How To Survive A Comic Convention

Comic Conventions seem to tornado spin their way into town and leave a bunch of exhausted, hungry and withdrawal having fanboys and girls in its wake. I have been an attendee of several conventions over the years including most of the New York Comic Cons, Mike Carbo's, Big Apple Con, Chiller Theater, art conventions, huge outdoor street festivals, and even environmental geek cons such as The Green Festival. In my travels, Ive learned a lot, and every convention leaves me more prepared for the next.

With conventions getting more popular, and popping up all throughout the year, I want to make sure that you are prepared for your next one, especially if it is your first!

1. WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES

I give dedicated cosplayers credit, but you wont see me in heels at comic con. I will wear a wedge at the very least, but still carry an extra pair of flats in my bag. After your first cosplay complete with blistered and bloody feet on fire, you will realize that there were other ways to make your look work without sacrificing your tootsies.

If you already wear sneakers, sliding in some padded or gel inserts are also a super plus. After a few hours of walking and standing in lines (LINES EVERYWHERE), you'll be thankful for your sensible shoes and squishy steps!

2. STAY HYDRATED

Since you will be doing a lot of walking, you will be getting thirsty. It is very easy to forget to stop for some drinks. Most conventions can have really pricey bottled water. Fortunately, they will usually also have water fountains at the venue. Its really smart to bring your own bottle of water that can be refilled in the fountains or bathroom.

3. BRING A REUSABLE SHOPPING BAG

The best reusable bag is one that you can carry comfortably over your shoulder or with a handle. You'll be picking up a lot of free goodies, get flyers handed to you, and be making your own purchases as well. While many vendors will have shopping bags, they often run out. Plastic shopping bags also aren't the strongest, or easiest to lug around all day. With a reusable bag, you not only conserve some plastic resources, but have a unique bag that you are less likely to confuse with someone elses as you both put them down near a booth to flip through some comics.

Posters are also things that don't last the day at comic con. Bring yourself a cardboard tube or poster holder with a strap so you can keep your prints fresh!

4. PACK SOME SNACKS

Much like the expensive water, food courts at many convention centers are more of the same. Ditch the small plate of 10 dollar chicken fingers, and pack yourself some sandwiches, granola bars, fruit or some kind of munchies. You will be glad you did! Not all convention centers have restaurants that are easily accessible nearby, and who wants to leave the crowded convention just to try to squeeze their way back in later?

5. BRING SOME CASH

Many vendors do have alternative ways to pay such as PayPal, credit or debit card, but sometimes equipment pay be acting up. Other times, the WiFi service in convention centers isn't the best, so vendors could have a hard time trying to process your payment. If you don't want to miss out on a good deal or be a victim of digital disaster, pack some cash with you.

ATM machines are usually located in comic cons, but with a hefty service fee (plus the one your bank might add after the fact), it may be smart to hit your branch before entering con.

6. ACCESSORIES

Portable External Battery USB Charger: Nothing worse than running out of battery power on your cell phone or camera, especially with all the crazy happenings and cosplay going around! The external battery is the most useful thing I own. If you have a USB wire for your device, you can use the battery as an outlet.

Hip Pouch: You will be doing a lot of shuffling around through your bags and pockets. With all the hub bub, we are prone to losing things because where you put your item back last will start to change quickly. A smart thing to have is a utility belt, if you will. Whether it be a stylish belt pack, or a fanny pack, it is the most convenient place to put your stuff. Between the bags and backpacks you may be carrying, you can easily get right into your belt pouch without having to rearrange yourself, or smack people with your items as much.

Sewing Kit: If you are doing cosplay, there may be some tears and wardrobe malfunctions. A small sewing kit with some safety pins is a great thing to have with you. If your costume doesnt fail, someone else's might, and you will be a REAL hero.

7. CONTACT INFORMATION

You'd be surprised how many new people and friends you WILL meet at Comic Con. Let's be real, no one is going to remember verbal information. Bring business cards, or index cards and a pen that fit right in your hip pack. Be descriptive in the information you give so they remember who you are.

If using a phone, make sure you REALLY take their information down well, including a picture. Putting in quick notes sometimes get confused. Back up your new contacts to notes and/or email if your phone can get online.

8. DRESS COMFORTABLE

That may not be possible in cosplay, but if you are going in your regular duds, make sure you are comfortable. Really crowded conventions get really hot. Its better to wear short sleeves and pack a hoodie or sweater. Being overheated will just exhaust you faster and take away from your enjoyment. Many convention centers have coat check if you really dont want to carry around any extra clothing.

OTHER NOTES:

* If you get separated from your friends, it will be REALLY diffilcult to find each other if anyone runs out of cell phone power, or reception is bad. Its always smart to desginate several meetup areas on the convention center map for you and your pals. Depending on where you get lost, you can always meet up at the nearest base.

* Don't get too excited for comic books or action figures at a booth, because you will be really bummed if you find it for 5 dollars cheaper at the next one. Unless it is a super rare thing that you are familiar with already, the best game plan is to browse all the similar vendors first, then go back to the best to make your purchases. On a sneaky note, you could always mis-categorize the comic you want, and come back for it if you are worried it wont be there later. Just make sure you put it back where it belongs if you don't buy it.

* As a courtesy, make sure you are wearing a good deodorant, and bring some extra with you. It is HOT at cons, and can get sweaty before you know it. Conventions can become a smelly place really fast, and if you are really sensitive to smells, you wont be a happy camper. Let's take the initiative to stop the stench and lead by fresh example.

 

DON'T FORGET TO TAKE A LOAD OFF EVERY NOW AND THEN!

Help expand this list with your own tips and hints. Leave a comment below!

 

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