The life of a cosplayer is a busy one. Conventions happen year-round all across the globe; FanimeCon (Fanime), for example, took place just this past weekend in San Jose. Some cosplayers are even willing to travel to different conventions. With San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) and Anime Expo (AX) lurking around the corner, it’s time to start prepping ahead of time. These three summer cons attract locals and travelers of all kind. For those who attend each day of the con, you know how pricey food can be or how difficult it is to eat in your costume. I know these struggles from first-hand experiences. So what is a con-goer to do?

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If you’re in cosplay and you lack pockets to carry your wallet, bring a bag for all of your booty obtained throughout the con. Even if you do have pockets, bring a bag anyway. Be sure to carry both cash and card — not all vendors take card. Vendors often hike up the prices for attendees. Plan ahead. Pack a water bottle and some snacks to hold you over for the day, preferably items that do not smell and will not spill out into your pack. That will save your wallet from burning, and it will save you from debt/having to sell your soul to whatever demonic fantasy character you first stumble upon in cosplay.

But what are you supposed to do if you’re wearing a bulky cosplay or are covered in face paint? Conventions often have repair stations in the event of a cosplay malfunction, so don’t stress too much. Just be sure to pack anything you might need ahead of time: face paint, makeup, etc. And if you can, make aspects of your cosplay removable to make it easier to eat, or have that one dedicated friend who will feed you — that works, too. I have covered my entire face, neck and arms in face paint for a con, and I know the struggles/fears that come with eating/drinking. You can always waterfall a drink, but sometimes that one drop will get on your chin and create a streak of flesh poking out from underneath the paint. So always be prepared for that.

For those of you who travel, it can be expensive to stay in a hotel and to have to spend money to eat out. Well, guess what? You don’t have to eat out. If you share a hotel room with fellow cosplayers, you should all pitch in for food. Create a list of items you want to eat (that won’t get you kicked out of the hotel) and split the costs. Costco is your best friend. Costco muffins for breakfast, granola bars for snacks — you can even buy items to make a sandwich and store them in the hotel’s mini fridge! You’d be surprised at what you can do without a kitchen or cooking utensils. And if the hotel has a microwave, you’re set. You can even prepare instant noodles.

Your wallet doesn’t need to burn by the end of your vacation. When you get home, you shouldn’t have to feel that immense guilt over spending money — you should feel happy that you just had fun. Pack food. Save money. Be happy.

Happy con-going!