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Hooray! You’re finally off to your first [insert geekdom] convention! While cons are a ton of fun, there are things that you MUST know so that you have an enjoyable experience. Sure, you could just go and figure things out as you go. Or you could read this article to give you a heads up. Here are 10 tips to help you survive your first con!
(Obligatory symbol of good luck)
- SAVE UP! Be prepared to spend money at cons. $50 may seem like enough money but it’s not. I’m serious. First of all, you need to eat. That’s most important. But since cons are often held at convention centers and/or hotels, you have to buy convention and/or hotel food: this is expensive. (More on this later!) Sure, you may think you can limit yourself to one Miroku pin, but you may come across a spectacular Sherlock print in artist alley. And a cool Detective Conan keychain…and that Princess Peach hoody…and that wig you need for your next cosplay. So yeah. MONEY.IS.IMPORTANT. (NO NEED TO FEAR: How To Budget for Your Geek Convention). Attending a con is a special event. Make sure you enjoy it!
- STAY HYDRATED! Simple. You’re going to be running around a con center full of excitement. Have fun but don’t forget to drink water. Not all cons allow outside food and drinks so be prepared to buy water. However, most of the cons I’ve been to had free water.
- EAT! Same as above. Make sure you eat at least 2 meals per day. You can eat a granola bar and/or fruit for breakfast. Just make sure you EAT TWO MEALS. This is important. If you are staying an entire weekend, be prepared to purchase 6-7 meals. Round the price of each meal to about $10. So set aside at least $70 for food. You never know if you’ll need to buy an extra bottle of water. Or maybe you just want a big breakfast one day.
- REST! It’s okay to take breaks during the con. This is the perfect time to charge your phone and your body. Play with your 3DS or PSP. Talk with your friends. Scroll through your social media feeds. Read that new comic that you just bought. You have time to enjoy the con so allow yourself to rest. I know that you are excited but don’t exert yourself. I personally love people watching and playing Animal Crossing during this time!
- EMERGENCY KIT! Make sure you have a repair kit for your cosplays! Face it, things happen. My first cosplay featured lots of faux pearls. Although the dress was complete, there was a possibility that they could fall off. And of course, I lost 3 string of pearls. Thankfully, I was able to fix it without having to run to a store! 🙂 I made extra strings of pearls beforehand and had white thread so I could fix my dress with ease. Some things to include in your kit would be thread, needles, tacky glue, extra fabric, and double sided tape. Include anything that could possibly break, rip, or tear on your costume.
(“Here they come to save the daaaay!”)
- CASH. It’s 2017 but cash is still king. Yes, many vendors have debit card readers but some do not. In my case, the debit reader broke while I was trying to get an autograph from Johnny Yong Bosch! I ran to the ATM downstairs but lo and behold, it was out of money! Thankfully, I was able to get my autograph from Vash the Stampede the next day. With so many people in the venue, the ATM machines often run out of money or break down so be prepared!
RESPECT! Please use common courtesy when interacting with others. You’re excited, I know. But running into people and pushing them to get to a panel is just plain rude and dangerous. Many venues will throw out con-goers who are being obnoxious. Also, please respect the guests. Screaming “I LOVE YOU!” in their ear is not respectful. Wait your turn in the autograph line and thank them for their time. And please, for the love of chicken nuggets, do not hug them without asking. No groping, no kissing. If you want a hug, just ask. The worst they can say is no. Please, just use common sense.
- BATHE! Please remember to bathe everyday. Not only do you need to be clean, but being stinky is rude to other con-goers. If you’re a sweaty person, bring deodorant and/or body spray. I’m speaking from experience. I’ve been next to people who had BO so bad that I almost threw up. This just ruins the experience for everyone.
- PICTURES. Make sure you ask people for their picture before you take it. I turn in to a pile of goo when I see my favorite characters out and about (this On Melancholy Hill Noodle cosplay was FIIIIRE) but ask that person before you take pics of them. If someone asks for your picture, you have every right to decline but please be courteous when doing so. I personally always say yes. Then I turn around and ask for their picture. In my Robot Chicken Skeletor voice “IT’S COMMON COURTESY!”
- HAVE FUN!!! Seriously. Do your thing. But please be safe, be smart, be kind, and be courteous and you’ll have a great time!