October 27, 2011

Convention Advice: Living with Other People

How to Survive Living with Other People for a Weekend
Also known as: How not to kill your friends.

Chances are likely that if you are going to a convention you are PROBABLY going to be sharing a room with other people. If you're like me, you like having your space, and not having to share it with 5 other people. Here's some helpful advice on co-habitating with others for a few days.

You will be one of two people: either the coordinator or attendee. Coordinator is the person who reserved the room, and the attendees are people who are staying in the room (other than the coordinator).


Are you intending to stay with other people? Then you should TALK to them about where to stay. Often, smaller conventions will have ONE hotel to choose from, so that makes it easy. Larger ones will have multiple blocks.

Chat where you think the best place to stay would be, and be frank about room costs. Don't sugar coat it. Let them know what they're getting into so they aren't surprised. As long as everybody comes to a consensus nobody gets complaining rights because you all agreed on it.


I don't care how many times I have to say it. DO NOT OVERFILL YOUR HOTEL ROOM. And by overfill I mean 7+ people. It's enticing to see that you'd only be paying $12 a night, but you pay in other ways: No Space, Bad Sleep, putting up with 7+ people. Sure you all like each other now, but after 2 days of stepping over everybody's crap, a fight's bound to break out.

It's also illegal. If a hotel finds you overfilling your room, they can technically toss you out. No refund. It's a FIRE HAZARD.

Just....don't do it. Please. 


Paying ahead of time, what? Yes. With the advent of things like PayPal (where you can send direct money gifts), there's no reason why people can't pay their share to the coordinator ahead of time. 

I find this the easiest way to coordinate and attend, because then I won't have to shake anybody down for cash when they're there, and everything's been paid for so I don't have to worry!

If you cannot pay ahead of time, PAY WHEN YOU ARRIVE. Don't wait till the end, don't hold onto it in your bag. You will be tempted to spend that money, and then you're all out of luck when the coordinator has to shell out an extra $150 for your blunder. You'll most likely NOT be invited on the next trip either. 


Arriving is a very important time, because you can't check into your room until the person who has reserved a room is present. Try to keep in contact with the coordinator to when you will arrive so they're not confused, waiting, or totally miss you when they get there.

It's just a nice courtesy to know when everybody is expecting to show up.


If you're very comfortable with each other you can share bed space. If there are a lot of you in the room who don't like touching others, then rotate who's using the beds which day.

Don't whine so you're the only person who steals the bed EVERY NIGHT while the others sleep on the floor (Unless they're obstinate and insist on sleeping on the floor each night, some people dig that.)

Clothing. Dear lord. Please. I don't care if you go to sleep in some lacy teddy every night, DON'T BRING IT TO THE CON. Be respectful of your friends and dress modestly when you sleep. Wear covering sleep shirts and sleep pants. Not everybody is a comfortable with their bodies as you may be.

Also covered under this category - be mindful of how much and when people need sleep. Some people go to bed at 10 (I crash out at this time because I work all day), while some don't sleep until 2. Try not to blare the TV or Computers when somebody else is trying to sleep. Same goes for waking up.

However, if you are somebody with very (non medical) specific sleep needs, be aware you WILL need to compromise a little bit so everybody survives, and if this bothers you too much you may need to get a room yourself.


When the guests arrive to the room, gently try to allot space so each person is represented. They may have their own food, their own costumes, and their own toiletries. Let them get their space, and be respectful of others.

Side note: Don't steal the entire countertop for yourself. I know it's tempting if you're the only cosplayer in the room, but the others need to brush their teeth too.

If you all have your own little "home" area, you'll be a lot more comfortable sharing space with others.



Heck you don't even have to eat at the same time the entire weekend. Just because you're sharing a space doesn't mean you all have to go out to McDonald's at the same time. 

Feel free to plan a night when you all go out for pizza, but don't expect everybody to do the same thing the entire weekend of the convention. 

Also: Don't steal your friends food, unless they tell you something is "free game". It's just common courtesy.

When I travel with groups of people, everybody brings something to donate to the room's "food supply" to give that "party atmosphere". It's very fun and interesting to see what people bring with them from all over.



Much like food, everybody goes to cons for different reasons. Some like to see panels, some go to workshops, others like the dancing and entertainment. Regardless of what you like to do, be aware that you may not always be accompanied by all your roommates.

Be able to entertain yourself. Read your maps, keep cellphone numbers on hand, and don't be afraid to go to the panel nobody else wanted to.


There is a good chance you'll all be leaving at the same time on Sunday or Monday depending on how you've planned your trip.

As a guest, it's a smart idea the night before you leave to pack as much as you can, and only leave out what you absolutely need on the last day. This is so when you're packing up to leave and check out, you can all vacate the room before checkout time has passed (usually 12:00 noon, but the earlier the better - and smaller lines).

If you all leave at the same time, you can utilize a cart much better by putting as many peoples things on them as possible and making multiple trips all at once. More hands = more stuff that can be carried!


Going to a convention shouldn't be an emotionally taxing experience. You're there to have fun, see panels, shop and the like. All it takes is a little compromise and courtesy. Just because you do something one way doesn't mean everybody does it that way.

Treat others how you want to be treated and you'll have great friends to travel with, and people will definitely be more apt to invite you to further events as well.

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad that other people understand this besides me. I had problems of a similar nature when my husband and I were hosting a couple of friends for Shutocon, so its nice to hear that someone with far more convention experience lay down the "law" about living with people for the sake of cons. Thank you!