Con Survival Guide: Long Weekends

Welcome back to my Con Survival Guide series. This time we’ve going to dive into the fun world of full con weekends. For me this means any con I’m staying in a hotel for or traveling for. This is definitely a different approach to how I do one day events or even events that I go in and out each day of the con (I treat those like day trips even though I’m going the whole weekend).

Let’s look at things by category again since that just makes things easier.

Travel

We’re going to start with travel this time because it can make a huge difference when it comes to deciding everything you’re bringing with you. Are you flying to the event? Are you driving to the event? If you’re driving are you going alone or are others in the car with you? This things matter when it comes to picking out costumes and packing everything up. It can also impact your food/drink options for the weekend.

The Costumes

Once I know how I’m getting somewhere I can start figuring out my costumes. A lot of the time I have costumes planned out months in advanced based on my personal cosplay plans for the year. So this part might not be as big of a mystery to start. However, if I’m thinking about wearing costumes I already have this decision might be more of a mystery.

I find the best way to plan out costumes is to think about how many days the con is and decide if I want to wear one or two costumes for each day. Over the years I have found that I prefer to have one costume for the day with a late night comfy/hangout costume for later at night when I’m tired of being in my full costume. 

Some of the things I think about for cons I travel to include:

  • How much room does the full costume take up? (both in my suitcase and in the hotel room)
  • Does it have any props? If so how large are they? Can they be broken down easily for travel/storage?
  • Are their any specialty pieces that need to be packed a certain way? (Such as wigs that have to stay on the wig head or armor pieces.)
  • Can any pieces be overlapped with another costume? (Such as shoes, wigs, undergarments, etc. This can help cut down on extra things to pack and provide more space in your suitcase.)

Packing and the Essential Items

Now that you know your costumes let’s think about how we need to pack everything. I find it really helpful to make packing lists for each costume and then use those to gather all the items I will need into piles by costume. This also gives me a visual of how much I need to pack so I can pick the right suitcase size. It’s also a good way to gather everything in an organized way so that I don’t forget any costume pieces or accessories. I do this with my make up as well but it becomes more of a single pile for everything vs costume specific piles.

Here are the “essential items” that I highly recommend bringing not matter what:

  • Phone and phone charger (both a wall charger and battery pack if you can)
  • Wallet with your ID and money
  • Id card holder for your con badge (especially if you’re like me and you hate lanyards) or a lanyard if you prefer decorative ones
  • Advil or whatever pain killer you prefer
  • Any medication you might need. I have asthma so I always bring my inhaler and have it on my at all times.

Repair Kit

On top of the base essential items for yourself, you need to think about what you might need for your costume. I bring a custom made repair kit with me that’s filled with specific items I might need for the specific costumes I’m wearing. I have a plastic pencil case (the kind you get for elementary school & see every fall in stores by the bucket load) that I update for each con to contain the most relevant things.

Some of the items I bring for my costumes include:

  • Safety pins
  • Needle and thread
  • Scissors
  • Extra snaps or buttons
  • Glue of some kind. Either a tiny tube of E6000 or super glue.

Eating

Probably the biggest need I focus on for the weekend is eating and drinking because staying fed and hydrated is super important. If you forget about this you will quickly find yourself miserable and hangry in a crowd of people. Now one wants that to happen, trust me.

Some things to consider are:

  • What food options are at the event?
    • Is there a con suite that provides snacks/drinks?
  • Is there a food court or any restaurants in walking distance?
  • What is your budget for food? 
  • Can you bring hotel room appropriate food with you to make meals?

I personally try to keep a balance between eating out and eating in my hotel room at cons. I try to keep stuff for PB&Js and ramen in the room plus some extra snacks. This helps me budget wise and keeps me from spending like all my time eating (because I totally will). A few cons I go to have a son suite that provides food and drinks. I take full advantage of those because it’s a great way to revive myself throughout a con day.

Personally, I recommend bringing some small snacks no matter what. Some small items that are easy to eat and won’t be a danger to your costume are a must. The worst thing is to have your blood sugar crash on you in the middle of the con floor or during a photoshoot. This is extra important if you have any medical issues. Remember that your health always comes first so take care of yourself.

Also, bring a water bottle! Drink from it often and always keep it full. Hydration is super important and doubly so if you’re in a hot or bulky costume. Dehydration is an issue and it can cause a lot of problems for you so just do yourself a favor and become close personal friends with your water bottle during the day.

Note: if you are 21+ and plan to drink at all at the con make sure you think through that as well. Know when/where you’re drinking, who you’re drinking with, and what outfit you’re drinking in. The last thing you want is to ruin a super expensive costume because you decided to go drinking in it and spilled something. Also think about your budget as buying drinks at bars can be very expensive. I tend to have a few low key costumes that I plan to wear when drinking occurs and I tend to BYOB for myself and my husband. I also make sure to know my limits and always stay in a group with my husband and friends. Having some drinks at a con can be fun but just remember to be safe about it.

Take Breaks

The last thing I want to mention is the importance of taking breaks. Cons are a ton of fun and you can be tempted to stay on the floor 24/7 but this can be really draining and hard on your body. Make sure to take breaks throughout the day. It will help you mentally and will help your energy levels. I like to take a break around dinner time to get food and relax for a few before going for evening parties/activities. They helps me a lot and keeps me enjoying the con way more.

That’s a Wrap

Now the very last thing to do is enjoy yourself! Remember to eat, drink water, and take plenty of breaks. But most of all have a TON of FUN. That’s what we do this for after all. 🙂

If you have any other tips or things you do for long con weekends share them in the comments. I love hearing how others plan for events.

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