GenCon is next weekend! Have you made your packing list yet? While everyone and their grandma will remind you to shower daily and remember your dice bag and extra socks and underwear, I’m going to take it one step further. These are things you may not think to pack, but will save your game – and possibly your dignity.
1. Writing Utensils
For some folks, this is a given. They’re in your gaming bag. Done and done. But how many KINDS of writing utensils do you need? Turns out, four.
- Mechanical pencils with erasers: For most RPGs and other games. Mechanical is important because sharpening is annoying (and requires bringing a sharpener).
- Pens: For when you’re sitting at a table for twelve at The Ram, getting separate checks and paying with credit cards. Just like every other table.
- Black and silver Sharpies: The best options for getting books signed by your favorite writers, especially if you catch them at a time when they’re not at their booth.
- Wet erase marker: For D&D companion character cards. The glossy material is impossible to write on with anything else.
2. More Than One Pair of Shoes
I made this mistake at Origins. I thought, “I love these shoes! They are so comfy!” By Friday night, I was ready to lop my feet off and crawl around Columbus. It is tempting to free up real estate in your suitcase by wearing the One Pair of shoes for the weekend, but do yourself a favor and pack a second pair of footwear. Swap out your shoes every day. It’ll combat sweaty foot odor AND make your ten little piggies happier.
3. Toilet Paper
I’ll wait until you’re done laughing…
Are we good? Hear me out on this one. In the travel aisle of Target, you can get a little individual roll of toilet paper. It’s about the size of a toilet paper tube and in a plastic case. Slip this in your purse or gaming bag. You probably won’t need it.
But… big con, lots of people. You rush into the bathroom. IT’S A POTTY EMERGENCY! You sit, you ____, you reach for the toilet paper and… it’s all out. You could ask a neighbor if they can spare a square, or you can reach in your gaming bag for your personal stash and think, “THANK THE GODS GEEK’S DREAM GIRL TOLD ME ABOUT THIS!”
Note: As much as I love success stories, please don’t share these particular success stories with me. Thanks!
4. A USB Hub
How many people do you cram into your hotel room?
How many electronic devices does each person have?
How many electrical outlets are in a hotel room? 2, 3, 4? Maybe, if you move the furniture and unplug the lamps.
Bring a USB hub and you’ll be the hero of your hotel room. Everyone can charge up! No more fighting for outlets, angering the hotel staff by shoving desks across the room, or running out of battery just before you could snap that awesome photo with Wil Wheaton.
Note: A power strip works just as well, but get the ones that allow bigger AC adapters to hang off the edge rather than take up two spaces.
5. Copies of Your Identification, Kept Elsewhere
Make a copy of both sides of your driver’s license or state ID and/or your passport picture page and keep them in a place other than your wallet or purse. Just like toilet paper, you probably won’t need it, but if you do, you’ll want to kiss me. If your wallet is stolen by an industrious pickpocket or you leave it on a table somewhere and it vaporizes, you are pretty S.O.L. when it comes to flying home, at least not without a heap of trouble. Having a copy of your ID makes it much easier to explain to the friendly TSA agent that you really are who you say you are, just sans wallet.
How About You?
What other surprising or weird things do you find indispensable for cons?
See you in Indy, geek friends!