Nerdapalooza 2013 is only a week away. This means that ticket-holders are already filled with anticipation, while all other geeks are haunted by the crushing dread of what might have been. As a fellow who counts himself among the former, I’m not only looking forward to three full days of fun and frivolity with my tribe, I’m also hard at work getting my proverbial ducks in a row.
This ain’t my first rodeo; it is, in fact, my fourth Nerdapalooza, and as such I have finally managed to get a proper handle on what is and is not required for me to have optimal fun with minimal fuss. By this point I’m sure you’ve already arranged transportation, lodging and informed your employer that you’ve got more important things to do next weekend. The only question left unanswered concerns what to pack.
Step one in the process is determining the proper luggage. So exactly how big a suitcase/rucksack/jumbo trash bag should you pack? That depends a lot on A) your means of travel and B) exactly how long you’re going to be there. Obviously if you’re flying into Orlando packing lightly is even more important than to those of us that are making the drive down. Either way you want to pack smart. ThinkGeek has recently released their own exclusive Travel Boy carry-on suitcase, and they were nice enough to send me one of these retro gaming-styled beauties to check out. I was impressed by its smooth rolling casters, its telescoping aluminum handle and just how much stuff you can cram into a case with such a small footprint. It’s got zippered dividers, a charger and/or toiletries pouch and elastic straps to keep your gear in place. It’s just the right size for a weekend adventure, and it’s how I’m getting all my stuff to NAP 2013 — even if I don’t have to tangle with the TSA or overhead compartments.
Assuming you have a little extra space in your carry-on and because we are fast approaching Halloween, the nerdiest holiday of the year, you’ll likely want to bring along a costume of some sort. If space really is at a premium, you can always go with a super-simple cosplay. A Finn hat and blue t-shirt, for example, travels easy and looks great!
I cannot stress this enough: you are going to be standing. A lot. And there’s going to be lots of walking — in the hotel, around the venue, etc. Be good to your feet, folks, and they’ll be good to you.
Charging cables and extra batteries
Your phone is your Nerdapalooza lifeline. You’ll be using it to snap photos, to live-Tweet your favorite sets and to locate your friends when you inevitably get separated. Be sure to bring a charging cable. Hell, bring two! And, since you can’t exactly plug you phone in behind Hildor‘s amp to juice up, you might want to invest in a battery case or portable charger.
Nerdapalooza attracts both fans and performers from all over. Genuine Independent Rap Legend Jesse Dangerously, for example, is coming all the way from Canada-land, and lots of great acts like Beefy and Death*Star don’t often make it over to the east coast. This mean you’ll want to load up on their exotic wares, and the best way to do that is with cold, hard American currency. Yes, your plastic will prove invaluable for gas and food and the like, but please make the lives of those fine men and women working the merch booths easier by bringing ample cash. I assure you there will be a delightful selection of t-shirts, CDs, art and collectables, so plan accordingly.
An extra swag bag
And exactly how did you plan to get all your new purchases back home? Hadn’t thought about that, had you? Well, don’t neglect to bring an extra backpack or the like to store your newfound valuables. You don’t want to find yourself rushing across the parking lot in the rain leaving a haphazard trail of posters and tees in your wake. I’ve been that guy, and I promise you that it’s no fun at all.
A positive mental attitude
Let’s face it, folks; by Monday morning all of us are gonna be tired and hoarse and more than a little grouchy. The least we can do is try to go into NAP 2013 with plenty of rest and an optimistic outlook. Yeah, there are gonna be technical difficulties. Sets might start later than advertised. You might even find that your most anticipated performer/performance just doesn’t do it for you like you thought. That’s okay. You are among friends, and, moreover, there are plenty of awesome things to do in and around the festival. Just breathe, brother. Just. Breathe.
In reference to the above point, some of us must leverage the healing powers of science to stay both physically healthy and in a proper headspace. There’s no shame in that. So please, please pack your prescription medications. You take them for a reason.
I started to type “Portable gaming system” there, but let’s not play coy, eh? Nerdapalooza = StreetPasses galore! Bring your 3DS, you 3DS XL, your brand new 2DS. This is mandatory. Also bring your copy of Animal Crossing and/or Pokemon X or Y. If you don’t own any of those titles chances are you are 3DSing wrong. Go forth, and sin no more.
Yeah, I went there. Just because you are in a room full of sweaty geeks doesn’t mean it has to smell like a dairy farm at feeding time. Pack your toiletries, shower up and smell pretty.