This tips are geared towards people who may be traveling to a convention that may be a bit far away, and are taking some form of public transportation, whether it be a bus, train, or plane. Some of these tips can also apply to people who are carpooling, as well!
Book in Advance: I know this is a reoccurring tip in many of my posts, but planning in advance is important for attending many cons, especially one’s of a larger scale. When a con is announced, I book my transportation when dates of the event and hotel block are confirmed. Once I book my hotel, I then set up transportation. I rarely take flights to conventions, though have been trying out Amtrack lately. Though on some occasions, I do travel to events on buses– I buy my bus tickets in advance if I’m able to do so. Many transportation options do require you to pay for the cost upfront. Booking early and spreading out costs can also help you budget for an event in advance.
Bonus tip: Have a confirmation e-mail ready when arriving to your hotel if needed.
Know Your Limitations: If you are travelling to a convention for the first time, try to limit what you bring and set guidelines for yourself. I personally set a rule of bringing only one large prop if I am travelling on buses, and the prop must be able to break down and fit in my suitcase, or be easily transported by hand. Remember to package props carefully, perhaps even more so than what you may be accustomed to. Think of logistics, such as getting on your bus or airplane with luggage, and pack ahead of time. Also keep in mind that you might be coming home with some goodies from the dealer’s room or artist’s alley, and it may be a good idea to have extra space just in case.
Bonus tip: If there is a bag check during security check-points, it may be a good idea to put a very brief note on your props or costumes, detailing that they’re for a convention and can be fragile.
Look up Rules and Regulations Before Traveling:
Getting through security can be one of the most stressful parts of travelling. But if you do your research prior to travelling and become familiar with policies, this can help make the process easier for both you and the TSA. Keeping your suitcase organized also helps the TSA throughout their screening process.
If you are located in the United States and are going into an airport, the TSA website features rules on almost any type of common item. The TSA also answers questions on items that may not be on their website through social media. In my experience, policies on items tend to be consistent throughout the TSA. One of the most important guidelines for many passengers is the 3-1-1 rule when it comes to items such as prescriptions and toiletries. The image above gives further detail on this policy.
Policies on what you cannot bring are also very important to familiarize yourself with. Policies on carry-on bags, as well as weight and size limits, can vary depending on which airline you choose to travel. If you go above the recommended limit, there are some airlines that require an extra fee.
As for trains, I know that Amtrack, like many airlines, does also limit carry-ons before fees are applied. Like the TSA, the guidelines are also on Amtrack website. Of course, you should also keep the convention’s rules and guidelines in mind, especially when it comes to cosplays and props.
Bonus tip: Try getting a unique luggage tag to make your items easy to recognize when going off the airplane. I have a cute turquoise one that that stands out!
Don’t forget Toiletries and Casual Clothes:
I mentioned toiletries earlier: make sure to pack the essentials! (This includes deodorant) Casual clothes are also important to pack if you want to take a break from cosplaying. This includes a pair of comfortable shoes.
Have any additional tips? Feel free to comment with any of your suggestions on travelling with cosplay!