Five Things All Convention Goers Must Know Before Attending One

I’m back from vacation feeling refreshed and ready to bring you more content on my blog. It just so happens that this weekend is New York Comic Con and I’ll be attending it once again! I’ve been going to NYCC for the last three or four years maybe? I would consider myself a seasoned convention goer by now. Well, I do need to expand my convention attendance beyond NYCC, but I’ll get there. Conventions like NYCC, no matter where you go, is literally the social event of the year for all geeks all over the world. It’s considered geek mecca. It’s our sacred place, our oasis, our––well, you get the idea.

nycc_2012
We ❤ you too!

My first time going to NYCC was an amazing experience. There was so much to see and do that I didn’t know where to begin. Ever since attending the convention that day, I kept coming back every year. It’s even better when a bunch of your friends are also going to the convention with you too. Honestly, I think it’s better to go to these places with someone rather than with no one. Or if you like going alone, that’s cool too. Personally, I want to experience these things with friends. At least it won’t be awkward when you’re squeeing at everything you see. The more people squeeing with you, the better it is.

After being a regular attendee of NYCC, you eventually learn some useful lessons from these conventions. In honor of the upcoming NYCC weekend, I’m going to list what I’ve learned from going to these types of conventions. Maybe you might find them helpful for your own convention going experience, whether you’re a newbie or veteran convention attendee.

1. Bring a camera. This one is obvious. When you go to any type of geeky convention, you’re most definitely going to encounter plenty of cosplayers. Cosplaying has become a professional art for a lot of convention goers. If you see a really great cosplayer dressed as your favorite character and you don’t bring a camera, well, you’ll be kicking yourself for not bringing one. A lot of the cosplayers are really nice and cool about having their picture taken. They most likely expect it. Either way, be sure to ask nicely if you can take their photo. They’ll even pose for you, so you can get a really good shot of them or with them.

2. Bring a big bag. Often times, you’ll be given free stuff at the conventions. Free drinks, free samples, free T-shirts, etc. Where will you put all this stuff if you don’t have a bag? You’ll be spending an entire day at the convention center and the last thing you need to stress over is how you’ll be carrying all this swag you happen to get. The exhibitors room will also be filled with tables of stuff you’re going to want to buy. This brings me to my next point.

3. Have enough money with you. When I was new to the convention scene, I made the mistake of not having much cash on me or having a credit card that isn’t already close to going over my budget limit of charges for that month.

When you know convention weekend is fast approaching, make sure you plan a substantial budget for what you think you might spend it on. We often won’t know what we’ll buy until we get there. This is why it’s good to plan out how much spending money you’ll want to have on you when you go.

4. Bring snacks and drinks. I’m not saying there won’t be places around the convention center where you can eat and get something to drink. Most convention centers will most likely have a cafeteria, but even that can be a bit expensive. If you’re like me, you’d rather save your money on all the awesome stuff you’ll buy. Maybe you want to spend the entire time looking around the exhibitors room, people watch, or attend panels. I’ve always told my friend we should bring plenty of snacks and drinks so we can rest in a spot at the center, have a snack break, and then continue on our merry way. It also helps to eat a big breakfast before you head out for the day.

5. Attend panels. This might sound a little weird to include on the list, but it’s easy to get caught up in all the cosplayers and the merchandise on display at the convention. The second time I went to NYCC with a friend, we kept saying we would attend any panels we thought were interesting. We went for two days that year. On Saturday, we spent the entire time stuck in the exhibitors room. There was so much stuff we were drooling over, or we watched other convention goers play the demos of upcoming video games to be released.

By the time the end of the day rolled around, our feet ached and our energy was sucked right out of us. We hardly rested when we should have. Sunday, the final day of the convention, was brutal. Our feet hadn’t recovered and we were still exhausted from the previous day. Walking around the convention center was agonizing and we randomly picked one of the few panels that were scheduled on the last day just so we can sit for a while. Take my advice, divide up your time between browsing and shopping at the exhibitors room with a few interesting panels in between. Your feet will thank you for it.

This concludes my personal tips to survive Comic Con. Do you agree with this list? What are some of your own survival tips to have an enjoyable convention experience?

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6 thoughts on “Five Things All Convention Goers Must Know Before Attending One

  1. I agree with all these points! I’ve been to a couple PAX shows now and I’ve learned a couple of these lessons the hard way. #’s 3 and 5 in particular. It’s amazing how much money you can burn through just eating only a couple meals a day over the course of a few days, and you do end up missing A LOT if you only spend your time on the show floor.

    I actually have a point to add to the list: If you have a 3DS, BRING IT! and make sure to have it turned on and with you at all times. You will never have a better chance to collect street passes and get Miis from other countries.

    1. I actually talk about reasons for bringing a 3DS to a convention on GFN! NYCC weekend has been amazing and I’ve gotten a ton of Street Passes from this entire weekend! I find after going to a convention for a few years, you pick up some tips and tricks that’ll help you in other future conventions. It also helps to act as a guide to any friend who may be attending for the first time ever.

  2. Great tips! Yeah cons are always exhausting experiences for me. There are just so many things to do and see. It’s always hard on your poor feet.
    I’d probably add – wear comfortable shoes if at all possible (for reasons already mentioned) and if there are signings you know you’ll want to go to, check exactly when they are and make sure to get there with plenty of time to spare. Otherwise it’s easy to miss out with the more popular celebrities since the lines are usually pretty long and they’re only there for short periods of time. I learned this the hard way for Mark Meer at the MCM Expo, so I had to get up SUPER early the next day and we still would have missed out on tickets if we’d arrived 5 minutes later.
    Anyways, I hope you’re enjoying NYCC! Can’t wait to check it out for myself someday. 😀

    1. Definitely wearing comfortable shoes is a must! You don’t realize how tired you can get after you’ve been walking the convention floor for hours. I haven’t tried getting any autographs from anyone yet, but I should try to someday. Also lining up for high profile panels super early is a must if you want to be among the ones able to get into these.

      I do hope you can fly to NY someday to attend! I’m sure you’d enjoy it and you can spend time with me. 😀

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