So in the final week (!!!!!!) before D-Day, I've seen many of us have spreadsheets for GenCon. For some of the newer people, I thought it'd be beneficial to see what we put in ours. Maybe even those kind enough would share templates for future Cons.
Mine has my schedule, my travelling buddy's schedule, budget, and a listing of events and their locations.
I don't create a spreadsheet per say, but a GenCon Trip Book which I get wirebound at my local Staples. I print out the following things:
My Gencon Schedule (including friends)
Any dining reservations I might have (St. Elmos for example)
Food Truck Schedule
Map of the Exhibtor Hall + a listing of booth numbers of companies I definitely want to hit
Organized Play Characters I will be using at events (Shadowrun Missions, Adventurers League)
20 or so pages of blank scrap paper for me to take notes
This all gets bound into one notebook so it is my 'go to' for everything.
I want to say that sounds like a little too much organization for GenCon..... but I took a trip to Six Flags two months ago and although I planned quite a bit for it, I did not optimize. I regret that I did not plan out the order in which to visit the roller coasters, so I ended up too tired from walking around (and it didn't help that it was 92 degrees outside that day) to enjoy all the coasters. Next year, I intend to make the same trip, but take the coasters in a specific order, going from East-to-West or West-to-East.
Addresses for the GPS (Hotel, Parking, Convention Center - I know where they are but at 2 a.m and in the dark I'd rather follow my GPS.)
GenCon Schedule (Tickets get split up each day and put into my badge holder.)
Math Trade List (Giving, Receiving, direct trades)
Sniping list (A list of anything that I'd like to buy if I can find it at a discount.)
I normally do a budget spreadsheet, but I've negotiated a "carte blanche" trip this year. Within reason, of course.
My spreadsheet has 4 tabs.
-Exhibit Hall (Listing of Booth # & Name)
-Upcoming Games (Hot games I heard about, includes Dice Tower's Top 10)
-Games to Play (New or Old games that I want to try and play
-BGG Tips (This is the BGG Preview edited for easy viewing)
I also just printed out an 11 x 17 color map of the hall. Not sure what all I am actually going to use but that is my prep so far.
I still need to go through my CCG (Dice Masters, Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh) and make a list of my sellables.
Board Game Demo List
True Dungeon Character Sheets
Games Played (blank)
Food Truck Reviews
Last Minute Event Ideas
All of this, save the packing list, will be copied into a notebook before the convention, because it's much more natural for me to flip through a notebook than try to pull up a spreadsheet at Gen Con itself.
I printed out a map of the Exhibit hall too, and circled the booths that I know I want to visit. My list of hot games is on the back.
On page 2, the spreadsheet has my hotel & flight information and my daily schedule of events.
Actually, I just remembered that I didn't do any kind of spreadsheet, but I did find some online template for a daily calendar, and used that to schedule all my events.
Basic Excel sheet...lots of tabs. I'm sort of compulsive about the organizing, and I'm good with that. We do much better if I have all of my listies in place.
TAB 1 - SCHEDULES - My schedule, my husband's schedule and any events that we've scheduled together, all color coded
TAB 2 - SHOPPING - browse list, look list, buy list and booths to visit, plus inventory of what we have at home (we buy multiple copies of games for prizes for our gaming tournaments)
TAB 3 - TRAVEL - Travel arrangements, including directions, addresses, confirmation numbers
TAB 4 - GROCERY LIST/INVENTORY - we pack lunches each day, so snacks, fruit, veggies, sub buns, condiments, yogurt, string cheese, chips, crackers, etc.
TAB 5 - HOUSEHOLD PACKING LIST - cooler, 5 gallon water cooler (we pack in our own water bc we are spoiled and hate city water), ice packs, insulated lunch bags, chargers, power strip, first aid kit and more.
TAB 6 - PERSONAL PACKING LIST - clothes, meds, toiletries
TAB 7 - PRE-TRIP ERRANDS TO DO/THINGS TO BUY
TAB 8 - TO SEE/VISIT/CHECK OUT - List of things we'd like to experience at the con.
I made a nice Google calendar showing my own and my group's schedules. Makes it easier when planning who's driving/riding in what car, when we can meet up, and what time we will leave each day. I color-coded it and everything! (I like to organize, I know I'm a weirdo)
For my own organization, I made and printed a schedule spreadsheet. It goes in my Gen Con notebook, a small, thin, dot grid notebook that is my catch-all/central place for all my info. It also has:
Food Truck schedule
Exhibit hall map, which has the booth numbers of stuff I don't want to miss highlighted
My to-do and to-pack lists
And plenty of pages for notes
I find that organizing (even if it's over-organizing) helps keep me calm in the time leading up to the con. I know no plan survives contact with the chaos, but at least most of my ducks are in something resembling a row.
Since I fly in, I find it helpful to have all my travel and important information in one place. I put together a 1/2" 3 ring binder into which I place several sheet protectors. Into those I insert docs in the order of travel/need. For me, this is:
Perhaps it is overkill, or as posted above, unnecessary, but I like to stay organized and know where my information is...especially as I'm old and don't utilize my phone like the cool kids do. :-)
Also, as posted just above, I enjoy reviewing the binder as Gen Con nears. Adds to the upcoming excitement.
This is my first time, but I'm just planning on adding my events to my phone's calendar, using the unofficial app for convention maps, & using google maps to favorite a restaurant list. With downloaded maps, I think this stuff should all work even without much cell/wifi access.
I glue an envelope in mine for event tickets so they don't get lost.
I have a budget in Excel, but otherwise I can't say that I have anything else in a spreadsheet.
I have a List called Vacation, and I never delete anything from it. Every trip a few days before I go through and uncheck the items I need to pack for this particular trip. Then I can re-check those off as I go. Some trips don't use everything (I probably won't bother bringing an e-reader and use my phone if I actually get that desperate for something to do), but at least it's there, and I can just check leave it checked if it's not required. Next trip, I'l be able to decide on it without needing to constantly tweak my list of possible packed items.
After the SouthWest debacle where you couldn't get through security unless you already had a bar code handy, I always print my tickets if I'm at home, and I'll print the hotel confirmation as well. I also pack all my clothing into packing cubes. If I find out 3 hours before my flight (or even at the air port) that I have to ditch from checked luggage to carry on only, I can move all the clothing, etc, easily, and toss out any larger sized liquids I may have been indulging in. (Everyone brings a mostly empty suitcase to Gencon, right? Right??)
My calendar is in my phone, with all the event locations. This year since it's just hubs and I and we're not doing anything separately and it's a light schedule, it was trivial to add stuff to a trip calendar we both share. Previous years my detail oriented coder friend took care of the group's calendar getting into Google. Flight check-in reminders are there, along with that stupid code you need for the app to actually do the check in process.
I have the official fancy pouch lanyard from a few years ago and we use that for tickets and badges, with the addition of a Pin piercing the top of the badge holder and going through the badge opening so as to ensure the badges stay put when you flip it upside down to open it (brilliant design choices there). Otherwise the zipper pouch is perfectly adequate for securing tickets.