Tomorrow begins my final Convention of the year, the first day of New York Comic Con. This will be my third year attending NYCC, and honestly I’ve gotten pretty good at making the most of my conventions. Each con has it’s own personality and quirks, but there are some rules that apply to all conventions.
First rule is hygiene, and no I’m not talking about that particularly smelly dude who’s standing next to you in line, I’m talking about Con Crud, which is the term used to describe the illness many get after spending a long weekend standing in a crowded enclosed area with hundreds or even thousands of people for extended periods of time eating fried crap from the food court and coming into contact with things and people from potentially all over the world. Best practices to avoid this? Well number one is to stay hydrated, I always bring a large water bottle with me when I go to conventions, and usually a gatorade as well. Keeping your inner systems moving and well lubricated is a good way to stay healthy. Hand sanitizer is also a good thing to bring. As someone who is usually networking I shake a lot of hands and take a lot of cards, which is a great way for germs to move about.
Next I want to talk about food, because there are always food carts or at least a food court at the convention centers. Don’t eat there. Ok, maybe have one of your meals a day there tops, but make sure you get some real food into you over the course of the weekend. I tend to bite the bullet and have a crappy lunch at the convention center, but I will always make sure to have a good dinner afterward. Man cannot survive on processed food alone. Also most cons will let you bring snacks, and a quick granola bar while waiting for the next panel is always good. Another thing to remember is that food inside the convention is like food inside a stadium or airport. It’s going to be a bit pricier because they know you are most likely not going to leave just to get cheaper food elsewhere.
Lastly, have a flexible schedule. Don’t go in expecting to do everything, don’t even expect to do everything that you want to do. Have a game plan so you can make the most out of your days at the con, but allow for some time to just wander. I love aimlessly strolling through artist alley, or even the show floor. There are bizarre items and people you will only find at cons, and if all you are doing is running from panel to panel you don’t give yourself time to really take in all that is going on at the con.
I go to several conventions a year, and each have a different feel to them, but I always have a good time. Whether or not that is being surrounded by like minded geeks, or the fact that every con is a celebration, I don’t know. Well I hope this helps you out, and if you see me on the con floor come say “hi”. I’ll talk to all of you again on the other side of the con.