Guys and gals!
My local comic convention event was this weekend and even though I’m exhausted, it was a blast! I’ve been posting pictures and tagging vendors, cosplayers, and artists all morning on my social media to give them publicity and props for their awesomeness! I was completely happy with my experience but I overheard others that were not, and it could have been avoided if maybe they would have been more prepared. I have never been to the San Diego convention but just from my experience at the local con that just keeps getting bigger and bigger, I thought it would be a good idea to write a blog and give out some tips on how to become better prepared for your geek weekend.
- A lot of conventions are now building their own mobile apps to help you navigate and give you information on the con! Not only that but floor plans will be posted online and my local con (Lexington Comic and Toy Con) made videos prior to the weekend showing everyone where they needed to go and what they needed to do. Being informed will help you save you time and a headache! As I waited on level three, a ton of people kept asking how to get to the Celebrity Area which was on level one and obviously they were getting ticked off that they had to go back through security check points and long lines. This could have been avoided if they would have just paid a little closer attention. Also, the con had programs at every entrance that also included the floor plan. Educate yourself, it’s your best bet.
- This was my first year of purchasing a VIP pass, and it was so worth it! Friday afternoon I was permitted to enter the convention before it was opened to the public, unlike a Saturday, Friday is a lot less crowded. I was able to really talk to vendors and exhibitors, the celebrity area wasn’t so packed you couldn’t breathe. However, most of them weren’t there until Saturday so prepare for a crowd if someone you really want to see won’t be available until Saturday or Sunday. Also note, that you don’t always have to purchase a photo op to get a picture with them. Most will take a photo with you at their table as long as you pay their fee. Most of the time, table photos are cheaper than photo ops.
- This year I noticed that more cosplayers are giving out cards after your photos with them so you can give them a shout out on social media. Do it! These people have a lot of talent and work hard to bring you enjoyment at conventions, the least you can do is give them credit and publicity. Also, anything I purchased from a vendor I made sure to get their card so I could give them shout outs as well.
- If you dress up for the con and have a prop, you will more than likely have to get a prop pass! This lets security know that you’ve been approved and they don’t have to turn you away to go to the prop inspection area to get a tag after you’ve waited in line. Again, this goes along with educating yourself before you get to the con.
- Buy your tickets or VIP pass early! They will be cheaper this way and you won’t have to pay more and wait in long ticket lines. The VIP passes are your best deal if you plan on making a whole weekend out of it and they come with perks. An early VIP purchase can get you a whole weekend compared to a late one day ticket purchase that is now the same price as an early VIP ticket.
- Bring a backpack or if you will be buying prints and comics bring a bag you can put these in so they won’t get damaged. They will give you a protective sleeve and some artists will usually give you a free signature unless you plan on getting the comic they sign graded, then you’ll have to pay a small fee.
- Save money ahead of time for these events and don’t forget you may have to pay a parking fee. Always take cash as well because some vendors may not take cards, although this year the majority were and that’s a good thing because I did try to use three of the ATMS on site on Saturday and they were already out of money two hours into the convention. Yikes!
- Let your bank know that you will be using your card for various purchases! One vendor might be local, the next might be from another state and your card may get flagged. This happened to me but since my bank is awesome they sent me a text to verify if it was me or not and unflagged my card in about two minutes. Some banks do not do this though and you don’t want your good time ruined because of this hiccup.
- There will be a lot of props and set ups there to take pictures with, usually they will charge a small fee to take pictures with their props or ask that you make a donation to a charity they are raising money for. Don’t get upset by this, they are raising money for a good cause and if you like their props and want photos that they charge you for, just remember that this will permit them to keep building cool props for the years to come that you’ll get to enjoy in the future.
Save money, be informed, and enjoy your local cons this year!