How to Survive a Con

This weekend was Hobby Star’s Toronto Comicon. It is the start of my con season. I took a friend for his first Comicon, and after realizing I have been going to different types of cons for quite a few years now, I have learned some tricks and tips. So, I thought I would share some of my tips on how to survive through a full weekend of Comicon (or any con).

Wear pants with pockets. This helps to keep the items you need quickly at hand, like a wallet, ticket stub or a list; which brings me to my second tip:

Bring a list! If you want to get some specific comics or items, have a list of them. On that list write down the price that you are willing to pay for each item, and try and stick to that.

Cash. Go to your bank’s ATM before the con, take out what you are willing to spend, and be sure to include cost of food. Do not, I repeat, do not go to the ATM inside the convention centre. That is just asking for trouble, and a sad bank account.

Be willing to haggle. You might get shot down, but when you do get a good deal, it is worth it. Also, don’t wait till the last day to ask for a deal. The dealers have a lot of people asking them for deals on the last day of con, when you want something ask right then and there for a little discount. You never know who else will come along and snatch it up!

Snacks! Snacks are awesome; they will keep you moving throughout the day. Remember when you are at a con, you are probably walking most of the time so I would suggest protein bars or granola bars. Chocolate bars and Coke are going to help you for a short period of time, but you will need something more lasting to fuel your batteries.

Water. Bring a refillable water bottle. It will save you both money and keep you hydrated. Plus you can fill it up at a sink or water fountain.

Bring a small bag. With all the deals you are getting and snacks you have on you, as well as all the flyers and information you get, you may need to bring a bag or backpack. If you do, please keep it small. You don’t want to be the person at con who keeps knocking over people with your giant bag when you turn to look at something.

Be comfortable. You will be walking a lot! Of all things, make sure you are wearing a comfortable pair of shoes!

Have a plan of action! Start at one end and work your way to the other, or start in artist alley, or at the signing tables. This way you are sure not to miss anything and are not wandering around lost.

Step Aside! If you do get lost, disoriented or overwhelmed, take the time to side aside in a quiet area. Look around, get your bearings, and then get back out there! Please do not stop in the middle of an aisle! This goes for you photo happy people as well. I love to take pictures at cons, especially of cosplayers and people dressed up in awesome costumes. But please, make sure you ask to take a picture of the person and step aside to let others through!

Last but not least:

Know the area. Before you get to con (especially if you are traveling) take the time to research the area before you get there. Make sure you know where the convention centre is, and the best way to get there. Look into some restaurants a couple of blocks (still walking distance) away. This way you get some great lunch or dinner without paying the ridiculous prices of the eateries located near the con.

I hope these tips are helpful for both new and old con-goers alike. I would love to hear some more tips if anyone has them!

Leigh Hart
Leigh Hart

Leigh Woodhall - Soapbox Nerd. Aerialist. Writer. Podcaster. All around tough guy (but a lady version). Follow me on twitter @Leigh_Louise

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11 years ago

Great tips thank you….and loved your video blog! Wondering if you can help me? This’ll be my first Fan Expo – yes it’s true. I want to go to John Barrowman’s Q&A at noon…only getting the one day pass. How soon before the Box Office opens should I be there? Thank you for your time. Oh! and any other tips for a first timer??