DragonCon comes up so very soon week. And we all know that cons aren't for everyone. There are still some good rules, or guidelines as it were, for surviving at DragonCon (or any other convention).
5-3-1 Rule: 5 hours of sleep, 3 meals, 1 shower
This should be the minimum mandatory for us all especially concerning the shower. 40k+ people packed into that small a space requires good hygiene habits.
Hygiene rule: Cleanliness is next to Wheatoness.
Wash your hands frequently and before you put anything in your mouth. If you're not near a sink, use hand sanitizer. Con crud sucks and you don't want to pass it on to anyone else. And if you see me on Sunday, you might want to run away screaming or put on a hazmat suit. That's usually when my con crud kicks in. (The only year I haven't gotten some version con crud was the one where I drank 4 cups of blood orange tea everyday for a month leading up to the con and I still got an ear infection from the flight up.)
Elevator rule: You will have a hellacious wait.
There is always a line. Remember to let those in wheelchairs/scooters/etc on first. DO NOT DO THE GO-UP-TO-GO-DOWN THING! You're screwing thing up for everyone else when you do that.
Of course, I don't know why you're bothering to try to take the elevator. Just take the stairs.
Corollary to the Elevator rule: Pointy costumes on the elevator, wait for the next.
Trust me, I've gotten poked in the face/back of the head/tit too many times while pressed back against the glass in an elevator at the Hyatt.
2nd Corollary to the Elevator rule: Be prepared to get up close and personal with strangers.
I swear, dude, I did not mean to grab your ass. I got bumped by Chewbacca. Okay, the first time, I got bumped by Chewy. The second time was an ass grab. Sorry. Nice top hat, by the by. (I'm not joking either. Much.)
3rd Corollary to the Elevator rule: The Stair/Escalator rule: If you are physically capable of taking the stairs or elevator, DO SO!
Each of the host hotels (maybe not the Sheraton) has escalators on the convention levels. They are much quicker than the elevators. Leave the elevators to those who cannot take the stairs/escalators and those who are actually going up to their hotel rooms. Nothing sucks quite like waiting 20+ minutes to take an elevator to your hotel room because people were riding 20 floor up just to go 1 floor down.
BISis has no patience with waiting for things. I'm prepared to take the stairs most of the time. I've requested again that we be on the 10th floor or below. I can do 10 flights a couple times a day (sometimes anyway). Several years ago, staying on the 16th floor almost killed me. By the by, the stairwells are gross by the end of the con. Luckily she had knee surgery after last year's con which should cut down on some of the trips up and down.
Corollary to the Stair Rule: If you're heading to your (or someone else's, you lucky dog) room on a higher floor, take the stairs to the first or second floor of guest rooms and then get on the elevator. It will be a lot emptier.
Line rule: Talk to people.
I've always had great conversations with complete strangers while waiting in line for my badge (really, with as long as that wait is, you might as well enjoy it) and for panels. DragonCon is filled with people just like you. You never know, you could make life long friends, or at least, a weekend drinking buddy. If you're near me in a panel line (I'll be in the insane red, white and blue hat), say Hi.
Costumes rule: Be prepared.
Have a sewing kit. Always change your underwear. Or possibly don't plan on wearing the same cosplay everyday. Also consider how difficult it will be to navigate stairs, rows between chairs, and the bathroom in the costume. Also be prepared for the heat. Atlanta is called Hotlanta for a reason.
Corollary to the Costume rule: Don't stand too close.
I love steampunk outfits. They are fantastic. They also frequently have sharp, and pointy edges especially if they have steampunk fairy wings. Don't walk to closely. Pointy hurts. (Pardon my Willow moment.) This goes for costumes with weapons as well. It's all fun and games til someone gets an eye put out and most people don't look good in an eyepatch. They're also hard to game in, eyepatches that is.
Mary Poppins rule: Be prepared.
I have cameras, wallets, OTC meds, snacks, drinks, sweaters, notebooks, pens, tissues, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, clorox wipes, face wipes, and who knows what else.It is a good thing.
Second most important con rule, (i.e. The Wheaton Rule): Don't be a dick!
Listen to the wise and all knowing (or mostly knowing anyway) Wil Wheaton. He know of which he speaks.
And above all else, Most Important Con Rule: Have fun!
Random other con tips (partially culled from the DragonCon Newbies Facebook page, join us there):
1. Take cash with you or plan to hit the ATM on Thursday. Most will be empty by late Friday.
2. In previous years, dealers had a hard time processing credit cards. They're in America's Mart which helps, but cash is still easier.
3. Know any plan will fall apart not long after the first panel of the day. Try to do all you want, but be open to changing your schedule.
4. There are newbie tours on Thursday afternoon. Check out the FB page and join. I'll be leading one of them this year.
5. There is also a newbie Q&A in the American Science Fiction and Fantasy track room (Marriott A601-602) Thursday at 5:30 pm. Stop by and say hi.
6. Naps are a good thing.
7. If you are in a host hotel, DCTV airs on the hotel channel. It will show popular guest panels either live or rebroascast. If a panel line looks really long, BISis and I will check the program to see if it is being aired live. If so, we grab lunch and watch it in our room.
8. DragonCon has an app. Download it. It will be your best friend. It also works without wifi/data coverage. It includes the schedule and maps.
9. If your cosplay has anything that would set off airport security (weapons, metal, etc), ship it to the hotel where you are staying. Include your check-in date on the package.
I'm also working on a post for gluten-free eating at Dragon-Con that I hope to have up in a few days.