AI: Convention Survival


This weekend is SkepchickCON! It will be my first time at CONvergence and I am extremely excited. I haven’t been to a whole lot of skeptical events before, and I have never been to a geek convention of this size before, so it’s going to be a big deal.

I HAVE been to many (so many) other conventions – but my usual packing lists for kinky conventions, camping trips, or queer pride events is probably not ideal for this event. Some stuff is obvious (clothes and toiletries, granola bars, my teddy bear) but I’m looking for non-obvious tips!

What do you bring when traveling to a convention or event? What tips and tricks do you have to get the most out of big events like this?

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  1. While the days of the infamous 16th floor of the Radisson South are long gone, your kinky convention packing list may serve better than you’d expect.

    Assuming you made it into the Radi-Shera-Doubletree (expect it to be called that often, given its recent history of name changes) or just want to hit overflow room parties on 4 or gaming on 22, expect to give up on the elevators and take the stairs as much as possible. It’s improved since they implemented the ‘off on 2, on on 1’ policy, but with 5k+ people in a hotel with 22 floors and 3 elevators, the lines get long in the evening. The hotel is full to bursting at this point.

    If you want to make it to the Masquerade, be prepared to get in line far in advance (I’d say at least an hour). They usually have an overflow screen showing it outside the main function space, and it’s also broadcast on the hotel channel in the rooms.

    If you’re claustrophobic or don’t deal well with crowds, steel yourself for the room parties in the cabanas around the pool. The hallways aren’t really wide enough for more than 2-3 people across, and people tend to hang out in them at night, so you’ll need to squeeze through. If you’re just trying to get from one end of the courtyard to the other, there are back hallways on the first floor which give you easier access to Consuite (which serves ‘real food’, rice, cereal, pizza, chinese food, etc. roughly around mealtimes).

    Always bring your badge with you. There will be volunteers badging the entrance to anywhere there’s function space.

    The hotel restaurant won’t be open this year, which is sadly no big loss. TGI Friday’s across the parking lot is where most people go. There’s also a Burger King, Dairy Queen, Eddington’s (soup and sandwiches), Subway and Cheetah Pizza right near the hotel.

    If you drive to the DoubleTree, once you’ve parked, do not leave. The lot will be completely packed all weekend. If you’re at an overflow hotel, take advantage of the shuttles.

    Probably the most important tip applies everywhere really, but be aware of your surroundings. The hallways can get really tight, so if you’ve stopped to have a conversation with someone, move to the edge so you don’t block the other 5000 people trying to move past you. 🙂

  2. You’re welcome. Convergence is a pretty friendly place. There are volunteers all over the place that can help you out if you have questions. I’ve been going since it started (and to MiniCon long before that; it occurred to me that I’ve been going to conventions in that hotel for 24 years, since my first MiniCon at 12).

    Supposedly, Friday will bring storms and a drop to mid-80s, with low 80s after, so hopefully we’re at the end of it.

    I went to a Bear Camp event last weekend that was supposed to be Saturday through Tuesday. I made it until after lunch on Monday, and half the group had left by then. There was no breeze, so on top of the extreme heat we were eaten alive by mosquitoes and flies any time we went outside. 4 days in the Sofitel sounds very appealing right now. 😉

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