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DragonCon
Dragoncon tips :) and more! 
12th-Aug-2010 08:53 pm
Nine loves science fiction by omgwtf42
ETA: The second set of tips is here:
http://dragoncon.livejournal.com/2499527.html

This is a list about how to pack for the con, what to bring, and general info about the con that everyone needs to know to make it a wonderful experience! Please, feel free to add on. :) I want this list to serve as a check-list and also as helpful hints for newbies, as well as reminders for us long-time con-goers. These are in no particular order, except for # 1, 2, and 3.

Of course, most of these tips can be applied to any SF convention!

Please note that I did not consult any sites or posts for this info. It has been gathered by me over many years of con-going.




1) For those of you that are pre-registered, bring your post card and picture ID!This can't be stressed enough. Also, be prepared to wait in line for a few hours, but things are getting better. The earlier you can go to pick-up your badge, the better. As you may have to wait outside, wear comfortable clothes, and don't forget sunblock, a book to read (knitting, iPod, etc.), or make this a chance to get to know your fellow con-goers. :) An umbrella will be helpful if there's thunderstorms in the vicinity. Registration is in the bottom level of the Sheraton.

ETA: With the new system in place from 2011, check-in went a lot faster! Some lucky people hardly had to wait at all! :)

ETA: Registration is in the bottom of the Sheraton, and so is Disability Services.

2) Your prescription meds, a copy of the prescription if you may need it, and any over-the-counter meds you may need. Yes, OTC meds are sold in the little hotel shops, but like everything else there, at prohibitive costs. There are some shopping areas near-by, but you will have to bus/drive/walk a lot/take a taxi to get to most of them. (A list of stores like grocery stores, dept. stores, and drugstores near-by would be helpful, if some one can post such. I rarely go into downtown Atlanta, except for D*C, so am not as knowledgeable as I would like to be.) There is a CVS at the Peachtree food court/shops area.


Insulin users, bring or rent a small fridge. Don't ever depend upon hotel kitchen fridges to keep your insulin and/or keep it safe. This could be a (legal?) hassle for you and the hotel.

And of course, if you have health insurance, keep your card on you at all times. A small first aid kit (can be bought at many stores, like drugstores and the marts) can be very helpful. They will usually have band-aids, first aid cream, some basic meds. And don't forget your vitamins!

3) These next tips should be at the top of everyone's list. :)

Take a shower or bath once a day! The hotels have plenty of hot water and give you free soap and shampoo, so there's no excuse. And of course, use deodorant of your choice. Do not think that you can skip a shower or bath and just change clothes from one day to the next, and swipe some deodorant under your arms or dump a bottle of perfume on your body. That does not cut the stink, in fact, it makes things worse!

For those of you not use to the South's heat and humidity, you may find that you need more than one shower a day, esp. if you are changing out of a very hot costume (like Stormtrooper armor or an all over-costume like a cartoon character). Remember that D*C is like a small town all crowded into five buildings, so PLEASE be considerate of everyone around you. Breath mints & strips, hand sanitizers (you can buy tiny bottles), tissue, chewing gum can be easily carried and make the con better for you and everyone around you.

For those not staying in the hotels, all the above still applies. For those with no place to sleep, be aware that you need to have a place to stay. Don't think about sleeping in panel rooms, in hotel lobbies, or any place on the hotel properties! Hotel security will wake you up and ask you to go to your room or leave the building. Not sure how or if D*C security handles these situations. And of course, don't sleep in your car--it's not safe.

And of course, this should go without saying: please do not damage hotel property or steal any movable items. This gives the con a bad rep with the hotels. The con has had some difficulties with many of the hotels at one time or another; in fact the Hilton wasn't a host hotel for a few years because of some issues. I've heard of other cons having to move hotels because of damages by con attendees, supposedly.

Don't steal in the dealers' rooms. Don't deface artwork in the Art Show. Don't steal anything anywhere. The con will turn you over to the local police.

4) Cell phone, smart phone, iPad, netbook, whatever you need to stay in contact with friends and family and fellow con-goers. And their charging units.

Note: be aware that connectivity is not always good in the hotels, esp. in the basement areas.

5) Once you get your Pocket Program book, have a good look-see through it. Many people download it about a week before the con (when it's usually published, and put it in their electronic device of choice, like their smartphone). If the D*C app works with your phone or pad, it's a great help!

Make a note of what you would like to see, choose alternatives if your first choice isn't available, and make sure that you have some downtime scheduled for sleeping, partying, showering, and eating. Don't forget that many ballroom events are on D*CTV (if you are in a host hotel) and can be watched in the comfort of your own room. Yes, you won't have the thrill of seeing your fave guest live, but if all goes well, you will be seeing as well as anyone watching the big projection screens in the ballrooms when they are sitting in the back. The D*CTV schedule is in the Pocket Program.

Also, for first-timers, and for those of us who need to refresh our knowledge of the hotels, view the maps of the hotels layout in the Pocket Program, and walk around the hotels to see where the ballrooms, track rooms, the dealer's rooms, the Walk of Fame, the gaming areas, the Art Show and Artist Alley, etc., are located. This will save you from wondering where the heck you are going over the next four days! You can also run into old friends, meet new ones, and costume-watch. There's really nothing going on con-wise on Thursday, although some bands may play in the ballrooms. There may be some meet-ups, also.

ETA: there are newbies tours from 2:30 PM to 5 PM starting in the Marriott on Thursday. More info later!
ETA: https://www.facebook.com/events/887083351391755/

Don't forget to pick up the one-sheet Daily Dragon from the con's various info booths in each hotel, each day. This news-zine will list public parties, dances, and warn you about panels changing times and/or rooms, late-minute guest cancellations and/or additions, and other con news of importance.

6) Look through the Art Show asap. Usually in the Hyatt. If you're wanting to bid on something, check with the staff about registering to bid. If the item(s) you want gets more than one bid, you'll have to show up at the Art Show auction. Otherwise, if you're the only bidder, you can pick up after the auction. Find out in advance how you need to pay. You will have to check your bag/backpack/pocketbook/etc. at the door; hold onto your check number so you can pick up your bag afterward. Do not bring a camera or video camera into the Art Show! At the end of the art show, you will exit through the Print Shop; here you can purchase prints of the artists and their art in the show. These prints are usually from the major (pro) artists.

7) Cruise the dealers' room asap, now in the Atlanta Convention Center at AmericasMart, Building 2, floors 1 and 2. The Atlanta Convention Center at AmericasMart is located one/two blocks west of the Hyatt Regency Atlanta. In addition, it will be added to the bus route, during dealer hours, in 2013 for easy access. You can do comparison shopping on prices, but one-of-a-kind items or very rares might tempt you to buy right away. Some dealers lower prices on Monday, but don't count on this. Most dealers take cash and debit/credit cards. Most don't take checks, but you can always ask. Always have your picture ID with you just-in-case. If you use travellers' checks, always ask if the dealer will take them, as they may not have cash on hand to refund you the difference. The front desks of the hotels can either cash your travellers' checks or direct you to where you can cash them.

8) Wear your badge at all times! If a security person or D*C staff asks to see it, show it to them politely. It's part of their job, you know. Also, don't lose your badge. If it's not turned into Lost & Found, you will have to purchase a new one. :( As badges are checked at the doors of the host hotels, at main events, esp. in the ballrooms, for the art show and Artists' Alley, for the dealers' room, etc. it's best to have a badge. The only event where you don't need a badge is just to view the parade (you do need a badge to be in it). At night, if you can't show a badge or a room key for the hotel, security can be tough to deal with--hotel, not so much con.

The best way not to lose your badge is to have it securely on your person. This does not mean attaching it to your clothes/costumes by the little alligator jaws, as those clips are not that sturdy! Someone can easily rip it off, esp. in a crowd! Find or bring or buy a lanyard and attach the badge to the lanyard, making it as secure as possible. Costumers aren't always fond of badges and lanyards, but the lanyard/badge combo can usually be tossed over your shoulder or hidden for a photo op. The D*C store sells lanyards, as do many dealers. I'm fond of the beautiful leather ones sold by the Southern Browncoats group. :) .

Also, the badge needs to be visible above your waist. And always carry picture ID of some kind, as you never know when you may be asked for it, whether to get into a 21-and-over party, or a dealer wants to make sure that your ID and credit card match up.

There are badge checks at the entrances and exits of the breezeways between the hotels at various times, esp, in the evening and on Sat. & Sun. Have your badge visible so that you won't slow down the traffic!


9) Cameras and video-cameras. Bring all media that you need, extra memory cards, different lenses, flash, tripods, etc. Again, you can buy some of these items in the little hotel shops, but they will be very expensive. Don't forget chargers, batteries, and for the rechargeable batteries, their chargers.

Note to the wise: Don't use flash in panels or in the ballrooms. It only serves to blind the panelists for a moment, and unless you are very close, as within a few feet, the flash doesn't light your subject. Even $200 point-and-shoot cameras have a menu with a ton of different settings. Experiment with the settings. You will need a different setting for a far-away shot in a dark ballroom of a large panel on a high-up stage than what you will need to take a close-up picture of a great costume in the well-lit hotel lobbies. Also, if the costumer isn't already posing for a photo opp, please ask first if you can take their picture. Most will smile and say yes, but if they say no, remember that they may be on their way home, or to eat, or to catch a nap, or to a panel.

I'll add to this, do not touch the costume. Costumers have worked very hard and long on their costumes, and you wouldn't want to mess it up, would you? In fact, I will stress this: do not glomp strangers, esp. strangers in costume. Many people do not like to be touched by strangers! It can be a bit creepy if there's a sex difference or an extreme age difference, too. (When your 12-year-old niece in a Sailor Pluto cosplay is being hit on by a man old enough to be her father, and she's freaked out by this, it's not good.) As for glomping, even your friends may not like it. Hug your friends only, don't run at anyone, above all, just don't glomp! Running at cons is dangerous, to yourself and others. You may fall yourself or trip another person, and injures can ensued. Spending part of the con at Grady Hospital is not an ambition to aim for!

10) Signing tips: Always remember that these folks want to have a good time at the con, and are happy to talk to you, but are also interested in you buying whatever they may have for sale. Do be polite and keep face time short and sweet, esp. if others are waiting in line to get autographs and make purchases.

Walk of Fame. Usually in Marriott. Try to go when things are least crowded. If the person(s) that you want to see isn't/aren't there, find someone who can tell you when they will be back. Sometimes, but not always, that can be the person sitting next to them. The very popular guests will have long lines; one year, the line wait for Felicia Day was always at least an hour. Bring cash for buying photos, other merchandise, and the autograph itself. These folks aren't usually set up for credit cards. Some guests will let you take a picture of them for free; some will even pose for a picture with you, but there is usually a cost involved with this. Many will not do photo opps at their tables, as they are already signed up with the companies doing professional photos at the con.

Artist Alley. Usually in the Hyatt. They will charge for a quick sketch, and possibly even autographs. Buy something from them and they will probably sign for free, however. Please don't bring in a long box full of your favorite artist/inker/writer/painter's works and ask him/her to sign ALL of them! We all know that those are going on ebay asap. So just please don't do it. Besides, you would be keeping others from getting face time and autographs, and that's just rude.

Author signings. Consult the Pocket Program for when the authors signings are being held. Most will be in one hour blocks in a sub-basement of the Marriott, however some authors have booths in the dealers' room (as do some artists, the ones who don't have a booth in the Art Show), and they will happily sign the books you bring or buy from them (most authors will only have their most current books on hand). The Mysterious Bookshop (usually in the dealers' hall) will have authors signings, so check with them about schedules.

Art Show Usually in the Hyatt. Many artists have booths or tables in the Art Show with lots of their work for sale; some is original art, but a lot will be prints. They are pleased to take your cash, sign if you like, and some will talk about commissions.

11) Get enough sleep/rest. A nap in the middle of the con day may mean that you can stay up later and party. You will probably be walking around more than usual, and the hot and humid weather that Atlanta is infamous for in the summertime will do in those who aren't used to it. Even us natives have problems dealing with heat and humidity. I carry a fan, and drink lots of water. But sleep is your friend. :) I know that a lot of folk don't sleep much during the con, but real life is waiting for us all when we get back home, and unless you have arranged to take a decompression day off (that is, Tuesday), it's right back to school and/or work on Tuesday. Sleeping on the job and in class isn't a good thing to do. :)

Tying into the above: take Tuesday off as a decompression and/or travel day, if you can. One extra day of vacation where you are doing little or nothing is a great thing, and will help you ease back into real life. I sleep a lot on the Tuesday after the con. :) There's an old joke about needing a vacation to recover from the vacation, and this is certainly true of big cons, like Dragoncon. If you're driving home from the con, no matter how far, get some sleep the night before. It could make a world of difference in your driving skills! If you find that you are having problems, pull over for a while and get someone else to drive, if at all possible.

12) The ATMs will probably run out of money over the weekend. So bring some cash. Have some Mad Money on hand for gas and food & drink going home. Don't raid the Mad Money, except for an emergency!

13) Eat properly. You can bring in food and drink if you are staying in a hotel, but please be discreet. It can be difficult to hide microwaves, and those dorm room mini-fridges, though. A lot of people run out and buy food & drink for the room on Thursday. Someone, please list the grocery stores near-by and directions. And folks, list your favorites for room food and drinks. Any cooking tips or sandwich ideas or the like will be appreciated. (I keep milk, cereal bars, cokes, ice tea, and fresh fruit on hand. Date nut bread and cream cheese spread is another fave.)

14) If you eat out, don't forget to tip! 15-20 % of the bill is standard. Increase it if your server was excellent! Do be prepared to wait to get a table, and also to get water and a menu, to place your order, and for the food. Factor this time into your schedule. All hotel restaurants and close-by ones will be busy and crowded. At the same time, if something is terribly wrong with your food or you got the wrong order, don't hesitate to send it back, politely. Even if you eat at a buffet, the servers are still taking your order, taking dirty dishes away, and refilling your drink. Please tip them as well; I go with 10 %, or more if they are extra-helpful. Buffets are a great option. even though they seem pricey, they are all-you-can eat, and are a good way to get some con downtime. In many cases you can costume-and-people watch, too.

The food court in the Peachtree Center is a good bet for cheap eats as there are many fast food chains, but again be prepared to wait in line. There are two areas that are connected to one another, so be sure and explore all possibilities. There are some sit-down-inside restaurants here, also. You can get to the food court by the gerbil tube between the Hyatt and the Peachtree Center. Do be aware that some places will be closed on Sunday and Monday, esp. Monday, as that is Labor Day. The food court generally does not stay open late, overall. Remember that it's mostly a place for downtown workers to grab lunch, not dinner or breakfast, during the work week. And there's always room service, but this is the most costly way of eating, and yet don't forget to tip your server! And don't be afraid to try any regional cooking. :)

15) The hotel bars are expensive and crowded. Be prepared to pay a lot and tip well. Watch your drink. There are still evil people out there. I've been told that if you abandon your drink, like to go dance; when you come back, just get a new one. Even friends can't watch your drink all the time for you. If you bring your own alcohol to the con, be discrete. The hotels can and will charge you corkage fees if they see you bringing a case of Jack Daniels or a six pack of Coors. Use good common sense while drinking. :) Bring your hangover remedies with you to the con, and don't forget to eat before drinking. Also, please don't drink and drive. Atlanta is rather crazy over the holiday weekend, and there are more drunk drivers around, so be careful! There are some liquor stores near-by. Unless things have changed, there are two close-by. One is across the street from the Sheraton, on the west side. The other is catty-corner from the Hyatt, in a north-west direction. These will be pricey and may not be stocked well. Watch out for the panhandlers.

16) If you want your laptop/camera/jewelry/costumes/etc. safe in your hotel room, make sure the hotel door hanger says "DO NOT DISTURB!" at all times. The maids will not come in. If you need towels or clean sheets, just call Housekeeping and they will bring them up asap. I have heard of items being broken or stolen in hotel rooms. The hotel will not insure your valuables, so have your own personal insurance. Also, use the room safe or hotel safe.

And keep up with your room key card; if it gets lost or demagnetized, you will have to get a new one, or have the old one magnetized again. This usually means that all the other room key cards will not work! Eel skin wallets pose a problem to any thing with a magnet strip. Don't keep the key card in your phone case or near your cell phone, as that can demagnetize it. Or anything else you may have on hand that has magnets in it.

17) Costumers: make sure your costumes are ready to pack and then wear. They should be clean, and you should make sure that you have all your props and parts (shoes, wigs, belts, wands, light-sabers, jewelry, sonic screwdrivers, prop guns, make-up, etc). You might think of trying the costumes on before the con, to make sure that they still fit properly, that there are no ripped seams or let-down hems, holes, rips, tears, anything that need repairing. A checklist of items for each costume is helpful!

18) Another costuming/crafting tip: bring a repair kit. You can buy mini-sewing kits ready-made in many places, like Target for example. Or build your own, esp. for crafters. Needles, pins, pincushion, thread, threader, scissors, fabric tape, safety pins, are basics. Please add to this list of sewing supplies! Knitters, bring extra needles and yarn. I've seen many people knitting on-line at the con. Embroiderers, same goes for you. :) In fact, even non-costumers should have a mini-sewing kit on hand.

While wearing your costume, be careful of others. :) Alas, they may not be careful of you. But try not to hit other attendees in the face with your fairy wings or steampunk device on your back as you turn around, or accidentally trip someone with your wizard's stave, or bash someone with your sword, again by accident. In other words, some people won't watch where they are going, so you need to be careful! :)

19) You can usually buy some plastic or paper sleeves or file folders in the dealers' rooms or at the Walk of Fame, but not always. So purchase before the con, at places like office supply stores or box stores like K-Mart or Target. These sleeves are great to store con and club flyers in, your precious autographed photos, etc., and helps to keep them from being lost or getting damaged.

20) Gentlemen, keep your wallet safe. I know that many of you like the back pocket of your pants, but in the crowded conditions that are the rule at cons, this may be a mistake, even with clips and chains. Ladies, keep those purses closed, and hold on to them. I find that messenger bags that fit cross-body are a great way to carry your stuff at cons. And as they fit across your body, they will be a lot harder to steal from you. Backpacks are another way to go for both sexes. Again, be sure that it's all closed up. Try not to hit people with them while turning around! Keep the backpack/purse in site at all times, and hold on to it by a strap. You may be tempted to stash it under a chair at panels, but still keep a hand or foot on a strap. You never know! And of course, don't forget your wallets/purses/backpacks as you roam around the con. And don't over-stuff, as they can get very very heavy by the end of the day. Take what you need, but don't pack your whole room.

21) Try to pack the week or at least a few days before you need to start traveling. I know, many of us wait to the last minute, or just don't have the time, but try. It will help with the last-minute rushing around bits. Make lists of what you are bringing and do a check-off as you go. If you are flying/going by bus or train, put tickets, badges, passes and meds in your carry-on. Don't put them in your checked baggage. It's bad enough to have clothes go missing, but losing these other items can be a disaster! When packing, make sure that you have enough clothes for the con. don't forget socks/hose/tights/whatever and underwear, and pack extras on these if possible. Most hotels don't have DIY laundry rooms, but will offer (take-out) services for laundry, both washing and dry-cleaning--beware, these can cost a lot. Pack as neatly as possible. Many things can be rolled up to help prevent wrinkles. If you are not carrying a separate suitcase or bag for HBA items, put these in good heavy-duty zip locks bags; I find that sturdy freezer bags that you have to unzip with a pull are the best.

22) Comfortable shoes! Bring at least two-three pair. You can always wear one to travel in. Switch these out every day. Even with a costume, shoes should be comfortable, if at all possible. Don't bring or wear new shoes to the con, as you will be walking a lot, and breaking in new shoes under trying conditions is no fun. Blisters and bleeding can result. If you must bring new shoes, buy some mole skin pads/patches/the kind you cut to fit, and make that new foot gear comfortable. For any type of shoes, inserts can help, from gel and foam rubber to orthopedics.

23) About the weather and also safety issues: unless things change radically, Atlanta downtown will still be very hot and very humid. Dress accordingly. It's still summer here, long into September. Inside the hotels, the A/C will be cranked to the max! You may find that carrying a long-sleeve top or lightweight jacket might help out and keep you from freezing in a ballroom. With the new skywalks, it's a lot easier to get from the Hilton to the Marriott to the Hyatt, without going outside. For most (everything else outside of these three hotels), you will have to hit the ground. (There is a tubeway to the Peachtree Center from the Hyatt.) There may still be cops or security directing the crowds crossing between these hotels, but they may not.

Do not jaywalk, as Atlanta cops will happily bust you. Ignore the panhandlers. Don't look them in the eye or engage in conversation. If you must give them something, hand them some coupons for fast food. If they don't want these, just keep moving.

As for downtown parking, parking garages are safer than the parking lots. Many of the parking lots nearby have no one on duty, and you must fold up your money and put in a slot. These lots are not safe or secure. If a parking lot "attendant" is not wearing a uniform and/or badge, he does not work there. Downtown Atlanta is often deserted at night, but with D*C and other groups staying here, it isn't. However, still be careful, esp. at night, walking between the hotels. The walk between the Westin and the Sheraton, or the Sheraton and the Hilton, is a good long city block. Between the Hilton and the Sheraton is a parking deck on the east side; the side streets running to the east are poorly lit and not well-landscaped. On the west side, is the back of the Peachtree Center. Watch for cars zooming in of and out of the parking deck. The sidewalk, unless it has been repaired since last year, is rough and broken in places. At night, no matter where you are going, walk with, in, or very near a group. Do not walk alone, please, male or female. It's not really as safe as you might think. And don't go to parking lots or garages by yourself. There's no real on-street parking in downtown, btw; the little that is, is just for an hour or so. Cars will be towed or have the dread blocking device put on a tire or a ticket will be issued.

24) Be prepared for emergencies, as best as you can. Pay attention to your surroundings. If someone is bothering you in any way, get help, leave the place, ask someone else for assistance. Security wants all attendees to be safe. Scream as a last resort--this is a con, and many people will just think nothing of it, but others will rush to help. Keep your health insurance card with you, as well as picture ID, and your phone. Let friends and family know where you are going. Do be aware that your phone may not always get a good signal, esp. in the depths of the Hyatt--there's too much steel and concrete in the way. Parents, do not let young children wander alone, and out of your sight. There's too much foolishness going on in a major city, and esp. at night, con or no con. Dragoncon After Dark is not a place for children.

25) Be kind to the disabled, even the ones who don't look that way. Let them on the elevator first. Same for those with babies or toddlers, esp. those in strollers. Please do not run, crowd or push to get on the elevators. There will be another one. For your own safety and security, find out where the stairs are in all the hotels, and use them, esp. if you need to go just a floor or two. Besides, it will probably be faster than the elevator! LOLing but true. If you use the elevator to go one floor, you might be lynched, metaphorically speaking of course, but just think how angry you would be if some one did that to you. You can always walk up or down escalators, if there are not people in your way, but don't run on them. If you are carrying a baby or a toddler, esp. one in a stroller, DO NOT use the escalators, as they can be very dangerous. If you or your child are hurt or killed because you used an escalator, be aware that the public buildings will not be held legally responsible for compensation or health care for the accident. There are signs posted that warn about these issues. Many people are injured in public places because of not paying attention to such warnings. (I know of several incidents from real life that I could give as a warning.)

26) Before the con, get yourself in shape! Do some walking, as you will be walking a lot at the con. Take your vitamins. Get plenty of rest and just take care of yourself. If you find yourself very sick just before the con, or at the con, stay away from other con members. If you are in the bed sick, obviously D*C is not the place for you. Seek medical help. D*C does not have medical staff on duty, nor do the hotels. If you are very sick or injured, call 911 for help, or have someone call for you. Grady Hospital is the closest medical center for 24 hour ER care. ETA: flu shots ay be of help.

27) Sunglasses are a must on bright summer days in Atlanta. For those who wear prescription glasses, have an extra pair on hand, just in case. For those who wear contacts, bring your cleaning supplies and containers, or if you wear disposable, bring a few extras over what you think you will need for the con.

28) Please tip the bellboys, depending on how much luggage you have, $5-10, or more. Please leave a tip in the rooms for housekeeping when you check out. If you had the maids in every day, leave about $3-5 a day per person. If the maids did not come in, leave about $5 a person as you check out. Also, if it is permitted, tip the car valets as well. $3-5 is good. Some people tip more. The important thing is to tip! If you leave a big tip on the last day, make sure that Housekeeping can see it easily by putting the cash in an envelope and write HOUSEKEEPING on it so that they can see it is for them.

29) I've left off most tips for parents and children, as I am not a parent. However, I feel sure that much information, of what I've already listed, will be of help.

30) Pet care.

If you have pets, you must arrange for their care ahead of time. Boarding kennels and catteries fill up quickly for holiday weekends. Make sure your pet is up-to-date on shots. Some people arrange for house-sitters or friends or family to look after the pet at home.

Some people bring their pets with them, if the hotel will allow it. Do be aware that you won't be in the room very much, more than likely, and your pet could be lonely, esp. in a new environment. Dogs will bark, and both cats and dogs may engage in destructive behaviors that you would never see at home. Pets basically don't like change in their routines, like many people. Make sure basically that your pets are taken care of.


Basically, use common sense and wisdom about all things. Be kind to others and you might find yourself being surprised how kind others are in return. Above all, have fun and stay safe and comfortable!

Please feel free to add tips and ideas to this post. :)

Comments 
13th-Aug-2010 03:45 am (UTC)
2a) If you carry your perscription meds with you, definitely have a copy of the 'script OR see if your pharmacy will give you a smaller bottle with the label on it. Don't just put your pain meds into a blank bottle. Same with OTC meds. Get a small travel sized bottle of Advil (or whatever) to carry. If you need to refill with a larger bottle, do it in your room each night. Start taking your Vitamin C NOW! Con crud is not a good way to end a great weekend.

4a) Phones on vibrate in panel rooms please. : )

17a) Elaborate costumes on escalators can be dangerous. If you have a large costume, it's a good idea to have a handler with you.

20a) If you carry a backpack, there should be no need to carry everything you own with you all the time. Remember others around you and if you're carrying a huge pack, you can easily slam into someone without meaning to when you turn to look at something.
14th-Aug-2010 03:51 am (UTC)
These are great tips, esp. 4A! Why didn't I mention that?!

I'm going to put together a chapter two of the D*C tips guide for posting next week. Do you mind if I credit and quote you? I may summarize if needed. Just let me know. Thanks in advance!
(Deleted comment)
14th-Aug-2010 03:52 am (UTC)
Thanks for commenting! It's something I learned from my parents--tip service workers, when and if you can. :)
13th-Aug-2010 06:16 am (UTC)
13a - bananas - potassium will help with leg cramps and stuff from all that walking - they are also good fiber and full of yummy nutrition and come in their own package.

13th-Aug-2010 09:20 pm (UTC)
Dairy Queen in the Peachtree Center Mall Food Court (directly to the right when you exit the habitrail from the Hyatt to the Food Court) has baskets of fruit for sale out at least every morning, perhaps throughout the day, including bananas. The Newsstand in the Food Court also has them.
13th-Aug-2010 08:08 am (UTC)
14. Fanny packs/bum bag [or similar] is a pretty good place to keep money, etc. You can use a big sturdy safety pin [like a diaper/nappy pin] and secure it to your clothing underneath so it can't just be ripped off.

15. USE ANTIPERSPIRANT!

16. Take a handful of contact/business cards for yourself [if you have them]. Good way to keep in touch with any new friends/helpful people.etc you meet

17. Small notepad and pen/pencil. For taking notes [e.g. surprise panel FRIDAY; dinner 7 p.m. with X at Y; OMG, A said ... at the panel!!], etc

18. 500ml plastic bottle for water. Can be refilled from the tap/fawcett or one of the water stations. Air-con is drying!
14th-Aug-2010 04:00 am (UTC)
I like these, esp. # 17. Not everyone has a smartphone! And # 16 is a must.

I'm going to put together a chapter two of the D*C tips guide for posting next week. Do you mind if I credit and quote you? I may summarize if needed. Just let me know. Thanks in advance!

13th-Aug-2010 12:00 pm (UTC)
Bring earplugs for concerts.
13th-Aug-2010 01:14 pm (UTC)
And for sleeping once you're partied out. Hotels can be very noisy until the wee hours of the morning!

There's a list with a few things the OP didn't cover on dragon-con.pbworks.com.

If I have a minute I will move some of these suggestions over if the OP doesn't want to.
13th-Aug-2010 12:55 pm (UTC)
2. Stuff you may need or forgot: There's a shop in the Peachtree Center, across from the Food Court seating area, called THE NEWSTAND,I believe, that carries a huge assortment of travel-sized hygiene items, meds, snacky things, drinks, reading materials, etc. They are a bit pricey but way less than the hotel shops.

13. Food Court hours have expanded radically over the last few years, as they see how much $$ can be made. We usually go to the places we frequent on Thursday, or Friday during the day, and ask for their hours for the rest of the con.

26. If nothing else... comfy shoes are a must, whether in costume or out! Blisters and/or overworked, sore feet will color your con with grey. It'a a good idea to have 2 pairs. (I'm breaking in my new walking shoes starting now so they are good to go.)
13th-Aug-2010 02:38 pm (UTC)
2 - This newsstand is awesome. I think I went there at least once a day!

Also, speaking of the food court - Orange Julius saved my life last year. When I was too hot/grumpy/sore/hungover to eat, but needed to, their smoothies saved me!
13th-Aug-2010 02:15 pm (UTC)
Part of my costume repair kit includes a mini hot glue gun and glue sticks. This has saved my bum on numerous occasions.
13th-Aug-2010 02:40 pm (UTC)
THIS! When I'm in less cumbersome costumes, I tend to throw a mini glue gun and sticks in my purse. More than once I've come across someone in a beautiful costume who was near tears because a weapon or prop broke - and I was able to help them out. I felt like the Angel of Cosplay, and i try and do it every year, now.
13th-Aug-2010 05:33 pm (UTC)
#26-- OMG YESSSSS. About 6 weeks before con every year, I try to start exercising and it makes SUCH a difference. I can do more at D*C, I feel better overall, AND I either don't catch Con Crud or it's a much lesser version.

Test out your brand-new cushy insoles BEFORE con-- mine did not interact well with my Docs, and I got the worst blisters evarrrr.

Stash an "emergency granola bar" in a zip-top baggie in your purse/side pocket. I'm still amazed that I actually forget to eat, durr.

And don't stash all your extra money in one place! Stash a little in your makeup/toiletry case, a little in your suitcase lining pocket, a little in a film canister, etc. A friend of mine had the unfortunate experience of someone stealing her in-suitcase cash-stash on the very first day of con :(
14th-Aug-2010 04:19 am (UTC)
Those last two tips are fab!

I'm going to put together a chapter two of the D*C tips guide for posting next week. Do you mind if I credit and quote you? I may summarize if needed. Just let me know. Thanks in advance!
13th-Aug-2010 08:37 pm (UTC)
This is really good stuff. This will be our 6th year and we figured out how to do it a little better each year. I think the early afternoon nap is the best one, as this is can be a lull in con happenings prior to the evenings festivities. Funny you mention the autograph signings. When I first met Malcolm McDowell at spooky empire horror con in Orlando I literally had a bag of stuff for him to sign. Everything he signed is still a prized possession with me, contrary to what those behind me in line believed as my wife over heard "Oh you have got to be kidding." What can I say, how many times do you get to meet Malcolm :)
The elevators are a sore point. It would appear that you literally have to announce the wheel chair to get room. My wife uses an electric scooter and we have 'elevator hell' every time. Personally I prefer the stairs, not afraid to take them and they are usually less crowded.
Well, I think I'll start looking at my kit. You are absolutely right, last minute stuff is stressfull and not necessary :)
Good stuff, thanks for posting.
14th-Aug-2010 04:22 am (UTC)
You're very welcome! :)

I really think, and this has been suggested so many times over the years, that the con and the hotels should get together and have elevator what-ever-they-were-called-back-in-the-day staff to run the elevators during the cons. They would have the authority to boot people off to let the disabled on.
13th-Aug-2010 09:32 pm (UTC)
To add to this:

The Peachtree Center Mall's website, pointing to the Shopping/Dining portion - http://peachtreecenter.com/Mall%20-%20Shopping&Dining.htm
The names of the stores/restaurants are clickable and then will show you their location on a TINY map, lol. There are a couple of new food places that just opened in the last month that are not listed - Jack's Sandwich Shop, Cafe Momo, and I think the other one is called Mediterranean Cuisine. There are some places that are open for breakfast at least as early as 7:15am, which is the earliest I have gone to work upstairs from the Mall - Dairy Queen, Chik-fil-A, Jack's, and J. Brenner's. Not sure about Momo. At last check, the Subway does NOT serve breakfast.

The closest Publix (supermarket) that I know of is at the following address:
950 West Peachtree Street Northwest
Atlanta, GA 30309-3846
(404) 253-3547
You can get to this Publix by taking the MARTA train to the Midtown station and heading about a block and half to the west. The entrance is at the corner of Peachtree Place NW and Sprint Street NW. The Midtown MARTA station is visible on a Google Map of the above address.

Edited at 2010-08-13 09:32 pm (UTC)
14th-Aug-2010 04:24 am (UTC)
Thanks for all this info!

I'm going to put together a chapter two of the D*C tips guide for posting next week. Do you mind if I credit and quote you? I may summarize if needed. Just let me know. Thanks in advance!
16th-Aug-2010 01:57 pm (UTC)
Re-posting this, from http://community.livejournal.com/dragoncon/2406943.html?thread=25806111#t25806111

Something a lot of folks either don't know about, or just forget: There is ANOTHER food court besides the one in the Peachtree Center "Mall". It's smaller, but it's there. The access tube to the SunTrust Building Food Court is on the opposite side of the Marriott from the Peachtree Center "habitrail" tube, on the same floor. It will make more sense once you get here (I work upstairs at Peachtree Center), but if you are in the Marriott lobby, on the same level as the "sailboat" bar (called Pulse), head toward the stairs that lead to the "loft" area (which is also a bar), and go past the stairs. To get to the Peachtree Center Food court, make a left. To get to the Suntrust Food Court, make a right. I don't know, though, what their weekend & Labor Day hours are...

SunTrust Food Court/Retail Offerings (no idea what the operating hours/days are for Sat, Sun, Labor Day, though): http://www.suntrustplaza.com/Frames/TEXT/GardenOffices/Garden_AMb.html

Low resolution map, but the Food Court is immediately North of the Marriott: http://www.suntrustplaza.com/Images/Text_Graphics/Area_lg.gif or http://www.suntrustplaza.com/Images/Text_Graphics/Area_lg.html

SunTrust Tenant Handbook, includes much better maps, phone numbers, etc: http://www.suntrustplaza.com/Frames/Ext_windows/Handbook.pdf

SunTrust Plaza Homepage (the Garden Offices is where the Food Court is, on the main page the picture on the right shows that buildng, with the Hilton and Marriott behind it): http://www.suntrustplaza.com/
16th-Aug-2010 02:37 pm (UTC)
This could be very helpful! Thanks for the re-posting! :)

I'm going to put together a chapter 2 of tips. If you're the OP, would you mind me quoting and crediting you? Thanks in advance!
28th-Aug-2010 04:21 am (UTC)
1) For those of you that are pre-registered, bring your post card! This can't be stressed enough.

And because the D*C website doesn't mention it, if you want to pick up a badge for another of you group, you can do so. You just need to have written permission from that person, along with a copy of their government issued ID. Having their yellow postcard won't hurt either.

2) If you're a woman who might be coming up on her "time of the month" while at Con, make sure to bring appropriate supplies. Again, as with most things, having to buy them at the downtown shops may be absurdly expensive. Don't forget to bring any appropriate meds such as Advil or Pamprin, etc.

3) If you're flying in, you might consider bringing solid soaps and solid shampoo bars that some places offer (*cough* Lush *cough) as well as any other skin care products. Also, don't forget to keep in mind other cosmetics that are considered "liquids" such as fingernail polish, lip gloss, etc.

4) Investigate what options you have for WiFi connectivity, etc.

5) Bring a highlighter for the schedule program.

10) Bring a Sharpie and/or a metallic paint marker depending on what you'd like to get signed, just in case.

13) The Marriott, last year, had some snack station areas where they sold very reasonably priced hot dogs, hamburgers, etc. along with chips and drinks. I'd be surprised if they didn't do the same this year as well.

15) Okay, maybe it sounds naive, but when I'm at a bar and need a bathroom break, I frequently will just turn to the person sitting to one side of me, and ask if they will look after my stuff while I run to the Ladies Room. I have yet to regret that technique, but certainly take that with a grain of salt.

21) Sorry, what are "HBA items"?

Additional tips:

a) Our group, after arrival and check-in, generally heads to a local large grocery store and gets general snacking or low-cost food/drinnk supplies. If we haven't been able to get a room with a fridgie, we get a cheap foam cooler and a bunch of ice to keep drinks and sandwich fixings cold. This also allows you to pick up forgotten things if you left something behind. There is a SuperTarget not too far away that we generally patronize.

b) To stay fresh, bring baby powder or something similar in addition to other deoderants, etc. This can be particularly helpful if you're wearing costumes that might cause one to become particularly sweaty, etc.
28th-Aug-2010 05:13 pm (UTC)
These are all good tips!

The Hyatt also has the hamburger/hotdogs stations in a few places.

HBA = health and beauty aisle :)

Sure, I would ask friends to watch my drink, but not a stranger. But this is of course JMHO and YMMV. :)
20th-Jun-2011 11:48 pm (UTC)
These should be, if they have not already, be added to dragon-con.pbworks.com
29th-Aug-2011 03:48 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure how to do that, but will check into it. And also, thanks for replying, so that I could get these back out in front of folks again. :)
29th-Aug-2011 08:26 pm (UTC)
Do not jaywalk, as Atlanta cops will happily bust you. Ignore the panhandlers. Don't look them in the eye or engage in conversation. If you must give them something, hand them some coupons for McDonald's (there's one a block away). If they don't want these, just keep moving.

someone may have mentioned, but i think that onc closed down.
14th-Jul-2012 12:10 am (UTC)
I've updated to reflect this.
20th-Apr-2012 05:42 pm (UTC)
I have found that 8.5 x 11 inch scrapbooks make a great way to store things. The book has pleanty of room to put all of your autographed pictures and flyers and anything else that you need to store flat. It has hard cover that will protect the stuff and also makes for a great clip board also
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