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Your Guide to Going to Conventions

Going to a convention? Follow these helpful tips to enhance your con-going experience.

Comic book conventions are a place many of us nerds call home. It's truly the one time you can let your hair down and be who you truly are without feeling judged. It's events like this which should be the most enjoyable and happiest for fans, but sometimes, conventions can be a bit frustrating and maddening. The fine folks of Comic Vine are veterans when it comes to traversing the convention landscape, so whether you're a con legend or a rookie, we thought we'd give you some helpful tips to maximize your con going experience.

Everyone Sucks at Walking, Including You

There is nothing that can ruin your day quicker than just walking around a convention. It feels like a hopeless endevour as you penguin waddle behind the family of five, spread out across the walkway, stopping abruptly every five seconds without moving to the side. At no point, during your travels, will you not be behind someone like this. Here's the thing, someone walking behind you is thinking the same exact thing. Everyone "sucks" at walking to someone else, so it's best not to get mad or frustrated because you're a con. It's supposed to be fun. There's no reason to get frustrated and say something because at some point during that same con, you'll be stopping to look at things every 5 seconds. Do your best to keep a cool head so everyone has a good time.

Getting Pictures of Cosplayers

Cosplay and comic book conventions go hand and hand. It's truly part of the appeal of con-going. Here's the thing, Cosplayers are people too. They are there to enjoy the convention, just like you. It sounds silly having to actually say that but sometimes, folks can be quite rude when it comes taking cosplayers photos. The first thing you should do is ask to take their picture. Would you want people randomly taking your photo? Frankly, it's just polite, and if you don't ask, you'll look like one of those creepy dudes with the nice cameras that sneaks up on people. If you've been to a lot of conventions, you know who I'm talking about. Also, it's nice to ask them by their cosplayer name. Don't just say "hey dude, can I take a picture?" These people put a lot of time and effort into those costumes, so show them you appreciate it: "Hey Jubilee. I love the costume. Do you mind if I get a picture of you?" The more polite you are to the people around you, the better the time you'll have.

Be Patient

I, for one, hate crowds; however, I'm pretty sure there's a ton of people just like me that feel a bit uneasy about it as well. I lose my patience very quickly in a crowd and feel trapped. The thing is that you need to realize aside from conventions being fun, you're also around tons of like-minded folks. Why get mad when you're around your peers? If you get too worked up or freaked out by the crowds or being crowded in, just take a step aside and take a breath or two.

Bring a Bag or Backpack

This kinda seems like a no brainer, right? You'll probably be buying things and want something to put them in so you're not holding them for hours on end. What you really should do is also bring things to the convention with you, like water. Food and drink prices at conventions are outrageous. They can get away with it and they know you'll pay for it. When we go to conventions, I always like to bring one large bottle of water with me and maybe a granola bar to tide me over. It saves you a few bucks, which will help when you're trying to buy that super-cool Galactus statue.

Make Way for Wheelchairs

As one of my close friends, who is wheelchair-bound, puts it "My arch nemesis are grass and carpet." Many convention floors have areas that are carpeted. That, combined with the crowds, can be pretty tough for those in wheelchairs to get around. Lots of this piece is about making your con experience as fun as possible, but let's remember that being kind and helping out other folks is just as important. Giving those in wheelchairs a bit more room to get through the crowds just makes things a bit easier for them. That's common sense, right?

Take these tips with you the next time you go to a convention and you're sure to have a much better convention going experience! And we'll see you guys at C2E2!

15 Comments Refresh
Posted by onmedz

You should add a mention of hand sanitizer to the back pack mention. Just, you know, just because..

Posted by wundagoreborn

Good stuff. You'll be glad to have this article in the future, so you can point folks to who ask for con tips on the podcast.

One tip I would add -- Don't Go Broke.

You're about to walk into the most incredible and huge comics and collectibles store you can imagine. You're about to delight yourself with purchases you can't make anywhere else. Notwithstanding that, being able to eat next week remains a priority. I recommend establishing a spending limit before you arrive. To enforce that limit, I get that amount out in cash and have it in a front pocket. I spend it until it's gone, then I'm done. That way I never have to reach for my wallet, never even have to glance at the credit card that could get me in trouble. Others may have better impulse control than me (I hope so, for your sake), but however you make it work, have a limit. Walk away with a bag full of awesome, but don't go broke.

Edited by sora_thekey

Did something like this a few years back... Survival Guide. Maybe it'll help you guys when you go to C2E2.

Have fun!

Posted by Jonny_Anonymous

Alas I don't think I will ever be able to go to a con

Posted by Nahuel

WOW! Cons in my country are never that crowded.

Thanks for the tips.

Edited by Child_Karl

Top thing to remember at cons- Be respectful, always.

Everyone is there to have a good time, don't be that person that worsens the experience for someone else. Be mindful, don't be pushy (literally and figuratively), know your boundaries around other people, "please" and "thank you", etc.

Posted by Jokercell

Thanks for the tips I have Wizard World Con in just a week.

Posted by SavageDragon

Big Wow in May!

Posted by pikahyper

You forgot the smell :P everyone should bring body spray, cologne, perfume or even just some febreze.

Edited by Ink_Is_My_Drink

A comprehensive guide to attending cons in song form

Forever Famicom (MegaRan & K-Murdock) // CONtact

Posted by Manchine

Few of these were obvious but I didn't think about the backpack or even slow people. WIll be going to my first con next Month. =)

Edited by the_kza

buy an external battery for your phone/tablet/camera/etc it will keep your gadgets charged the whole day so you don't have to carry a charger with you and stand on the wall to use the outlet. If you can't afford an external battery take a extension cord with you and share with people (if you want). Just make sure security doesn't see it.

A pair of running shoes does wonders your feet will thank you later.

if you plan on taking a lot of comic books to get signed I highly recommend getting this. They cost 5-6 bucks at Target/Walmart you can fit tpbs/hcs/omnibus' too as well.

If you don't want to carry the sterlite medium show off you can get the BCW Comic Book Stor-Folio this can fit in your backpack and can hold 10 bag and boarded comics or 20 comics unbagged. You can find them online or maybe at your lcs.

Edited by feargalr

Great article! Now all I need to do is go to a convention

Edited by CaptHowdy

@the_kza said:

If you don't want to carry the sterlite medium show off you can get the BCW Comic Book Stor-Folio this can fit in your backpack and can hold 10 bag and boarded comics or 20 comics unbagged. You can find them online or maybe at your lcs.

Neat. I'll look into this. I always like to take comics to sign. I just got a ton signed at Calgary Expo last weekend. Incidentally, this is the first time I brought a telescopic art tube to a convention. I've been going to cons more and more and absolutely hate it when I get a poster, print, or piece of art and have no place to put it. Or worse, I would try to roll it up and store it safely in the backpack but it would always get crinkled. This has been a lifesaver and collapsed it even fit inside my backpack.

Also, if I am going to be far away in an auditorium it can be fun to carry a small pair of field glasses/binocs. At Calgary Expo, the only place this is really needed is in the Arena panels. Still, I suppose if you wanted to really see some cool costume up close, this would also be good for the costume contest there as well.

Camera, powerbars (food), water, well broken in/comfortable walking shoes. I also pay attention to the weather and if the con has a lot of stuff outdoors, ensure I bring either a hoodie, windbreaker or both.

Posted by DarthAznable

You forgot "Bring a bat".