Newcomers to cosplaying might not appreciate how unique the process of traveling to conventions and other events actually is. And, if you haven’t done it before, you might run into problems if you aren’t prepared.
With that in mind, here are 9 tips for cosplayers to help manage their travel.
1) Price Comparison
As with any time you travel, remember to use the price comparison sites to get good deals on flights and other elements of your trip. Kayak is a good place to start. Once you’ve found the lowest fare, double check it against the airline’s own website where it may be listed cheaper and then check if there are regional sites where it might be cheaper in another currency (i.e., britishairways.co.uk instead of britishairways.com).
2) Bid on Rooms
A similar approach can be applied to booking your accommodation if you’re staying somewhere overnight or for several days. Priceline and Hotwire allow you to bid on hotel rooms in the United States, so you can get a good deal.
You could always buddy-up with local cosplayers or see if anyone attending the event is offering ‘Couchsurfing’ to get a free room.
Note: If you’re currently unemployed or the travel is just proving too expensive, you might consider an online loan to help you fulfill your cosplay desires.
3) Plan Your Travel
This may seem obvious, but always fully plan your itinerary before you leave. Don’t just assume you can grab a cab at X or that the bus to Y will be on time. If you’re using a system like the London Underground, it is also wise to plan which line you need to be on and which stops to get on and off at before you get there, so you don’t waste time staring at maps. There’s nothing worse than being lost, dressed like Jill from Resident Evil and Barry isn’t there to save you.
4) Plan Your Packing Strategy
Packing is difficult for regular travel, but cosplaying can take it to the next level. Do you props fit in your bags? And, if they do, do those bags fit on public transport. Once you’re dressed up, do you even fit on public transport?
5) You Will Turn Heads
If you choose to get into most of your gear before traveling to the event location (which is the easiest solution in the majority of scenarios), you will certainly turn heads when around civilians on the street or public transport.
People will be looking at you and might even make comments. This is the nature of the beast and although most people see the fun side of things, will be friendly and are just interested, others can be mean-spirited.
You do you and take it on the chin, but just be prepared to be the center of attention for a little while. You’ll find that once you get close to your destination there will be others dressed up and you won’t feel so exposed.
6) It Will Get Hot
Another thing to expect while traveling in costume is that it will often get very hot, depending on the materials you used and how elaborate the costume is. That’s why we stress bringing essentials like water and to leave props and other extra items in bags if you can easily adorn them when you arrive.
7) Use Lightweight Materials for Props
It’s a lot of fun carrying around Thor’s hammer, but not if it’s close to the weight of the real thing. Remember, that whether you’re traveling or walking around an event, carrying props will get tiring. So, as long as you’re able to maintain that authentic look, make sure to use light-weight materials (foam and plastic) to lessen this burden.
Beginners should also take note that anything that could be perceived or used as a real weapon is not usually allowed at events anyway, so lightweight is the way to go.
8) Charge Your Gadgets
Smartphones are important whenever you’re traveling, but if you’re cosplaying, you’ll probably be taking a lot of pics and video and interacting on social media as well. This can be quite intensive, So don’t forget to have everything fully charged and bring replacements and battery packs for backup.
9) Don’t Forget the Essentials
You’ll need enough cash or balance on your cards to cover the duration of your stay, photo ID, snacks and water, alternative clothes and shoes for when you want to take a break from our costume, and cosmetics and hygiene products (deodorant guys, it can get hot).
Traveling as a cosplayer can be stressful and has its unique challenge, but by taking the above tips into account you’re going to have a lot of fun!