*FYI: I was asked to write up this post for the Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con, but there’s tons of stuff here that ANY con-goer can use!
Going to a Con?
Whether it’s a megaton pop culture convention like the Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con, a budding table top gaming convention like KantCon, or a tiny one-day pop culture con like Little Apple Comic Expo, there are five things every con-goer should know before stepping foot on the convention floor.
1. Be Prepared
Take a lesson from Japeth the goat and be prepared for your event! Familiarize yourself with the con’s schedule, guests, rules, and layout before the big day. It’s cool to wing it, but if you really want to meet that certain celebrity, find that one special vendor, see that one awesome panel, make a plan beforehand so you don’t end up disappointed.
2. Wear Comfy Shoes
Plan on walking. A lot. Even at a table top gaming convention, you’ll be doing some walking and standing around. Nothing sucks more than blistered, sore, aching feet. So, wear comfortable shoes. Or, at least bring a back up pair if those cosplay shoes don’t work out.
3. Bring A (Super) Friend
There’s nothing wrong with going it alone, but a con can be lots more fun with a friend. Plus, ladies, you’re less likely to get hassled when you’re with a group than when you’re on your own (bummer, I know). You and your friend may be able to split some costs or take turns waiting in long lines. You guys can take turns watching each other’s stuff while one of you runs to the potty. One of you can save the other a seat at a panel. There are tons of ways having a friend along can make the day more fun and run more smoothly.
4. Cash Is King (And So Is A Budget)
The best way to stick to a budget? Leave the credit cards at home and spend cash only. You can’t spend money if you don’t have any on you, right? I know this may not be practical for everyone. Another option might be to set aside a certain amount of cash for spending on souvenirs or food, and keep the plastic on hand for emergencies (and no, that awesome thingy from your favorite TV show is not an emergency . . . well . . . maybe it is . . . ). Also keep in mind that a lot of autographs and photo ops are for cash only (unless you order them in advance).
5. If You’re Not Sure, Then Ask
If you’re not sure about something, then ask! Especially if it’s your first con.
Is it OK to take a cosplayer’s picture? What’s that costume made out of? Can I take a closer look at that cool prop? Is it OK if I come in cosplay? What the heck is cosplay? Where’s the best place to eat? What floor is the panel on? . . . You get the idea.
Seriously! If you don’t know something, then just ask. Sometimes you can find the answers you’re looking for in the event’s program or on its website. But if you find yourself on the con floor, look for volunteers or an information booth. Vendors and convention center (or event space) staff may also be able to help you. Plus, larger conventions sometimes have a help feature on their app.
This list is by no means extensive. If you want more advice on conquering your next convention, check out these resources:
- Convention Etiquette 101 – What’s OK, weird, and down right wrong behavior at a con?
- Your Ultimate Convention and Cosplay Checklist!
- KC Geeks Kansas City Events List – If you’re looking for ways to geek out in the KC area, KC Geeks is a great place to start!
- O Comic Con’s Primer for First time Con Goers O Con’s got some great articles geared toward con-going newbies.
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