Nikoscream: DragonCon Survival Guide

Going to DragonCon? Need help with navigating the con, finding dinner, or planning to see panels and celebrities? Niko at posted a comprehensive survival guide in his blog for all your at-con needs!

My own personal suggestions are below and focus primarily on packing.


  • Pack snacks and water. I have done the “Coffee Pot Ramen” con diet (with one food court meal per day,) but now I see the con more as a vacation, so I tend to spend more on food. However, I’ll usually pack Poptarts, protein bars, crackers, and cookies to to snack on in between meals. (Plus, my boyfriend doesn’t really like breakfast food and I can’t go without it, so it’s nice to have SOMETHING for the morning.) I have friends who like to bring those Uncrustable sandwiches, too.
  • Work out with your roommates ahead of time whether you’re going to share your snacks.  I usually end up over-packing, so it’s not a huge deal to share, but it’s nice to know ahead of time whether you’re going to share. It just prevents drama.
  • Drinks: Pack non-alcoholic drinks. Mixers, gatorade, whatever–you’ll probably get tired of water at some point.
  • Don’t expect to be able to go within a 15 foot radius of the Marriott Starbucks for the duration of the con. There is ALWAYS a line.


My packing list from Dragon*Con 2011

My packing list from Dragon*Con 2011

  • MAKE LISTS. I have itemized lists of all my costumes that includes everything I need for them, right down to the underwear. I also make lists of the non-costume clothes I want to pack, toiletries & makeup, and the food/alcohol I want to bring.
  • Unpack at the con. It’s a good idea to organize your costumes–hanging up stuff in the closet, setting up your wigs somewhere, etc.–so you know where everything is when you need it. I arrive on Wednesday and leave on Monday or Tuesday, so it makes sense for me to unpack because I’m basically going to be there for a full week.
  • Pack a Towel. I always intend to pack my own (brightly colored) towel, but I haven’t had room in previous years. I think it would be better than having to keep track of which towel is mine, AND I wouldn’t feel as guilty about using a 2nd towel as a hair towel.
  • Pack Power Strips and Chargers. Camera chargers, phone chargers, laptop chargers… everyone in the room has at least 1 thing that needs to be charged, and you’ll run out of outlet space pretty fast without a power strip. Plus, having a power strip in your floor is a good reminder not to leave things plugged into the wall when con is over. LABEL your power strip and/or chargers. I have Hello Kitty duct tape on my power strip so everyone knows who it belongs to.
  • Pack an Emergency Costume Repair Kit. Safety pins, glue, sewing kit, extra buttons, toupee tape, spirit gum, wig caps… those are just a few of the things I try to have with me at all times.

I tend to check and double-check my lists as I’m packing. I have a lot to stuff to deal with…

This is a reasonable amount of stuff for 6 days, right?

This is a reasonable amount of stuff for 6 days, right?

If you leave something at home, try not to sweat it. You just weren’t meant to have it, and you’ll be fine without it. Maybe you can find a replacement in the Dealer Room, or you can save it for the next con!

Good luck with your con prep, everyone, and have fun! You won’t be able to see everything you want to see, so don’t worry if you miss a panel or photoshoot. It’ll be okay. 🙂 See you at con in two weeks!

About Jessica

Geek. Lawyer. Politics Junkie.

Posted on August 15, 2013, in Cons and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Great tips! Unpacking upon arrival and keeping costume parts together are vital. I’ve learned to avoid the urge to throw everything onto a chair at the end of the night.

    My second con, my roommates and I had to hunt for parts every evening and the room was chaos. Last year, we made a major effort to keep all the parts in ziplocks attached to hangers and what an improvement! So much less stress.

    • I’m pretty bad about throwing stuff onto chairs, but I always try to put stuff away as soon as I get up. So I guess it evens out?

      Ziplocks are a great idea. Definitely putting gallon-sized freezer bags on my shopping list. Thanks!

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