Conventions are the place to celebrate your favorite fandoms. If you’re a pop culture enthusiast who loves video games, sci-fi, fantasy, movies, and comics, it’s natural to want to visit a local or international Comic-Con.
If enjoying a convention seems too daunting and intimidating to survive, think again! By following the tips below, this guide will give you a head start in becoming a convention pro.
Plan Your Trip In Advance
Start your preparation by becoming familiar with where the convention is located, transportation options, and booking a hotel if you have to. Go a step further and set your schedule.
Navigate the event’s website and social media for a breakdown of events, a map, and the guests listed to attend. Focus on the events that are top priorities and build your schedule from there. Due to time constraints and unexpected changes, be willing to compromise, keep an open mind, and make the best of your experience.
Create a Budget
The quickest way to run out of money is by remaining unaware of how much you should have on-hand from the beginning. Conventions frequently offer multiple tiers for admission.
A one-day ticket guarantees you access to the convention for one day, while weekend packages and VIP deals include admission and extra perks like priority access to panels and exclusive memorabilia. Start a budget based on the ticket you want. Extend your savings beyond your initial ticket and bring cash for eating, drinking, and memorabilia you might purchase in person.
Essential Items to Pack
For smaller conventions, the essential items you’ll want to pack are comfortable shoes and clothes, money, your phone, a nutrition bar/snack, and a bottle of water. For larger Comic-Cons, you might want to bring a backpack or a large carry-on bag, so everything is on-hand. Items to consider packing in your survival kit include:
- Camera and extra battery
- Phone charger
- Print-outs of your tickets / schedule / registration
- Reusable bags for memorabilia
- Hand sanitizer
Treat Cosplayers With Respect
Cosplaying (dressing up as a fictional character in a costume with props) requires an extraordinary amount of time and money to create. As tempting as it may be to sneak a closer look at their wardrobe or prop, respect cosplayers’ boundaries and personal space.
Whether a fellow attendee is dressed in a dragon costume or a beloved fictional character, ask before taking a photo. Cosplayers are real fans too. They’re satisfied to see their hard work appreciated, but also want to be treated as equals.
Know the Drill with Photo-Ops / Autographs
Photo-ops are paid opportunities where a professional photographer takes a photo of you and a celebrity guest of your choice together. Though photo-ops are generally located in the marketplace, passes typically go on sale online in advance. After purchasing your photo-op online, arrive at least fifteen minutes early before your designated time.
Photo-Ops are not the place to ask for an autograph or have a conversation, only for a photo to be taken with the guest. Be prepared for the experience to move rapidly. After the photo is captured, you’ll be directed to the pick-up area to receive your photo. If there’s a mistake with the pose or printing, ask a staff member for further assistance.
Autographs take place at the celebrity’s designated autograph table. You can bring a photo or item from home or buy a photo at their table. You’ll be able to chat with the celebrity as they sign your item. Every autograph table is different, so respect their rules regarding selfies and signing items.
Take Care of Yourself
To survive your first Comic-Con, you must take care of yourself. When you’re trying to experience as much as possible, it’s easy to overlook your body’s signals. Remember to hydrate and eat healthy foods. If you need to take a breather, find a place to sit down and savor the experience. Be proud you’re surviving your first convention. Before you know it, you’ll be onto the next one and many more in the future.