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Unread 02-09-2013, 02:47 PM   #1
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how to survive a con

What tips do you season con-going have for us noobs on how to survive a con. What do you do with all your stuff? How do you get good cheap food? What do you do if you have an elaborate/heavy/uncomfortable costume? And what are the best parties to go to? Any stories about trying to bring props on a plane?
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Unread 02-09-2013, 06:35 PM   #2
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Con tips for newbies, form someone who wasn't a newbie too long ago!

Stuff to bring with you every day:
Have a friend carry it in a backpack or you carry it, either way.

Deodorant (just in case, it gets hot)
Tissues or wet wipes or oil blotting papers (depending if you're wearing makeup or not)
Back up mascara, eyeliner, face powder
Water bottles (bringing from home is cheaper)
Energy/granola bars
Phone (wall charger if it's small!)

There's more you may want to bring, but those are pretty much necessities for me at least, and all of it can fit in a normal sized purse or small backpack with minimal weight.

It's really important to stay hydrated throughout, so you have to drink at the very least one whole water bottle during each con day. Buy a big pack of 12, it's like $2 and you won't have to pay for them or worry about condensation at the con.

Con food is horrifically expensive, and some people like to eat it or eat outside of the center. Regardless of your eating plans, bring one or two food bars to keep up your energy. Walking in costume all day is exhausting, and you may be hungry before your friends plan to go eat, or in the middle of a panel you don't want to miss. They're also not messy besides some crumbs, so there's little risk of harming your costume or other objects in the bag. Hell, I bring PB sandwiches half the time to avoid buying food.

Deodorant and tissues/wipes are really important. A travel pack is perfectly fine, but I recommend it. Even walking around, you sweat A LOT, it's hot outside it's crowded inside you want to be able to keep that under control so you don't risk getting smelly or having your makeup melt off or sweaty hair escape from your wig. The backup makeup is also important for this reason, when you use the wipes or whatever you might want to reapply, and those are the main things that get wiped off easily.

I recommend making a checklist before you go to your hotel or wherever you're staying.

As for con tips, eat breakfast. Drink water. Tread lightly and don't step on other people.
Cons can be a bit overwhelming and exciting for the first/second/twentieth time, but there's plenty of time to see and do everything without running into people or skipping meals. Nobody wants to call an ambulance on your behalf.

Get a map, learn the layout of the con so you won't get lost! (I got lost at Otakon soooo many times haha)

Generally stay hydrated, maintain hygiene, and be respectful of those around you.
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Unread 02-09-2013, 07:39 PM   #3
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Eat better then you normally do. Sleep at least five hours. Drink plenty of water. Have fun (don't sweat the small stuff). Bath and deorderant is your friend. Be nice to the volunteers and staff; they have the keys. Let someone you know and trust know where you are. You can make alot in a Crockpot.
Women and cats will do as they please. Men and dogs had better get used to it.
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Unread 02-09-2013, 07:48 PM   #4
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Bars of soap to keep the looney unsanitary ones away.
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Update: August 10th.... still nothing.

Reality: Recycled or no cosplay at all. Got to love commissioning! Thanks everyone!! Serious thanks to Dulcinea, who actually made the deadline for the accessories far in advance and of outstanding quality. Sucks they won't be used.
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Unread 02-09-2013, 07:50 PM   #5
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The Con suit is not a substitute for food! I know it's there and it's free and that you sometimes don't feel hungry- but you need food! Make sure to get Subway or even McDonalds, but you need to eat! Water is another big one, I remember seeing a girl put into an ambulance during the rave because she passed out from dehydration. Don't let that happen to you! Drink plenty of water!

As for uncomfortable costumes, take a break, sit down- especially if you're wearing heels. I got a little sick when I wore my 3 inch heels for the whole day, it really wasn't fun at all. So don't be afraid to sit down for a half hour if you're feeling uncomfortable or hot, or whatever.
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Unread 02-09-2013, 07:51 PM   #6
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What do you do with all your stuff?

For me, I always have the stuff with something the character will have. So it could be a purse or maybe a hallowed book. Luckily for me, if my character does not have any, I still have my sisters. At least one of us will have some sorta character that has something to carry stuff in. If all else fails, I would sew a hidden pocket on the inside of the cosplay but that is normally hard to get to.

How do you get good cheap food?

I never buy con food. I always walk some ways or take the bus somewhere and get food away. It is cheaper that way.

What do you do if you have an elaborate/heavy/uncomfortable costume?

Just take a break when you are tired. Feel free to even sit on the floor. =) Also, watch where you are going and where other people are going. With lotsa people, there is lotsa bumping so you have to be really careful to avoid to much collision.

As for the plane thing, hopefully you don't have anything to big. I would try to have it as a carry on since I wouldn't trust the airport baggage claim thing to take good care of your item as it drops from a height.
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Unread 02-10-2013, 08:46 AM   #7
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8 hours sleep
4 bottles of water
2 real meals
1 shower

The last is important con stench is nasty.

I always have a repair kit and first aid kit in my room (or car) just in case as well as two spare sets of batteries for my costumes lights/lightsaber/fans. I can not stress enough that even though the con is meant to be fun you have to make sure you take care of yourself (Dad mode on) and make sure you eat and sleep. I have done the all night con thing and while fun you are a mess the next day and that day is not going to be great fun. Anouther thing is to make sure you do not have too much cash on you. Leave most of your stash in the rooms safe if it has one. Mind your credit cards make sure they are in your wallet and that is sucure. You can always ask a vendor to hold an item while you get the cash while lost cash cannot be replaced. Yes Dad mode is still on be careful who you hang out with make sure you have at least one trusted friend in the group. Not everyone is nice.
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Unread 02-10-2013, 10:05 AM   #8
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Well, as AB DOES say truthfully...

3 meals a day
2 full nights sleep
1 shower a day

They call it the 3 2 1 rule or something. I might have something wron,g but that should be about the gist of it.
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Update: August 10th.... still nothing.

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Unread 02-10-2013, 10:16 AM   #9
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Insoles and band aids are a life saver. Your feet with thank you.

A change of socks. [I do this when I go hiking as well. If you're walking around like crazy, you would be amazed how comfortable a new pair feels half ways through the day.]

Deodorant is a must, people will be able to tell if you're not wearing it, since sweat is inevitable. Also-- some cons even have rules against allowing people in that are unhygienic.

A makeup bag will save you, also consider bringing a needle and thread or a hotglue gun in case you run into some costume malfunctions. Some cons have booths that are dedicated to helping you repair your cosplay, but don't count on them being there.

Eat breakfast before going to the con. It'll curb your hunger and you won't be so tempted to being roped into overpriced food. My boyfriend and I usually bring a cooler and leave it in the car as well since the price for even a bottle of water is ridiculous at these gatherings. So we usually picnic out there when we get hungry.

The last thing I could tell you is don't spend all your money the first day. There's a lot of things you're going to want, but throughout the con date chances are you're going to kick yourself later when wandering the vendor area only to realize you already blew all your money the day before.

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Unread 02-10-2013, 11:15 AM   #10
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There's not a lot that hasn't already been said.

Wear your costume for a few hours at home before going to the convention so you know what parts can get uncomfortable/broken. Walk around. Especially make sure your shoes are comfortable.

Also, choose a comfortable bag to carry your stuff in. It's been suggested above that you use a bag that your character would carry. That's fine, but it needs to be functional. I've started carrying a small knapsack to conventions. It's bright pink and never fits my character, but the fact is that it works better for me than any other bag I've tried. Packs can be removed for photos. You're a real person, not a character.

Stockpile food in your hotel room if you have one. A lot of hotels have microwaves available, but confirm that in advance. Canned soups are good. Apples/most other fruits don't need refrigeration and they're refreshing. Bagels and cream cheese. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. If you have a fridge your options increase dramatically.

Overall I'd say my best cons are the ones I planned ahead for. The more you do ahead of time, the less you have to take care of at the event.
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Unread 02-10-2013, 01:16 PM   #11
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My tips, as a con-goer who has gone to Anime Expo AX since 2010, but has never stayed in hotel 'cause I'm on a budget and thankfully it's not *too* far....

Bring snacks and water! You will get hungry. Now, problem is, what about your cosplay? Will have a bag or backpack with you ruin it? For me, I was lucky my black bag I carried looked good with my cosplay. So if you're cosplaying a non-fantasy-ish character, it might work. Otherwise, if you have a non-cosplaying friend willing to carry the bag, that's good too.

Have a camera, full battery. Trust me, you'll feel sad when you see some awesome cosplays and don't have a camera to photograph it (note that it is always polite to ask permission before taking pictures).

Deorderant is a good idea. People tend to sweat in cons. Especially if you have a heavy costume in the summer.

If you can, try to have comfortable shoes, or shoes you already broke into to be comfortable. You'll be walking a lot, sometimes without a chance to sit.

If you're only going to the con for 1 day, or are driving back and forth to the con 'cause you can't afford a hotel, be sure to already be ready to go EARLY in the morning, depending on the distance the con is from your house or wherever you're staying. Trust me, it's good to arrive at a con early so you can experience it to the fullest, especially if you cannot stay for the evening.

If you tend to buy stuff (you probably will, the Exhibit Hall has too much good stuff to pass up) try not to buy more than you can handle carrying, or be sure that your bag/backpack you might be lugging around has room for it. Otherwise, you might have to make quick stops to your hotel (or your car) to put it away. It's better to travel light, especially if you cosplay!

That's all the advice I have for now ^.^
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Unread 02-10-2013, 01:25 PM   #12
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Er, people already pointed out lots of things so I'll just add some stuff / repeat some stuff...

Watch your step! Meaning don't step on someone's costume. Or whack someone with your prop, especially if you have a big one.

Don't block places where people pass a lot... meaning halls, stairs and otherwise.

If you have any doubts about whether or not your prop is permitted, contact the con (or the bus company or the plane company, depending on what your doubts are about- they will be able to tell you about the rules).


DON'T FORGET TO BATHE (at least some deodorant.)


And the thing I regret not doing the most for cons... CHARGE YOUR CAMERA. And your phone.
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Unread 02-10-2013, 01:56 PM   #13
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A lot has been covered, so that's really great! One thing I sometimes do is take off my wig. My hair is curly and hard to press down, so sometimes wigs and wigcaps can make my head hurt after being at the con all day. Also, DRINK YOUR WATER!!!!!! You may feel like you don't need it, but you do! If you ever feel like you are going to pass out or even feel light-headed, sit down crossed legged and put your head between your knees. Also, be careful at night. The later it gets, the more creepers come out. Bring a buddy and know where con security is. One last thing, if you get lost or are in need of help, ASK SOMEBODY! Most con-goers are very friendly and are more than willing to help. Just use your head and make good choices, and your con should run smoothly
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Unread 02-10-2013, 02:20 PM   #14
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If you bring con food, for the love of god make sure to pack utensils. My con friends gathered 'round for a supper of cup ramen (three cheers for coffee machines) and found ourselves in a bind when we didn't have anything to eat with. We ended up using ice tongs and coffee stirrers. Don't be like us.

Also, make sure to bring a small sewing pack and fast-setting glue. You never know when an emergency will strike.

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Unread 02-10-2013, 02:26 PM   #15
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I'll tell you what not to do, buy con food. It's overpriced and god awful.
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