Oz Comic Con is this weekend, and sadly I won’t be able to make it this year. Ross is jetting over to America for three weeks starting Monday, and I really want to spend the weekend with him before he heads off. But all this convention talk has got me thinking about getting ready to attend a convention. Last year I wrote this post about what to wear to a convention, but it’s also important to make sure that your bag is packed with everything you’ll need to have a brilliant day. Here are my convention essentials:
A convention day is not the day to carry your teeny-weeny purse that only has enough room for a sick of gum and a twenty-cent piece. Similarly, you don’t want to be toting your falling-to-pieces bag that spills it’s contents on the floor whenever you reach for your wallet. You need something big enough to fit all your essentials, that zips up securely. It’s very easy for people to slip a wallet out of an open bag in a crowded place (horrid, but true) so it’s also a good idea to pick a bag that sits under your arm.
Have you ever tried to grab a bite to eat at a convention? Well, it’s easier said than done. The lines are massive, there’s usually not much to choose from and what is available usually costs three times more than you’d usually pay. Packing your own snacks and a water bottle will save you loads of cash and will prevent any hangry-hulk moments. Nuts, dried fruit, muesli bars and chocolate are all good options.
While some vendors will have EFTPOS facilities, a lot of the smaller stalls won’t. It’s best to come prepared with cash in a mixture of small and large notes. Vendors will be really appreciative if you’re able to give close to exact change.
You don’t have to lug your enormous DSLR and tripod to the con, but it pays to have some means of taking pictures. You’re going to see some awesome things, and it would be a shame if you weren’t able to capture them on film. Imagine if I hadn’t taken a camera to Armageddon last year, and I never took this Tank-Girl-on-Tank-Girl picture. Wouldn’t that have been tragic?
If you have a blog or etsy store, it really pays to have a stack of business cards in your bag. I’ve met so many awesome people at conventions who I’ve wanted to keep in touch with. It’s so much handier to just whip out a card than it is to try and write your email address on the corner of the convention map. It also gives you a chance to network with stall owners, cosplayers and any other people who might be interested in your blog.
Cons are germy places. You’re going to be packed into a hot space with loads of other sweaty people, handling money and using questionable public toilets. You’ll feel a lot better if you’ve got a wee bottle of hand sanitizer to freshen up with when you start to feel a bit grimy, or before you eat. It will also come in handy if some creep flops his testicles into your hand while you’re browsing through a box of comic books (this actually happened to me once).
Whenever possible, pre-book your tickets. And for the love of God, please remember to bring them with you! This will save you so much time and energy. I promise.
What are your convention essentials?