No one ever wants to forget anything when headed to a convention, but cosplayers are especially cautious since they have to bring the normal “vacation” items and also additional bags and suitcases for their many costumes. With convention season in full swing, I asked Twitter for a list of things cosplayers never want to forget when headed to a convention and compiled the responses into this top 10 list. You may want to print this out so you don’t forget these things the next time you venture to a convention.
When headed to a con, the best way to get in touch with your friends is usually by phone. Texting them or checking Twitter and Facebook Messenger for the latest place to meet up for photos can make or break a convention for some cosplayers. Make sure you pack your phone and its charger too! When carrying your phone with you around the convention, be sure to keep it in your hand or in a safe pocket or clutch purse so that it has less of a chance to be stolen.
Costume accessories (ironing sheets, shoes, gloves, wigs, wig caps, hair accessories, panty hose or tights, makeup, etc.)
I’ve heard many, many tales of the cosplayer who forgot to pack both shoes to their cosplay, forgot to pack the wig or a wig cap, forgot to pack the makeup they need to get into character, or forgot to bring a pair of panty hose! It’s tragic and often something a cosplayer cannot simply borrow from a friend at the con. My quick fix for this is to print out a full reference image of the character(s) you are packing up and check off each item you have packed TWICE (once when headed to the con, and again when packing up after wearing it). This can also help you with making sure all the accessories are put on in the right place while at the con.
Water bottle, Gatorade/Powerade, or snacks
It’s really important to stay hydrated and fed during a con! My rule of thumb is 1, 2, 6: 1 shower a day, 2 full meals a day, and 6 hours of sleep at night. I usually pack some snacks to keep my energy up between costume changes and photo shoots. Animal crackers, Cliff bars or Kind bars, and a bottle of Gatorade are my staple! Be sure to be a good friend and make sure your con buddies are eating and drinking enough too.
Money (cash and credit cards)
As much as I hate to admit it, I have often brought credit cards with me to conventions that only accept cash. I am also guilty of not bringing enough money with me to cons to cover food, fun, and the occasional drink. I’m not the only one as this was a popular request by cosplayers of things to not forget. Check your funds before you leave for the convention so you know how much you have on hand to spend. And if travelling out of state/country, make sure to call your banks and have them add your card to a list of “safe travel dates” during your vacation times so that your credit cards aren’t turned off for fraudulent spending.
A few of you told me stories of packing it all, from regular clothes to entire costumes, only to arrive at the con and have to purchase another badge because you left yours at home. Make sure if you pre-pay for your badge that you take proof or the actual badge with you to the con. If you have cosplay business cards, stickers, or pins, don’t leave them at home!
Emergency sewing kit
You never know what will happen at a con to your costume that you worked so hard on. I’ve experienced it all, from sewing things too loosely to pieces that needed emergency repair. It turns out I’m not the only one who has these last minute issues at conventions. I’ve learned to pack several spools of extra thread that match my cosplay, extra sewing needles, tape, and other supplies to help repair costumes on the go.
Pain relievers/first aid kits
Let’s face it, after a long day in costume your feet ache, you may have a headache, and as you take it all off you may find cuts and scrapes that happened along the way. Pain relievers and a simple first aid kit with bandages and anti-bacterial cream can be a lifesaver.
I am not the only cosplayer who is so excited to head to a con that they forget to pack the most important thing—your costume! I’ve been to several cons where I purposely leave my “good, but not amazing” cosplay at home because I’m not satisfied with it, only to regret it the minute I see everyone else in costume. Cosplay should be fun and all your hard work will pay off in the end, so long as you bring it with you to show off.
I could have placed this under the “emergency sewing kit” section, but Velcro is seriously so amazing that it needs its own paragraph. Velcro is a quick fix for any costume piece, and with the sticky-back kind you can use it practically anywhere for a hold good enough for a few hours. If you have armor with you and you’re not 100% sure it will all stay in place, the industrial kind will be your best friend forever at any con.
Lots of you are last minute costume designers, so bringing pins to a convention to help you finish stitching your latest masterpiece is a genius idea! And I’m sure many of you have been in a hotel room where someone is sewing on the bed, floor, or anywhere that pins can suddenly get lost. A pin magnet is the best invention ever! A swipe over the bed or floor can pick up those missing pins and save your body from unintentional pricks.
What are some of your favorite “do not forget” items when heading to a convention? Let us know on Twitter @geekgalsco!
Featured image credit: Isaac L./Geek Gals