Conventions come in all shapes and sizes and happen all over the world! No matter what type of convention you’re headed to, whether it’s Comic-Con or a Consumer Electronics Show, this packing list will have you ready to go.
What to Pack for attending a Convention – 17 Essentials
1. Badge and Badge Case
By far, the most important thing to bring with you to a convention is your badge or entry pass. Bringing a case that keeps your badge safe and attached to you is key. This one is durable, waterproof and retractable.
2. Packing Cubes
Packing cubes are my traveling must-have, no matter the length of the trip or destination. They’ll keep you unbelievably organized. These ones come in a set that is perfect for a convention-length trip.
3. Comfortable Shoes
Attending a convention an mean a lot of sitting and listening, sure, but even more walking. Don’t let sore feet keep you from seeing all the headlining speakers or cool presentations in the evenings. Comfortable shoes are something you will be glad you packed. These walking shoes have great reviews.
4. RFID Blocking Neck Wallet
Obviously, you should remember to bring your wallet to any convention, whether you plan on spending money or not. It’s a good place to keep a stash of business cards to give out while networking. Don’t forget to bring cash for spending money, your ID, and anything else you usually keep in your wallet. We recommend a neck wallet that keeps your valuables safer and more easily accessible.
5. Clothing Appropriate for The Convention
Maybe you’re headed to comic-con. In that case, don’t forget to bring a sick costume from your favorite comic. Headed to a convention on yoga instruction? Make sure to bring your workout gear and yoga mat! Every convention undoubtedly requires a specific wardrobe, so read up on what is appropriate and expected of convention-goers.
6. Trusty Pair of Jeans
For those laidback mornings during the convention when you want to get out of the hustle and bustle and rejoin and real world for a bit, make sure you bring some regular comfortable clothes. the same goes in case you’re planning to head out on the town for a drink after the day’s seminars. Your trusty pair of jeans will do.
7. Phone Charger
With your phone you can take notes during presentations, snap pictures with your special guest idols, and stay up to date with what’s going on at the convention. Needless to say, bringing a phone charger is key. Keep it on you in your backpack so that you can charge up whenever.
8. Portable Charger
A portable Charger will come in handy if you need to charge your phone on the go at any point during the convention. Don’t let a dead phone stop you from making it to the next event! This one can fully charge your phone up to four times, and I personally use it almost every day.
There are so many moments to be captured at conventions, especially if you’re headed to one in which super creative costumes are involved. Bring a GoPro, Point & Shoot camera or even a disposable one to snap those pictures! This one is highly rated and a good deal for the price.
10. SD Card
If you’re bringing a digital camera, don’t leave home without an extra SD card. Storage amounts and sizes vary with different cards, so make sure you look at the number on the package and make sure its the right fit for your camera. This one has enough storage space for a weekend-long convention.
If you’re going to a medical, business or scientific convention, you’ll probably want to have your laptop with you to take into talks and take notes. If you’re going to a more “fun” convention, you may still want to bring your computer to get some work done in your down time!
A good compromise between phone and laptop is a tablet. You can inconspicuously slide a tablet into your backpack, as it’s lightweight and doesn’t take up too much room. Tablets these days can do almost anything a computer can do.
13. Power Strip
Hotel rooms are notorious for having insufficient outlets! Bring your own power strip so that you can charge up everything all at once. Your camera, phone, and laptop or tablet will all need sufficient juice for a long convention day.
Alwsays travel with your own toiletries. Don’t count on your hotel to have real toothpaste or extra toothbrushes. Keep everything organized and sanitary in a toiletry organizer like this one. It’s multifunctional, waterproof and compact.
Between all of the different events, symposiums and presentations at your convention, you’ll be collecting flyers and seuvenirs right and left. Bringing a lightweight backpack is a good way to stay organized and keep your hands free! This one even has anti-theft features along with charger ports and other cool gadgets.
There may be some celebrities in your field at the convention you’re going to. If you happen to brush shoulders with one (or wait in line to shake their hand!) you might want to think about bringing along a sharpie. That way you can get autographs on your convention pamphlet.
Food at conventions is almost always extremely expensive. Bringing snacks with you is a good way to save money, curb your cravings and maybe make a few friends. Who doesn’t like trail mix?
What to wear at a Convention
What you wear to your convention really depends on what kind of convention you’re attending. Is it a zumba convention? Cosplay? Panhellenic? You probably already have an idea on what to wear, and if not, do some research before you pack. Make sure to bring comfortable walking shoes, and a light jacket or sweater since hotel rooms always get cold!
For the car or plane trip there and back, make sure to pack some comfortable clothes that you can re-wear throughout the weekend so that you don’t overpack.
What NOT to bring to Convention
There’s usually security and metal detectors that you have to pass through as you enter a convention venue (in case you need a reason not to bring any weapons)!
No need to weigh yourself or your brain down with extra electronics.
3.Too many outfit options
Overpacking will be the death of you. Organize and plan outfits in advance so that your suitcase or backpack stays nice and light.
4.A bad attitude
Go into every convention with an open mind!
FAQs about Conventions
1. Do I need to wear a costume to a cosplay convention?
Most people actually do wear a costume. As a matter of fact, many Comic-con-goers spend months creating their costumes from scratch! It’s a great display of creativity and ingenuity. That’s not to say you need to wear one though. Wear what you feel comfortable in!
2. Do I need to stay at the hotel that the conference is being held at?
Not necessarily. Staying at a hotel can be expensive, especially if there’s high demand that weekend because of the convention. Check out local AirBnbs for an alternative place to stay. Make sure you book way ahead of time since everything will fill up fast on convention weekends!
3. How do I find a cool convention hear me?
The best way to find a cool convention is to google your local convention center. You can also try researching your interests and see if a convention is going on anywhere in the country, then make a trip out of it!
4. How do I choose the right suitcase to bring?
Do some research online, make a packing list, then choose a suitcase that is big enough to fit what you need to bring and nothing more. If you have back issues, a rolling suitcase with wheels might be the best option. If you’re going for a weekend only, a small duffel bag or backpack might work.
5. How can I keep my bag organized?
Always use packing cubes to keep your clothes organized and separate. Use one for underwear, one for pants, one for costumes, etc. Using lots of Ziploc bags is a great idea too. You can use them for everything from toiletries to writing utensils to snacks!