A week from today, I’ll be checking into a hotel for a weekend of wonderful weirdness known as OryCon. If you’re anything like our household, some time this weekend you’ll be pulling out the suitcases for the process of packing — 75% of the stuff goes in during the first two days, with the rest filtering in as it gets clean or you remember you might need it. Having done this for a little while (this’ll be my 22nd OryCon, and MiLady’s 21st), I thought I’d suggest ten things you might not normally think of as Con gear.
- Garbage Bags. We prefer to take at least three, and recommend 2 + 1 per person. Those tiny hotel trash cans never hold enough garbage for us, so one is for trash and (being Oregonians) one is for nickels — I mean empty cans. The bag per person is for dirty laundry. It helps keep the room tidier.
- A Power Strip. Our room is probably going to contain 3 laptops, 2 PDAs, and 2 cell phones, not to mention the cameras, light props, and other toys. Rather than having deathmatches over the two or three plugs we can get to in the room, a power strip is so much more civilized . . .
- An Air Filter. Not only is this useful if you like incense but don’t want the neighbors complaining, but think of how thankful you’ll feel with a bunch of people in the same room! It also helps after that over-perfumed friend-of-a-friend wanders through. It just helps make life away from home more pleasant.
- A T-shirt and Jeans. You may love that costume now, and want to wear it all weekend; but don’t sentence yourself to it by not taking any other clothes! Likewise, you may be sure now that those high-heel platform shoes will be just fine — but pack a pair of flats, just in case. If nothing else, you need an outfit to go home in . . . (OryCon Tip: at this Con, at least, it’s OK to wear your pajamas around the hotel — especially on Sunday morning. It seems to mark the Cereal and Cartoons crowd. So you might want a set of publicly-acceptable jammies.)
- A Battery Charger. Remember those cameras, light props, etc. that I mentioned earlier? We’re firm believers in rechargeable batteries, partly because if something dies we can have it again in a matter of hours (not dollars). Few things worse than a prop that won’t work . . .
- Con Food. I don’t know about you, but we can’t afford to eat in the hotel all the time, leaving the hotel for food is a pain, and while Hospitality is usually fantastic at OryCon, they may not have stuff out when you need to eat. With my diabetes, I need protein at regular intervals, so I tend to bring a supply of jerky; we also recommend cup o’ noodles, bullion cubes, or packaged soups where you “just add water.” The room’s coffee pot is great for that! If you’re addicted to soda, you might want to bring a supply of that, too.
- Duct Tape (or a Sewing Kit). You’d be amazed at the costume problems that can be fixed with duct tape. Sagging hems, splitting seams, rips and tears . . . all can be fixed with a careful application. (Blame it on my years in the SCA.) If you’re horrified at the mere thought, just take this as a suggestion to remember a sewing/mending kit. Though you might reconsider the duct tape if you need to get pet hair off cloth . . .
- Painters’ Masking Tape. This is for those of you in a group or trying to advertise anything: If you want to attach things to posts or walls, painters’ masking tape is guaranteed not to mess up whatever’s already on the wall. Other masking tapes . . . not so much. The office may or may not have a supply of it — don’t count on it! You would not believe how quickly that stuff disappears! Bring your own; it’s better for everybody.
- A Bag. If you’re planning on making a run on the Freebies Table, or a serious siege on the Dealers’ Room, then having a bag to cart stuff around in is a good idea. It also helps when you don’t want to be running to your room all the time.
- A Substitute Pet. OK, I’m silly. You can say it. But I really miss my cats when I’m away from home. So I take Chet to the Con. Chet is a stuffed Cheshire Cat, and is the perfect companion: he stays down when I put him down, doesn’t complain when I pick him up, and is very pettable (even if his fur does go the wrong way). It’s part of ‘taking my home with me.’
Well, that’s our list, as of right now — it’ll probably change 4 times over the next week as we remember things. (Toiletries! I was going to throw in not trusting those teeny hotel bottles to be enough — grr . . . ) Do you have anything “weird” when you pack? Got any tips for living in a hotel room for a weekend? Please share in the comments section — I need all the help I can get!