Eight Tips for Going to a Convention

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By: Willden Doherty (@Willden)

Convention season is here! With a variety of conventions coming up, there a variety of ways to make the most out of each experience. Having been to a good amount myself, here are some tips I can provide from personal experience.

• Bring a Backpack/Purse


Make sure to have a bookbag or purse to carry with you during the convention. This is one of the most important things to have. It will allow you to bring personal items you might need. If you can’t find a carrying bag right away, you can store smaller merchandise in there.

• Bring Water and Snacks


We all know that food at conventions is expensive. The goal is to purchase food there once to make sure you get at least a decent meal. By bringing water and small snacks, you will be able to provide yourself some energy throughout the day. Keep an eye out for food truck or any place nearby the convention center. Those are probably cheaper options.

• Bring Both Cash and Credit Cards


It is good to have a decent amount of cash with you before going to the event. There will be ATMs, but they charge and the lines can get long. When meeting people for autographs and photo ops, cash is the main use of currency. Make sure to bring at least two cards with you for purchases at the booths.

• Plan Ahead for Panels


Before going to the event, make sure to get a list of what panels you want to see. You will want to keep track of the time and location of the panels, though usually you are given a guidebook that will provide a schedule and map. Many conventions also have free apps to download that will include this information.

• Bring a Phone Charger


Purchase a portable battery charger to bring with you. While there are phone charging stations, they can take up unnecessary time. Having a portable phone charger allow you to keep moving. You can find them on Amazon for a decent price. Buying one or two will last you for a long time and you can use them for every convention.

• Bring a Poster Tube or Buy One There


When going to your first convention, find a booth that sells poster tubes, buy one, and keep it for reuse at other conventions. Find a way to attach the poster tube to your bookbag if you can. It’s easier than using the strap it comes with and it becomes easier to carry. You can also use it as a barrier to give yourself space and will be less likely to hit someone.

• Be Prepared for Long Lines


There are many lines at conventions for autographs and panels. Some can be a couple of hours wait time. While you’ll want to be sure to bring a book or portable gaming device to entertain yourself, it’s also a good opportunity to talk to other attendees and make new friends this way. If you are going to a panel in a smaller room, the room might not clear out. If that’s the case, be sure to get into the room a couple of panels beforehand to allow yourself to get better seating when people leave. The bigger panels will clear out in between, so just make sure to arrive early enough to get in.

• Go By Yourself or in a Small Group


Going to a convention with friends has its advantages and disadvantages. You can split up then meet back up to attend a panel of similar interest. It helps having people to talk to while waiting in line. Going by yourself, however, allows you the freedom to do whatever you want. There no time spent waiting for others. You can move at your own pace throughout the floor and it’s easier to attend panels.


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