It’s been a while since I updated this blog, hello everyone! I received a very special email asking for ‘first-time visitor guide to cons’ from LVL Up Expo— an event I probably can’t really visit for real since it’s on the other side of the globe in Vegas, but I’d love to someday— and that’s what I’m going to write here.
Though most of these 10 tips are based on my own experiences in Indonesian cons and they might not work in different countries’ events, I hope it can be helpful!
1. If the venue allows you to, always bring extra bottles of drink and some pack of meals!
…And if it doesn’t allow you to, make sure you had an emergency money to buy some drinks (and food too!) Cons are usually packed and they drained lots of your energy. Stay hydrated to fully enjoy your con, it’s very important.
Of course, food is important too. Don’t forget to eat a lot of breakfast before going to a con, and consider bringing your own meal when the con allowed you to. If not, always, always, keep some sum of emergency money on you for buying your lunch in the venue.
2. Always bring power bank for charging your phone or any media of communication.
This is very important, especially considering that nowadays smartphones tend to run out of battery so easily. And most cons doesn’t usually have a port for charging phones— unless you rented a booth as a vendor.
Not having means of communication might hinder you in meeting up with your friends at the event, or even made people at your home waiting for you to come home from your con panicking because you couldn’t be contacted. Cons have lots of people anyways, and not everyone is a good person.
3. Wear something comfortable. If you’re cosplaying instead, bring a comfy change of clothes!
This is also an important thing to consider. From my experience with packed events like AFA and Comifuro, wearing something uncomfortable would just hinder you from enjoying anything. I tend to choose clothes I’m most comfortable wearing from head to toe— my favorite shoes, a t-shirt, and jeans.
Even when you want to go there cosplaying, it’s a good idea to bring a casual, comfortable change of clothes in your bag. When you’re too tired to continue cosplaying, or if something happened with your cosplay, you can change to comfortable casual clothes right away.
4. Don’t forget to get yourself a map of the venue.
To fully enjoy your con, it’s always a good idea to get yourself the venue map. Whether you print it yourself or the con staffs gives you one when you gave them your ticket.
If you can, also list down the booths you want to visit, panels you want to attend and things you want to buy, make sure you knew what your priority are.
Pay attention to the time; bring a watch with you so you could check out the time fast. Some panels and booths didn’t last forever, even the things you want to buy can run out of stock quickly, especially when it’s on Creators’ Alley.
5. Friends make it better
Even when the con turned out to be a disappointment, when you have your friends with you, it can still be fun. Especially when it’s your first con, it’s better to invite a friend you get along well for a meet up in the venue so that you’re not alone in enjoying it.
6. Fully enjoy what the con offers with your ticket.
It’s a waste of money and transportation if you don’t do this, really. In cons like AFA for example, you can pick 3 kinds of tickets; exhibition, stage and concert ticket.
When you buy a concert ticket in AFA, usually that gives you access to the stage panels too. Even when you have nothing you like to visit on the stage panels and is only buying it for the concert, sometimes it’s a good idea to just listen what they offer in the panel while resting.
A con is usually really packed, especially when it’s popular and have lots of international guest star. Taking a rest in the panels you could access would help a lot.
7. Respect the rules of the venue
This is really important. If the con doesn’t allow you to do something, for example; they told you to not record the stage performance, don’t do it even in secrecy.
You’d get in trouble if you got caught, and in the case of an international guest star, they might even not want to go to your country anymore due to the disrespect. Remember how MikuExpo never got another chance in Jakarta? Also, yes, it would also trouble the con staffs.
Always remember to double check the rules before you decide what to bring to the venue.
8. Respect other people, especially cosplayers and artists.
Cosplay are a tough hobby. Wearing layers of clothing and wig in a place full of people is definitely not easy. It would even be tougher if they got disrespected by other con visitors too. No matter if they’re cosplaying your favorite character or not, a cosplayer is just another person in costume.
Not only cosplayer, of course, respect the people tending booths and the con staffs too. I heard stories of people laughing at an amateur artist’s work in artist alley and crushing their spirit, and that’s a really horrible thing to do at a con where you’re supposed to be enjoying it and meeting new friends. Always respect other people in cons.
9. Rest well before the con.
Whether it’s the fault of a Guild War event on Granblue Fantasy, or you haven’t finished your costume or even something simpler like you drank too much coffee, never stay up late before a con. Even when you can’t sleep, rest. Don’t risk being tired at the con, especially when it’s your first one.
Sleepiness would just make you feel horrible at the con and want to go home sooner and sleep. Remember, a popular con will always be packed with all sorts of people. There is no way you’re not going to be tired in a popular con.
10. Never leave your belongings alone
As I said a lot in this post; a popular con is always packed with all sorts of people. Some might be your new best friends, some might not have a good intention and will snatch money and things from you given the chance.
If you had to go alone without a friend you knew well, always bring your bag with you and never leave it alone— I personally recommend bringing a backpack for your belongings because it usually can fit lots of things while it can be safer from pickpockets as long as you’re careful. Always be careful of your belongings.
Anyways, that’s the 10 tips I could give to my readers before visiting cons! I hope it can be useful!
P.S: I’ve been really into P5 (and Protag/Akira x Futaba) lately so I doodled the image I used for this post, inspired by an expression meme with the context of ‘Futaba panicking as Akira, who came with her to Comiket, got dragged by the crowds’. Hopefully, that won’t happen for you all…..poor Futaba. ^^a