With Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 just one short week away, I wanted to take a few minutes to pass along some packing tips that my wife and I have found to be very helpful over the years. We’ve adopted these tips for several trips to Celebration, New York Comic Con, Toy Fair New York, and other events/conventions. You won’t find tips such as “pack water/snacks” or “get a good night’s rest” in the tips below as I consider those to be pretty obvious pointers that everyone needs to follow. Hopefully you’ll find some usefulness in the tips provided below and if not, have a great time at Celebration regardless!
Bring Business Cards
There’s no easier/quicker way to exchange contact information at Celebration than by the use of business cards. They are very reasonably priced and can be designed without much effort via a variety of different websites/retail stores. Include your name, email address, social media handle(s), and website (if applicable) so your fellow Star Wars fans can connect up with you on the web.
Use a Secure Badge Lanyard
I never use lanyards that have those “alligator teeth” heads to them when attending an event/convention. I do not trust their ability to securely hold my badge especially during conventions that are jam-packed with attendees. One could easily have their badge ripped from a lanyard (either intentionally or not) with a clumsy clasp like this. I recommend purchasing a lanyard with a thumb-activated clasp such as this one and using it for your Celebration badge. It makes it much harder for the badge to be removed from the lanyard. And what’s more important than having your admission badge securely on you at all times?
Bring Assorted Colored Fine-Tipped Sharpie Markers
If obtaining autographs from celebrities at Celebration is on your to-do list, I suggest packing an assortment of colored fine-tipped Sharpie markers. While each guest will have markers at their table for signing autographs, their markers might be blunt from extended use, resulting in signatures that may be blurry or not clearly defined. Bring your own markers for the signer to use and avoid this potential pitfall. And with an assortment of colored markers, you can have guests who play Sith characters sign in red marker, Jedi/Rebels in blue or green, resulting in a cool touch of uniqueness to your autograph collection.
Pack a Leather Portfolio For Your Autographs
Speaking of autographs, you’ll want to make sure you have a means for safely and securely transporting all of your signed Celebration 8×10 photos back home. I recommend purchasing an inexpensive hardbound leather portfolio such as this to store all your signed photos. It will help prevent them from getting creased/wrinkled each day you are at the convention and acts as a protective holding cell for them during your transportation back home.
Bring a Telescoping Poster/Document Tube
This is basically a must-have if you plan on purchasing any posters/art prints while you are at Celebration. A telescoping poster/document tube with an adjustable strap like this one will put your mind at ease knowing your posters/art prints are safely rolled up and protected from accidental crushing, creasing, or bending. Lesser-quality storage tubes may be available at Celebration (depending on where the poster/art print is purchased from), but why take that gamble? Bring your own telescoping tube that can be adjusted to accommodate various document lengths and leave the worry behind.
Pack a Padded Seat Belt Cover
Yes, yes, let me explain. Unless you booked a hotel close to the McCormick Place convention center that you can quickly run back and forth to for dropping things off in your room, chances are you will be carrying a bag/backpack with you all day long while you are at Celebration. And as you add items to those bags, they can begin to take a toll on your neck/shoulders as the day progresses along. Running the strap on your bags through a padded seat belt cover can do wonders for your neck/shoulders by offering a much more comfortable way to carry them around. Trust me on this one – they are worth their weight in gold.