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Calthine's Fan Faire Tips

As I post this the SOE Fan Faire is a mere 40 days away.  This will be my third Fan Faire, and this time I'm gonna be busier than a one-winged bixie in a jumjum field with both EverQuest II and Free Realms to cover for ZAM.  It's a great time, if you can make it you surely should.

Here's some things I've learned the last two Fan Faires which you might find interesting, informative, or at least amusing.  All this may mean nothing if you're the type who can toss a change of underthings in a bag and be good for a week, but me, I need to plan a bit.

Getting There:  If you're flying be sure to check with your airline and airport's websites for current FAA regulations and how far ahead you need to be at the airport.  Also note that many airlines charge you to check more than one bag.  If you're driving, watch your budget by using a site like GasBuddy to find cheaper gas. Once you're in Vegas, grab a shuttle to the hotel.  They're all about the same, and you can buy a round-trip shuttle ticket for under $15.  Cheaper than a cab!  You don't really need a car in Vegas, especially if you're staying near the monorail (Bally's also offers free shuttles to its sister hotels).  

Lodging:  It may be cheaper to stay in a smaller hotel than the one hosting the convention, but if you can afford it stay where ever they put us (as I'm writing this the Fan Faire pricing block was extended, so you can still get $79 rooms).  Fan Faire goes just about all night and all day, and if you really get into it you won't have a minute to spare!  It's also nice when your hotel room is only 5 minutes away.

Toeses:  You're going to spend a lot of time walking, not just to and from your room but around the huge Legends Lounge and between conference rooms.  This is not the time to show off your favorite high heels unless you can stand in them for eight hours.  Bring comfy walking shoes.  When I feel the need to wear a heel at Fan Faire, you'll probably find a pair of flip-flops in my bag.

Noses:  I always feel weird mentioning this, but if your sinuses are sensitive in any way, be prepared.  You're going from where ever you live to a place where outside it's hot and dry and inside the air is very dry and over-processed.  A big bottle of plain old nasal saline will save you a lot of grief.  While you're at it, grab some of your favorite cold medicine, because I positively guarentee that someone at Fan Faire will be passing a cold around.

Hydration:  It's easy to forget to eat and drink, there's so much going on.  Keeping yourself hydrated will not only keep you going, it's a great defense against morning after hangovers.  Remember, nothing is free in Vegas if you're not actively gambling.  I actually bring my own water bottles, because I'm cheap.  Fill them half-full at night, pop them into your room freezer and top them off the next morning.  Top them off whenever you hit a rest room or water fountain.

NutritionThere is, of course, food available in the hotel.  Last year there was a nice, not too expensive coffee and sandwich stand very close to the convention area.  But if you want to min/max Fan Faire, be aware there are no meal breaks once things get going.  I recommend a hearty breakfast (even for folks like me whose idea of breakfast is a 16 oz latte), because you might not stop to eat until dinner, if then.  I carry some high-protein snack bars on me (brought from home, of course, 'cause I'm cheap) ever since the year Niami Denmother saved my day with a bag of Trail Mix.

The Nectar of Life:  Coffee, that is.  Every time I've been to Vegas there's been no coffee pot in the room.  I guess I've gotten used to it elsewhere.  Vegas, of course, wants you to buy room service, rent one of their pots, get or a $6 Starbucks.  Me, I pack a little travel coffee maker.  Have I mentioned I'm cheap?  It cost me about $15, and easily paid for itself the first trip.  Works for tea too!

Want to be Wireless?:  Most hotels in Vegas don't offer free Wifi, and Bally's is no exception.  "High-Speed" internet is available in your room at $13.99 for 24 hours.  The script the nice young man read me specified you need your own laptop with an ethernet card.  These sites list free wiki spots in Nevada, but you'll be leaving the hotel:  Wiki Free Spot and I Love Free Wifi.

Tech Toys:  Don't forget your phone chargers, laptop peripherals, mp3 chargers, and all those other miscellaneous wires that are scattered around your desk!  If you leave one behind the only reasonable options will be to buy one to replace it or do without.  Batteries, too, are probably cheaper where you live.

Forgot it?:  While it's true that they sell toothpaste where ever you go, if you need something in Vegas you get the choice of getting it from the hotel at tourist prices or hoping to find a store on public transportation (I swear, it's a $20 cab ride anywhere).  Make a list and check it twice!

6-2-1:  I'm ripping this right from one of my Fan Faire peices last year, because it's absolutely true.  My friend Rijacki recommends the 6-2-1 rule. She tells me you need 6, 2, and 1 of three things to "function" at a con:

  • showers
  • hours of sleep
  • meals

She swears it works in any combination. The recommended configuration is 6 hours of sleep, 2 meals, and 1 shower. But it's been done as 2 showers, 6 meals, and 1 hour of sleep.  I skipped this one day last year and regretted it badly the next day. 

I should have eaten 6 meals.

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Amen, and pass the Dr. Scholl's
# May 21 2009 at 5:13 AM Rating: Decent
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Let me add a BIG repaet on the comfortable shoes note. Last year I decided to wear my boots on the plane and ended up staying in them that whole day. Did not notice a problem until I woke up the next day with huge blisters on both feet right between the toes and pad of both feet. Needless to say this made days 2 and 3... difficult.

Oh, and bring one of those little collapsible wheeled bag cart thingees, or leave the heavier tech toys at home! My laptop bag, fully loaded, is so heavy that by day 3 it felt like someone had been beating on my shoulders with sledge hammers.
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Amen, and pass the Dr. Scholl's
# May 22 2009 at 5:09 PM Rating: Excellent
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I actually bought a laptop backpack this year. My marvy Pirates of the Caribbean laptop bag was killing me, even with the volunteer luggage bearers!
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6 -2 - 1
# May 20 2009 at 9:02 PM Rating: Excellent
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Vegas isn't fun unless you do 6 showers, 1 hour of sleep and 2 meals a day. It proves you're partying enough. Shower after each party. Sleep between party 3-4 if possible.
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Walgreens!
# May 19 2009 at 6:38 PM Rating: Excellent
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Obann noted over on the Official Forums that there's now a Walgreen on the Las Vegas Strip. And it's close! Map

Edited, May 19th 2009 10:38pm by Calthine
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Walgreens!
# May 20 2009 at 9:06 PM Rating: Excellent
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There is a Walgreens and CVS on either side of the road right near the Paris. You can't go wrong on either side (getting to the other side is a bit of a walk though).
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Wooo!
# May 19 2009 at 11:16 AM Rating: Decent
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*bounces with excitement*

We're going to be there the whole week. Fan Faire was the perfect opportunity for the hubby to take leave and make a mini-vacation out of it. :)
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People to Avoid
# May 19 2009 at 10:01 AM Rating: Decent
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Having just been there on Vacation. One thing to avoid or at least not waste your time on are the timeshare (free ticket) sellers. Usually they are in a suit jacket (not always) but they offer tickets to shows and hotels if you plan on spending a few (many) hours at a presentation about their properties. Just remember to keep walking and say "No, thank you." A rule of thumb in the city is buy what you want-need not what others are selling, no matter how tempting the price gets.
You forgot one tip
# May 18 2009 at 11:37 PM Rating: Decent
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Don't forget your camera. You don't want to miss any opertunity to get blac..er candid shots of devs durring the Open Bar events. ;)
You forgot one tip
# May 19 2009 at 10:11 AM Rating: Excellent
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Something I forgot to mention is be sure to sign up for the Hotel's membership program, whatever it is. Whether you use it or not, you'll get a bunch of free/discount coupons.
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You forgot one tip
# May 19 2009 at 1:14 PM Rating: Excellent
I've had some bad experiences with Bally's discount coupons. Make sure to read the fine print and take what the employees tell you with a grain of salt. They often tell you what you want to hear, and then don't honor it later.
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Amen!
# May 18 2009 at 10:20 PM Rating: Excellent
Great writeup Calthine. This is definitely a must read for anyone who plans to attend Fan Faire!
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