I love convention season. There is nothing more fun than buying passes, planning your schedule, your outfits, and setting off to head to a totally amazing convention. Last year I had a pretty fun con schedule (for me, anyway), heading to Denver Comic Con, GeekGirlCon, and Rocky Mountain Con. This year, I kept things toned down and only headed out to Denver Comic Con. I had a great time, and got to hang out with new and old friends, like my buddy the Raptor Evangelist:
But the thing about going to conventions is they are all learning experiences. Conventions are NUTS, and if you’re travelling out of state for them, they can get even nuttier. So while con season is starting to draw to a close, we still have conventions like GeekGirlCon and New York Comic Con on the horizon. While I know some of my readers are located in Seattle and New York and can easily make the jump to GeekGirlCon or New York Comic Con, I know a lot of you are like me, and attending either of those conventions means a cross-country trip.
Well, since AnimeVendor.com is running a contest, giving away two four-day passes to New York Comic Con, I thought I’d offer a few tips that seems simple, but can really help enhance the experience of attending a convention that is out-of-state:
You’re going to a new, exciting city to a new, exciting convention. Not only are there tons of things you probably want to do at the con, there are probably even more things you want to see in the city itself. You’ve got to face the facts: you can’t do it all. Decide what is most important to you, and prioritize those first. Make yourself a schedule that won’t drive you crazy (only you know what that looks like). For any con I attend, local or otherwise, I always plan for a few panels in case my first choice doesn’t work out for some reason. If you want to work in some sightseeing time, do that, too. Any convention is a wonderfully exhausting experience, just make sure you plan a trip that stays wonderfully exhausting and doesn’t meander into the realm of “emotionally and physically draining” or “unpleasant and exhausting”.
Make Sure You’re Comfortable With Your Hotel
The temptation will be to book yourself a sketchy hotel because “I’ll be at the con all day, anyway”. DON’T DO THIS! You don’t have to go super fancy, but make sure you’re booking yourself a room in a hotel in which you feel safe and comfortable. You’ll be exhausted after a long day at the con, so you want to come back to a place where you truly feel you can relax. Whether that means a nicer hotel, rooming with a buddy, rooming by yourself, or making sure your hotel has a pool, don’t ignore those things that make you feel safe and cozy. I can’t tell you how many people I talked to at GeekGirlCon who dreaded going back to their rooms–one even checked out early to sleep on the floor of another friend’s hotel room–because their hotel was atrocious. Find that happy place between a crazy fancy hotel room and the hotel from Vacancy.
Figure Out Food Options Ahead of Time
When I attended GeekGirlCon last year, I didn’t rent a car. I took a shuttle from the airport to and from my hotel, and walked anywhere else I needed to go. Here’s the thing though: I’m a hardcore introvert. So once the end of the day came, I didn’t want to have to sit in a crowded restaurant. I wanted to be alone, in my hotel room, where I didn’t have to talk to anyone. Unfortunately, I didn’t figure out the nearby food situation ahead of time, so I found that a lot of places I figured would deliver, didn’t deliver to my hotel. One particular sad night I got a big migraine, and I decided the only cure was hot wings–but they didn’t deliver. So I found myself tromping boldly down and back up Pike Street with a half-crazed look of migraine madness, a shabby looking hoodie, yoga pants, and purple Uggs just to pick myself up some hot wings. It wasn’t my best moment of the convention. Of course, even if you’re more social and less migraine prone than I am, it’s still good to at least scout out your food options before you sit down in a restaurant. You’ll definitely want to know–before you order–which restaurants are expensive, which ones have big waits, and which ones aren’t worth your time.
When I’m at home, I drink a TON of water. I live in Colorado, so our tap water is amazingly refreshing. When I travel out of state, I often forget how gross other state’s water can be, so I get a nasty gulp of tap water and opt to lay off the water…and then I get migraines and go on half-crazed walks for hot wings. I’m just sayin’, drink that water, kids. Conventions are tiring, they’re hot, and there can be a lot of walking. Keeping some water on you at all times can help keep you upright and enjoying the entire convention.
What are some of your tips for attending an out-of-state con? Got any con horror stories or cautionary tales to share? Let me know in the comments! And if you to attend New York Comic Con and don’t have a pass, head to AnimeVendor.com to enter their contest for two free, four-day passes!