By Amanda-Joy Lee
People with similar interests gather at conventions to interact with people like them, and shop until they drop. Going to conventions can be a mind-blowing experience, especially if it’s your first time, but it can also be complete chaos if you don’t properly prepare. First-time convention-goers need to be aware of what they’re getting into. Understanding the convention and following simple rules will make your experience 10 times better. Preparation is key.
Buying your ticket can be difficult when buying tickets for bigger conventions like San Diego Comic Con are in high demand. For smaller conventions like Great American Comic-Con, the first thing that people should do is check Groupon. Groupon is a website that gives discounts on recreational activities and other items including spa days, clothing, and especially conventions. A recently available Groupon is for Great American Comic-Con at the Las Vegas Convention Center, (a convention for comic and superhero lovers) at $19 for one person including a souvenir. It saves people $31 off the original price.
If you want to wear a costume and pay homage to your favorite character, go all out. Buy all your pieces in advance to blow the competition away, but don’t spend too much money. You can do a lot with a little money, and conventions are expensive.
If you’re not wearing a costume, make sure to wear comfortable clothes and supportive shoes. When you’re walking around for three to eight hours, your feet will get tired. Tennis shoes are ideal because they protect against crowded areas where people will step on your toes. Having pockets or wearing a fanny pack makes the process of buying your item faster, where you can pay for it and go, rather than having the hassle of wasting time by going through your bag.
Vendors tend to overprice products that can be found online for half the amount. Always check Amazon or Ebay for better prices on items that you want to buy. Unless there is a handmade product you can’t find elsewhere, don’t buy it. Conventions are about the hunt and satisfaction of buying what you can at cheap and reasonable price.
A rule to staying safe in a 3.2 million sq ft. convention hall is to make sure to plan your route, and go with a group of friends. Decide which direction you plan to go, and make sure everyone knows. Getting lost in a crowd of thousands can be scary, so knowing the location of your group is essential to staying safe.
Knowing how to act in a convention is extremely important. Do not block the way. If you’re looking at an item, don’t look at it from three feet away; get up close and personal. By not standing in the middle of the aisle, you will be guaranteed to get pushed less. However, if someone is standing in the middle of the way, don’t be afraid to assert your dominance. Push them but not too hard. You don’t want a pointless argument interrupting your convention experience.
The most important rule is to have fun and enjoy your time. After all, you did pay to be there.