Well, its that time again! You have your tickets and you're ready to hit your first convention. Whether it's Comic Con, Wizard World, CES, PAX or Bliz Con, there are some things you need to know to survive and get the most out of your convention.
Let's start with making a plan. Most conventions have panels and special events to attend. Many times these are an extra fee you need to pay in your ticket bundle or at the convention. Write down the times, then you can then plan around these events.
How will you get there? It is good practice to plan your route the night before and have a backup plan in case of traffic or accidents. If you are unsure as to where you are going, set up your navigation on your smartphone or gps and double check it on a map on your computer. Look at your ticket and find out what time the convention opens and closes. Give yourself some time to get there early in case there are lines, and that happens pretty much every time.
Checklist time! Here is a short list of items I bring whenever adventuring to a convention or a event.
Driver license or ID
Smartphone or cell phone
Camera and or smartphone
Tripod and or Monopod
Business cards or handouts. ( If you're there for work )
Lanyard to hold your badge ( most conventions give these out, but just in case they don't or they have run out.)
Back up battery for your smartphone or camera
Tylenol or what ever headache medicine you prefer
Tums or something for your stomach
Pen and magic marker
Backpack or bag
I personally take a backpack with me. I took some time and spent a few coins finding a bag that would hold my gear and carry my purchases out with me. Some people keep their bag with them for the whole convention. Something to keep in mind, at many conventions there are bag check-ins. Similar to coat check ins, you leave your bag or any items you buy for a small price and you can go collect your stuff whenever you need. Pretty cool right? Well, you can also send your purchased stuff through the mail. That's right, they have booths setup to send packages to your home through USPS, Fedex or UPS, depending on the convention.
A couple of extra points, when you arrive at the convention walk around and get a feel for the layout. Locate the room or space where the events are taking place and give yourself some time to get to the event or panel you wish to attend, preferably getting in line a bit early. Also, if there is a food court take notice to its location and layout. Try not to eat lunch at noon, instead wait a bit to avoid long lines. Although, if you're attending a popular show this may be unavoidable, unless you venture outside the convention to a local restaurant or curb food truck or wagon. Take care as to what you eat and how much you drink, nothing is worse than an emergency trip to the bathroom during a event with large numbers.
One more thing to keep an eye out for are bathrooms and emergency exits, and also a first aid station, if there is one, just in case. Through all this, the most important thing you could do is have a great time. Talk and mingle with your fellow man. You probably have a lot in common if you're at the same event. Take some time and chat it up, you never know what you will learn or what new connections or friendships you may find.
Edited by: Ashley Page