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Packing List

Page history last edited by Indigo 5 years ago






Critical Info

Be sure to hit up the pages of Useful Links and Useful Phone Numbers. They'll provide a great deal of information that may end up saving your whole trip.


Essential Items


Common Essentials

These are the things you can't get by without.


  • Pre-reg postcard.This is actually not essential, as you can pick up your badge without it, but it really, really helps.  
    • Handy hint!  If you have a smartphone, iPad or tablet, take a photo of your postcard front and back and save it. So if you lose or forget your postcard, you still have it. 
  • Cash. Bank cards quickly become useless as ATMs run out, and though many vendors take credit/debit, some still don't.
  • Photo ID. You will eventually want or need your ID, it's best to have it on you at all times.
  • Deodorant and/or Febreze, for having to go a length of time between showers. This is an absolute must for everyone!
    • Please note that Febreze is NOT a substitute for bathing. Nor is perfume/body spray/baby wipes etc. It will merely stave off the worst of the stench for a brief period.
  • Hotel Reservation Info. They can look you up by name of course but in the case of an issue it's important to have your confirmation code handy.
    • Handy hint! Again, if you have a smartphone, ipad, or tablet, take a photo of it or email a copy of it to yourself just in case. 


Personal Essentials

These are the sorts of things that keep just you going.


  • Medications
    • Prescription: Bring extra in case your transportation takes more time than expected. Check rules of your transportation provider - airline, bus, etc...
    • Over the counter medications Tylenol/Aleve or the like. Stomach medication, allergy pills, sleeping pills, etc. There is a CVS in Peachtree Plaza but it is expensive. 
    • IMPORTANT: check the expiration dates of any medications you have in the kit from last year and replace if necessary! 
  • Ear Plugs for light sleepers.  Noise will come in from the lobby,  the street, or other congoers, especially in hotels with large atriums.
  • Sleeping Mask if you're going to have roommates who may come and go all night 
  • Menstrual Supplies  the hustle and bustle and stress of con can bring on the cycle earlier than planned.
  • Water Bottle/Flask.  Seriously, it's helpful to have a water bottle or a flask on you. Atlanta is usually really hot around Labor Day weekend, and keeping hydrated is absolutely vital. Plus, carrying your own water bottle is way more economical than paying hotel prices for a bottle of Dasani, Aquafina or VitaminWater. 
    • Separate container for carrying alcohol. A hip flask is good. One of those stainless steel sports bottles can be easily carried with a clip, and filled and equipped with ice cubes to keep you cool and drunk. A 500ml bottle, some ice, most of a Coke, Vodka, and if you have it, a splash of grenadine works excellently.  (Keep in mind that the more alcohol you drink, the more water you will need.  Especially with Coke. Alcohol and caffeine dehydrate!)


Emergency Items

Items you really hope you won't need, but may save you in a crisis.

** NOTE ** If you chose to make copies of these documents, be sure to keep them in a safe place as they will contain personal information which can be used in identity theft. Use your best judgment. TIP: Many of these documents can be scanned and stored in an encrypted format on a smartphone. Whether or not that helps or harms the cause of identity theft is up to you.


  • Copy of all debit/credit cards front and back, or at the very least, the corporate numbers printed on the back in case of loss or theft.

  • Copy of driver’s license or passport

  • Copy of birth certificate and child ID kit for minors.

  • Copy of marriage license in case of hospitalization, which may be of use if you and your spouse have different last names.

  • Print out of health and life insurance policy for phone numbers and referral.

  • Emergency Info to keep in your wallet and your hotel room a paper with the following:

    • Name

    • Two emergency contacts

    • Health, allergies, and medication

  • ICE In your phone program your emergency contacts under “ICE” (stands for In Case of Emergency) It’s practically a nation wide standard that emergency workers and hospitals will look there for who to call if something happens


When Packing

You may have all of the above ready, but lets make sure you have all you really need to get you through the extended weekend.


Standard Stuff

  • Appropriate Attire. You will need clothing, and you must abide by what Georgia Law considers decent attire.
  • Highlighters, pens and pencils for marking up the Pocket Program, Daily Dragon, or general note taking. Post-its can be handy for this too.
  • Water, or some way to carry it. Hydration is important in the hot weather, and hydration will help keep the resistance up.
  • Sensible Shoes. Dr. Scholls inserts can be very helpful as well.


Personal Gear

The sorts of things you'll want to have on you most of the time.

  • Lanyard for your badge. Dragon Con sells them, but does not give them to you for free.
  • Extra pocket for your lanyard. Keep your room key on you at all times.  With beefed up security in recent years, you cannot enter the hotels without a Dragon Con badge or a room key.
    • Zip ties or some way to secure your badge to your lanyard.  There haven't been many reports of badge snatching in recent years, but it was common for a while.  Atlanta is host to at least two football games Labor Day weekend, so we get a lot of would-be gate crashing college football guys who don't want to pay for a badge just to gawk and try to score. 
  • Autograph Supplies - Acid-free paper, Sharpies, Paper with the correct spelling of your name in case it is too loud for you to be heard.
  • Personal Electronics - See below


For Your Room

Because it's not enough that you'll be staying in a world class hotel, right?

  • Toilet paper. If you have more than 3-4 people staying in your room, you might need this before the housekeeping staff can replenish it. (Although they're usually very good about bringing more if you call and ask nicely).
  • Steamer Trunk or other trunk that clasps and locks. That way you can lock things safely away when you leave the room and housekeeping can still come in.  Many rooms have safes now, though.
  • Soap - in the summer, a soap with lemon, lime, tea tree oil,, or orange will help prevent the growth of bacteria that cause rash and odor.  Don't count on what the hotel has. It'll get you clean but it may not help you stay clean. Plus, tiny bars won't help in a room with multiple people.  
  • A Towel. Don't leave home without it. It can be difficult to track down housekeeping during con for extras, if you're able it's wise to bring your own (in a non-white color, to differentiate from the ones which belong to the hotel.) Microfiber travel towels are especially useful. Also, it can be used to flag down a ride home, or off planet.
  • Mesh laundry bag:  useful for keeping track of what's already been worn.  And if you bag the laundry by color you can just toss the thing straight in the wash when you get back! 
  • Kleenex or your preferred facial tissue
  • Safe Sex Supplies - Yeah you wish. 
  • Laundromat Size Detergent -  You may not need it but will be glad you brought it if you're out of clean shirts (or heaven forfend, underwear).   Wash in the sink or shower and let dry all day while you're out of the room or overnight while you're asleep.  


For Sharing Rooms

If you're going to have to suffer friends in your room with you (and most of us will), these items will help make the experience easier to suffer.


  • Air Mattress. For those that like to pack more people into a room than humanly possible.  Don't forget the sheets!
  • Plastic cups for in-room or party use. Much better than glasses the hotels provide.
  • Dish soap. Useful if making use of reusable beverage containers or other non-disposable utensils, just fill a standard travel-sized bottle.
  • Dishes and utensils - you can wash them and they're less wasteful than paper or Styrofoam plates/cups 
  • Mini microwave oven The better to heat up food you packed from home.  Prepackaged stuff tends to be higher in sodium, but that's an option too.
  • Mini fridge  They usually start selling these about a month and a half out from Dragon*Con for "back to school" and you can buy a little cube or a double cube for not too much money.  Check Craigslist and garage sales too for bargains.
  • Cooler  if you prefer a less expensive option for keeping things cold, a picnic cooler will work just fine. And you can pack it with those blue freeze packs. Add ice from the hotel every morning before you leave, and anytime you come back to the room. Don't forget salt.
  • Alarm Clock because different people might want to get up at different times. A portable, battery operated one is good if you don't have a phone with an alarm.
  • Night lights for your bathroom and sleeping area. Useful for avoiding blindness by overhead lights while stumbling to the facilities in the middle of the night.
  • Mini-Flashlight on necklace or key chain. Useful if people turn the night lights off. 



  • Camera - Digital is best for those photos you just don't want going through a developer.
    • Tripods are good to have if you will have the luxury of setting up a shot.
    • A Monopod is helpful if you intend to walk around but have really shaky hands.  DragonCon banned selfie sticks and monopods in 2015, but they are not draconian (heh) about enforcing the rule if you are polite and careful with the use of it.
    • A flashgun, if your camera can support one, will be helpful. D*C can be dark and a properly powerful flash will make a huge difference in your photos. NOTE!: only in certain areas. For medical reasons, many areas of DragonCon are NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY zones.
  • Cell Phone - Text when you can, DC is loud. If you expect to need voice, have an earpiece handy.  Also be mindful you will NOT get signal everyplace the convention covers.
    • If you have a google+ account [http://plus.google.com], photos you take with your cellphone will instant upload for later sharing.   
    • You can also set up photos taken with your phone or tablet to go to Dropbox.  http://dropbox.com]
  • eReader or tablet - If you're not going to be social with your fellow line-waiters, this is a handy way to kill time while waiting in line for an event.  Don't forget the charger. 
  • Surge Protector for chargers, medical devices, etc.
    • Don't forget the extension cord.
  • Memory sticks for any and all recording gear. 
  • Your laptop What, a con full of fans and/or geeks, and you don't want to check your email? Plus you can download from memory sticks to it.
    • Don't forget the power cord.
    • It's worth pointing out that the hotel internet service is EXPENSIVE. If you have a wireless card you normally use and it won't incur unusual new fees, it might be wise to bring it.   Some hotels block wireless access other than their own (though that is illegal), so if you have your own access, you may still not be able to use it unless you're in a hotspot or public area.
    • CDs/DVDs for copying pictures to before your memory card gets full.
  • Batteries for your devices. Rechargeable if you can. Buying more at con, you will pay through the nose.
    • Extra cell phone batteries.  Some places (basement of the Hyatt) are known for draining batteries as they cause phones to constantly look for a signal.
    • Battery Charger for all sizes of your re-chargeable batteries.


Costume Support Items


The Costume

  • Costume
  • Other costume
  • Make Up - Especially for costumers, a little goes a long way to improve photos.
  • Make Up Remover - Particularly if you're wearing stage-grade make up for a costume.  Coconut oil is an easy one to acquire.
  • IMPORTANT!  If you're a beginning cosplayer, seek out a costume shop for makeup. Not all paint is meant for body use and can be TOXIC!  


Emergency Repair

  • Sewing kit.
    • clear thread (so you don't need to worry about color matching) -- careful, clear thread can work like a razorwire on certain fabrics.
    • needle
    • small magnet (to locate the inevitably dropped needle)
    • scissors
  • Repair Kit
    • safety pins
    • bobby pins
    • hot glue/glue stick/crazy glue
    • Topstick (fashion tape)
    • rivets
    • Zip ties
  • Duct tape. Needs no explanation however, if you wear Stormtrooper armor of any kind white duct tape is your band-aid. Painter's tape is good for lighter-weight items and will not leave a sticky residue. 
  • Febreze or similar for costumes that will see more than one wearing or long-term wearing.
  • Ziploc type bags will allow you to pack pills, latex gloves, and save space.
  • Rubber Bands - good for keeping items in Ziploc bags compacted. Also good for if the Ziploc bag tears below the zipper.


Health Care and Toiletries


The Basics

  • Deodorant.
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste. - MANDATORY
  • More Deodorant - MANDATORY 
  • Mouthwash
  • Razor and Shaving Cream, as appropriate
  • Vitamins and immune boosters. The con crud is not something you want to come down with, and lack of sleep and alcohol will lower your resistance. Start taking these at least ten days to two weeks before con to boost your immune system, but stay within the proper dosage.
  • Antibacterial wipes go well with the first aid kit above.
  • Baby wipes are good for a quick face wash or refreshing if you're feeling a bit overheated. And in a pinch, a very useful substitute for toilet paper.  Also wonderfully handy for cleaning off food court tables before you eat. Clorox wipes are better for the tables but don't use them on your body!
  • Clear nail polish. If you're wearing hose and you get a run, you're going to want this.
  • Nail clippers and/or nail file
  • Hand sanitizer. Can't replace regular hand-washing, but it's better than nothing and will help stave off the post-con cold.
  • Epsom salts are good for soaking the sore body parts in after a long day of being on one's feet, and good for the digestion if needed.
  • Flu shot.  If you can get the flu shot before the con, do so.  People from all over the world bring their germs with them, and it takes the flu shot a good week to two weeks to power up and really protect you.  Yes they do give the shot at the con itself but it won't protect you while you're there.  


Just In Case

  • First aid kit. Blisters will happen, band-aids will be necessary. Latex gloves are handy for makeup and/or icky spills.
  • Ben Gay (or Tiger Balm, or Wiccy Magic Muscles, or Badger Balm Sore Muscle Rub) is the best thing in the world after a long day of walking the Con. Apply and rub in vigorously right before you go to bed. You will wake up feeling much better, guaranteed. If you wake in the morning still sore, use Biofreeze.  It has disappearing scent so you don't smell of liniment all day.
  • Ace Bandages or athletic tape in case sprains or strains happen.
  • Neosporin also goes well with the first aid kit.
  • Ivory soap is useful for when you spill a large coffee all over your limited supply of civilian clothes upon arrival Thursday morning, and need to do some laundry in the hotel sink.
  • Moleskin pads are useful for preventing blisters and for protecting them if you do get them. http://www.livestrong.com/article/24031-apply-moleskin/  
  • Blister bandages for helping protect and heal blisters you do get. 
  • Visine or eye drops the a/c will dry out the eyes quickly.  And going in and out between air and a/c can irritate.



  • Energy bars. If you accidentally skip a meal, at least you can keep your metabolism going.
  • Slim Jims for a quick snack, though they can be high in sodium.
  • Trail mix: better high protein and keeps blood sugar even and less expensive than junk food and will cut down on the need to pay for hotel food or subsist on junk food.
  • Maps and lists of restaurants around the Con. Do you really want to pay $12 for a hotel cheeseburger?  Google Now offers location based suggestions, and the DragonCon app has a lot of local information. 
  • Alcohol. You don't want to pay the price of the area liquor stores.
    • Worth noting that the local area liquor stores are vastly less expensive than the bar, so if you really really need the space in the car/plane, you can buy after you get checked in. There's one near the Sheraton, and one near the Hyatt.
  • Your favorite coffee and/or tea. Many hotel rooms have coffee makers and you can drink that rather than paying $3/cup someplace.  You can also make oatmeal in a coffee maker. 
  • Bread and either PBJ or your favorite cold cuts if you have a way to keep them cold.
  • Grocery delivery  is available from local companies: http://www.atlantahomedelivery.com/  or big company https://www.instacart.com/locations/atlanta.  They do Saturday delivery and same day delivery (for an additional fee), and will deliver to con hotels, but a little planning ahead in advance is necessary to use them. 


Food Apps 

Most order-in apps are available for iOS and Android.  These will help if you can't manage to pack food.  These are better alternatives than the pricey hotel restaurants. Your hotel's stationery will have the street address, or you can call down to the Concierge in some cases.


  • Grub Hub :  tends to be cheaper but has excellent customer service.
  • Doordash: tends to have a higher delivery fee but more variety in restaurants. Customer service is so-so.
  • Uber Eats:  delivery by Uber.  
  • Eat24:  delivery by Yelp.
  • Nowait:  NOT a DELIVERY app, but will tell you how long the wait is at local restaurants, and place you on the waiting list so you know when to be there to claim your table.


The Oddities

  • Respirator mask - if you are sensitive to smoke and/or pollen, this is a vital item. All the hotels are NON-SMOKING now and have designated smoking areas. You also will find such a mask handy when the crowds are so thick and everyone's sweat begins mingling into an unpleasant fog that hovers above the heads of congoers.
  • Folding Chair  If you have back problems, leg or foot problems or energy problems, some of the long lines may be hard on you, and sitting on the floor or the concrete may mean trouble standing up.  If you don't want to go to disability services for a label, then a good, inexpensive chair that holds up to 300 lbs and can fold into a neat shoulder carry case is available at Wal-Mart.  
  • Tote bag or Book bag on Wheels depending on how much stuff you plan to buy/ have autographed. Make sure bags close securely and have no holes.
  • Space Bags these can help a lot with the packing and they're great for cosplayers because you can pack an entire costume and its props and accessories in one space bag. They come in different sizes as well, which will make it easier to cram more stuff in your luggage.


Outdoors Stuff

If you're hellbent on spending more than a few minutes outside, then these sorts of things might be necessary. For most of us, they would be wasted.

  • Sun Screen No matter your skin type or skin tone, you need it if you're going to be out in the sun more than a minute or two at a time.  Even under your makeup.
  • Sunglasses can be helpful at the Parade
  • Umbrella/Rain Gear: This is Atlanta during hurricane season. The weather will be unpredictable, but don't forget you'll be indoors most of the time.  DragonCon pointed out that if a badge gets wet, it may start to fall apart. KEEP YOUR BADGE DRY!
  • Swim Suit: Don't let that hotel pool go to waste.
  • Bug Spray or Bug Repelling Bracelets. If you are attractive to insects.
  • Ben Gay will stop the itching of bug bites if you forget the bug spray.  So will vinegar.  And Biofreeze.
  • Jacket because it can be cold and way too air conditioned inside, but hot outside.



See Also 

Getting Stuff to Con



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