid for, you’ll also have to buy food and drinks (unless you packed them as per the awesome tip above!) The Vendor’s room or vendor’s areas at a con has cool stuff, t-shirts, books, stickers, mugs, glasses, posters, standees, all sorts of jewellery, and various other goodies that you might want. There may even be a guest that you didn’t get an op with, but when you see their panel, you feel you absolutely must hug the living hell out of them, (oh believe me, it happens!), so you just have to get another op! So take a little extra money, just in case. But budget…because it’s real easy to get swept up into the con craziness and want all the things and all the ops (speaking from experience), so make sure you set yourself a budget!
Okay, I know, d’uh, you’re going to pack clothes! But if you’ve decided on a specific outfit, whether something pretty or something cosplay, make sure you have all the necessary bits! I always plan what I’m wearing for each day ahead of time. That way I don’t have to pack loads of options and I don’t have to think about it at the con. Some days (especially Saturday and Sunday) can start quite early, and the last thing you’re going to want to do is be trying on outfits like crazy. 1. You won’t have time. 2. You don’t want to increase your stress! So pre-plan your outfits and pack all the elements you decide on to make them perfect.
CREATION SPECIFIC - CASH FOR CHRIS – the Creation photographer
If you are buying JPEGS of your photo-ops you will need $US to give to Chris the photographer. Each photo op you have, comes with 1 10x8 print – but only 1. You can purchase JPEGS of each photo for $10 per JPEG. There is a number on the photo – you give that number to Chris or his offsiders in the photo room and about a week later, you will receive a link from Chris via email to download the JPEGS via Google Drive. Each JPEG you purchase costs $10 and you must have cash for that. So when you know what photo-ops you’re getting, figure out before hand which you may need (if there’s more than one of you in the photo) or want a JPEG of and ensure you have enough $US on you. If you are at a Canadian con – you can use Canadian dollars but as Chris is from the US, US dollars are better for him. The JPEGS are super high quality, large files, which can be printed to LARGE canvas size if you want (speaking from experience).
If you don’t have the cash at hand to buy the JPEGS at the convention, you can still buy them after the con. Go to the Creation website and follow the link and you’ll be able to contact Chris and order them via there.
TISSUES/VITAMINS/PAIN KILLERS ETC.
There’s lots of aircon in the hotels/convention areas and you may get a running nose – you don’t want to be snuffly or snotty – pack tissues. Eyedrops – for the same reason, the aircon may dry your eyes out and make them sore and red. Bring along some anti bacterial wipes or hand sanitiser, because con crud is a thing! Plus you’re in much used hotels, so it’s a good idea just to give your hands a bit of a once over a few times a day! It’s also not a bad idea to pack some Vitamin B or C to keep your energy up and immune system working. Pack some Paracetamol or/and Ibuprfen in case of headache or backache or hangover! I always take hay fever medication with me – I never know if something is going to affect me in a place I’m not used to (Vancon for example, gives me hives…WHY I DO NOT KNOW!). I also bring cough/cold medication. I have got super sick at cons! It sounds like a lot, but seriously, I have got sooo sick and having stuff on hand has been a life saver. I also always travel with Bepanthen because I get tatts when I travel :D Also don’t forget extra contact lenses if you need them, and pack band aids (especially if you have new shoes.)
You’re going to want to pop a mint before you go into a photo op! You’re about to get up close and personal with Jensen Ackles, and you don’t want to breathe coffee breath all over him! Pack mints.
For the same reason as the mints. You’re about to hug the crap outta Misha Collins – you don’t want “been sitting for 6 hours in the same shirt” smell as you squish into him!
LITTLE PURSE MIRROR
Perfect for checking your lippy, hair, making sure you don’t have kale in your teeth – as you wait in line for your photo op. Don’t worry, EVERYONE is doing it!
That’s it for now – if I think of anything else…I’ll update!
Happy packing and conning!