So you’ve wandered the aisles of show floor, marveling at the bizarre bazaar of stuff you didn’t know existed, and thus never knew you needed or wanted!

There’s a small groove in both your shoulders, from the overloaded tote bags you’ve lugged around all weekend.

So now it’s time to pack, as you prepare for your return to reality (or a close proximity).

Here are some thoughts and techniques I used this morning, as I prepared for my afternoon flight back to New York City.

I did my packing this morning, but you may need to do it the night before.  Also, your luggage and haul might differ from mine.  This is all advice, feel free to innovate and create your own best system!

Step One:  Smooth out the bedspread, making a nice flat neutral surface to pile everything.

This is your workspace.  It’s usually accessible from three sides, it’s right in the middle of the room, and it’s out of the way, so you won’t stumbling over anything.

Organize your treasures.  If you planned properly, you have extra space in your luggage, and you’ve already shipped the larger and more fragile items home.

Most of my goodies were books and comics.  I made four piles:

  1. Graphic novels
  2. Comics
  3. Miscellaneous papers, mini-comics, trinkets, and other small gewgaws (toss/recycle anything you don’t want)
  4. Larger souvenirs

#3 was shuffled into a manageable square, and slid into a plastic bag.  That bag was then slid into another bag, just to keep stuff from sliding around or getting loose.  That was then set aside.

#4 was consolidated into a more sturdy bag (one of the shopping bags from a retailer).  This was also set aside.  If you have delicate items, wrap them in a shirt.

#1 and #2 were stacked by size.

All piles were organized on the desk.   My empty backpack was then prepared for packing.

Step Two: Pack your luggage.

Pile your clothing on the bed.  Check all closets, hangers, drawers for personal items.

Place your luggage on the bed, open and empty.  Begin packing your abundance.  In my example, I use a JanSport backpack, as I take public transit when I travel to and from airports.

In the bottom of the pack was placed some clothing, to protect any books when I stand the backpack on the ground.  Then I placed the larger graphic novels (Girl Comics, Waid/Wieringo Fantastic Four) in the bottom, and smaller hardcovers on top of those.  Paperback graphic novels and comics were stacked and placed into a tote bag, which was then compressed and wrapped.  On top of that, the miscellaneous bag was was stacked, and a paperback which I read on the way to Chicago.

IMPORTANT: Set aside anything you wish to read while you travel.

You should also be preparing your carry-on bag(s) as well.  (I did not consider this until the bag was completely packed.  So I’ll either nap on the flight, or do some typing on my laptop.)

If you plan to carry all of luggage on to the plane, leave an easy-to-get-to spot for your toiletries, to make everything easier with TSA agents.  I usually place that clear plastic bag at the top of my bag.

This is what my backpack looked like containing only comics (#1, 2, and 3).  My #4 was three t-shirts and a baseball cap, which were added in Step Three.  That will packed in the next step.

Step Three: Protect your packing.

Use your clothing as packing material around your nonpareil pile of paragons.  This should fill up any empty spaces.

At this point, close your luggage.  If there’s a bit of trouble, rearrange.  If it’s a little tight, you can compress.  This is what my bag looks like with the side spaces filled.  I then packed the top of the bag with a winter coat (after checking the forecast for Chicago and New York), and my convention tote.  I zipped and unzipped the bag, making sure the zippers closed, and that all space was filled, compressing the clothing to make more space.

You can use your carry-on bag to tote anything which will not fit in the bag.  In my case, it was the paperback book seen at the top, and the Archaia hardcover comic.  I’ve read both, but I’ll carry-them-on because there’s no other place, and I don’t want to leave them behind.

The final bag:

Hump? What hump?

The stuff on the bed should slowly shrink in size as you pack.  There should be nothing left over.  If there is, toss stuff in the garbage, or leave it stacked on the desk if you want to encourage the housekeeping staff.  Don’t forget to leave your daily tip for them.  Make one last survey of the room so that you don’t leave anything behind.  Check the outlets for chargers and cables.

You can now relax, confident that you’re ready to leave.  All that’s left is checking out, finding transportation to the airport, going through security, traveling, and getting home.  Since you’ve just successfully completed a comics convention, that should be a snap!


  1. Re: Cables and chargers. Every hotel on Earth has a billion of them in a box that they’ll be happy to pull out for guests to pick through if they’re asked. I actually got a spare AC adapter for my Thinkpad that way