I've seen a few threads on these before, but I figured I'd post my own sort of "survival" tips that have always worked for myself in the past. These of course aren't anything that are solid. Different things work for different people. But this has what's worked for me in the past so I figured I'd share!
Lists are your friends.
I have a pretty terrible memory so I'd rather just write everything down and make sure I got everything I wanted. I can't tell you the number of times I've forgotten my contacts. It's really easy to over pack and under-pack.
One thing that really helps save space is making sure all your clothes/costumes are folded. It allows you to pack more things if you need to.
Wear your shoes.
This sounds sort of silly, but if you're running out of space you could wear a pair of shoes to the convention. I wouldn't recommend this if you have some oddly shaped or really modified shoes. But if you have something basic like sneakers or a pair of boots, it can save a ton of space.
Travel sized containers
For stuff like shampoo and soap you can buy little containers to put all that stuff in. Rather then dragging a giant bottle of shampoo or using whatever the hotel might have.
Bags, one or many.
Luggage can depend on your travel means. Are you in a car? Are you driving with several other people? It might be best to pack light so you can fit everyone's stuff. If not then get one of those larger suitcases. I have a large roller suitcase I prefer to stick everything. If I'm strapped for car space I tend to take a large dufflebag.
A lot of travel stuff is pretty obvious. You cans save money if you split gas and tolls. I've always found it cheaper to drive and split costs but obviously that's not always possible. Bring snacks that you can eat in the car and at the hotel room.
It's super easy to just let yourself throw your things everywhere. What I like to do is just pick a spot and try and keep all my things there. Even if I don't repack it right afterwards, as long as it's all there I don't have to hunt around the hotel room to find it. And more then likely, you'll be sharing that room with several people. If you don't then you're lucky to have the extra space!
Carry only what you really need. That much is obvious enough, but like packing it's pretty easy to take what you don't need. Assuming you're cosplaying you probably won't have any pockets, you'll probably have to carry a purse or a bag. I used to carry a nice big bag to carry everything but lately I've been downsizing and carrying small clutches. They have a handle to keep around my wrist and it's easier to hide for photos or keep with me. Some rooms (dealers room, artist alley, game rooms, etc) have bag policies, and won't let you take in bags that are bigger then a certain size. So it's whatever is easier for you. Generally what I carry is...
- Cards (creditcards, ID)
And that's about it. I have my camera on hand.
This is a minor thing but I always hate whenever I have my badge, forget to move it and someone takes a photo and it's there. It can distract from a really amazing costume. What I like to do is attach my badge to my bag. That way I always have it with me, I never worry about loosing it and I never worry about it in photos.
A lot of cons have little coolers they post around, but during the summer it gets really hot. I like to carry a water-bottle with me. Whenever I can I just refill it and be on my way. Saves money on drinking and its a lifesaver during summer cons.
Asking for photos
I think most people know how to be polite, or ask politely for a photo. For the most part people will say yes. I've only ever had one person tell me no when I asked for a photo. If they say no, it's not a big deal. Whatever their reasons are, reasonable or not, it's their own. And in the end it's only a photo.
For now that's all I have or can really think of. If you have any feel free to comment.