Packing for a con, in my opinion, is a lot like packing for a vacation. This depends a lot on your personal preferences and style choices. My group has a variety of styles and comfort levels, so our packing lists vary from each other. Now, keep in mind, the average temperatures in San Diego in July are 76°F / 66°F. The last few years, however, it’s been in the 80s and occasionally rains. It makes for an uncomfortably warm, muggy experience (even for someone who spent their summers as a kid in the South and lives in LA now.)
Now as a base, I always suggest one shirt, pair of underwear, and pair of socks per day (this can be decreased if you’re planning on cosplaying). I would also pack something less casual to change into if you plan on going to any special events at night, or just if you don’t feel like going out to dinner or drinks in your convention clothes. Bear in mind, some restaurants and lounges will not allow you in if you are not up to their dress code. This is also a great opportunity to break out those cool nerdy button-ups or dresses you and your friends may have sitting in your closet. Always bring comfortable walking shoes, too. On average, I walk 5 miles a day at SDCC, with my top mileage at 12 miles in a single day. Even if you aren’t planning it, you’ll probably end up walking a few miles to an event outside the con or a San Diego tourist hotspot. Even in the evenings, you can easily add in a couple miles getting dinner and drinks, so make sure all your shoes are up to the task.
So once you’ve managed to whittle down your clothing and shoe options, you’ve got toiletries. You’ll want to make sure to bring your standards: shampoo, conditioner, face wash and moisturizer (if you use it), deodorant (please, please bring this or you will make no friends in line), hair brush or comb, and sunblock. Many of these items can easily be brought along with you. Just remember that if you’re flying, there are rules to what you can bring in your carry-on. You can always leave your liquids at home and use the toiletries offered by your hotel. These include things like shampoo, conditioner, soap, and body lotion; they aren’t the best quality, but they’re free. Another option you may want to try is solid bars. You can easily order or purchase bars of shampoo, conditioner, and lotion ahead of time, all of which you can take through TSA with no problems. You can also pick up sunblock and other toiletries when you arrive if you may have left at home or forgotten them. Some hotels may offer small shops in their lobby, but there’s always CVS, Target, Walgreens and others locations to buy both full-size and travel or trial size items
We usually pack additional toiletries like makeup, lotion, hair and bath products. A lot of people also choose to bring wet wipes, face wipes, and dry or foam shampoo (especially if you’re going to be in the Hall H line.) These are also handy to have in your hotel room (or your bag) in the case that you’re too tired or are out of time while getting ready. Regardless of how you feel about them, bath products like bath bombs, bath melts, and epsom salts are a fantastic thing to bring. Not only are these lovely to use, but they’ll help with any aches and pains you get while walking about all day. For anyone concerned with how “girly” these things might be or smell, don’t worry, companies make these in tons of different scents, not just floral ones. Peppermint bath bombs and epsom salts are almost always packed in to our bag to help with achy muscles and feet. If you don’t have time to pick them up before your trip, there’s a Lush you can stop into on the MTS train line, as well as some available at Target.