1. Don't procrastinate. If you're coming from out of town, book your hotel as early as you can. If you wait too long, it might be difficult to get a room at your preferred hotel, and the rates might be too high. Also, get your convention tickets as soon as they go on sale; some conventions offer much lower ticket prices when they first go on sale, and the prices usually go up closer to the date of the convention.
2. Research, research, research! If you're interested in attending panels, lectures, meet and greets, etc., decide what you want to see before you get there. I always go to the convention website and read the descriptions of everything that's going on, and I print out a schedule as soon as it's posted and highlight everything I'm interested in; that way there's no confusion once I get to the convention, and I can even plan in advance what time I can take breaks for lunch and dinner. I can get pretty cranky when I'm hungry, so this benefits everyone. ; ) If you're not going to have much time for meals and the convention doesn't offer food on-site, find out what restaurants are nearby before you get to the convention. If you only have an hour or so, you don't want to waste time trying to decide where to eat; you want to get your food quickly, eat, and get back to the convention with time to spare.
3. Bring a good camera. I know everyone has cameras on their cell phones, but the quality of the pictures I take with my digital camera are so much better than the quality of cell phones pictures, so if the convention allows cameras, bring one. You're going to want good-quality photos since conventions are full of great picture-taking opportunities...like this one from AtomaCon in North Charleston, SC:
4. Bring a battery-operated phone charger. You don't want your phone to die, and these are pretty inexpensive. (I got mine for $5 at Five Below.)
5. Start working on your costume as early as possible. You wouldn't want to realize a day before the convention that you're missing something you need or that some part of your costume is going to be harder to finish than you thought it would be, so if you're planning on entering a costume contest, start working on your costume way ahead of time in order to avoid unnecessary stress. Also, check the convention website for contest rules so you know what criteria your costume will be judged on, what percentage of your costume must be handmade or altered, what props aren't allowed, etc.
6. Bring water. There's so much to see and do at a convention, and you're going to miss a lot of it if you pass out from dehydration, so bring water with you or buy some at the convention if it's available.
7. Bring cash. The vendors will most likely accept credit cards, but if you're worried about going overboard buying merchandise, decide on the highest amount you're comfortable spending, bring that amount in cash, and don't buy anything else once the cash runs out.
8. Wear comfortable shoes. This might be difficult depending on your costume, but you're going to be doing a ton of walking and standing in line, so wear comfortable shoes if possible. I have some with memory foam in them, and my feet never hurt when I wear those.
9. Bring a notebook. If you're just going for fun, you don't need to worry about this, but if you're attending panels to learn about something you might want to pursue a career in or because you want to write about it (for a blog, website, newspaper, etc.), bring a notebook and something to write with. When I go to conventions and attend panels about anything paranormal, I take a ton of notes because as good as my memory is, I'm not going to remember half of what I heard by the time I actually sit down to write a blog post about it. Basically, if you think you're going to want to remember anything you hear in a panel or lecture, write it down. Sure, you could take notes on your phone, but it seems a little rude to have your phone out when someone is talking, and you also have to worry about your battery dying or your phone erasing all the notes you took (my phone erased all the pictures on my SD card, so I don't trust my phone for anything too important).
10. Have fun! Most importantly, enjoy yourself, and don't stress out too much. You're going to remember your first convention for the rest of your life, so make some amazing memories. : )
The Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con takes place June 23rd-25th at the Las Vegas Convention Center (3150 Paradise Road). For more info, check out the website:
If you're coming from out of town, Vegas.com has some great flight and hotel package deals. : )
Flight and hotel package deals