Convention Survival

I’ll be attending Anime Revolution this August. I’m so excited! I’ve already got my tickets pre-ordered, my hostel room booked, and I even conned a friend into going with me. All I need to do now is start thinking about snacks and what to pack. I know, a month in advance is kinda early to start thinking about this stuff, but I have a tendency to procrastinate and if I don’t do this now I’ll probably forget to do it later.

I have been browsing the internet for ideas, and have found some rather good ones. I’ll list a few of my favourite here, but you can feel free to suggest more. This is my basic survival list for a whole weekend of convention madness:

Basic Convention Essentials: The things you will certainly need whether you’re only going to attend for a few hours or the entire weekend. Make sure all these things are easy to carry and always on your person, and watch out for thieves.

  1. Backpack: The experienced conner’s best friend. You want it to be lightweight, but roomy and sturdy enough to carry all your merch and snackage for the day. Either go with something that has water bottle holders or a camel pack for easy access to your hydration.
  2. Passes: Let’s face it, if you forget these you won’t be going to the con at all and all other things will be for naught anyway. Whatever you do, do not lose your pass!
  3. Money: For a light spender who already has their food sorted, I would recommend between $100-$200 cash for a day, or the weekend if you’re really good. More if you know you’ll be buying lots (but for your own sake try to space it out between the three days). Keep your bank card and/or visa handy as well for emergencies. You want to keep it all somewhere you can get to it easily when making purchases, but not so obvious that you’ll lose it to the first pickpocket who comes across you. A money belt might be a wise way to go, or a fanny pack if you’re not afraid of looking uncool.
  4. Food: Covered more below. Food at the convention will be expensive and more than likely greasy, which will wear you out in the long run. Nearby restaurants will more than likely be packed with your fellow con-goers and the helpless workers on their lunch break from nearby companies. It’s just easier for everyone overall if you bring your own food. And do not forget your hydration. It will be hot out, and you will sweat. Don’t kill yourself with heat exhaustion.
  5. Weather Appropriate Clothing and Sunscreen: Something light and comfy, sturdy walking shoes, and an extra shirt just in case. Girls, unless you’re cosplaying, I would recommend a no skirt policy as they tend to get caught in things and peeked under by perverts. No heels either, if you still want to be able to walk afterwards. And for the love of all that is good, please don’t wear the same clothes everyday, unless you plan to use the hotel laundry every night. Sunscreen is also important if you’re planning on spending any time in the sun. The last thing you need is a sunburn making the rest of your con days a painful misery.

Toiletries: If you’re going to attend multiple days in a hotel or hostel, you want to make sure you’re cleaning yourself everyday. Believe me, NO ONE wants to be around you if you haven’t showered all weekend in the middle of August.

  1. Toothbrush and Toothpaste: Travel size is best, especially if you’re sharing rooms.
  2. Hairbrush: This is pretty much a given, at least for those with longer hair, just make sure you don’t end up having to share one with your lice-y friend.
  3. Shampoo, Conditioner, and Soap: Though usually a travel sized bottle of each is recommended, I prefer the solid shampoo bars from LUSH over the usual stuff since it’s all natural (also great for camping) and won’t end up all over everything.
  4. Face Wash/Cream and Toners: This is more of a girl’s essentials, but still, you want to prevent those nasty breakouts.
  5. Your own Towel: This is definitely for those who will be sharing a room and are more paranoid about towel sharing. Try to make sure it’s something easily identifiable.
  6. Deodorant: I cannot stress this enough people, nobody wants to be around your BO! Get the strongest stuff you can get ahold of and apply it frequently. Do not make your fellow fans suffer.

 

Food: This includes snacks and lunches for during the con, and items for breakfast, as well as some drink suggestions. I’m trying to aim mostly for the healthy stuff here, since I’ll be going for three days. Definitely stay away from anything you know will upset your stomach later. Like I said earlier, nobody wants to smell your BO or your gas, and you certainly don’t want to spend hours in the bathroom regretting the extra greasy meal later. Making your meals ahead of time will also save you from mixing your tuna salad with peanut butter when you’re still  groggy in the morning.

  1. Dried Fruits and Nuts: The quintessential travel mix. It’s handy because it’s protein and vitamins in a handy grab-able form. Toss in some homemade popcorn and dry cereal and you’re good to go.
  2. Fresh Fruit: Refreshing and sweet, better than candy bars. A mix of things would be ideal, but bring whatever you can fit in your backpack. Apples, oranges, and nectarines are all nice and juicy, perfect for the hot summer weather.
  3. Your Favourite Snacks… Homemade!: While store-bought yogurt-covered pretzels and Cheetos won’t top any health food top ten lists any time soon, you can make them at home, sans all the chemicals and scary stuff.
  4. Lunch: If you want to save money at a con, you’ve got to bring your own lunch. Pack easy to put together stuff that requires no refrigeration, or pre-pack your lunches before leaving in the first place. While I like to go Japanese-style for my lunches, the good old wrap or sandwich is a great standby with a few veggie sticks and dip.
  5. Drinks: I found two good sources with suggestions for homemade energy drinks that’ll be cheaper and less terrifying than the store-bought stuff, here and here. I would suggest making one of the lighter ones in advance and filling a large water bottle with your drink of choice. When the bottle’s empty, you can just refill it with water at the nearest available fountain.
  6. Sugary Goodness: Eventually you’re going to want something sweet to nosh on, and that’s not a bad thing as long as it doesn’t fill your entire snack bag. Pocky, Graham crackers, Mochi, whatever strikes your fancy. I would recommend shying away from the Oreos, though, unless you want to walk around with black teeth and have your stomach hate you for it later.
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