This time last year a lot of people, including me, were feeling very jealous of the big meet up that was about to happen at Comic Con. This has, of course, lead to an even bigger meet up this year. In the flurry of arranging flights and hotel rooms, and meals, and chances to see and talk to everyone it might be easy to overlook a few details about what a convention is actually like.
Also, I figure a lot of those of us going have never been to a convention before and don't really know what to expect or prepare for. So, I thought I'd throw together a quick list of things that I have found useful when I go to conventions. Comic Con 2010 will be my....8th? I think. Something like that.
Remember these are just observations I've made, not hard fast rules.
1. Bring Layers.
It may be boiling hot outside, but you don’t know what the air conditioning is going to be like inside, and you don’t know how late you are going to be there. Or if it may suddenly rain (though this might be more of a problem for conventions here in the Pacific Northwest) either way, best to be prepared.
2. Bring snacks.
No matter how well you plan your day things are going to change. The line for the autograph you want will go long, or someone will start giving away free things or something. Plans will be upset and you will NEED to EAT. And trust me, convention food is some of the most overpriced on the planet. You will want to make sure the snack you bring isn’t too squishable. I recommend granola bars and Cadbury Mini Eggs.
3. Wear comfortable shoes
I don’t care if you own the cutest pair of heels in the world that make your legs look like the most fantastic things ever created and a quarter of the way through the day neither will you. Wear comfortable shoes. You will probably be in them, and on your feet, for more than twelve hours.
4. Have CASH, not plastic.
5. Bring a mostly empty bag.
Preferably a backpack. It will hold your snacks and your purchases. Your purchases will start to get heavy and a backpack is a good way to not have the weight all on one arm.
6. Know the schedule, but be flexible.
Really, really, really know the schedule. Like, print out a copy and highlight the things you want to do. Don’t worry if they are all overlapping and that you know you will never be able to do it all. Highlight EVERYTHING that looks good, even the things at two in the morning. You’ll thank yourself later. Be flexible and accept that you aren’t going to see everything. Don’t be afraid to leave the convention and just chill in your hotel room for awhile. Sometimes you just need a break from the crowds.
7. See something new.
Chances are you’re going for a specific reason. To see someone or something that you are a big fan of. I implore you to branch out and see/do something you’ve never heard of. Take a chance on something. I know it’s hard because this probably means that you are missing something else that you already know that you love. But it’s always fun and a good way to find new things to love. And yes, this will backfire at least once and you will waste two hours either being bored or seeing the most ridiculous things that make no sense to you. But at least you got to sit down for a little while.
8. Regarding Cosplay
9. Accept anything that is free.
Even if you don’t want it. Chances are someone you know will. Or you’ll be able to give it away in a contest or something. If it’s free, take it.
All conventions I’ve been to go 24 hours and there is some good stuff to do in the middle of the night but make sure you sleep. Energy drinks alone will not keep you going and it can take a few days to get back to normal after not sleeping one night. Trust me.
11. Conventions are crowded!
Worse than malls at Christmas. And everyone there wants the same thing you want, or so it will seem. People will cut in line, people will push you out of the way, the escalator will come to a jarring stop while you are in the middle of it, facing backwards and you will almost die (Yes, this happened to me). It isn't really worth it to get mad. There isn't anything the convention volunteers can do and they are already stressed/over worked enough. Take a deep breathe, look over your made of awesome purchases and remember that you are there to have fun.
If you have any questions/concerns do ask in the comments. Or any advice that you learned at conventions you've attended, post that as well. The bottom line here is, do what you have to do to make sure you are comfortable throughout the long days. This will make it much easier to have the most amount of fun.