Going to your first con? Maybe your first con didn’t go so well and you are wondering how to make it better. Read down for a list of ideas that may help make your day better and more enjoyable, and may help stave off the dreaded ‘Con crud’.
1. Be well rested. You’re going to be on your feet for long periods of time. For some cons you may not want to sleep. The better shape your body is before hand, the more strength you’ll have during the event.
2. Read the schedule/make a plan. I’m not saying you need to be bound to a schedule, but the con is. Pick out events that you want to do so you can plan for them. Big panels may have a long line that you need to prepare for. Large cons like Dragon Con can have 20-30 things going on at the the same time. Or you might see that you should plan to wear your costume with heavy body armor or 4 inch stilettos on the day that you don’t need to run 4 city blocks from one hotel to another. Uphill.
3. Drink lots of water. This one’s important. If you take one thing from this article, take this one. Dehydration is a killer, you will have less energy, and be more open to catching something. And by the time you’re really thirsty, it’s usually too late. And this point is even more important if you plan to drink lot’s of other things of the alcoholic variety, which dehydrate you even more.
4. Eat. Only slightly less important than number 3. You are going to need your strength. Food can also be expensive or require a wait at bigger cons, so it’s usually a good idea to bring some snacks or an energy to carry around. Plan your time, pack a sandwich, and eat your lunch while waiting in line for a big panel.
5. Sleep. I’ve seen people go three days straight at dragon con. By Monday it’s not pretty. It’s easy to forget that you need a at least a few hours of sleep. Some of us need a bit more than that. Try to get in at least 4 hours. And if you want to stay up partying, take a nap in the afternoon.
6. Don’t over pack. If you have a hotel room you can leave most of your stuff there and drop off purchases. If you don’t you may have to carry things on your person, and that can get heavy after a while. Bring a backpack if you can to carry things . Pack a bottle of water, your snack or energy bar, you con schedule, and your camera. You shouldn’t need too much more than that.
7. Bring your camera. Perhaps I’m biased, but you will regret it if you don’t have one. Browse through my con photos if you want to see some of the things you might run into. And you never know when you might have a chance to get a photo with Dean Venture.
8. Costumes. Half the fun for many is dressing up. I will do a full article on cosplaying for the first time, but here are a few pointers.
- Make sure it’s something you can wear for a few hours. Wear it around the house as you might at the con. That includes the shoes.
- Think of the weather. Atlanta in August is not the time to be trying out a giant panda suit.
- Be prepared to watch your stuff. See if you can bring a friend along to help you
- Be prepared to stop and take pictures. Lot’s of people go to these cons to take pictures. If you’re in a costume you may get stopped. If you’re an attractive female in a sexy costume, you’ll get stopped a lot
9. Hygiene. I shouldn’t have to mention this one, but there is a reason that cons have a certain reputation. If it’s a multi-day con take bath or shower. You’ll feel better and people will appreciate it. And it helps with that whole not getting sick thing.
10. Behavior and rules. I’ve seen people forget that they are interacting with other human beings. Be on good behavior. Yes we all want to have fun but don’t be a dick about it. Don’t antagonize the staff or other attendees. Many of the staff are volunteers, and they deserve your thanks for enabling the con to run, not your annoyance because you don’t like the rules. Also remember that the con has to follow rules too. A weapons policy might be because of a city ordinance. Buildings have strict fire codes and if too many people are in one place a can may not be able to let anyone else in. And if you really have a grievance take it to the con office or ask to see someone with some authority.
11. Keep an eye on your badge. Most con’s have strict no replacement rules. Get a sturdy lanyard or some way to better secure it to your person. I also put my name and cell number on the back. I like to think the majority of people at cons are decent human beings, but if there is no way for them to find you all they can do is drop it off with security. And the inverse of this should be obvious. If you find a badge or any lost property, turn it in to the con.
12. And of course, have fun! Some people take cons way to seriously, and forget the reason we are all there.