We at the Daily Geekette go to a lot of conventions, and love to enjoy them to the fullest extent. But for the younger audience who are attending their first con to those old timers who need a few tips to freshen up on their con-going skills, we want to give you the best insight into what and what not to do within the world of conventions. From Cosplaying, Panel Going, Shopping, and more – we want to make sure you are ready for your favorite up and coming con like you would be for the Zombie apocalypse (and trust me, with the amount of attendees, some of these cons can feel like The Walking Dead at times!)
So to help you, here are some of the DG crew with their batches of Geekette wisdom to get through the convention season ahead!
– Eat A Hearty Breakfast & Drink Plenty Of Water
With expensive food and distractions aplenty, one often forgets to eat at conventions. At the very least, be sure to have a substantial breakfast and pack a few snacks before arrival so as to hold yourself until dinner. And in the face of amazing cosplays, contests, and panels, staying hydrated is probably the last thing on your mind. But whether you decide to drink from a fountain or pack your own water bottle, it’s important that you put your health first.
– Pack A Charger
Researching new fandoms and taking photos can really take a toll on a con-goer’s phone – and Pokémon GO certainly does not help our case. If you want to make the most out of your battery life, be sure to activate “Low Power” mode if you have an iPhone and bring a charger and/or a power bank for any electronics you may have.
– Have A Convention Buddy
You don’t have to do everything together, but it’s a good idea to have one or two contacts whom you can call upon at a moment’s notice. As fun as cons are, things can get pretty hectic and taking a break with a friend may be needed from time to time.
– Stay Fueled with a Snack
Pack a snack! Con food can be expensive and con days are long and can take a lot of energy. Remembering to eat will be a lot easier if you have a few snack bars in your bag. They come especially in handy when you’re starving but can’t seem to find time to duck out to eat between all the panels and events you want to see.
– Comfort Powers, Ignite!
Keep comfort in mind when you plan your costume. Like I said, con days are long and they can be hard to enjoy if your feet hurt, your costume itches, or you’re sweltering to death. Be prepared for the weather or intense air conditioning. Wear comfy shoes or bring a spare comfy pair.
– Take a Break
Remember that it’s okay to take some time to rest. Don’t feel like you have to be running around shopping, taking pics, and listening to panels the whole time. Sometimes you really need to just sit down for an hour or so, rest your feet, and regroup. If you do this on the main concourse, you can get in some excellent people-watching and maybe even make some new friends with the people sitting around you. Or you can find a quiet corner or go back to your hotel room if you have one. Just make sure your friends know where you are.
– “Can I Take Your Picture?”
Always ask permission before you take somebody’s picture and if you plan to post somewhere more public than your Facebook, let them know that and where they can see it. Most people will say yes, but it is important to ask!
– Don’t Forget The Fun Part
Have fun! That’s what you’re there to do. Try not to get sucked into anyone’s drama or get mad when you miss an event. There’s always next year. Conventions are when you get to take 3 or so days off from real life to dress up and meet cool people who like the same things you do. Make the most of that by trying to keep up a light attitude. If you feel yourself getting cranky, have something to eat, take a rest, find your friends or find some alone time and try to get back into that excited mood.
– Save Money
Put aside money BEFORE the con that’s solely for food and/or rides if you are carpooling or taking public transport. Keep it in a separate location from your “spending-for-funsies” money.
– Carry as Little as Possible
It’s okay for your friend to hold your bag once or twice if you get stopped for a cosplay photo, but don’t force them (or yourself) into being a pack mule. If you’re making a day trip of the con, you will want a roomy backpack. But pack carefully: when filled to capacity, some backpacks just become more of a nuisance.
– Choose A Crossbody Bag
Chain wallets are good, but I personally recommend a crossbody bag or wallet. Several years back, I bought one and it’s ABSOLUTELY the best investment I ever made. It has a strap that you can adjust, though I generally keep it long so I can sling it across my body and deter thieves. It has several storage spaces: mine’s got money, all my ID cards, extra change, and a perfect, easy-to-reach pocket where I can store my cell phone. If you’re the kind of person who hates carrying a purse but doesn’t have enough pocket space, you’ve gotta get one.
– Research Your Food Options
One of my favorite things to do at conventions is look at the local food around the area. First off, it helps you budget your meals for the rest of the weekend so you can buy more nerdy goodness. Second, you can manage yourself with eating on the healthy side and not surviving on the poorly made and sometimes scary con food. But the best part? You get to experience a bit of the culture of the area you’re in! One of my favorite things to do during the Thursday and Sunday of the Otakon weekend (back when it was in Baltimore) was to try all the epic crab cakes and other kinds of seafood that Maryland is known for. So take a moment on Google and see what you can find around your favorite convention.
– Treat Yourself Good, and Don’t Eat The “Con Food”
A lot of cons will take place in specific convention centers, and unfortunately the food offered within these places (unless they are full service restaurants) tend to be of the worse than the stuff at the local mall food court. So if you want to save your sanity, stomach, and wallet (since of course, they up charge like crazy), be nice to yourself and go to eat somewhere outside of the convention center. A great option is going to one of the connecting hotels and eating in their personal restaurant, or research what is in the surrounding area. Seriously – be kind to yourself – you’re a nice person and deserve to not eat garbage!
– Do Your Best to Not Be Stressed
One of the lessons I took with me from my mom is the idea of planning ahead. I know that sounds just about as predictable as humanly possible, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t make prep lists of things like hotel costs, packing ideas, and cosplay essentials. If you take just an hour to write down everything or take a picture of all your outfits laid out for the weekend on your bed so you remember everything, you’ll be good to go – trust me! It’ll save you from crying the moment you get out of your car and realize you left your entire costume at home (which I speak from personal experience).
These are just a few helpful tips from the DG crew. Are you going to a convention anytime soon, or are you looking for one to attend? We recommend our friends over at Eventbrite for finding new conventions and nerdy events to check out! They have all the tools you need to attend, and manage some of the coolest things in your area and have the best moments of your Geekette-approved life. Comment below with your tips and tricks for conventions, since we Geekettes always need new ones!