Although summer is reaching it’s end, convention season still has some gas left in the tank. North American con-goers have staple events to look forward to where big news and previews happen, as well as the chance to meet some of the stars past and present in entertainment.
Since we have Canadians on staff who will be reporting live from FANEXPO Canada this weekend, here are some helpful tips to get through your fan experience in one piece:
1. A Cash Budget Is Your Best Friend
…the picture is related, we swear. With the wonders of modern technology, it’s becoming easier to make payments using plastic cards in dealer’s rooms or artist’s alley of conventions. This is also a great way to blow through your budget within the first day. Figure out what merch, art, photo ops and autographs you need, the cost of them, add an extra 20-40$ for contingency, and take it out from your bank ahead of time. Trust me, you don’t want to be stuck in those ATM line ups at the convention centre.
2. Pack the Essentials
This one is all too easy to forget in the rush to get your costumes done, planning what celebs to go see and what collectibles to hunt down. A water bottle, snacks, a portable charger for your phone, comfortable shoes, and something to kill time while waiting in lines are all things that will make your con life much easier.
3. Know What You Want to See, And Where To Go For It
The schedule isn’t just written to add atmosphere, after all. A lot of the fun of cons is checking out exhibits, panels, and events. Make sure you know what day events you’re excited for are, and where they are. Con volunteers might be able to point you in the right direction, but they work long hours and often have to handle high-pressure situations, and are human like the rest of us. Best to refer to the official maps and schedules. Have backup plans if the event you want to see is full or sold out, and factor in time to walk from point A to point B. When you need to get food, look into what’s nearby the convention and how long it will take. “But, what about the convention centre food court?” Don’t. Please, love yourself enough not to settle for the convention center food court and their $14 pizza-slice-and-soda-can offerings.
4. The 6-2-1 Rule
These 3 little numbers have been a staple of self-care at conventions, festivals and beyond for generations. The guidelines are 6 hours of sleep per night, 2 meals per day, and 1 shower per day. These are minimums, of course. You might be surprised at how well they prevent con funk and post-con depression. On that note…
5. Stop Con Plague Before You Get It
Yeah, tens of thousands of warm bodies in a crowded event for 4 days? Not a wonder why some of us come away from the experience with a few extra germs. Make sure to use mouthwash when you go to sleep and wake up, stay hydrated and nourished, and please, by God, wash your hands.
6. Remember Your Fellow Con-goers are People Too
Everyone else is going to be as tired and emotional as you are, so remember etiquette. Ask before taking people’s photos, don’t cut in line, don’t sexually harass cosplayers (no really, there’s still a whole thing about this), don’t shove portfolios at creators outside of designated portfolio review times, don’t yell at volunteers; overall, don’t be a dick.