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CV Packing Tips

Discussion in 'FanForce: Star Wars Celebrations' started by MattDoc, Dec 13, 2009.

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  1. MattDoc

    MattDoc Jedi Knight star 3

    Dec 10, 2009
    I figure it's never to early to start planning what you need to take with you. I have only ever been to one con (CIII) but I learned a lot about what you do and don't need to have with you at an event like that.

    I'm sure some of our seasoned convention veterans have a wealth of tips they can share here to help everyone have a better time. Here are a few of the things I've either learned or read that you should have with you that could help:
    [li]Rain gear! - I learned this one the hard way in Indy for CIII, as everyone else did. Florida in August means thunderstorms (but hopefully not hurricanes) so if you are walking from your hotel each day, you could get wet. Umbrellas and ponchos are key. Along with that. be sure to have plastic bags to protect your valuables (both those you brought with you and those you buy while at the show). Also keep a plastic bag handy for the wet umbrella/poncho for once you get inside so it doesn't get the rest of your stuff wet.[/li]
    [li]Snacks - Don't wait until you get there for this one. If you can travel with things like powerbars or granola bars, bring them from home. It will save money and it's good to have a quick snack like that if you are stuck in line and get hungry.[/li]
    [li]Sharpies - Keep these with you for random celeb run-ins so you can grab a quick autograph. I kept two of the mini ones clipped to my lanyard at CIII and it paid off.[/li]
    [li]Extra camera? - I know not everyone has one, but I'll have my DSLR around my neck all of the time but I plan to keep my older, small point & shoot camera in my pocket as a backup. Plus, it is easier (than the DSLR) to hand it to someone for the "Hey, can you take a picture of me with this hot Slave Leia?" moments.[/li]
    [li]Layers - It'll be hot outside and probably freezing inside. Wear layers.[/li]
    [li]Cash - Don't count on on-site ATMs. They may run out of money and will probably charge you huge fees.[/li]
    [li]Extra bag - I'm a big fan of the "bag in a bag" technique. This way you have an entire extra bag/suitcase for all of the swag you need to bring home.[/li]
    [li]Extra everything - Socks, underwear, batteries, memory cards, headphones/earbuds. You name it, if you have a backup, bring it (if it doesn't take up too much space)[/li]
    [li]Contact info - This is a two-way street. Be sure to have all of the info you need to get in touch with people you are meeting up with. But also have a way to give out your info to new people you meet. It could be as simple as a small note pad so you can write down your email address, or you could go crazy and pre-print something so it's quicker (aka some basic free, business cards).[/li]
    [li]Backup glasses - Obviously this doesn't apply to everyone. But if you wear glasses/contacts, have backups. It would be a shame to not be able to see what's going on if something happened to your glasses/contacts on the first day.[/li]

    I think this is good for starters. Looking forward to seeing more tips from others here. I've never done any cosplay before so I can't share tips for that, but I bet there are some good ones that could help.
  2. JedHead1

    JedHead1 Jedi Master star 5

    Feb 20, 1999
    In Florida, you forgot an important thing: LIQUIDS.

    Stay hydrated, everyone. Bring a reusable water bottle. Personally, I bring one, along with Gatorade powder, going through about two packs a day.

  3. Darth_Beanie

    Darth_Beanie Jedi Knight star 2

    Mar 20, 2008
    That is a good list.

    Started looking for ATMs in the area.

    The OCCC has several inside I read.

    If anyone has Bank Of America I researched and found the following locations:

    7220 Sand Lake Rd. Orlando, FL 32819 and 7682 Dr Phillips Blvd Orlando, FL 32819 - these seem to be the closest for Bank of America ATMs.

    This is about 3 to 4 miles away by car.

    Hopefully the ATM fees are not too bad inside the convention center
  4. star-killer1

    star-killer1 Jedi Youngling star 3

    Jun 7, 2005
    Don't forget toiletries, sure hotels supply a small amount of soap, shampoo and other stuff,
    but don't depend on there being enough for your entire group.
    It will be summer, in a warm/hot and humid climate and nobody wants to smell the funk.
  5. MattDoc

    MattDoc Jedi Knight star 3

    Dec 10, 2009
    Good a courtesy to the rest of us, shower daily and use extra deodorant. [face_sick]
  6. hudzu

    hudzu Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Jun 1, 2003
    the most important thing is good footwear. you'll be doing lots of walking and the last thing you want is a blister.
  7. MattDoc

    MattDoc Jedi Knight star 3

    Dec 10, 2009
    A few more items from my personal packing list I'm working on:
    [li]Chargers! - Your camera/phone/laptop/ipod will be worthless if the batteries are drained the first day and you have no way to recharge.[/li]
    [li]Hot weather gear - Does your hotel have a pool? Bring your bathing suit. And don't forget sunblock and sunglasses too (which can also help when walking to the OCCC or if you are stuck waiting in lines to get in).[/li]
    [li]Hand sanitizer - 35,000 people in one place in the middle of the hot, humid summer. Nuff said.[/li]
    [li]Office supplies - Don't bring your entire desk, but nothing is worse than needing something like tape (to wrap up a package, etc.) or a rubber band (to roll up a poster/photo) and not having them. Getting autographed photos? Don't forget a hard notebook to keep them flat. Note: Avoid scissors if you are flying, at least in your carry on bags.[/li]
    [li]Tickets/passes - You'd think you wouldn't have to put this on a list, but how much would it suck to get there and realize that your ticket is sitting on your desk at home?[/li]
    [li]Entertainment - Books, magazines, comics, iPods, PS3, DS, cards, etc. You'll be waiting in lines. Have something with you to keep busy.[/li]

    Keep those tips coming!
  8. JedHead1

    JedHead1 Jedi Master star 5

    Feb 20, 1999
    At SWW this year, I brought an umbrella (for both the rain and the sun) which has the Lucasfilm logo :D, and a pocket battery-operated fan, for being outside. You can also get them with a mister to cool you down even more.

    For autographs, I have a view binder that you can buy at art stores, which fits 8 x 10 photos, as well as a poster tube that adjusts length for different-sized collectible prints.

    A top-rated sunblock is from Neutrogena called UltraSheer. Its a spray that cools as it touches your skin, it dries fast, isn't messy, and its SPF 70!. They have them on special at Costco in the summer for like two for $11.
  9. DarthBreezy

    DarthBreezy Force Ghost star 6

    Jun 4, 2002
    As an airline res agent, I have some important travel tips.

    1: Almost every carrier has baggage fees, and they aren't going away anytime soon. Some will let you pay online at check in for a small discount - do it!

    2: TSA is not mucking about with the liquids thing - and BE EARLY - I hate it when people call kevetching about missed flights! 2 Hours is a good guideline.

    3: Put a contact label with your hotel info in a pocket on the outside of your case! One of those Tags with a clear window and mark it "Destination contact info" - Luggage services will LOVE you for that!

    4: Consider shipping your fragile/bulky costumes with insurance ahead of time - nothing is sadder than waiting for a bag which COULD take a few DAYS to reach you! Think about how many people will be landing at Orlando at that time of year on top of US...


    6: If you MUST book through "Cheap Tickets" or the like *shudder*, kindly call your airline (preferably with the conformation/ticket number) and provide them with a CONTACT PHONE NUMBER - that way you can get a call if there are issues with your flight - Note that Cheap tickets/travelocity often mix and match airlines - AA and Delta for example - call BOTH as we can't access each other's system.


    8: Pack PATIENCE - stuff happens and screaming at the gate agent/res won't get you home faster - we can't control the weather, or mechanicals, and your safety is our FIRST priority.

    and in case I forgot...


  10. MattDoc

    MattDoc Jedi Knight star 3

    Dec 10, 2009
    Excellent travel/flying tips. Good idea to include some of those here as well.

    To add to #4 above, if you are going to ship anything ahead of time, check with your hotel to make sure they will accept packages on your behalf...many will not take that responsibility.

    Also, when packing your carry-on bag(s), make sure you check EVERY pocket on the bag, whether you are putting anything in it or not. I sadly lost my mini leatherman tool once because I forgot that I had it in a lesser-used pocket in my photo gear bag. X-ray caught it and I had to give it up. Check those pockets!
  11. Photo-Knight

    Photo-Knight Jedi Knight star 1

    Sep 9, 2007
    In addition to all the good ideas above, here's some stuff I've brought to previous Celebrations:

    --A street map of the area, particularly if you'll be adding a theme park to your trip
    --Schedules printed in advance, for deciding which/in what order shows or exhibits to catch. They will be on in time.

    For Orlando, if there isn't a shuttle that covers my hotel, I'll probably get an "I Ride Trolley Service" bus pass online before I go. Multi-day passes are cheaper than paying by the ride. I intend to stay at a hotel on the bus line.

    If you have a long flight and already have the airplane-style headphones or earbuds (or the adapters for regualar earbuds), remember to bring them and skip paying for the one on the plane.

    On the way, keep an eye out at the airport for people obviously going where you're going--I haven't seen anyone flying in costume, but I've said hi to folks in Star Wars shirts/sweats/etc.

    From the airport to the hotel, I always do the shared ride/shuttle thing, as opposed to going by myself in a cab. (I don't plan to rent a car.) Every time I did, the others in the van were also there for the Celebration.

    Double-check your bags before you leave your house, especially for things that you don't want to have to buy in Orlando--admission tickets, lanyards, the aforementioned phone charger, etc.
  12. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne FF manager Celebrations star 8 Manager

    Nov 4, 1998
    When packing for big trips I always make two lists. One list with everything that I need to pack, and then one list where I only write things that I have actually put into the bag. In the end I compare the lists and make sure that they have the same items on them. At first I used to only make one list, and then I was nervous that I had forgotten thing, but since I've started with a list with only the things that I have put in the back I've gotten much calmer at the airport.
  13. AnimeNut

    AnimeNut Jedi Youngling star 1

    May 17, 2002
    If you plan to be doing lots of photography, video recording, and anything electronics-related, you absolutely MUST pack a...

    Surge suppressor power strip.

    Never count on your hotel room to have enough outlets for all the battery chargers you'll be bringing.
  14. Mandalore The Uniter

    Mandalore The Uniter Jedi Master star 2

    Jul 17, 2007
    If your lugging a costume with you on your flight, make sure that you know the airline's size and weight limits for checked baggage. This is vital as it can make a $400 difference in your flight. Sometimes it's better to have 2 or 3 check-on bags at $25 each and one over size/weight bag costing you $200 each way.

    Also, be prepared for TSA to rigorously inspect your gear. Something that I do when I travel with my gear (and I travel with it ALOT) is put a full-length picture of myself in my gear on top of everything in my armor carrier. I also tape to the top a large print-out saying the following "NON-FUNCTIONAL COSTUME/MOVIE PROPS. HANDLE WITH CARE" as well as print it off and placed inside with the picture. This will sometimes help keep TSA from dumping your stuff out to check everything. I've had that happen and it's not fun.

    Another tip: Take your helmet on the plane as your personal item! You can buy a very soft cloth motorcycle helmet carrier to put your bucket in. That's what I've been using for years, and it's great.

    Anyhow, following these small pieces of advice will go a very long way to making sure your costume survives the tip to CV. Now I can't guarantee anything while at CV. [face_laugh]
  15. wookieesrus

    wookieesrus Jedi Youngling star 1

    Dec 6, 2009
    What I've done in the past ( since I can't stand flying anymore ), is gut our Suburban of seats and then drive everyone's gear/costumes/props, etc....down to my hotel and store it in my room until everyone arrives to pick it up.

    Just a HUGE stress reliever when you know that someone you trust is taking care of your possessions and will make your flight a bit more relaxing ( instead of thinking...what's gonna get broke or lost this time ).

    Now I'm not saying run out to your nearest friend and wave your hand...."You WILL drive our FF's gear down to Florida." [face_laugh]

    It's just something I've enjoyed doing.
  16. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne FF manager Celebrations star 8 Manager

    Nov 4, 1998
    Too bad there's an ocean in the middle of the way for me.
  17. wookieesrus

    wookieesrus Jedi Youngling star 1

    Dec 6, 2009
    *fires up the boat [face_laugh]
  18. Obi Anne

    Obi Anne FF manager Celebrations star 8 Manager

    Nov 4, 1998
    *starts packing everything in watertight plastic bags*
  19. JedHead1

    JedHead1 Jedi Master star 5

    Feb 20, 1999
    I use those space saver bags that you put your clothes in, seal out the air and it doubles the amount of stuff you can bring. Just get the travel kind, where you don't need a vacuum to suck out the air. These you just roll the air out:

    They come in handy for costumes (my brother fit his X-Wing flightsuit, vest, and gloves in the large bag), and for stuff you buy at the con, like t-shirts.
  20. Padme501st

    Padme501st Jedi Master star 3

    Sep 4, 2006
    I totally agree about bringing rain gear and different types of clothes with you. i was the idiot at CIII that wasnt prepared. It was super hot where i went to college that year and in a hurry i just stuffed a couple of t-shirts in my bag and hopped on the plane. Anybody who went knows that was a bad idea. It rained the whole time (i had no jacket, just shirts) and then on Sat it snowed so it was cold outside. Thankfully a local who i was hanging out with, lend me his Jedi Robe and then a sweater :) I couldnt thank him enough

    If anyone have those automatic digital printers that are small and arent flying you can take that with you. I printed out pics of me and Daniel Logan and me and Shannon McRandle (Mara Jade) that i took on the first day and went back on the second day for them to sign. It was more personal that way and I remember Daniel teased me about it. (course you can just go to the 1hr photo at Walgreens and get the same stuff)

    Make sure you have plenty of space in your memory card. Bring your laptop to transfer the files unto each day or bring an extra (or just one really big one)

    One thing i've been wondering if there's a sky bridge connecting the convention center to a mall etc... i remember walking through one at CIII to grab lunch since it was cheaper off site and yet wasnt far away
  21. jedicatfish

    jedicatfish Jedi Youngling

    Dec 18, 2009
    Dont think theres a sky bridge, but theres deffinetly places to eat really close, within walking distance.[face_mischief]

  22. MattDoc

    MattDoc Jedi Knight star 3

    Dec 10, 2009
    This looks like a job for....the official unofficial map!
  23. jedicatfish

    jedicatfish Jedi Youngling

    Dec 18, 2009
    Thats pretty handy...i never really noticed how big the con center its huge in comparasion to the cars parked in the

    wonder how it mesures up to the place in indy? it was packed as hell there.

    looks like there is a skybrige connecting the 2 con centers, thats about it.

    some places to eat close too, thats pretty good.
  24. Grand Admiral Strife

    Grand Admiral Strife RSA Emeritus star 5 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jun 21, 2001
    I'm surprised no one posted it yet:

    [LoneStar]Take ONLY what you NEED TO SURVIVE![/LineStar]
  25. JarJarJedi

    JarJarJedi Jedi Master star 6

    Feb 6, 2001
    I just want to stress some good points:
    Rain gear is a must in Florida! My family went to Disney this past September, and I sure am glad that we had ponchos. (Thanks, MattDoc, I must remind myself to rig a bag in my helmet to store a poncho. ;))
    Snacks: if you are traveling by plane, pack a small rubbermaid (or the like) tote in your luggage and put your snacks in there. This saves any chips/crackers that can get crushed.
    Extra camera: I almost didn't bring my point-and-shot when we went to Disney. I am glad that I did, because the extra battery that I thought was charged for my DSLR, wasn't. Very good idea to have an extra on you.
    Extra Bag: We did this as well when we went to Disney. It helped us a little, but we still ended up buying a big box at Kinko's to take on the plane as our last piece of luggage.
    Contact info: Yes, it is good to have someone's phone number to give them a call to see what happened to them if they don't show up. I remember at C3 I got a card from Mr.Skinee with his contact info on it. Not a bad idea to do.
    Chargers: Yes, don't forget them, and make sure your batteries are charged. That happened to me twice when we were down in Florida. My batteries were dead for my DSLR camera, so I had to use my point-and-shoot at the Halloween party. :oops: Then my video camera battery ran out during the Shamu show at Sea World! :oops: Also don't forget extra video tapes. It is always safe to take extra, versus not enough.
    Sunscreen: This is a must. Put it on before you leave the room. Those of us who live up north, you'll be burnt (or have the start of a tan depending on yor skin) within 10-15 minutes of being outside without sunscreen. Having a sunburn while on vacation is not fun.

    It wouldn't help to leave a list of what you are doing/where you will be with a someone at home just in case something happens to you.

    To #3 of what Breezy said: Have your luggage labled. They missed putting the destination tags on my
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