Convention tip #11: Time to pack!

Yes, this is an Artoo suitcase. I’m not sure if it’s authorized, but is European and on sale.

No doubt this weekend will be packing time for many of us. We’ve already touched on the specifics of a lot of the things you’ll want to pack – bags, cameras/phones, sanitation, clothes/shoes, but you still need to get them all there.

  • Do all your packing the day before at the very least. If you’re a costumer, you’ve probably already started and you’re probably a pro at this anyway and don’t need any of my paltery advice. But in any case, Bria recommends: “Start making your packing list at least a week in advanced especially if you’re a costumer or else you will forget something.”
  • If you’re flying, remember to check the TSA regulations for carry-ons. Check them now, and check them again right before you leave for the airport. You never know when someone will do something stupid and they change up the regulations. (The incident that sparked the whole limit-the-liquids thing? Happened the very day many Jaders were flying into Indianapolis for GenCon several years back.)
  • Don’t forget to bring photo ID, money, credit cards, health insurance cards and the like. Hey, you never know when you’ll bash your head on a dresser. (Ahem.)
  • Don’t pack your major electronics in your checked luggage. Keep your laptop, phone, their chargers (you can leave extras, if you brought them, in the checked bag) in your carry-on in your possession at all times.
  • If you have locks on your suitcase, make sure they’re TSA locks. Otherwise, the TSA will see to it that your bag arrives with no locks.
  • The plastic zip-top bag is good to use in your checked luggage as well. David: “Use gallon-sized ziplock bags to pack small, important items in the top layer of your bag where you can find them quickly. Bring a few extra bags – they will come in handy for stuff you never would have thought possible. Try hard not to pack more than you truly need.” BAGS WITHIN BAGS. Even for items that won’t leak, I like to put them in reusable bags and pouches: It’s easier to organize and keep like-items together.
  • If you’re driving, bring an extra bag or container for the stuff you’ll buy. If you’re flying, keep in mind what you’ll purchase, leave some room in your bag, and be aware that the USPS and FedEx will be on the premises. On that note, here’s one from Nancy: “I pack a collapsible nylon tote that zips. It’s great as an extra piece of luggage if you end up buying lots of stuff; put the fragile stuff in the suitcase on the way home and your clothes can go in the tote.”
  • Do pack extras, but not too many extras. Extra socks are always good – they’re small and it’s Florida, you may will get caught in a rainstorm. Keep in mind what you’re likely to buy at the con – do you need to pack a t-shirt for every day when you know damn well you’ll buy at least 3 of them there? Nancy also suggests “a measuring tape to help with sizing on shirts I might buy when I can’t try them on.”
  • Again: You will want to bring a light jacket, poncho, or umbrella, because this is Florida. It will rain. Maybe even keep it in a carry-on.
  • Airlines do have weight limits for bags: Usually 50 pounds. If this is something you think you’ll run into, look into getting a luggage scale.
  • Don’t forget your toiletries! If you travel regularly, or even semi-regularly, keep a bag with travel-size shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrush, and the rest ready to go. (Though don’t forget to check the levels and refill/replace when needed!)
  • Don’t forget pajamas. I’m only saying this because it’s the thing I almost always almost forget to pack.
  • A bag for laundry. Yes, the hotel might have plastic bags, but they’re small and plastic. Get a bag you can throw in with your laundry when you get home. In fact, the first thing you should do when you get home is laundry. Worried about bedbugs? Make it hot. (Warning: Probably not best for printed tees.)
  • And one more from Nancy: “Earplugs are a lifesaver if the hotel is noisy.” Why does that make me think of Dragon*Con?

If you’re a costumer and looking for specific advice, I apologize for my ignorance. But I did find a nice printable cosplay packing checklist from Team Blasé. This is a fertile topic, so cosplayers and well-traveled fans alike, please share more in the comments if you note any glaring omissions.

6 thoughts on “Convention tip #11: Time to pack!

  1. Nancy K

    On topic: grocery bags, zip top bags, I always pack several of these because you never know. If the light jacket can double for rain protection and indoor AC protection all the better.

    Off topic: *waves at the other Nancy* *waves at Nanci for good measure*

  2. Paula

    An extra ziplock bag for your swimsuit might also be a good idea. They never seem to dry on time.

    (A good number of con-goers could be found Sunday evening in the pool, soaking their tired feet. So yes, you might actually have time for swimming.)

  3. Nanci

    I’d recommend a poncho or rain jacket as opposed to an umbrella. An umbrella won’t help you very much during one of our daily monsoons.

    *waves to all the Nancy/Nancis*

  4. jawajames

    *waves at the Nancy/Nanci/otherNancy*

    when packing lightsabers and other costume or prop replicas in your checked baggage, leave a note for TSA stating what the item is (ie something that says this is not a real weapon but a costume replica), and attach it to said item.

    take the batteries out of any battery-powered item to avoid accidental power-ons and thus battery drain.

  5. eliz

    Single use packs of Tide are available in the travel sections and in the travel-sized item sections in most box stores. Having a couple handy or bring a small bottle with some favorite cleaner to do spot treatment or if you need to do a quick wash of something in your room. Cheaper and easier than sending it out, if your hotel offers laundry service. Especially if you have to wear the same thing due to volunteering or working a booth or trooping– febreeze only does so much and is NOT a solution for cleaning.

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