Hey there! GeeksAgainst reporting in with just some of our most basic survival tips for surviving a comic book convention. Why's that? Because Con season is going to be hitting soon and with so many options at events of what to do and what not to do, we're giving you our tips based off our own experiences. These hopefully will help you with your experiences to come!
- You're going to be doing a lot of walking! Sneakers make for great footwear. Make sure that you have proper fitting shoes with padding like Doctor Soles and socks. Flipflops and sandals have too much of a risk factor; so do high heels. If you decide to cosplay, definitely bring a back up pair.
- Wear comfortable pants with reasonable sized pockets. You want to be able to store your essentials; like your phone, camera, and your wallet. Depending on the convention you go to, you will most likely end up going through a security check or metal detector so you want to be able to empty pockets rather quickly.
- T-Shirts work pretty well for tops! Why? Because layers help keep you warm and cool at the same time. The outside temperatures might be cold so you want to have a warm layer like a jacket or a sweatshirt that you can store in a backpack.
- Search for Artist Prices for Autographs, Sketches, Photo-Ops! While some don’t charge fees, most charge a few for a photo op or a sketch or even just a signature; especially if you aren’t buying any other items from their table.
- Before the con, you use Ebay and other sites to price out collectibles. Sometimes going that extra step and finding out what an item usually goes for on Ebay can save you a couple dollars or buyers’ remorse. Most Ebay and other online sale sites do have a Buyer’s Protection policy. Shipping can cost you but it also can keep the item(s) safer... especially if there are smaller parts of the item(s) that you are afraid to lose!
Have a Plan
- Schedule where you want to be at what times. Sometimes you have to trek around like Lord of the Rings just to get from one location to the next. With time schedules between events being tight at times, having your plan being airtight can be the difference between shaking hands with Stan Lee or not. As a rule of thumb, plan on being about 30 minutes to a full hour ahead of schedule to get to your next event; some panels fill up instantly before you can even get in. Most convention sites have a map and schedule up for weeks prior to the con opening.
Keep Yourself Hydrated and Fueled
- Bring some snacks and a water bottle. While it probably doesn't seem to sound like it needs to be said, check the water bottle to make sure it is closed properly. You don't want to risk wetting your brand new $50 sketch. When picking your snacks, nothing that melts like a chocolate bar or leaves a residue on your fingers while eating. Granola bars are pretty good; so are bananas. Oranges and apples are too juicy and sticky.
- If you are going to buy food at the convention, map out where to eat OUTSIDE of the convention center. Con food is pricey and rushed. Most convention centers have a McDonalds or such within walking distance.
Things to Avoid
- Cosplayer Areas look enticing but make the hardest levels of Frogger a cake walk! Cosplayers often cause a lot of traffic; with their photo ops or even just their massive sizes; like the Hulkbuster armor or winged characters.
- Artist Galleries can have hidden traps! There’s always a lot of talent in the artist galleries but amateur artists are often trying to make a name for themselves; you might end up buying a great piece but at a high price. Don't mistake a Scotty Yung for a Skottie Young!
- Third Party vendors reselling con exclusives could be highway robbery. Sometimes vendors buy exclusives at the con directly and resell it at a higher margin despite the original vendor still having the exclusive still in stock.
- Deodorant goes a long way! Cons are crowded. A lot of body heat.
- A small first kit aid is great should you get a paper cut or a blister. All you need is a few band-aids and moleskin.
- Anti-bacterial soap/hand sanitizers can help prevent you from getting sick at the convention. We all know that guy that hangs out at the comic book store that doesn't shower unless it's leap year, right? There's bound to be him and a few of his friends at the convention as well.
- Protection for collectibles and art purchased t the convention goes a long way. Secure what you buy! Posters get crushed easily. Mailer tubes can be purchased at office supply stores which helps limit the bending.
- Device chargers will keep your devices powered. You don't want to have your smartphone dying in the middle of the con. Cell signals are sometimes weak. Also, a lot of noise pollution in the area. Texting works very well.
- Backpacks are an obvious must. Don’t overfill before the con; all that weight will add up on you. Only bring what you know you will need.
- An organized wallet will save you from overspending and missing that deal. Set a budget. Keep within that. Remember the part about researching prices while you set your budget. If you’re intending on carrying cash, which is a great practice; I recommend keeping a mixture of bills; don’t go with only fifties. In fact, unless you know you are going for a high ticket item of around $50, avoid fifties. Twenties are easier to break into smaller bills. Most convention centers have ATMs in their lobbies; but most ATMs will have lines and fees!
- If you’re using a credit card or debit card, I encourage keeping a pre-paid card with a limit that’s within your budget. You’re less likely to blow your life’s savings at a vendor that way. Plus, god forbid, it’s nearly impossible to have your entire account wiped out should a mishap happen. I prefer to use a PayPal MasterCard; some banks like TD allow you to set up a ‘Gift Card’ with no fees.
So these are quick survival tips for going to a comic book convention. I'm sure you have your own tips or experiences that you want to share! Please share them! Also, check out GeeksAgainst on Facebook, Twitter, and GeeksAgainst.com for more information and events!