10 Tips to Survive Your First Convention

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By Nolan P. Smith

(Victor Valley)—The summer convention season is in full effect. With Anime Expo, Comic Con International- San Diego, and Disney’s D23 Convention all taking place this summer in Southern California, many attendees will be first time con-goers, and that can be quite the shock. What do you bring? What do you leave at home? What can you expect?

After 13 years of attending various conventions in Southern California, I have found out the hard way on how to survive and enjoy a convention for all it is worth. So, check out my 10 tips on surviving your first con.

  1. Comfortable shoes: You would think this is a given, but trust me, you need to take your most comfortable pair of shoes, because you will be doing a heck of a lot of walking. That’s the thing with conventions: they are like an extended cardio workout at the gym. So make sure to grab your favorite shoes for walking!
  2. Water: Water is your best friend, especially when you get super dehydrated, and it will happen at a convention. If you are thinking that you will just buy a bottle water at the con, be ready to spend around $5 for a room temperature bottle. Bring your own water, and plenty of it.
  3. Food: Plan ahead for food. If you are planning to eat at the convention or around the surrounding area, be ready to spend a pretty penny. If your convention is more than one day, plan accordingly. Bring snacks, sandwiches, if you’re staying at a hotel, see if they have a microwave and bring some microwave dinners. It will save you tons in the end.
  4. Bring Cash: Bring cash with you, because there is always the chance that you will come across a vendor that doesn’t take credit or debit. Or maybe the internet goes down and knocks out all the vendors electronic capabilities. Have some spending cash with you at all times.
  5. Manners: I can’t stress this enough: conventions are already stressful, busy places, nobody needs someone being a jerk to add to the experience. Also, if you are in a group, don’t get on the nerves of your fellow con-goers- you are likely to be ditched pretty quick.
  6. Dress Cool: I have made the mistake of wearing football jerseys to cons in the past, which is a bad idea. The less layers the better, as the con floor is jam packed with people and their body heat.
  7. Map It: Grab a program once you get there, or look online so you can map out exactly where you want to visit. It’s very easy to get awe struck when first entering a con; know why you’re there and stick to the plan. You can take in the sights later.
  8. Grooming: Don’t be that person that lives up to the stereotype of the “stinky con-goer”. Take a shower, use deodorant, and then everyone has a great day.
  9. Respect: This is a big one. At cons, you will see plenty of awesome cosplayers, and of course you want a photo with them. But a photo is not consent to put your hands all over them or to harass them. Respect them as a person, just as you would want to be treated- we are all people, after all. Oh, and smile in your photos!

10. Take a Picture: Bring a camera, or at least a smart phone with enough free space on it. You will regret it if you leave your camera at home- you want to capture these memories! Where else will you see a Steampunk Darth Vader, or a Slave Leia Little Mermaid? Memories, you need them.

Most of all, have fun at your first con. They can be a bit overwhelming, and that’s normal, but remember, everyone else is there for the same reason, so why not have fun like everyone else?

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