10 Ways To Have A Great Convention Experience
I love conventions, including every single aspect of them from the guests to staff to events and panels. I have been attending various conventions for years and now feel confident that I know my way around events well enough so I can have fun without going broke or getting stressed about minor problems. However I remember in vivid detail just how lost and confused I was at my first convention, I went alone and knew no one so I had a crash course experience my first time. If I can save folks from being as stressed out as I was, I want to share some advice that I wish I had!
Hope this helps!
This might sound ridiculous to mention but by just gathering the basic information of conventions can help tremendously. When does the convention open? Where are their recommended parking lots? Is the location in an area close to you or are they quite a distance away? Finding the answers to these very basic questions can alleviate your major concerns. If you can not find a piece of information never hesitate to message the convention’s general contact email or social media. People are literally paid to answer your questions so be sure to take advantage of this in order to ensure you have all the information you need!
Check Out Their Guests/Events
There have been plenty of conventions that I went to and had no idea my favorite movie or YouTube star was there and it killed me (I am writing this from beyond the grave). Anime Expo was a perfect example where I went and had an okay experience with some road bumps but finding out the Dodger was there and then getting to attend her panel and meet her made my entire year. I know many have an idol that they admire as well and encourage you to check the guest list to see if they are listed. Then get the information about their appearances, times and then arrive early to make certain you have a good seat or spot in line, the bigger the convention, the earlier you should arrive.
This applies to events as well whether it is a cosplay masquerade, screening, or panels. These are such fun events by themselves but if it is in regards to something you are passionate about, it will make a world of difference to your convention experience if you are informed about them and then attend!
This might sound silly but selfies always help make a convention experience better because it captures a fun moment at the convention for you to look back on and admire. Not to mention if you reach out to cosplayers or friends to take selfies with, it communicates to them that you appreciate who they are or what they have done. It is a feel good experience that often leads to new friendships and documented memories you can share and tag friends in!
Such a simple act that can do so much good!
Conventions can get expensive fast if you are not careful, I know that I have found myself counting change in order to buy food at out of state conventions because I bought a Dragon Ball Z figure without thinking. I am not saying I regret my purchase but it would have been wise to purchase the figure at another convention or online so I could have gotten an adult burger instead of one from the dollar menu. Be sure to consider how much the flight or uber will cost if needed, if you are going to stay at a hotel be sure to consider the price, then tack on the amount of food you’ll be eating and then an amount for Misc purchases if something catches your eye.
Personally, I advise on sharing burden with other folks if possible. If you get a hotel room, invite friends to stay and cover some of the cost. If you don’t care much for the food served at cons then consider bringing food bars, trail mix, and keep a bottle of water to refill at water stations. If you find something on the convention floor that you absolutely adore but might be too expensive to purchase there, check online first to see if Amazon has it cheaper or wait to see if vendors have sales.
However, I do recommend you spend money on small businesses because their goods will not be found online and your dollar helps them tremendously!
Unfortunately a stigma in American culture is the idea of a personal bubble where everyone has their area privacy and others should not talk with people they do not know. When you first arrive at a convention, it might be a culture shock to see random people going up to other random people and sparking a conversation out of thin air. It is a beautiful aspect of conventions and should be embraced by all! If you are shy at all like I was then here is some advice on how to shake off the anxiety!
If you see something you like, go up to the person who owns it and compliment them. Cosplayers love hearing that their work is appreciated, artists and vendor adore fans, and even convention guests welcome praise! You never do any harm by telling another person that they are doing a great job. Often times in the past I have wanted to tell people that they were super dope but held back because I thought that I would get beat up or rejected in some way. This was the exact opposite of what actually happened when I did offer praise, even if it was riddled in slurred words and weak eye contact! In fact some of those same people even admitted to wanting to compliment me on my stuff!
Join/Follow Social Media Groups
I can almost guarantee that your favorite convention has a Facebook group filled to the brim with fans that are just as, if not more, passionate as you are! Often times even various staff members are involved to inform their fans of all of the great events in the near future. For us in Arizona, we have Blue Ribbon Army who are made up of a bunch of great fans and organizers from Phoenix Comicon! A lot of great information about the convention is shared and discussed there! It is a great community that is always looking to help others out whether it is associated with the convention or not! A quick Facebook search should produce group results!
You know how in video games certain characters take damage to their health bar if they don’t eat or drink for a long time? Humans do that in real life as well and that is not fun. It is easy to get swept away by the awe of cons but always remember to constantly be drinking water and eating every so often. Almost every convention I attend I see people who are passed out and an ambulance has to be summoned to hydrate them. Even at Phoenix Comicon in 2016 I was hanging out with a friend and watched as she got heat exhaustion and then worse with every minute that ticked by until she tapped out and got the water and shade she needed for as long as she needed.
Taking an hour out of the convention to recoup might suck but passing out and missing an entire day or weekend is even worse!
A friend of mine always says “I’m going rogue.” to us when he is about to ditch the group to do exactly what he wants, when he wants. I absolutely recommend this for conventions. Hanging out with friends is always a great time but it is unlikely all of you are down for exactly what you want to do so it is best to hang out for a bit and then move on. Make certain you get the experience out of the convention that you want whether that means waiting in line for hours just to meet your favorite person or not going to any of the events so you can enjoy the sights. You paid for your ticket so you do whatever you want, if they are your friends, then they’ll understand your desire to go rogue!
This suggestion might be a bit bias coming from us but we do encourage everyone to cosplay at least once in their life! It is such an empowering feeling to shed your everyday self and take on the persona of your favorite character and then to be stopped randomly for photos or praise! I came in such a terrible costume for my first Phoenix Comicon in 2012 and still people loved my costume! I could barely look them in the eye and tried my best to deny the kind words but it was just too overwhelming! It doesn’t matter if you purchase your costume or make it yourself, just go out and have a blast being a geek!
Have A Great Time
Above all else, make sure you have a great time. You know deep down what your heart yearns for so go and do exactly that! Tomorrow is never promised today, so live it up! No one has time for drama so just avoid it and keep going. Tell everyone around you how wonderful they are and walk with pride up and down the convention halls doing everything you want! Hang out with old friends and make new ones, share your experiences online and take a moment to thank the staff from the convention for all of their hard work. I swear to you that your experience will be fantastic! 😀
Thanks for checking out our list and I hope you have fun at your future conventions!