Survival tips?!?! Yes, survival tips. Depending on the popularity of a convention, you might find yourself a bit overwhelmed as a first-timer.
For a cosplayer
The detail level of your costume is going to greatly affect what you will need to bring with you. If you are wearing a costume that makes using your hands difficult, reduces your movement, impairs your vision, or anything that makes you feel like you need a second set of hands, a second set of hands is exactly what you need. These people are called handlers. They are going to make your life so much easier! Open doors, hold your stuff, and generally doing all the things that you can’t do.
Drink plenty of water! Dehydration can really sneak up on you. Between tons of walking and many costumes making you sweat like you are in a sauna, water is going to be your best friend. Try to keep a bottle with you, so you don’t find yourself hunting for a water fountain or even worse, on the floor.
Next, make a survival kit! Some can be quite extensive while others are simple. I was not as prepared as much as I could have been for the last convention I went to, but I was lucky that I had a friend who had what I needed. You might not be as lucky as I was, so here’s a helpful starter list of essentials:
- Safety Pins
- Bobby Pins
- Band-aids + Neosporin/Bactine
Things you used to make your costume with:
- Hotglue gun + glue sticks
- Needle + thread
- Extra materials (feathers, trim, etc)
- Alcohol – Now, you’ll have to do a little research about the rules and laws of the area about what you are allowed to do at the convention. Having a stash in your hotel room is always a solid plan if you want to save a little money. It can also be used as a bartering tool in some instances.
- Business Cards – If you find yourself in the center of a photography circle, many professional photographers will offer you their business card in order for you to find your photograph. Be prepared to offer a card as it may be extremely helpful if you are really interested in finding any pictures of yourself in costume. Sometimes photographers will run out! Also, your cellphone might be a bit of a hassle to continuously get out (if you even plan to carry it around). A few pieces of paper are easy to store and easy to hand out!
If you think something isn’t going to fall off, break, or otherwise malfunction, you are sorely going to be disappointed. Simply be prepared for the possibility, and you will save yourself a lot of stress and anxiety. Plus, you might find that you are the life-saver for another cosplayer!
Most of the time, you will be able to retreat to your hotel room to repair and rest. If that isn’t a possibility for whatever reason, having the items that are essential to making quicker repairs on the go in a bag with you is going to be the way to go.
For non-cosplayers and cosplayers
Buy sport gel insoles for your shoes. You will thank me later. Being on your feet all day when you are not use to it is painful. You are going to hurt at the end of the day and potential ruin the rest of your time there. Take care of your feet or else you’re going to have a bad time!
Be courteous and understanding to those that cosplay. If the person you would like to get a photograph of is on the move, ask if you are able to. They may be trying to get somewhere. If they are already in the middle of having their picture taken, it’s a safe bet that you can get a shot. If you see someone sitting on the floor or eating, I would say it’s discouraged to ask for a picture. If you can wait for them, I really recommend it. Don’t be offended if they say no to a picture.
Whatever convention you attend and however you plan to participate, take care of yourself! Oh, and don’t be a tool.