Despite that stunt Mother Nature pulled with snow on the first day of spring, I’m calling it: winter has passed. It’s now time for us to get back into the world, mixing and mingling with like minded folk to celebrate stuff you love. And thus, convention and show season is upon us! The Boston area has already seen PAX, one of the bigger conventions for this area, and more are coming up fast and furious. I haven’t been to a ton of conventions…thought I did survive the most recent RI Comic Con and many years ago, made it to the mega convention – San Diego Comic Con. I love the excitement of conventions but do not love the crowds, nor the crowd related byproducts. So, I’ve come up habits that help me to have fun, stay sane, and get what I want out of attending conventions.
- Food is fuel and you’ve got a long day ahead of you, so have a good breakfast, especially if you are going to be lining up outside for some time before you even get to the convention floor.
- Many Cons have food. Super bad for you, super overpriced food. Your hard-earned cash can be spent on something much better, so go old school and pack a brown bag lunch. Consider something simple and light like a sandwich and an apple. (Apples are durable, provide liquid and fiber and they are good for you.)
- Hydrate, you guys. Finding the restroom may be a pain, but it’s better than the alternative which can leave you hot, dry, and possibly even lead to medical issues.
- Know your crowd limits
- There are a lot of people (with varying hygiene levels) crammed into convention hall. Hopefully you are somewhere that is aware of fire codes, but those may be a bit more generous than your personal limits. When you feel the internal patience bar start to red-line, make your exit to a place where you can rest, regroup and get back to your personal space comfort zone.
- Set a meeting place
- Going to cons with your friends is great fun! Trying to move around a con as a large group with varying interests and priorities is an absolute nightmare. So, when you arrive, set a meeting space and a time so you can split up. Maybe check in every few hours or so.
- Yes, we all have cell phones, but you can’t always rely on them then you are in a convention center with tons of other people also trying to find people via text. In person check-ins also allow for better communication about a cool thing the others might not have seen yet.
- Plan your day
- You don’t need to live and die by your plans, but if you put a little thought into it the more likely you will be to get to do everything you want. So, what panels do you want to attend? Who do you want to see? If you are planning on attending a popular panel, get in line early!
- If you have books to be signed maybe do that early if the option exists. The lines may be shorter.
- Don’t over bundle…lots of people equals warmth, and lots of funk.
- I don’t think this needs explanation. But if it does, think layers.
- Gather your gear
- Don’t forget the important stuff- phones, chargers, stuff you want signed, convention sketchbook, snacks, and cash. Some of the longest convention lines I have ever seen are for the ATM.
- Get a good bag, something that fits all your stuff but is not too bulky. You don’t want to be smacking other attendees with your giant bag…or worse, knocking over merchandise that is now yours due to a “you broke it you bought it” policy. I like messenger style bags.
So, there you have it. Some tips to help you be ready to get the most out of your convention attending. Hope it helps, and happy conning! I mean good con, er, convention attending!