Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Convention Survival Guide - Preparing for a Con for 3-4 Days

An anime convention can be daunting since there is so much to do. Being in an anime convention the entire time requires plenty of planning. When you go to a convention for 3-4 days and stay in the convention site during the entire time, you have to prepare to make sure that you have the right stuff. As a person who has been going to anime conventions for the past seven years, I have a couple of tips to survive and enjoy the con to its fullest.


Dental Care (Toothbrush, Toothpaste, and Floss): When you go to an anime convention, having a toothbrush and a bottle of toothpaste is a necessity. First off, going to an anime convention without brushing your teeth isn't good for everyone around you. When you see people with contorted faces whenever you open your mouth, you know that you may need to brush your teeth. Secondly, brushing your teeth and flossing is good for your health. Your 60-year old self will thank you for keeping your teeth clean when you go to an anime convention.

Deodorant: Please, please take a shower every day. If the convention is hot like during Comic-con or Anime Expo, please take a bath twice a day. After you take a shower, put on that deodorant so that you will smell pleasant until you take another shower. Deodorant is important so you won’t smell like a cat eating from the trash. I have to emphasize this, you have to use deodorant along with taking a shower, they are not mutually exclusive things.

Bath Necessities (Shampoo, Conditioner, and Soap): As you walk in an anime convention all day you start sweating because you walked too much. The best way to deal with it is to take a shower along with using soap to clean your body and shampoo to clean your hair. If you are cosplaying and you are using a wig for an extended period of time, also clean the wig if you can clean it.

Clothes: The rule of thumb is to bring the amount of clothes you are there plus one (or however many pieces you want). The reason is that you may have to change clothes if necessary between the conventions. I have to say this, if you are wearing revealing clothes, don't be offended if people notice it and stare. It irritates me when people wear suggestive clothes, and they get offended when you pay attention to it. If you have a cosplay and you don't want it wrinkled, you should not cram it in your luggage, instead they should be on a hanger carried separately.

Food/Snacks: If you are in a convention site that has expensive food, circumvent it by bringing some food with you. Fruits are a great way to get your vitamins during an anime convention. Bring some bananas, apples, strawberries, mangoes, oranges, cherries, etc. Anything with a tough skin would be a great fruit to bring with you to a convention. Bringing “traditional” convention food like ramen, crackers, canned soup, and canned spaghetti work, but I should remind you that they are very high in sodium and thus should only be taken in moderation. If your room has a fridge, getting a bag of premade salad and a gallon of fruit juice would be a wonderful idea to mix it up a bit.

Sunscreen: No matter what time of year you go to a convention, you can't have enough sunscreen, unless you want to feel the joy of having your body stung as you are taking a shower. It takes around 15 minutes for the sunscreen to set in your skin, so for maximum protection I suggest waiting until the sunscreen gets in your skin. There is one downside; sunscreen and digital cameras do not mix. If you have a digital camera and want it to last, I suggest using alternative forms of sunscreen like long sleeve shirts and gloves (it works even better if you are cosplaying and it is part of your outfit) or lug an umbrella around whenever you go outside.


Check out the convention website: The convention website has basic details like where the convention is located, the program guide, and a map of the venue. I suggest looking over the program guide, printing it out and circling anything of interest. Then look over any events and talk with people you are going with and ask them what they are interested in to see if you can attend together. If you are a religious young female, odds are that you will turn down your friend who wants to attend the hentai panel. Then look at a map of the venue to see if you can navigate the convention center from one panel to the other and still make it. If you are a cosplayer or photographer, check out if there are cosplay gatherings you want to attend.

Ask advice from con veterans: Try to get suggestions and advice from people who have attended this convention. Odds are that they can give you advice and tips to make your convention better. They can suggest events, food locations, and a variety of things to make your experience better. As a person who has attended Anime Expo, I have insight into the convention that could help the experience of the first time attendee. Even for a person who has attended Anime Expo for a while, I still like getting advice from people who know more than I do so that I can experience things I otherwise would not experience.

Check out the area around the con: Before you go to the convention center or hotel, check out the area around the convention site. You can check it out using Google maps or Mapquest. Look for food locations, if there is a Carl's Jr. close by, and you are addicted to the shakes, then see what is the closest one. If you look around, odds are that there are fairly inexpensive food places close by. The question is whether the walk to the food location is worth the money you will save from going there. I also suggest looking for local pharmacies, retail stores, and groceries just in case you need to buy some stuff to make your experience better.

Now, this list is not complete, it is actually quite incomplete. There is a variety of ways you can prepare for a convention when you are going to be on site for an extended period of time. The necessities are dental care, deodorant, bath necessities, clothes, food, and sunscreen. There is also research that you need to do like to check out the convention website, ask advice from convention veterans, and do some research around the convention site. When attending a convention prepared, the experience will be a far better experience.

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