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The Boston Sci-Fi/Fantasy Meetup Group Message Board The Boston Sci-Fi/Fantasy Meetup Group Discussion Forum › Making the most of conventions

Making the most of conventions

Group Organizer
Boston, MA
Post #: 80
Does anyone have advice about attending conventions and getting the most out of them? I feel like it can be overwhelming at first, but if you figure out how to work the system, it's so much fun. What do you think?
Boston, MA
Post #: 3
Wear a costume, also don't just go to panels all day... meet and greet others at the con!
David W
user 12583653
Waltham, MA
Post #: 2
Take 10 minutes at the very beginning to go through the schedule; find out what you definitely want to see, what you can skip. Schedule time for things like the art show and dealers that are open most of the day.

Take chances! (Reasonable ones.) Go to a panel that might be interesting, talk to people (I know this is hard for many fans, but at a con, most people are friendly).

And look for Esperanto stuff at the freebie table and study it carefully.
user 13914619
Boston, MA
Post #: 3
This is more for people who are staying overnight at a convention.
I doubt anyone here needs this but just in case.
Obey the 5-2-1 rule.

A former member
Post #: 1
Does anyone have advice about attending conventions and getting the most out of them? I feel like it can be overwhelming at first, but if you figure out how to work the system, it's so much fun. What do you think?
Definitely wear a costume if you can :) Group costumes are even more fun! Here are my tips as someone who's been going to cons for a very long time:

PLAN AHEAD: Check out the panel and event schedule on the website ahead of time and make a tentative schedule for yourself with the acknowledgment that you'll have to allow time between events to get through a crowded convention floor from point A to point B. Panels often don't allow anyone in once they start, so try to be on time. Also, the popular panels (especially those with famous speakers) may have a line or long wait, so I advise against scheduling things back-to-back. If you need special accomodations, maybe contact the convention staff beforehand.

BE VERY PROTECTIVE OF YOUR CON BADGE. if you lose it, you'll have to buy a brand new one (but if you do lose it, check the Lost and Found first because people do turn them in pretty scrupulously in my experience). You can buy pretty good lanyards from for a couple of bucks, then you can wear it around your neck and more or less forget about it.

WEAR COMFORTABLE SHOES. I mean really really comfortable! Your feet will thank you! Even if you're in costume, go for cushioned flats if you can. I speak as someone who tried to brave 3" heels the first day of a con once and spent the rest of the weekend hobbling.

BE MINDFUL OF CON PHOTOGRAPHY ETIQUETTE. You're going to see a lot of costumes you want to take pictures of. Always ask first and don't block public pathways to take them. It goes without saying that people in costumes want to be treated as people first and costumers second :)

EVENTS WITH CELEBRITIES are always much more crowded and may even have a long wait vs. fan panels. It's up to you if you think it's worth the wait/crowds. Some people prefer to do the fan-only panels and some people go only for the celebrities.

PHONE BATTERY LIFE: This was a tip I got from a friend a couple of years ago and it's been invaluable for every con since. If you have a smartphone that you plan to use as your camera, you will not have a powered phone for the whole day. SOMETIMES there are public outlets you can rest and recharge your device, but the best thing is to either buy an extended battery for your device or a second battery, also fully charged.

BRING YOUR OWN WATER BOTTLE. You can refill them throughout the day at water fountains. Otherwise expect to pay $2-4 per drink at the con.

Finally, don't forget to leave yourself some time to walk around, mingle, and browse the dealer's rooms. Even if you don't plan to buy anything, you'll get to people-watch and look at a lot of cool stuff.

Hope that helps :)
Kevin B.
user 44963862
Scituate, MA
Post #: 1
Plan ahead by looking at the schedule ahead of time to get an idea what you might want to do and when. If you can talk to someone else who has attended this convention in the past to get an idea what it's like.

Some folks like to plan their whole day in advance and some folks like to just wander around and find this to do. Know what works best for you.

Bring a backpack or a bad so you can avoid having to do back to your room or hotel. Bring healthy snacks, water, hand sanitizer, a light jacket or shirt since some hotel rooms are extra cold.

Don't be afraid to ask questions of other attendees. We convention geeks are a very welcoming group and want to see others get the most out of the convention. All of us remember how difficult it was when we went to our first convention so we're glad to help out others.

I'm a long time attendee at Dragon*Con and do a newbies podcast, Debriefing DragonCon, to help folks get ready for the convention.

Above all...enjoy yourself!



My podcasts...

Tuning In To Scifi TV (covering all genre TV shows)

Saturday B Movie Reel (covering Syfy channel & other B movies)

Debriefing DragonCon (tips, tricks & info to help con attendees)
Melissa H.
user 9492824
Boston, MA
Post #: 12
Try to eat a real meal when you can. Don't just subsist on junk food. You'll have more energy and enjoy yourself more. That being said, many conventions have a "convention suite" where you can find snacks to nibble on while hanging out with people.

Manage your cash. If you are at a convention with lots of vendors then you will be tempted to spend all your money on pretty things.

Understand that s#!t happens. A guest cancels unexpectedly. The panel discussion room fills to capacity before you get there. The two events you want to see the most end up scheduled opposite each other. When you've been eating badly and staying up all night and dealing with crowds, it's easier to go into "my experience has been RUINED!!!" mode. angry Take a deep breath. Take a break for a bit. Try something else on the schedule. You will survive this. cool
A former member
Post #: 1
I find the social aspect one of the most rewarding, get out there and mingle!
Erik N.
Boston, MA
Post #: 8
Don't take it personally if some people don't have time for you, especially the pros.

Realize that you can't go to all of it. There are a million things going on nonstop, but you are going to need to take a break and sit a few time slots out now and then. (if staying in the hotel, you can nap. If not staying in the hotel, consider sleeping late or whatever before you come in.)

Restaurants in hotels can be expensive. It's worse at the Westin because you are far away from restaurants that are cheaper.

Go to the art show early. It closes sooner than you might expect on the last day.
Group Organizer
Boston, MA
Post #: 81
These are great. Thanks so much! If you think of anything else, feel free to add it here.

I hope this is helpful for those thinking about or new to conventions. Conventions can be great fun and I would encourage people to go. Also, if you have any questions about a specific convention, just ask. We're happy to help!
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