Hey guys! IT’S MAY, and what does that mean? Convention season for Crimson has started this month (this past weekend actually)! And by convention season I mean “convention season” since I’ve had to cut down quite a bit on my outings this year
And it’s actually because of that cut that I now have more time to sit down and pass on my infinite wisdom to all of you young con-grasshoppers. If anyone wants my credentials for these posts: I got none (jk jk, I have attended like 2 conventions in my life, that makes me an expert, right?)
Now this was going to be one post but as I got writing, I realized I had quite a bit to say, so we’re going to have a second part later on this week. Possibly on Friday as I sit down and cry about the fact I can’t be in CA for the Sherlock Convention #CRIES
Useful Items You Forgot to Pack (And Shouldn’t Have to Worry About Buying Onsite)
We’re going to assume everyone already knows what convention they’re going to. Be that the Sherlock convention at LAX or Fanime at San Jose this weekend, or Colossalcon in Sandusky, Ohio the following weekend (you can see where I wish I were at these next two weekends, aka not at home)
And the first thing to think about once you’ve decided on a convention and have all your stuff booked is packing. Especially if you’re going out of state, which is what I usually do. Since ACEN was only an hour drive away from my house, I didn’t really focus on packing. I technically could just drive back home if I forgot something or ran out of X-thing (I actually ended up going back home for some sweaters because oh god it was raining and so cold!!)
And even though I’ve attended multiple conventions, I always always still forget something on this list. It’s usually a pain to look for convenience stores to buy these things because 1) they’re usually expensive and 2) I need to walk away from the convention and who wants to do that? I’m getting better at not forgetting as the years go by, but there’s always something at one convention I wish I’d brought along
Some conventions are super nice about providing their attendees with water, others aren’t. Buy yourself a pack and keep it in your car if you’re driving or in your hotel room. If you’re going to be at the con all day, take 2-3 bottles with you in a bag. Or you can do what I do and bring your own water bottle. Chances are the convention centers or hotels have water fountains where you can refill your bottle. If you go to ACEN, you’ll notice the convention center has water “stations” set up nearly everywhere (+100 ACEN!)
Bring a bag
You are going to buy junk. I recommend something like a book bag or something with soft straps as you don’t want whatever you bought digging into your shoulders. If you’re a light spender, then maybe a purse or tote bag will be fine. If you spend a bit heavier, a book bag or messenger bag is good. If you’re like me…well, I hope the hotel you’re staying at is less than 5 minutes away (or your car is parked nearby) otherwise you’re probably screwed. I shall pray for your hands well-being
note: some places will provide bags for you, especially industry guests (but those aren’t always sturdy or large enough). Others don’t offer bags, like the smaller used manga stands
Bring a snack
One of the things I’ve noticed is that my body has gotten used to not eating during conventions. I’m usually ok with munching on something small twice a day instead of eating full and proper meals. That’s not good for your body and I recommend not doing that as lack of food can lead to headaches and irritability, and then you won’t enjoy the convention as much. Instead, take a snack with you.
I always try to bring some almonds since they’re high in protein, which is supposed to help quench your hunger. The only “bad thing” about this snack is that you end up more thirsty than usual (good if you’re trying to up your water intake)
note: Don’t just eat candy all weekend. It’s bad for you. Also, some conventions (rare ones I think), offer food for free! It’s not healthy but it’s a way to not leave the convention and not pass out. I think it’s Anime Midwest that has the ramen, rice, and other NEET foods available
Deodorant, Toothpaste, Toothbrush
Ah! The things you probably forgot to pack as you woke up 1 hour before your flight was supposed to leave. I know how it is, been there myself. If you have to, go to sleep with these items on your person because these cost a fortune when you’re at the con (considering you only need them for three days and could use those $7 for a manga book!). Plus, we don’t need people passing out because of weird smells
Hair Products, Body Wash, Loofa
Ok, this one is a tricky one. I know that the airport has some kind of policy now where you can only take a certain amount of liquids into your carry-ons. Find out what the rules are and try to abide by them. Maybe this time instead of taking liquid body wash you’ll take a bar. Maybe you might even need to buy some hair products on location (as I’ve had to do on numerous occasions, curse my long hair!). However, if you’re checking in a bag, chances are this isn’t something you need to worry about. Just make sure your liquids are in a bag and you’re all set!
There are a lot of people, you’re going to be touching a lot of things (I’m not going to ask), and your hands are going to get disgusting opening doors, moving chairs if needed, browsing through merchandise, that runny nose you developed two hours into the second day, etc. No you may not see it (unless you can), but cons are a bacteria hive!! Bring some and use it often, and obviously before you eat. You don’t want to get sick. If you forget to bring some, at least remember to wash before you eat ^^
note: I recommend buying a big hand sanitizer and then buying one of those $1 disposable tubes. Keep the sanitizer in your room and the tubes on your person, refill as needed
You might not need to pack anything but I’m super sensitive to a lot of things. Change in weather, change in diet, and people germs. I can get sick super quickly. I recommend bringing some Tylenol/Advil, something for your stomach (I use Estomaquil), and maybe something for a cold (Alka Seltzer). You might not need these until the end of your trip, and if you’re one of the lucky ones, you might not need it at all
note: I drink a lot of cinnamon tea and add cinnamon powder to my hot chocolates and I’ve noticed this helps keep my defenses up. Before a convention I tend to up my tea intake, just to keep that cold away
So let’s say you’re going to Expo this summer and the weather is going to be GREAT. You want to show off some nice sandals (or whatever they’re called) when you get there. You probably packed a different pair for every day and it’s a done deal right? Well, I seriously hope those sandals are comfortable to walk in and stand in. Cons involve a lot of walking (especially the bigger ones) and even more time standing in line (oh man, especially Expo). You don’t want blisters on your feet, bring something comfortable to walk in. I usually pack my gym shoes for most of the day and some sandals for the down times
One pair of pants
This might sound weird but I made the mistake of only packing shorts when I went to Fanime because /scoffs/ it’s CA, it’s always hot there. Wrong. It gets cold at night, surprisingly. And if you’re traveling to someplace nice, chances are you’ll either have to ignore the cold (may lead to a cold) as you go out on a nightly stroll with friends or drag them around town to find one pair of pants when it’s not even the season for such clothes to be at stores (like I did). Keep in mind the weather
One of the biggest things at conventions is cosplay. As soon as you walk into the “con area” there will be cosplayers and you will want to go take pictures of all of them. Bring a decent camera. It doesn’t have to be some DSLR one that cost you (or your family) $1,000+. It could just be your phone’s camera (I recommend getting a decent size SD card, especially if you plan on recording videos) or one of those small hand held cameras that used to be popular back in the day. Depending on how professional you want to get might also influence what kind of camera or other gear you might need. If you’re doing professional stuff I’m sure you know what you need!
note: If you’re going to record something, I recommend bringing a tripod. Your arm will greatly appreciate this, plus, if you go to photoshoots, this will really help with picture taking as it’ll steady your camera and you’ll have less blurry shots. If it’s nothing professional, a small and lightweight one is my recommendation
Chargers and Portable Charger
You would think that chargers is common sense but I tend to forget something about 70% of the time. If not the cable, then the part that connects to the wall. Don’t forget to pack this stuff, as without it, you can’t use any of your electronics. Some hotels and conventions have charging stations but then you have to stick around. I also recommend having one for every electronic you take with you, just in case.
I’ve also started using a portable charger and HALLELUJAH it’s saved me so many times! For one, my phone’s battery sucks, so to have this little beauty around for the weekend is always a life saver. The only problem is that you need to remember to charge it before you leave for the convention and sometimes that can take hours
And those are some of the more “essential” things one should pack (if you ask me). There are more things and it really depends on what convention you’re going to (or what event in general you’re going to). Because of that I always recommend making a list of things you might need. I say make it at least a week before your first convention and just add to it as you remember things. Also add to it after your convention as you may realize some things you’ve forgotten only after the fact
Here’s the list I’ve been using since forever now. I need to rewrite it since it’s all scribbled on but a physical list can be helpful if you’re like me. I usually tack it on my door and look over it before I leave to the airport. Make sure I’m not forgetting my essentials
If you plan to be out of the country then there are other things you have to take into account. For example, last year I went to Canada for the LCS Summer Finals and I had to think about how I would spend money (would I just use my card? what are the bank fees? would I convert money at an airport if I fly?). It’s funny but I also hadn’t realized my phone wouldn’t work while I was in Canada , so that’s something we had to deal with (thank you wifi and Google maps). Plus having a passport, which I did but my brother didn’t, so he had to get his a month before we left for the trip
What about you guys? What items do you find yourself wishing you’d brought along only after you’ve left for the convention?