PAX East fast approaches, and for new folks a common question is: 'What should I bring? What supplies shall I need for this epic journey?'.
So well... a lot of us have been through a lot of PAXes at this point and can no doubt give some feedback for this, so why not start? To that end, here is my (non-comprehensive list) below. I'll add some Boston/East specifics at the very bottom:
On my person for the con floor:
- Water bottle. You WILL get thirsty, and soda/red bull is not a good thing to be drinking all day.
- Bag of some sort (I've used sling bags and backpacks in the past, I currently use a Con Survival Bag of Holding, since I'm making an active effort to travel lighter)
- Cell phone
- Backup power charger
- 3DS + games (Usually Mario Kart and Smash Bros)
- Small, analogue line game (Usually Star Fluxx)
- Cliff bars/other munchies (If not a Cliff bar, I tend to pack beef jerky)
- Hand sanitizer
- I do not use this, but many people swear by it: a poster tube, to keep posters from being crushed (I don't collect posters, so there ya go)
- Changes of clothes (Use your own experience for trips as to how much you need, but make sure you bring enough socks, underwear and shirts)
- 2 pairs of shoes. As someone with seriously flat feet, I’ll elaborate on this: 1) The shoes should be comfortable, and broken in but they also need to be supportive: I had a comfy pair of sketchers one year. They didn’t support my feet enough, and I felt like death by the end of day 1. The next PAX? I wore hiking shoes. No problemo. 2) Two pairs so you can switch between them- wear one set one day, the second the next, then revert to the first the following day, etc- it seriously helps reduce foot strain, etc.
- Set of nicer clothes (just in case- a nice set of jeans/button down shirt/polo will do)
- Hygiene supplies (Toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant/antiperspirant, hair product, maybe a razor/electric shaver)
- If you are in a hotel room with multiple others: A NON-WHITE towel. I recommend a darker colour, like navy blue. There never seems to be enough towels in the hotel rooms, and bringing your own that’s distinctively different from what the hotel stocks can be a lifesaver
The four most important rules for the con:
- Cash: credits cards fail. Connections get lost. Cash will always work.
- Occasionally a laptop for hotel use, or a tablet
- A collapsible empty bag. If you pick up swag, you may not have enough room in your luggage. When I hit prime last year, conscious of airline bag check costs, etc, I came up with this solution: I packed a collapsed gym bag in my luggage. True enough, I had just enough stuff that it wouldn’t all fit in my main luggage. So I offloaded some into the gym bag, checked the luggage, and had the gym bag and backpack as my carry-on.
- A lighter. It comes in surprisingly handy
- I tend to pack OTC sleeping pills. It helps if your roommates snore, or if you are that weird mix of utterly exhausted, but too wired to sleep. Just note: they will make you sluggish the next morning, the sleep will not be as good as if it was natural and DO NOT TAKE THEM IF YOU’VE BEEN DRINKING. Still, a mediocre night’s sleep is still better than next to no sleep.
- If you are from outside the US: Bring your passport with you to anywhere you plan to order alcohol. They may not accept out of state ID. They WILL accept passports. This is especially important if, like me, your driver’s license is in a language other than English (I’m from Quebec)
- If you plan to go partying, buy Gatorade. Drink it, it will help with the hangovers.
- At least 5 hours sleep. At least 2 meals a day. At least one shower a day. The con is closed between midnight and 10 AM. The parties tend to close at 2. Getting 5 hours of sleep, assuming you take an hour to get back to your hotel is 3AM to 8AM. Similarly, it needs to be 2 full, balanced meals. A Vector bar is not a meal, a bag of chips or beef jerky is not a meal. You can skip one meal without too much issue. If you skip two, you will be ravenous. Following these guidelines is the different between feeling a bit tired and feeling like death warmed over.
- For all that’s holy, wear deodorant or antiperspirant. (Similarly, please don’t overdo the cologne or body spray or perfume)
- Wear good, comfortable, broken in, supportive shoes. You’ll be on your feet all day, so don’t skimp on this.
- Bring your good cheer and good manners
- Dress in layers! It's early this year, so it'll likely be colder than the norm. The con centre might be a bit cooler than usual too as a result. T-shirt (or long-sleeved shirt), hoodie and light jacket are recommended for outdoors. The advantage of layers is that each one is not super bulky if you want to toss it in your bag.
- Don't worry about snowpants- they're excessive, you will not need them.
- Bring a toque/beanie/watchap and gloves- if you're outside for extended periods, your extremities will get cold (read: ears and fingers). This can turn a pleasant late winter day into an agonizing one if you don't have these. And frankly, if you wear these, you can skimp a bit on the jacket, but that's my Canadian polar blood talking. Some folks might want to add a scarf to this, I feel it's unnecessary, but this varies by person.
- Footwear- you don't need big clunky boots, but if it's wet/snowy/slushy outside? Don't wear fabric sneakers like Chuck Taylors or Vans. They'll soak through and you'll be miserable. you can do fine with standard sneakers or hikers or whatnot, just so long as they're not mainly cloth/canvas.
- Pack an extra pair of socks in your bag- if the worst happens and you get wet socks, you don't want to have wet, squidgey feet all day. Spare socks helps with this!
If anyone else has other hot tips to add? Go for it, cuz I'm SURE I've forgotten things