A Con-Goer’s Guide To Survival: How to Maximize your Experience Without Sacrificing Comfort

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If you’re like me, you have a period of time during the year in your area where it seems like the conventions occur one after another; we call this “Con Season” (followed by the dreaded ‘Con Crunch’ for cosplayers, but more on that in another article). Whether you’re attending one (or several) a year, whether it’s your first time going to a convention (always exciting!), or if you’re just looking for some general advice to make your upcoming con experience that much more enjoyable, here are a few small tips to hopefully help you along the way.

I personally like to call the key points the 3 “H’s”; Health, Hygiene, and Hydration:

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Health – This applies to both your mental and your physical strength; a good night’s sleep and proper nutrition are key to both of these things prior to the con, but sometimes during the convention in all the excitement priorities go right out the window (trust me, it happens). Make sure to get a minimum of 3 hours of sleep each day of the con (and do NOT try to sleep at the convention; most cons frown upon this and have staff actively looking for that sort of behavior), pack small light snacks that don’t melt or spoil easily yet have lots of protein for energy (such as dried fruit, nuts, lightly seasoned beef jerky and so on), and keep those all-important necessities always on hand (like your cell phone, backup battery/charger, ID, forms of payment) preferably in a small pouch, bag, or something you can keep securely on your person/cosplay in one constant spot so they’re both close and readily available if needed.

Hygiene – This one is key for so many reasons…think about it; you’re going to be around many other people (friends, family, and con-goers alike) who are all within a close proximity to each other more often than not. You might have heard stories of the dreaded ‘con funk’ (and if you haven’t, consider yourself lucky), which is something no con or individual wants to be remembered for in any circumstance. Make it a rule of thumb to take at least 1 shower each day of the convention in addition to practicing regular good hygiene (brushing your teeth, applying deodorant/anti-perspirant prior to going out, and washing your hands throughout the day). Also, please note that cologne/perfume/Febreeze is no substitute for a clean set of clothes/cosplay, not to mention that there are people out there with legitimate allergies to strong scents and certain types of chemicals. However, if you just need to freshen up, do so in moderation.

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Hydration – You’ve probably heard it all before; your body is made up of around 60 percent water, drink so many glasses per day, blah blah blah. I’m not going to tell you any of that, but what I will do is ask you this: you like to save money, right? Wearing a cosplay all day (and sometimes all night, especially if you go to the obligatory raves that are held at most cons) will leave you sweating more often than not, which can quickly lead to dehydration if you’re not careful. Rather than spend 6 to 8 dollars at the con on a soda or bottle of Gatorade (which ultimately makes you thirstier after a little while, which then means you’re spending more money on even more to drink), bring a refillable water bottle (if you’re in cosplay, a Camelbak or other wearable hydration pouch that you can integrate into your outfit can be a lifesaver) or buy a disposable water bottle which at cons normally run around 3 dollars, and refill it over and over for free at the water stations/fountains that most conventions (especially hotel-based ones) have available. Your body (and your wallet) will thank you.

Please note that this is by no means a complete list of things one can do to make their con experience more enjoyable; I’m sure everyone who’s been to at least one convention before has a method that they swear by, plus not all cons work the same way (case in point, some allow you to bring in outside snacks/drinks, others will not unless you have a medical condition). The biggest thing to remember is to just take care of yourself. You wouldn’t do it in everyday life, and attending a convention should be no different. Overall, it’ll allow you to focus more on what you’re there for….to have fun!

Until next time, ja ne tomodachi!

-Last Samurai