As most of my readers know I love attending fan cons and since this is a brand new year, I thought it would be a good idea to offer 5 Tips for attending a con.
1.) Plan ahead
At the beginning of each year I look at what Cons will be happening locally. I tend to keep it as local as possible for various reasons, which I'll get into in each tip. I go to Google and type in Cons near my town and see what pops up. I sometimes will also ask people who are interested in the same subject I am if there is anything coming up near me. Make note of the dates, places and costs associated with each one.
Here's the tricky part. Everyone, especially these days, is on a budget. It's not like we can spend thousands and thousands of dollars on these Cons, unless you have that kind of money. Once you've made a list of the Cons that interest you, figure out how much each will cost. Factor in not only the Con fee but traveling, food, hotel, and free money for souvenirs for each one on the list. Then figure out how much you have, or are willing, to spend on Cons for the year.
Once you have your list of the ones you're interested in and the cost associated with each, sit down and pick them out. Keep in mind if you're a writer or small business, would any of the Cons listed be beneficial to you and what you do? What are the workshops or networking opportunities offered? Since I am a Steampunk writer, I can use the Steampunk Cons as a write off. The same for any writing cons. For 2013 I'll be attending: GearCon, which is a Steampunk Con in Portland, OR; Kumoricon which is Anime in Vancouver, WA; Emerald City Writer's Conference in Seattle, WA (not a fan con); and possibly OryCon, which is a Sci-fi Con in Portland, OR. Each of these Cons offer workshops from writing to costuming to just the general thought process. Last year at GearCon I was able to sit in a class of Bartisu, which is a type of martial arts that uses canes. Sherlock Holmes used this style of fighting that was very popular with gentlemen of the Victorian era. Kumoricon was more about my children, but I learned some great costume ideas for women my size.
4.) What to take
Make a list of the things you should take and what you need to take. Think about whether you're spending the night or the weekend. Or you might decide to go for only a day which means you only need to take what you need for that single day. If your money is tight and the registration fee doesn't include food, most Cons don't mind you bringing your own. Costumes, and how you are going to store them is something else to think about. When I go to Emerald City, my budget is usually just enough for dinner on Saturday night and becuse I'm usually up before anyone else, I take my own breakfast, usually bagels with cream cheese. When we go to a Con for a day we take a lunch and drinks.
5.) Have Fun
And the best advice I can give you, is to have fun. These cons are meant to be a fun way to enjoy being with other people who enjoy the same thing as you. Sometimes lifelong friendships will start at a Con. You'll be amazed at the freedom it gives you.
Now here's a challenge for you. What Cons happen in your area? I'd also be happy to answer any questions you have.