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    Attention Geeks, These Are The 20 Things You Need If You're Going To A Convention

    Spending the day (or the weekend) at a pop culture con is a marathon, not a sprint. And you'd better come prepared.

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    Hello there! If you're reading this, I'm guessing you either have tickets to a fandom convention coming up, or have always been interested in going to one. Well, having attended cons of all sizes and varieties for the past decade, I highly recommend it. Cons are always some of the highlights of my year.

    Fox

    But! They can also be stressful, and they require major planning. That's why, from my incredibly-type-A person-going-to-conventions experience, I've rounded up the things you're most likely to want to have on hand for the big event. So gather a kit of these essentials, and then go have the time of your life.

    1. A lightweight reusable water bottle that'll actually ensure you drink enough water throughout your busy day. Not only does this one do a ~magical~ job of tracking your H2O intake, but it's also Harry Potter-themed!

    amazon.com

    Promising review: "I love this water bottle! I'm obsessed with Harry Potter and was looking for a water bottle that could help me up my water intake, and this was the perfect solution! It has times on one side that you follow, and by the end of the day you know exactly how much water you've had! I also like the wrist strap which makes for easy carrying." —R&K Dravenstott

    Get it from Amazon for $21.99 (available in two colors).

    2. A slim but spacious wallet, because cons are one occasion where it's definitely good to have some cash on you, not just a credit card. It can make merch booth transactions so much quicker.

    Amazon

    This wallet has a RFID-blocking lining, not to mention over 4,500 positive reviews!

    Promising review: "I ordered this wallet to replace one that I’ve had for close to eight years that just wasn’t able to hold the number of cards that I had anymore. I’m absolutely thrilled with it. It holds every single card that I have (20, some of which are stacked behind one another), my phone, and cash, all without feeling super bulky. It’s probably not large enough to hold something larger than a regular iPhone (I have a 6s), but for me it’s absolutely perfect. I’ll definitely be using this wallet for everything." —Amanda Parmelee

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99 (available in 34 colors).

    3. The right bag that can actually fit all your essentials and show off your fandom flair — like an ita bag (aka a carryall that has a compartment just for protecting and displaying patches, pins, and charms).

    Amazon, amazon.com

    Plus, it can be worn as a backpack or a crossbody! Learn more about ita bags here!

    Promising review: "This is an amazing bag! It's well-made, and I've had no problems with the zipper. It also held way more than I expected! I was able to fit everything in the second photo PLUS a water bottle! I would buy another!" —Mac M.

    Get it from Amazon for $14.99 (available in five colors)

    4. Or a cute and roomy tote bag you can embellish with your pin collection to your heart's content.

    Amazon, Katy Herman/BuzzFeed

    Totes are the way I personally go for cons, just because I schlep an absurd amount of stuff (that's my bag on the right). I have several, some for specific fandoms/to go with cosplays and also this one to rep everything I love at once. Yes, you do run more of a risk of losing pins when you go for a tote, but I just check on them throughout the day to make sure they're secure. My usual con bag packing strategy is to put a regular crossbody purse inside the tote so I have all my everyday essentials with me, then use the rest of the space in the bag for snacks, my sweater, and the stuff I inevitably accumulate throughout my con day. I've only used this particular tote at one con so far, but it served me well!

    Get it from Amazon for $12.99 (available in two colors).

    5. And, of course, pins galore to let everyone know your favorite fandoms (and serve as easy conversation starters with fellow geeks).

    IAmLunaSol/Etsy, LiteraryEmporium/Etsy

    Get the Howl's Moving Castle pins from IAmLunaSol on Etsy for $11+ (available in three characters) and the Hogwarts house pin set from LiteraryEmporium on Etsy for $31.57 (or find the houses individually here).

    6. A super powerful portable charger with two output ports and over 9,000 (!!!!) positive reviews so you can rest assured that all your devices will be powered up throughout the day, no matter how many calls you make and Insta stories you post.

    Amazon

    It can charge an iPhone XS 2.75 times, an iPhone 8 5.2 times, or a Galaxy S8 3.2 times. Also check out BuzzFeed Reviews' picks for the best portable battery packs!

    Promising review: "I picked up this power pack when heading to a camp in Idaho. While there was limited power at the camp, there was none in our tents. This power pack is compact and easy to travel with. It has some weight to it, but it certainly isn't too heavy to be easily portable. Charging it is simple, as is operation. The single button makes powering the pack on and off easy. The built-in flashlight is a nice option, although it's not that bright and unlikely to be used by most. It could certainly be handy for camping. The pack charged my iPhone and Apple Watch each night without issue and still had plenty of power left even after a couple days in the woods. With the iPhone plugged into the 2.1A port, charging is faster than it'd be from your typical iPhone charger, while still charging the Apple Watch in the 1A port at standard speed. A great combination of size, power, and price, this power pack is great. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for more power on the go." —Ben

    Get it from Amazon for $29.99+ (available in two colors).

    7. A trusty pen or two to mark can't-miss things on your map and schedule, jot down contact info for new friends, and, of course, get autographs!

    Amazon, Hot Topic

    Get the set of two Mickey Mouse pens from Amazon for $8.84 or the Wonder Woman pen from Hot Topic for $7.90.

    8. A super versatile pleated skirt that can serve as an easy base for about a zillion cosplays (including ones you can make with stuff already in your closet).

    Katy Herman/BuzzFeed, amazon.com

    I've worn this skirt to several cons and fandom events as part of my Téa Gardner (from Yu-Gi-Oh!) cosplay and it's served me so well! The shape is perfect for anime and Hogwarts school uniforms and it's totally a basic you can reuse for different costumes.

    I'm absolutely a proponent of easy cosplays consisting largely of stuff you already have in your wardrobe and/or can wear again for non-cosplay looks. My Téa cosplay is my comfiest and easiest cosplay (perfect for super intense conventions like New York Comic Con) and it's also the one I feel the most confident when I wear — people even come up and ask to take my picture! I just used a sleeveless white button-down, pink cardi, and loafers that I already had and ordered this skirt, a neck bow, and some knee-highs off Amazon for cheap. I 10/10 recommend dressing as a fave character with a similarly easy-to-recreate look if you don't have the time or money to do a super-involved cosplay (or if you just want to be comfy!).

    Get it from Amazon for $16.69+ (available in waist sizes 25-34 and 35 colors and prints).

    9. A PopSockets PopGrip (bonus points if it reps a fave fandom like Marvel or Star Wars) — aka a flexible, collapsible phone attachment that can be used as a grip or stand. Because you're going to be taking a lot of pictures, checking the con app, and texting your friends all day long.

    Amazon

    Get the Avengers or Star Wars one from Amazon for $16.99.

    10. An adorable and fully-stocked mini emergency kit that'll come to the rescue of you and your friends so many times, the comic book stars featured at the con will be shook. You're the real superhero here.

    Lou & Grey

    It includes a nail file, earring backs, a bandage, a tampon, a safety pin, hairspray, breath freshener, clear nail polish, a stain remover wipe, double-sided tape, a deodorant wipe, a mending kip, floss, lip balm, clear hair elastics, a couple of pain reliever pills, and a nail polish remover wipe. Yep, you'll be ready for ANYTHING.

    Get it from Lou & Grey for $18 (available in three colors).

    11. A pack of antibacterial wipes, because you're gonna be touching bout 10,421 random communal surfaces and hugging and shaking hands with about as many people.

    Amazon

    I, a known germaphobe, literally never leave the house without a pack of these. They leave your hands feeling cleaner and less sticky than hand sanitizer. Unlike Purell, they can actually get gunk off your hands, not just sanitize them.

    Get 20 packs from Amazon for $14.90 (available in three varieties, including one for sensitive skin).

    12. If you're traveling for the con, a set of space-saving packing cubes so you can actually fit all your cosplays, your travel clothes, and all of the merch you are definitely going to buy into one suitcase.

    amazon.com

    These wonders are water-resistant and have over 7,500 (!!!) positive reviews!

    Promising review: "I'm officially sold on packing cubes! These things are amazing! I can't believe I've been packing without them my whole life. These are great quality and come in fun colors. I appreciate the mesh lining that allows you to peek inside. They're also a great value. I packed my clothes, shoes, and toiletry bag for a 10-day trip to Europe as I normally would first, and then packed them in the packing cubes. There was so much more room after packing in the cubes! The items I fit in the cubes and bag were: two jackets, a jean vest, four pairs of pants, two pairs of shorts, a romper, four dresses, a maxi skirt, seven tank tops, four shirts, three camisoles, three pajama sets, 15 pairs of undies, six pairs of socks, and four pairs of shoes. Why are you still reading?? Go buy these cubes!" —Tiffany

    Get a set of four plus a laundry bag from Amazon for $24.99 (available in nine colors).

    13. Airborne chewable tablets, which have vitamins C, A, and E and other minerals like zinc and magnesium said to give you an immune system boost to help fight off the dreaded con crud.*

    Amazon

    *If you're a newbie, "con crud" is the term for whatever illness you come down with after wearing yourself out and surrounding yourself with people at a convention all weekend. Yes, it happens enough that it has a name, but don't worry, it's not inevitable — self care, people!!!!

    As a germaphobe who is disgusted by similar products that you have to dissolve in your drink, I'm never without a bottle of these chewables. Listen, there's no 100% foolproof way to make sure you never get sick, but it definitely makes me feel better knowing I can give my immune system a mega-boost of vitamins.

    Promising review: "I recently traveled on a 17-21 hour flight and was in and out of airports. Taking Airborne a couple of weeks before my trip as well as after helps me boosted my immune system and helped me avoid many germs that I might otherwise succumb to. I take these during cold season or anytime I'm going to be in close proximity or contact with other folks that might not be all that healthy, like people on planes who might be coughing or sneezing. I haven't come down with anything since using these so I think they work well." —Michelle Dunn

    Get it from Amazon for $5.29+ (available in two flavors).

    14. A compact business card holder so you can easily hand out your contact info to and network with other geeks, plus keep all the cards for the amazing artists, writers, and businesses you discover at the con in one place.

    amazon.com

    Promising review: "I love the classic look when presenting my business cards. I like the style and the magnetic closure keeps cards from spilling in my purse." —Pam J

    Get it from Amazon for $7.99 (available in 25 colors).

    15. Some bullet clutch-style earring backs, which I have personally found make great pin back replacements in a pinch.

    Amazon

    Tbh, a lot of times the backs enamel pins come with don't stay on that well. I lost a back to a pin at a con about an hour after I bought it, and replaced it with this kind of earring back. It locked it in!!! Pin posts are usually thicker than earring posts, so once I got one of these on, it was actually pretty stuck and hard to take off. But that's exactly what I want to secure my precious pins on the con bag I toss around all day!

    Get 100 pairs from Amazon for $5.99+ (available in three colors).

    16. A sturdy lanyard representing your fave fandom to keep that all-important badge — yes, the one you got up super early and refreshed the page a million times to buy — close at all times.

    Sure, many cons provide free lanyards, but I prefer to bring my own for several reasons. 1) You get to show off the fandom of your choice and make sure it works with your cosplay. 2) They sometimes hand out the free lanyards separately from the badges and they can be hard to find, so this way you're all set. And 3) I find that the lobster clasp-style closure that the two lanyards above have is way sturdier than the clip on the end of some cheap giveaway lanyards. I don't want to have to worry about losing my precious badge!

    Get the Funko Thor lanyard for $8 or the Supernatural lanyard for $5.99, both from Amazon.

    17. A supply of scrumptious snacks to give you the pick-me-up you need when you're waiting in yet another 40-minute line or at your fifth panel of the day and you feel yourself fading fast.

    Amazon

    For example, some yummy waffle cookies that each have 130 calories, under nine grams of sugar, and a gram of protein or some gourmet potato chips in unique flavors like pink Himalayan salt or lime and cracked pepper.

    Get a 12-pack of the waffles for $16.49+ (available in five flavors or a variety pack) or a 12-pack of the potato chips for $16.19+ (available in three flavors or a variety pack), both from Amazon.

    18. Some Shout stain remover wipes that you should toss in your bag for when you inevitably get convention center ketchup on your cosplay.

    Amazon

    Is it even a con without those so-bad-they're-good convention center chicken tenders?

    Promising review: "These are much more portable than stain remover pens/markers — I can stuff these in my bags, pockets, my wife’s purse, etc. and have them everywhere. And I need them everywhere — I’m a very messy guy. So far, when used properly, they totally took care of a grease stain that would have otherwise ruined my shirt, and they took out about 80-90% of a mustard stain (thankfully my very busy-printed shirt is still acceptable; if I hadn’t had one of these nearby, it would have ruined the shirt)." —Ryan Anderson

    Get two packs of 12 from Amazon for $7.20.

    19. A genius bag organizer so you can switch between your everyday purse and your con bag with ease and — get this — not spend half the con digging around in your abyss of a tote for your wallet or phone.

    Amazon, amazon.com

    Promising review: "This bag has revolutionized my life! As a professional woman who needs to stay organized, my purse was my downfall. All my adult life I've fumbled to find things on the bottom of my handbag, no matter what size. Do I have a pen? It's got to be here somewhere. Paper, yes I think I have paper? Well, its crumpled, but it's paper. Now I'm the picture of efficiency, with my wallet, pens, paper, cords, phone, keys, gum, safety pins, comb, ID badge, mouthwash, lipstick, cold capsules, and more all tucked nicely into this travel bag, which easily slips in and out of any purse I choose to carry. This organizer holds a ton of stuff and everything is in full view. It's completely changed everything." —Janis Creason

    Get it from Amazon for $7.99+ (available in three sizes and 27 colors and prints).

    20. And a mini sewing kit if you've made an elaborate cosplay that might rebel once you start actually moving around in it.

    Amazon

    It includes scissors, measuring tape, 16 needles, 12 colors of thread, two straight pins, a safety pin, three buttons, two needle threaders, a seam ripper, and a thimble.

    Promising review: "I cosplay often and needed something to repair some of my armor and outfits on the fly. This was not only convenient for that but also great for fixes to my everyday attire. This has everything I need to get the job done just as well as if I were at home on my regular sewing machine. If you're looking for something easy, light, and simple to store, this is the perfect sewing kit for the job." —Bradley

    Get it from Amazon for $6.99.

    Now all you need are your actual con tickets — have fun frantically typing in your info before things sell out!

    CBS

    The reviews for this post have been edited for length and/or clarity.

    Traveling for the con and need more stuff for your trip? Check out more travel products, like the best carry-on bags you can get on Amazon, travel accessories for long flights, and the best places to buy luggage online.

    Shopping for something specific? Check out BuzzFeed Reviews to find the best things for every budget!

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