Hello, fellow otaku! It’s that time of year again for convention season—the 8-10 months of the year where every weekend is filled with a comic or anime convention somewhere. So how do you prepare for your year of convention going? Here are some tips to make your convention year less stressful and financially solid.
1. Choose your conventions and make a schedule. Whether it’s a local convention or one out of state, make sure you prepare ahead of time. Use a calendar to keep track of when to buy tickets, flights, or hotel rooms. Some conventions tend to sell out and fill up faster than others so keep that in mind as well. Build a budget for yourself to ensure you can afford to attend all the conventions you want.
2. Preregister. Not only does preregistering for a convention ensure that you have a ticket, it also helps the convention know how many attendees to expect. This can help them with making sure there are enough food vendors, bathroom locations and, most importantly, security and volunteers. Preregistering also helps the convention bring in additional artists and guests with ticket sales.
3. Plan out your cosplays. Have a general idea of what cosplays you would like to wear to a convention in advance. You can then plan out your construction over time, rather than waiting until the last minute, saving yourself a lot of unnecessary stress. This strategy can also help you save money as sometimes ordering cosplay parts online can be much cheaper but they may take a while for shipping.
If you plan on entering a cosplay contest at the convention, make sure to know your entry dates in advance and what requirements need to be fulfilled.
4. Prepare your convention bag. Go ahead and prepare a single small bag that you will take with you to each convention, so you just have to refill and throw it into your suitcase each trip. Include items for a basic convention repair kit (glue, tape, paints, safety pins, etc.) as well as a hygiene and health kit (deodorant, Vitamin C, band-aids, headache medicine, and hand sanitizer). Don’t fall victim to con sickness.
5. Budget, budget, budget. Make sure you save enough money for the convention expenses beyond your travel and hotel. Plan for at least $10-$30 a day for food, depending on where the convention is located and what’s in the area. If you plan on buying souvenirs or artist alley items (highly recommended, support your small artists), make sure to budget for that as well. Don’t buy things for fun and forget to save money to eat.
6. Be a good roommate. If you decide to split hotel lodging for a convention, make sure to be a courteous roommate. Don’t make a lot of noise in the morning or late at night and try to keep your mess as confined as possible. Four people sharing a room can quickly feel like eight when everyone’s things are everywhere in the room.
Most importantly, get all your friends together to enjoy the convention or look into panels where you can make new friends at the con. Go forth and have fun this season!