Travel Tips for Attending an Event

Travel Tips for Attending an Event Artwork

*You can think of this post as a sister article to this one written by Tori B Bearly, as both deal with attending an event. I suggest you check out both.

In October our contributors Tori B Bearly and Freelancer Tom will be heading to Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland to see Ninja Sex Party. The group are coming to the UK as part of their European Tour, alongside TWRP who are acting as both a support act for the event, as well as NSP’s backing band.

Interestingly enough the impetus behind this article actually dates back October 2017 when Tori and I attended another event, which actually has ties to Ninja Sex Party. Specifically, we went to see the Ready Player 3 tour, which had the Game Grumps, and Jacksepticeye do a live gaming event. This event was a whole lot of fun but for reasons I will elaborate on in a moment it was also less than stellar. So we wanted to create an article about how to avoid having a bad time while travelling to a big event, and we figured it would be absolutely perfect to tie it into attending this event in Edinburgh.

Anyway back in October 2017 Game Grumps were touring Europe and we decided to go see them, and rather than travel to any of the other options in the UK like Cardiff, London or Manchester we decided to take the opportunity to tick something off our bucket list and visit Ireland, so we decided to book tickets for the Dublin leg of the tour. This in and of itself was not a bad decision, as we did enjoy seeing Ireland, both Belfast and Dublin are amazing cities but due to a very tight budget, and incredibly restrictive time schedule and that we had no choice but to travel by train, ferry and coach rather than the far more expedient and direct plane (because Tori doesn’t have a passport) the entire journey was incredibly stressful and overall was a complete and utterly shambles, only made up for by the fact that we got to see Game Grumps.

So to avoid sharing our unpleasant experience we wanted to share some tips and suggestions for travelling for an event, from someone who did it wrong the first time.

First off if you are travelling for any length of time please bring something to entertain yourself. Now in fairness to us we actually did follow this step. On top of phones and a Nintendo Switch, and a book ot two we also brought Rory’s Story Cubes and Cobra Paw, which are both super fun board games, you can actually check out us demonstrating those games by clicking here and here respectively. We also played Dobble a really nifty matching and pattern recognition game, which we also demonstrated, and you can check that out here.

All of the games were kindly sent to us by Asmodee, as we work for them as games demonstrators when we’re not writing for Off the Record. Anyways between these and our phones we were entertained on the first leg of our long journey. But seriously make sure and take games, phones, books…anything to keep you occupied because you do not realise how easily you get bored without even a phone as a crutch.

On a related note, if you are bringing laptops, phones, handheld consoles (like The Nintendo DS or Switch or hell even a retro gameboy) make sure and bring plugs, cables and if you can also get at least one portable charger so you can have uninterrupted access to all your devices. Plus as an added bonus more often these days, public transport links have handy little charger ports to keep you topped up.

Make sure and bring clothes, and not just anything to cover up the old birthday suit. Pick suitable ones, for example we will be attending a gig, in which case you should dress for maximum comfort, taking into account that you’ll most likely be on your feet the entire time, and it will be incredibly hot, and you’ll be surrounded by plenty of bodies. So where light layers, avoid anything that dangles or can get tangled. Try to avoid cumbersome bags, both for your comfort as well as that of others around you and make sure and wear sturdy but comfortable footwear.

The rules can get a bit more complex for conventions like Comic-Con (like when we attended ACME Comic Con) because you may or may not be cosplaying, in which case authenticity to the character obviously trumps personal comfort but there are still steps you can take to ensure you have a good time. If you have a head piece that covers your mouth and/or nose try to remove it every 45 minutes to an hour for a quick breather, make sure and drink plenty of water, especially if your costume is heavy or warm. Related but on the opposite side of things if your costume is very open or otherwise revealiny make sure you pack extra layers just in case because the convention center might be warm but if you’re attending an event here in Scotland the weather is not very kind and you don’t want to freeze to death because of your authentic Tarzan outfit.

Overall just try to plan ahead in terms of clothes for the event, the weather and your own comfort level. I mean look good always, we wouldn’t be the card carrying members of Kilmarnock’s Number 1 LGBT+ Group, Unity League if we weren’t absolutely styling at all times but you’ll have a much better time at whatever event you attending if comfort and practicality take precedence over aesthetics.

Oh another important tip, especially if you are planning on being away for more than one day. Make sure and take the weather into account. Fortunately for us the whole UK especially towards the end of the year is mostly cold and windy so we were packed for that regardless but if you are travelling somewhere different make sure and adjust accordingly. We just went from one cold, wet and windy place to another so we didn’t need to adjust much, but it doesn’t hurt to plan ahead. If it’s going to be sunny, dress lightly, take sunglasses, a hat and something to protect your skin, and if it’s going to be wet and/or cold then dress warmly and pack extra jackets or an umbrella.

That being said not all venues allow you to bring an umbrla, so make sure that either way you’ve got a jacket that’s warm, insulated and has a good hood. I’ve also found that when not in use umbrellas tend to be cumbersome, and often more trouble than their worthy especially in windier weather. I only really liked using my big yellow umbrella and only cause it reminds me of How I Met Your Mother. So a waterproof jacket is always the best call.

Next big tip. FOOD! Now this isn’t the typical don’t drink the water abroad thing. But more just another suggestion for preparation. Eat before you travel if at all possible but take plenty of snacks with you as well. I for example get quite travel sick on cars and buses after any longer than 1 and a half hours. Food can help settle my stomach. A few sandwiches spread out over a couple of hours as well as some Irn Bru helped me on the nearly six hour coach ride from Belfast to Dublin. But just as a precaution, even on short journeys its always advised to take at least a little something to eat just in case you need in. I recommend some protein or cereal bars as they tend to be decent tasting, relatively filling, and are not diminished in any significant way by being kept in a bag for long periods of time, or from changes in temperature. Make sure to also carry a bottle or two of water, staying hydrated is important and you’ll never not be grateful for a bottle of water.
If you need medication, make double and triple sure you have it, maybe even splurge and by a container for it so its protected and secure. And make sure and take it regularly as well. I know with the travelling and everything you might forget but make sure and use those freshly charged devices listed above to set alarms as reminders and take it with a snack and wash it down with some water (assuming it can be taken with food and water that is).

Money. This is usually vital for travel, even if you’ve pre-booked and paid for everything in advance. Which we strongly recommend you do. It’s still also very important to have money set aside in case of any emergencies. In our case we did not have any reserves left and as such if we had missed any leg of our journey to or from the event in Dublin we would have been unable to catch a later link without paying extra and thus would have been stuck. This emergency Money should be separate from any treat Money you may or may not also have which you can use for shopping, buying merch or gifts etc. I do suggest if you can afford it having a little bit of money just for fun.

If you are travelling internationally then this emergency fund is even more important as you’ll be dealing with different currencies, so make sure and stock up on your euros, pounds, dollars or whatever currency is tender in your destination before you leave to make things easier. If possible, don’t keep all your money in one place so that if it gets lost or stolen you still have something at least. Even if you need to get yourself a fanny pack or a bum bag or whatever it’s called to keep your valuables safe and close at hand, not getting stranded in a foreign country with no money is a bigger issue than looking a bit silly.

Side note, don’t keep your passport with your money either, for the same reason.

Also try not to take too much, especially if you expect to be travelling quite a bit. We didn’t over pack, and advise that you don’t either. Take a light but sturdy suitcase, preferably with wheels, and economise on your packing to only bring the absolute essentials. Plus extra room where possible for anything you might be bringing back. So yeah make sure that you pack as light as possible and have everything packed into as study and company a case or bag as possible. Fun little side note, the drop off point for our coach was actually a decent distance from our hotel so we actually managed to wear down the wheels on our suitcase transporting it from one location to another.

Next up tickets. Now most tickets these days are digital but if you can I’d encourage you to print off tickets just in case. I’d also recommend downloading the tickets and/or taking a screenshot of them if you are presenting them digitally, just in case you can’t access the Internet at the venue and so can’t show your tickets.

So I think that’s about it, just use common sense. Make sure and stay hydrated. Use the bathroom before an event, and during the intermission (if your event has one). Eat before and snack during. And double and triple check your bags, tickets and booking before you leave and once arriving. Lastly, ways treat your fellow attendees with courtesy and above all have a good time.
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