GenCon is right around the corner, and I’ve now been to enough cons to want to say something about things I’ve been learning about making con experiences a little more organized.
Our Bodies Need Stuff
We’ve all heard the rules like 5-2-1 (5 hours sleep, 2 meals, 1 shower) but self care extends beyond the sleep-food-hygiene trifecta. Bringing all your needed medications and assistive devices, taking time to retreat and get quiet time, and doing what will help you recharge emotionally are all things you should also keep in mind. If you’re traveling with friends, family or romantic partners, encourage self-care.
If you have a friend who tends to be forgetful about where they put their water bottle down or grabbing a bite, you can take care of them (and encourage self-care) without being a jerk. Grabbing an extra water bottle to be a backup for when they forget their water bottle across the convention hall, or taking a poll of who wants to come get lunch are proactive ways to help your loved ones without being overbearing. A lot of people shut down or get mad when teased about forgetfulness, medication conditions or their habits. Be supportive, not overbearing.
Bouncing back to medical stuff: if you have a medical condition you’re comfortable disclosing, have a buddy (or several) who know how to help you in an emergency. knowing where you keep MedAlert info on your person, what pocket in your bag has your inhaler, or even where in the hotel room your medication is may save your life in an emergency. There is no shame in keeping an eye out for friends, and it is absolutely okay to have a medical buddy to be prepared for a worst case scenario that will hopefully never show up.
Where Did I Put The Damn Receipt
If you’re like me, you need to track receipts for all kinds of reasons. Business exspenses, proof of purchase, checkbook reckoning post con. I’m forgetful and messy, which is a frustrating combo. But! I have come to love collecting receipts.
Try to build receipt habits (saving them, filing them away) pre-cons. At con, make a designated habit. Receipts go in your wallet, a particular pocket, or a spot in your bag. I usually bring an envelop with me while traveling. When I go back to my hotel room, I move my receipts from my wallet to that envelop, which goes back into my suitcase. To make sure I don’t lose my receipt post-purchase, I always ask for my receipt, instead of having the clerk drop it in the bag. In the name of making your meals receipts easier, ask about split checks before your orders even happen. Always carry some cash in case you run into a place that doesn’t, or can only split it so many ways.
Pack and Pack Again
I tend to overpack. It’s pretty terrible. I also forget things all the time. My first run at packing I’ll make a list before I pack, as I pack, and then stare in horror at my eerily bulging luggage. I then unpack, and pair down. My luggage becomes lighter and less creepy looking, my cords are coiled, and all the tech is at the top if I can help it, which makes any bag searches tend towards faster and less annoying. Keep “nice to have” “need to have” and “why would I pack this” in mind when you repack.
Have fun, take care of yourself and each other. I’ll see a lot of you at GenCon and PAX this year, and I hope the advice helps makes all your cons fun, well-packed, organized and awesome.