Ten things you should do to survive at a convention

Having just got back from Nine Worlds I’ve been reflecting on Conventions of this type and how just attending can really impact on your body.  Folks tend to push themselves beyond their normal capacity for doing things because there are so many shiny things to do happening from dawn til dawn if we’re honest so here are some tips that have helped me.

  1. Pace yourself.  It sounds lame but it really helps survive the cons that run over several days.  Don’t get stupidly drunk, try to grab some sleep you will handle everything better.
  2. Plan your panels and have back up choices.  Try to get to panels early and if something is full or not going to work for you go to something else.  At nine worlds I had to plan carefully and I kept having to miss things because rooms were full or I had been distracted by something shiny.
  3. Be polite.  Let people come out of a room before trying to enter it. Be aware of what you are carrying and try not to take people out with it.
  4. EAT. No I mean it you will need to.  My strategy is load up on breakfast and then try to grab a decent evening meal.  In between times I have a bag with various snacks that are designed to keep me going.  Also be prepared to wander away from the hotel in order to find cheaper food.
  5. DRINK. Nine Worlds were brilliant for making sure that there was tonnes of water freely available some tracks had tea available (yay feminism) but I didn’t know this in advance and I carried bottled water everywhere just in case.
  6. Don’t try to do everything as a huge group.  You will block thoroughfares, you will annoy other con-goers and half your group will be resentful of going to things they don’t want to. Instead meet up at prearranged times in pre arranged spots to squee and stuff.
  7. Try some panels on your own. Scary I know but I ended up sitting next to or by some very interesting people who were lovely to talk to and I’m now stalking them on the twitters. A great way to make friends.
  8. Compliment people. Not in a creepy way, when someone was wearing awesome cosplay or were wearing something cool. Or had done something cool at a panel I tried to say hello and that I liked what they were doing.  It was a way of giving them a little bit of kudos and it started up a couple of cool conversations.
  9. Enjoy yourself. That’s what cons are about at the end of the day, you get out of them what you put in.
  10. Thank volunteers and organisers.  They have worked very hard to make things happen.  Show them your appreciation.

Add your own tips in the comments.

Jane Hanmer

Born in deepest darkest Shropshire. Currently living in Durrey. A reader of books, a watcher of theatre and film, a player of board games. Intersectional Feminist Pronouns: She/her

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