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February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Edym’s Declassified Convention Survival Guide

Edyms+Declassified+Convention+Survival+Guide
Edym’s Declassified Convention Survival Guide

Howdy!

I’m sure there are a lot of you out there who go to conventions, whether it’s for comics, for video games, for anime, or for whatever floats your boat.  As someone who just came out of a giant convention as overwhelming and awe-inspiring as PAX East, I realized I went in blind, without a game plan, and without a clue on where to start.

So I decided to make a guide to help fellow convention-goers (as well as myself) who plan on attending conventions but don’t have a clue in the world what to do.  So, here it goes!

Tip 1:  Do your homework.

If this is a big convention, and especially if it is your first convention, do some research.  I went into this convention mostly blind, and had so much to do that I didn’t know where to start; I ended up missing out on a few things I was looking to do.  So figure out where you want to go at the convention before getting to the convention.

Tip 2:  Keep yourself hydrated and fed.

You will have absolutely no fun if you are cranky and dehydrated.  Bring snacks and water.  If you can spare the money, buy food in or around the convention.  Conventions take a lot out of you, so do yourself a favor and keep yourself going.

Tip 3:  Take care of yourself.

Ah, the famous con musk.  Nobody likes it, nobody wants it.  You’re going to be packed into one space with a lot of people, sweating all day as you dash around from booth to booth, from panel to panel.  Please, for your sake and for everyone else’s sake, remember to clean yourself.  Brush your teeth, take a shower.

Tip 4:  If you’re going to be wearing a costume, accommodate for it.

As somebody who loves wearing wigs and expensive costumes to conventions, I know it can be a pain to be in makeup and heels all day.  Don’t over-do it.  If you’re wearing some tight-fitting vest, be sure to take it off now and then.  Bring some ballet shoes and take off your heels now and then.  Take it from someone who almost had a heat-stroke wearing Victorian-styled clothes in the middle of the summer—it isn’t worth it to look perfect.

Tip 5:  Have a schedule in mind and in hand.

After doing your homework, set your priorities.  Know when places open and close, keep an eye on the time, and watch the crowd.  If the line is an hour wait, give yourself an hour and a half.  Most conventions cost anywhere from $60 to $200 for weekend passes.  Make it worth the money.

Tip 6:  Bring a phone charger.

It’s going to be a long weekend, and long days.  You’ll be texting friends left and right trying to figure out where to go, taking pictures of anything and everything, calling Lyft to get yourself home or using your phone as a map to drive to your hotel room.  Don’t let yourself get stranded.  Even if you don’t need it, bring it just in case.  Someone else might need it, too.

Tip 7:  Try to go with a group.

Conventions are a blast, but having friends around can make it even more fun.  Find a group of pals to spend the day with.  Or make friends at the convention.  Some of my favorite stories from conventions were the ones I made with friends.

Tip 8:  If you are going with a group, do what you want to do—not what everyone else wants.

Despite wanting to hang out with friends, this is your time, too.  You’ll want to go to one event, everyone else will want to go to another.  If you need to split off and regroup, don’t feel guilty.  Don’t go along for the ride if you aren’t having fun.  There will be plenty of time later to catch up, and plenty of time to spend with friends and do what you love.

Tip 9:  Be sure to save up beforehand.

Conventions are expensive.  Very expensive.  From the tickets to get in down to the food they serve, and that’s not even counting the merchandise you can find at the con!  Make a budget, try to stick to it, and plan to have a little more for that emergency taxi ride or that really cool poster you’ve been eyeing all weekend long.

Tip 10:  Have fun!

These conventions exist so that a bunch of nerds who have a passion for comics and cartoons can share their love for these mediums.  It’s your time to make friends, to have fun, to be silly!  At the end of the day, you’re here because you want to be.  Remember that!
And that’s it!  Thank you for reading, stay safe, and have fun!