Post your Convention/Hotel survival tips(besides "SHOWER!!!!!1!1!"), tricks and emergency kits.
>Once you're settled into your room, buy a pack of bottled water for the weekend, and bring a bottle with you to the con each day
>Day 0 pre-reg can be exciting, but if you want to avoid long ass lines, go early morning day 1
>test your cosplay shoes by wearing them for a full day, long before the con. Find out if you need pads or where they might cause blisters and stuff. Also get a pair of folding ballet flats/flip flops.
>If your going to drink, don't forget a corkscrew/bottle cap opener
>Check out of your room and check in your bags as early as possible. Otherwise, good luck even getting into the elevator
>Pack your suitcase before you go out to party on Saturday night. Lets you sleep in more the next morning and panic less as your trying to get out the door.
>If your sensitive to sounds while your trying to sleep bring earplugs to prevent waking up from others snoring.
>Bring your own towel so you dont have to worry about others using up all the hotel ones.
Do bring instant cup noodles. There's a low chance your room will have a refrigerator (that you'll even be allowed to use), but it will most likely have a coffee maker you can use for hot water. Don't forget some disposable utensils too
As weird as it can be, unpack your shit into the closets and drawers, keeping your costumes together. When you're done wearing them, put them in your suitcase and you won't worry about losing them.
If you're room stuffing, you suck, but at least make it comfortable. Work out a schedule and make sure everyone adheres to it. If Erin doesn't want to sleep on the floor and tries to steal the bed, she can sleep in the fucking hallway.
Get all hotel money before even letting them step foot in the room. It's easier to do it then instead of trying to harp them all weekend only to find out they "Accidentally" spent it.
Pack easy to eat thing like apples, granola bars, bananas. Make sure to eat one when you wake up and bring them along during the day. If you can sway a good lunch, that's your power meal. Eat a good lunch and you can pretty much function the rest of the day on water and granola bars.
Ask the front desk for more towels as soon as you check in. Most people forget and get gyped because the hotel DOES, in fact, have a limited quantity.
Tip your housekeepers well daily if you use the service. They usually have a different cleaner each day so tipping big on Sunday is only good if you wait the whole weekend for service.
If you can catch a housekeeper and are polite, they are usually more than happy to provide you extra towels in the morning and take your dirty laundry. Slip them a dollar, word'll get around for you as opposed to the other cheap ass teenagers.
If you are room stuffing, the hotel is already out of blankets. Trust me. Bring a sleeping bag and an extra pillow, just in case. Even if you get the bed, you can give a floor person one of the bed pillows with no discomfort to yourself.
I used to work for a hotel, can you tell?
The front desk is usually instructed to give you a limited number of keys - this is not to screw you but because the rooms can only make so many keys before they all shut off. Usually this is around four. Pick responsible people because the desk won't just hand them out willy nilly and making a new key may shut off all the other ones.
Strip the bedding at the end of the weekend. Just pile it up on the floor, the housekeepers will love you and forgive room stuffing and shit tons of trash.
Speaking of trash - consolidate it. Lots of empty solo cups, soda cans, liquor bottles? Put them all on one table so the housekeeper can just sweep it all into a trash bag. Dirty towels, pile em up. The housekeepers are going to have to remake the beds, wipe down all surfaces, and clean the bathroom - and you are one of probably 30 other rooms they have to clean that day. Do them a solid and make it a bit easier.
Ask for a low floor at the hotel (easier when you check in on Thursday) Your view may be compromise, but it's going to be a hell of a lot easier to get up and down during busy periods. Comfortable shoes mean you could probably just climb the stairs instead of waiting 20 minutes for the elevators to clear.
Know who you're rooming with. Know if they're going to invite people back with no notice or fuck in the beds. Don't room with irresponsible people because room drama WILL ruin your convention.
I, personally, can't sleep without white noise. I bring a box fan with me to conventions and stash it next to my sleeping space. It drowns out party noises, hallway noise, and strange city noise. It makes it sooo much easier to get a good night's sleep - downside, once you get used to it, you are fucked to sleep without one. You have been warned.
Drink at least 8 bottles of water a day. This is recommend for even non active people, you are going to be walking several miles in a humid environment, getting dehydrated results in headaches and nausea and no one wants to be sick. Flip side, you're gonna have to pee a bit more so make sure your costume permits easy pee breaks.
Teenagers and first time conners, for some reason, seem to forget to bring normal clothes. Bring pajamas for each night in case you sweat, bring clothes to wear when you don't feel like cosplaying or to go out to dinner at night. Jeans and a t-shirt do not take up a lot of space. Plus girls - we ooze, bring extra panties so you don't feel like a grossoid at the end of the weekend.
If your room does not have a fridge and the front desk is out (again they have a limited quantity, no it is not illegal for them to not provide you one), just ask them to store any medication you might have.They will do it for you. THAT they have to do legally.
Bring a mirror and a light source for doing your make up. The bathroom is probably going to be busy in the morning and it's a bit more important for your roomy to shower and not smell like death than for you to do your eyeliner. Put a desk mirror ($10 from walmart) near one of the lamps turned towards your face, and do your make up there. Probably a bit more counter space to spread your shit out, and you won't be rushing to get out.
Pack a small make up kit. Tiny make up bags are fairly easy to find and all you'll really need is what you put on the morning and maybe some baby wipes for touch ups during the day. Make sure your eyeshadow's not creasing and making you look like a haggard old drag queen by the end of the day. Take some time to remove your wig and let your head breathe.
Wigs make my head itch. I keep a ball point pen in my bag so I can scratch through the wig without having to take it off every five minutes. I might be weird, but it works.
Always have a 24-pack of water. You can bring your own soda, but you're getting rekt if you just drink soda. The physical component is not one to disregard.
Always bring plates and plastic utensils.
Always bring at least 1 liter of water with you at all times. Dehydration is no joke, and cons mark up massively
Always get someone to be the backpack holder. In this backpack goes first aid kits, minor cosplay replair, food, water, and anything else that you can think of.
Always bring as fresh as possible fruits, and multivitamins. Trust me on this. Ramen is pure filler, and you cannot subsist on it alone. Melatonin is massively helpful for getting you to sleep. Make sure to bring peanut butter as well, peanut butter has fats and proteins, which you'll need plenty of. Make sure to eat hearty when you can.
Bring table top games, for the rare down time
>To save money on shopping:
If possible, check up with vendors' websites ahead of time so you can make a "wish list" with prices off the side. If not, make a note of what you want with the prices offered by the vendor and take some time (preferably before bed) to
check online for other competitors (i.e.: eBay, taobao, other vendors).
>Plan out your day
Face it, especially with big cons, you're probably not going to be able to see everything or do everything you want to do. Familiarize yourself with the con's event and panel schedule; make time to get in line for bigger events such as concerts and autographs, and for more practical things like rest, eating, and showering. It doesn't hurt to be familiar with the area/campus as well. I personally like to take an evening off to dine someplace nice if possible (man, if I were at ACen this weekend, I'd go to Bogart's).
>Keep a cooler
It doesn't hurt to have an ice box that you can refill with ice at the hotel to keep things like lunch meats cool.
>If dining options are limited
Someone suggested here a while ago to invest in a rice cooker which can be especially useful if you're packing the room. Flavored rice mixes are fortunately cheap and it doesn't hurt to stock up on those.
I think it would be cheaper to just have a water bottle that you can refill throughout the weekend.
Hmmm....I'm considering on keeping in contact with you, anon because I'm thinking about applying for area hotels - ideally front desk or banquet.
Always have a friend with you who doesn't cosplay/isn't cosplaying from the same series as you. That way you don't risk losing your bags every time someone asks you for a picture.
Buy a lanyard that snaps open and closed, that way you don't have to pull your con badge off over your head messing up your wig for pictures
If you're a girl always have pads/tampons with you. Always. You never know when mother nature could decide to fuck you over, or you could make someones day if they need one and don't have any.
Get a reusable water bottle with a strap, that way you don't have to keep pulling it out when you're thirsty and lessens the chance of leaking all over your bag
If you're cosplaying someone without pockets try and find a place where you can sew an invisible one. Nothing sucks more than not having your phone within reach at all times
If you have a long wig, bring a wig comb/brush with you. Chances are you're going to have to wait in line at some point and it gives you something to do and keeps you looking good.
Always have some kind of painkiller with you, chances are you'll want them by the end of the day.
>make time to get in line
Oh god I cannot emphasize this enough. My biggest mistake when I first started going to cons is I didn't factor in how long you need to line up before hand in order to get into popular panels/autograph sessions. For big cons plan for 2+ hours of waiting ahead of time, if you really don't want to miss the event plan for 3. Bring card games with you and make friends with your fellow line mates, you're gonna be there a while.
TIP THE SHIT OUT OF EVERYBODY. The employee that checks you in and out, housekeeping, and even the valet driver if you have that option. A couple of dollars goes a long way and allows you to get away with small things, like asking for extra keys or towels
I worked in a variety of hotels from bottom of the barrel shit factories to fairly nice hotels catered primarily by business men.
If you do front desk, work a nice one. Get comfortable shoes and get used to the uniform and getting yelled at a lot. Avoid the night audit shift unless you hate the daylight and people - it's boring and the most shit goes wrong. People are terrible and you will be standing the whole time for shit ass pay.
No real experience with banquet, sorry.
As much of a pain it'll be, BRING A CHAIR ON DAY 0 FOR THE LINE. It'll save your life. My group brought a sturdy cooler one year with wheels and that became our chair/food/water/card game table. Greatest idea ever. We also helped quite a few people stay hydrated because they didn't have water like idiots. We had like a 48 pack or some shit.
Another good idea for food: find the nearest Subway, buy a footlong (preferably one that won't go bad too quickly) in the morning, bam! All day con food. Unless you have a big appetite. I always forget to eat at cons so anything helps.
One thing people forget is that the dealer's hall isn't the only place to buy anime stuff in the area. There's also the glorious Little Tokyo just a few minutes away. If you get a gist of the prices, you could find better deals there. And god dammit try the food- but keep a close eye on your spending. Fuck Marukai Market. There's a revolving belt sushi place with great prices though.
For the even slightly allergic people:
If the hotel is old bring antihistamines. Specially for carpeted rooms, or rooms with heavy curtains. To be extra safe, bringing your own pillow case is also a good idea. Simple rhinitis may seem like barely a problem but it can keep you from sleeping, so it's good to be safe!
Sage because no one likes this conversation, but trust me when I say if a girl always seems to have clean undies, you better be grateful. At the end of an active day, shit gets damp.
Also remember that most nice hotels use down pillows and comforters.
and typing that you need hypoallergenic bedding in the others space is not enough for the hotel to switch it, tell the front desk.
I can not count the times I have woken up with frog eyes because I forget about this.
> Medicine kit: pepto bismol, aspirin, tums, sunscreen, any kind of specialty medicine you might need (i.e. allergy meds, visine, contacts solution, etc.)
>Cash: guaranteed that after Day 1 of a con all the ATMs will be tapped out. On this note: a. be careful and keep the cash on your body at all times (don't leave it in the hotel room) - keep it in a secure location, a zippered compartment in your purse. b. you might want to break 20s before getting there so you have $5s and $1s for taxi fare/tipping/etc.
>Bathing suit, flip flops, slippers, jacket/hoodie, extra clothes (especially in summertime, I know I usually end up changing clothes at LEAST 2x per day)
>Parasol/portable hand fan (sometimes the $1 store carries those little battery operated ones)
>If you have medical needs, it might not hurt to get a doctor's note for the convention. I've heard of people being screwed out of getting fridges when they need it to keep medicine chilled, etc.
>If any of this applies to you: copies of the Hotel reservation confirmation, flight info, etc. Most of the time there's no problem checking in but it doesn't hurt to have a hard copy.
>Entertainment of some sort: books, decks of cards, Kindle, portable games, etc.
>Chargers and extra batteries (charge those extra batteries!!)
>Safety pins, sewing kit, Tide to-go pen, febreeze...