Street Smarts — A Beginner’s Guide To Conventions

Posted on Apr 22 2013

Street Smarts Beginner's Guide To Conventions

For all the newbie convention goers who aren’t sure about going to a convention, or want to go to a convention but are worried about what to expect, fear not! This convention guide is just for you!

1. Do you have a friend who’s already a convention goer? Bring them. This is probably the best thing for a beginning con goer. Conventions are great and you can make lots of new friends, but you can also bond with current ones. It’s good to have someone to talk to for those long wait lines, those potential moments of being lost in a convention center, or those times in which you’re not sure what you’re doing and you’d rather ask someone you’re familiar with for help. Plus, breaking any hotel fees is a plus as well.

2. Don’t pack an overstuffed, full bag to the convention. Chances are, you’ll be buying a few things, so keep in mind that whatever it is you purchase needs to fit in your luggage on the way home. If you’re taking a flight back, be mindful of airport security and understand that you probably can’t bring a samurai sword on board in a carry on.

3. Make a rough schedule for the panels you want to see. Be flexible in your approach. Sometimes panels get cancelled or lines get too long or you just have a sudden last minute decision to want to do something else. Make sure your schedule is flexible enough to do that. Allow some room for error.

4. Don’t pick up badges on the first day of the convention. This applies mostly to large conventions because lines can get unimaginably long. Pick up your badge before the convention or, if possible, have it sent to you.

5. Be hygienic. This should go without saying, but it needs to be said. So many conventions take place during the dead heat on the hottest possible days of summer, and with such a large quantity of people in such a small area, it can get hot. Very hot. Shower. Shower twice a day if you need to. Shower three times a day if you need to. Shower four times a day if it comes to that. Wear deodorant. Please do not attempt to cover up any odors with perfume, lotion, cologne, or any other assortment of fragrances. Showering is a good option. It is the best option.

6. Bring a camera. There’s always something going on, so make sure you bring a camera just in case. You should also bring extra batteries and memory cards.

7. Bring cash. Many stands don’t take cards anyway, so you should bring enough cash before the day of con. For especially large cons, there’s a good chance you won’t be able to withdraw any money from an ATM. For larger cons, be prepared for all ATMs within a 50 mile radius to be empty.

8. Bring your phone charger to the convention. If you already have bad phone service, there is a good chance that several additional thousand people in the area will not help your already bad service. Phones that don’t have good service tend to have the battery drained out of them faster, so make sure you bring your charger. Turn off the wi-fi, stick mostly to texting to reduce frustration, and don’t fiddle around with your phone unnecessarily.

9. Take breaks. Drink water. Eat food. There are always a few people who suffer from dehydration during conventions. Do not be one of them. Make sure you have water and that you drink it. Make sure you take time out of your day to eat or just sit down for a bit. Your body will be moving around a lot, so make sure you take care of it. Don’t push your body past its limits.

10. Be patient. Have fun. Conventions are bustling with people everywhere, and it can be difficult to maneuver around at times. Just be patient and understanding, take care of yourself, and make sure you get at least a bit of sleep at night. That can reduce a lot of frustration and make your time at conventions much more enjoyable.

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