Last Minute Preparations for Pennsic War
Get ready! It’s almost time to go!
Pack Your Car—If you can, start packing a day or two ahead of your departure date, so you can make sure everything fits. Give some thought to packing the items you will need first, such as your tent, on top so that they are easily accessible. Make sure to double-check roof racks, hitches, bungee cords, etc. to make sure everything is secure. If in doubt, take the vehicle for a spin on a nearby highway before you leave.
Make Others Aware of Your Plans—If you are doing land grab, make sure someone else (a friend in another group, or the representative from another group in your block) knows when you plan to arrive. If you are arriving any time thereafter, make sure your camp coordinator knows when to expect you; or, if you are not registered with a group, if possible make sure someone on site is aware of when you plan to arrive.
Do A Last-Minute Check—While there are many items that can be purchased locally if you happen to forget something, if you forget your photo ID, you are out of luck. If you forgot your proof of membership, you won't get the member discount at the gate. And, if any minors who are with you are not your children and you do not have the appropriate proof of guardianship, they will not allowed in.
Make Arrangements for Mail, Newspapers, and Electronic Media—If you have not made arrangements with a friend or neighbor to pick up your mail and newspapers while you are away, make sure to stop by the Post Office to fill out the requisite form for the mail and to notify your newspaper carrier that you will be out of town. If you subscribe to any e-mail mailing lists, look into nomail options or temporarily unsubscribing if you do not wish to deal with a flood of mail upon your return.
Finalize Housesitting Instructions—Make up a to-do list (water plants, turn on lights, etc.) for your housesitter. Prepare any keys needed and make sure your housesitter has them. If pets are involved, make sure there is a supply of food, medications, litter, etc. available for the complete duration of your trip. If someone will be walking your dog for you, make sure the leashes are out and in good condition.
Leave Contact Information With Your Emergency Contact—Your emergency contact is the person you list on your Pennsic registration form as your off-site contact. Make sure he/she knows where you will be and how to contact you at Pennsic. Also, make sure he/she knows details of any medications you take and any other pertinent info.
Withdraw Cash for Pennsic—While you're at home with easy access to your own bank is the best time to withdraw money, since there's no guarantee that you will find a local branch of your bank near Pennsic, and most banks add fees for withdrawing funds from other banks' ATMs. Alternately, you should secure travelers' checks if that is your preferred method for carrying money.
Check Road Conditions—Elsewhere on this site, you will find a list of known construction areas along many of the routes drivers take to Pennsic. If you are a member of AAA or a similar organization, you might want to check your route with them and find out what information they might know. Similarly, it's useful to check the weather conditions along your route before you leave.
Arriving by Plane or Bus?—Remember that security is an important concern at airports and bus terminals. Pack accordingly, and make sure you allow enough lead time to make it through security checks. If flying, check the weather along your itinerary for possible delays. Finally, make sure the arrangements you have made for getting to the site from the airport or bus station are in place.
Customs and Immigrations Info—Coming in from another country? Relax, SCA members have been crossing borders for many years. Just make sure you have your passport or other needed ID ready. When asked, tell the nice Customs and Immigration folks that you are traveling to New Castle, Pennsylvania to participate in a historical reenactment event. Your rattan weapons, fencing swords, and bows are athletic equipment. Make sure you declare any alcohol accurately. Most importantly, be honest. There is nothing in the least bit illegal about our hobby, so there's no reason to make up other reasons for entering the US. No terrorist jokes, either. Be serious and business-like, and you'll do fine.