Convention Tips and Tricks
Hello again, today* is another convention post. Normally I focus on the conventions I have been to recently, or about to go to. My post last month pretty well covered my current conventions. I decided to change things up a bit and give some suggestions for how to attend conventions, and get the most out of them. When I look at a convention I focus on three main things, housing, volunteer/GM perks, and convention activities.
Housing is probably the most important factor of attending a convention. In some cases housing can be practically free, and other times it runs $1,000+. If you happen to live near a convention, or have family and friends nearby, attending the con is easy. If you travel to a convention where a hotel room is needed, things can get more complicated. The most important thing to keep costs down is to book in advance. Most cons have nearby hotels with discount room rates. Unfortunately, at the larger conventions these discount rooms can literally be sold out within days of the room blocks opening. Another good way to save money is to go with a group and split the hotel cost.
Another thing to look for when attending a convention are the various volunteer and GM perks offered by the convention. Most conventions have reward programs for helping out around the con. Usually you get a free badge, and often times have free food and drinks. Beyond saving money, I highly encourage people to get involved at the cons. I have found that a sense of camaraderie is formed between everyone who works at a con. I find this sense of fellowship to be one of the most rewarding parts of a convention.
The final thing to look for when considering a convention are the various activities. Each convention is unique and offers a different experience. Some common things to look for in a convention are panel rooms, a vendor hall, a tabletop game room, an arcade, cosplay competitions, hospitality rooms, dances, party rooms, and many other activities. From my experience, the size of the convention has a minimal impact on how many different activities there are. For example, Geek.Kon in Madison, WI has nearly all of the above listed rooms and is only around 1,800 people large. Conversely, Wizard Worlds are ten times the size, but are basically just an ENORMOUS vendor hall with some celebrity autographs. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be hard to tell what a convention will be like from its website. I find the most fun conventions are the non-corporate ones that are more than 1,500 people. As always, I hope this information helps you to find and enjoy your ideal convention.
Here’s to Epic Dreams and Epic Ideas,