“What should I bring to the con with me?” Well, that all depends. What do you want to do? How long are you staying? There’s a lot to consider. It’s never good to bring too much or too little.
Whether you’re planning on coming for the day or staying the whole weekend, make sure to have all the essentials you can’t live without, and we’re not talking about just your smart phone. Don’t forget to bring any medication you might need. Bring a bottle of water, preferably a bottle with a lanyard, so you don’t have to hold it in your hand the whole time. Stay hydrated because Otakudom is thirsty work! Be sure to bring your wallet, ID, and cash/credit cards. You’ll need to pay for your badge and any souvenirs you want to buy. The best things in life are free, but Otakudom isn’t cheap!
Don’t forget the appropriate cables and accessories for your phone, computer, or any other electronics you plan to bring too! At least make sure your phone is charged and ready for emergencies. There are emergency charging stations with a variety of different plugs in the Convention Center lobby, but they may be in use when you get there, especially during the busiest times of the Convention.
This may be your only chance to meet that celebrity you love so much, so bring all the things you want autographed with you too! Don’t bring too much to sign, as a celebrity may have limits to what they will sign. At the very least, they may make you go back to the end of the line after a certain limit. The full rules for autographs are posted in the program guide, but a celebrity may have addition rules beyond that.
If you are planning on staying more than one day, make sure you have all your toiletries with you. Your toothbrush and deodorant are not optional! The hotel you’re staying at will have complimentary soaps, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, and towels, but make sure there’s enough to go around if you are staying in a room with friends. Hoopy froods always knows where their towels are.
Don’t forget regular clothes too! Your costume may be too complicated to put on at a moment’s notice, or you might just want to relax in a t-shirt and comfy pants. Make sure you always wear clean underwear; you never know what might happen!
Odds are you’re coming to the Convention to buy stuff! If you’re just coming for one day to see a few panels and do a quick browse of the exhibit hall, all you need is enough backpack space to carry what you purchased, and enough room in your car to be able to take it home. Your friend probably wouldn’t appreciate having to hold 3 broadswords, 5 wall scrolls, and 7 boxes of manga in his lap the whole drive home. Even if you’re planning on staying for more than one day, and you’re getting a hotel room to have a place to sleep and somewhere to keep your stuff, make sure that you have enough room to take everything home with you after the con is over.
Are you planning on participating in the Masquerade, or do you have costumes you worked hard on and want to show off? How intricate are you costumes? How many parts do they have? How many costumes are you planning on bringing? The Convention is only for 3 days, so unless you’re looking to go through Lady Gaga amounts of costume changes, one costume per day is usually enough, but feel free to wear as many costumes as you like, as long as you’re having fun doing it!
On Friday, the Convention is usually starting; you’re excited for the con, and have a lot of energy. You might be tempted to wear your fancy (heavy), intricate (delicate), detailed (uncomfortable) costume on Friday, but most people aren’t getting to the Convention until later in the evening. Saturday is usually the best day to show off your costume because you’ll have the whole day and evening to show off your ensemble. Saturday is also the night of the Masquerade. If you’re going to wear a costume on Sunday (still highly recommended, as the fun still isn’t over yet), make sure that you don’t pack parts of your costume so deep in your suitcase that you can’t get them, and that when you do take it off to leave, you should still have room in your luggage and/or vehicle to take it with you! Sunday is Children’s day, so make sure your little ones join in on the fun and get to cosplay too!
For Friday and Sunday cosplay, a good rule of thumb is to keep it simple. Dress as a character who wears a laid back or casual costume. Arthur Dent travelled the universe in nothing but his pajamas and bathrobe. If you’re coming from work on Friday you might even be coming to the con *in* your work clothes. Why not make your work clothes work for you? Many characters look dapper in a suit and tie which is always workplace office appropriate. If you’re lucky, Friday is casual day in your office anyway. If you can get away with it, just wear your costume to work! See how many people notice. You might discover a fellow otaku you previously did not know about.
What are your tips and tricks for packing for the Convention? Feel free to leave a comment!