Convention Survival Tips

Convention Survival Tips
by Kevin Segall
Proprietor of Collector's Shangri-La
Are you a newbie experiencing a con for the first time? I've been attending conventions since the early 1980s, and here's what I make sure to bring and how I like to prepare:
You may be out all day and in-and-out of the conventional hall so remember your sunscreen (and reapply as directed). You may also get sweaty walking all day and lugging all of your goodies, so bring some deodorant and do everyone around you a favor and freshen up as needed. Cons can get pretty crowded. 
Hand-sanitizer is useful too with all the hand-shaking. You may want a snack and a bathroom stop to wash up may not be convenient when hunger strikes. Convention fare is also not always the most appetizing, healthy, or cost effective, so bringing some munchies and a water bottle from home is a good idea.
Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, and if you cosplay bring a sewing kit and supplies for repairs. A big bag with a soft strap can hold all your supplies and any goodies you pick up at the con. 
smartphone with camera (or a separate camera) and an extra charger will be useful to snap pics of celebrities, great costumes, and whatever else strikes your fancy. Bring a Sharpie for autographs, just in case. Although most vendors at cons take credit cards these days, some only accept cash (especially celebrities who sign for a fee), so make sure you have enough on hand.

I also like to go over the guest list and schedule to have a rough idea ahead of time who and what I want to see - especially if there's something I'd like to bring from home to have autographed. The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, though, so keep a good attitude. Your favorite celebrity may cancel. You may wait in line for what seems like forever. Patience and a smile will help you and everyone around you.
Last but not least - do not leave home without your badge, ticket, or will-call confirmation. You don't want to get there and then have trouble getting in.
Have fun!

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