7 Things Everyone Needs To Know To Survive Their First Con
1. Pace yourself
Most cons last a whole weekend, sometimes up to half a week. So, don’t feel like you need to get everything done all at once. There’s a lot to do at these cons- panels, meet artists, meet celebrities. While that’s a good thing, and you for sure get your money’s worth on the entry price, it’s important not to get overwhelmed. You don’t want to rush to get everything done on Thursday or Friday, then sit around the rest of the weekend with nothing to do. Or, in an even worse case scenario- your energy is spent all in the first day. That’s why it’s important to…
It’s very important to plan when it comes to your first con. Is it in town or out of town? If it’s out of town, do you have someone to stay with. If not, can you get a hotel? They’re going to fill up fast and be expensive, so it’s a good idea to get one ASAP before the crowd can. How much gas will it cost to get there? Whose car is the most fuel efficient? Where will you eat? And none of this even includes what happens once you get to the con. Whose autograph do you just HAVE to get? What if you find that special comic or action figure? What panels will you hate yourself over missing? These are all things to keep in mind. Of course, you don’t need to plan out every minute and detail of your trip, but you should have a good general idea of what you will be doing so you don’t regret missing out on something.
Nobody is made out of money, but that would be a cool superhero. Actually, they would probably be a supervillian. Point is, you should make sure that you will have enough money to make it back home. Just like with the planning of the trip, you shouldn’t plan it out to the very penny and stress out if you don’t stick to your budget 100%, it is a good idea to keep a loose budget in mind. If everyone is going out for drinks, but your personal budget doesn’t include that, you might need to sit out that night. Your friends will understand.
4. Save (look for deals)
Keeping in the vein of money, you should try to save wherever possible. Some people just can’t be bothered to save whenever possible, but $20 saved on hotel or gas is $20 that can go to a cool t-shirt. Use the website/app Gas Buddy to plan out the most cost efficient places for you to fill up on the way to/from the con. If you’re flying, set up some google alerts to find the cheapest flights possible. It’s smarter to book 3-5 months out for hotel and flights for the cheapest options.
As far as the con goes, it’s smarter to buy food at a local grocery store and make some sandwiches or pizza rolls in the hotel. If there are restraunts in the venue, the privces will most likely be hiked up. Buy water in bulk. Check with the venue’s rules before hand, but you might be able to bring in outside food and/or water.
As far as stuff to buy at the con, you might be able to get some items at a lower price on Sunday, as most of the vendors don’t want to take excess stock home with them and are more likely to cut a deal. At the same time, you run the risk of losing out on that cool item. You may be able to haggle with vendors who own a more DIY business, but it really depends.
If you’re on the fence of whether or not to cosplay, go for it! If you can’t make a good cosplay, or you can’t afford to buy a good outfit, make a unique one! Some of my favorite cosplays ever have been clever rather than high quality. I’ve dressed up as a “professional wrestler” before. I was a luchador in a 3 piece suit.
Use what’s in your closet. You may have to use a “Hi my name is…” name tag, but it’s still something. And, who knows? You might have a good time!
6. Be safe
Travel with friends, especially if you are unfamiliar with the city. There are creeps everywhere.
Don’t drink and drive- not just at cons, but anywhere.
Cosplay is not consent. Just because a cosplay is revealing, it doesn’t excuse someone to be a creep.
See something, say something. If someone is being weird and is making people feel uncomfortable, tell a security guard. Most cons have contracted security to deal with the weirdos.
7. Have fun
It can be exciting and a bit stressful to attend your first con. Don’t let it get to you. Enjoy the experience. If you’re going with friends, make sure everyone is having fun. If you’re venturing out solo, make some friends. You’re going somewhere where you’re bound to find something in common with somebody. Find the Rick to your Morty!