It’s summertime, and that means a great many things. It’s the time of the year for family trips, relaxing, and just having fun in general. If you’re a geek like me, though, then Summer’s also the leak do Convention season. From San Diego to DC, people are gearing up for these glorious gatherings that celebrate pop culture.
As a veteran of more than half a dozen conventions, I’ve learned a thing or two about what it takes to survive them. Since D&A Anime Blog did their own guide, I feel like I should do one of my own. So here it is: Jay’s Declassified Convention Survival Guide. If you recognize where I got the title, you’re a fan of Nickelodeon.
Convention tip 1: Make yourself a budget
Conventions, while fun, are designed around the premise of getting people to spend money. Lot of money. depending on what convention you’re going to, tickets can cost close to a hundred dollars, maybe more.
That’s just to get in. If you’re the kind of person who can’t resist all the vendors selling cool stuff at a convention, you will burn a hole in your wallet. After that, you have to consider the price of autographs. Then food, and if you’re traveling overnight, hotel rooms.
My advice is to draw up a budget months in advance, and start putting aside money for it. I usually put aside a couple hundred dollars to spend on things I want. Most of it goes to autographs or cool stuff from vendors.
As for hotel expenses, I have never had to worry about that. Which I will explain in my next tip
Convention tip 2- Where you’ll stay
In my experience, I have never had to travel overnight for a convention. All the ones that I have gone to have been close enough for me to drive to. If you’re within driving distance, then I recommend avoiding getting a hotel room. It will save you money
Otherwise, I recommend checking the convention website to see if they have any deals on hotels nearby. It could save you money and time. Don’t forget to book a room months in advance. They will disappear quickly.
Convention Tip 3- Bring A Backpack
If you’re going to be at a convention for several hours, you’ll need something to carry the stuff you get. Especially if you’re not staying in a hotel room. Bring a comfortable backpack that’s big enough to hold everything you want. Make sure not to bend any photographs or autographs you may get.
Additionally, you can use your backpack to carry some supplies. Conventions are long, and you’ll want to be prepared. So bring essentials like chargers for mobile devices, extra socks or shoes, and more. It will be worth to have a charger to save your phone.
Convention Tip 4- Pack Food
Food can get expensive at conventions, And that can eat up your money. I know I’m not the first person to do this, but it’s a neat convention hack to use. I always pack a lunch or dinner in advance that I bring with me. It helps save me a lot of money and time from standing in line. Otherwise, budget accordingly.
Convention Tip 5- Getting Autographs
This is a big reason why people go to conventions. They want to see their favorite celebrities and get a selfie or autograph with them. The problem is, you and a hundred others want the same thing, which makes the process slow and frustrating. Don’t despair; I have you covered.
First, check the website to see if you can buy an autograph ticket in advance. This will save your butt if the line reaches its cutoff point.
Second, show up in advance. They start forming lines an hour before signings, maybe more. So, get there half an hour before the line start forming. That way, you can get as close a spot to the front as possible.
Third, don’t spend the entire time your at the convention waiting in line. I know that seems contradictory, but if you do that, a lot of the fun will be sucked out of it.
Convention Tip 6- Don’t Try to Do Everything
No matter how hard you try, you’ll never be able to do everything you want at a convention. So don’t try to do that. That will create unnecessary stress and will ruin your ability to have fun. Having fun is the whole point to a convention.
My advice: just pick a few big events, and then plan everything around them. Make sure you have plenty of free time in between. Do that, and all will be well.
Conventions are some of the most fun things you can do. They’re a chance to meet like-minded people and enjoy the benefits of being a geek in a culture where we run everything. Whether you’re a newcomer ready to dive in, or a seasoned veteran, these tips are important. What’s more important, though, is that you have fun and get some sweet souvenirs out of the trip. I know I have!