Con Survival Guide


Toronto Comicon kicked off convention season, and with that comes Not Enough Nerd’s Con Survival Guide. Never attended a comic or fan  convention before? Interested in checking out such an event out but don’t know where to start? Maybe you’ve been to one or two before but couldn’t get the most out of the experience. No fear, nerds, we’ve got you covered.


We’ve compiled an essential list of tips and tricks to make your experience as awesome as possible. No matter the size or scale of the event you’re attending, these can apply.



Follow the lines, and be mindful of the staff and volunteers. Always get on their good side!

1. Lines and crowds. You will encounter lines and crowds. To register. To purchase tickets. To use tickets. You name it, there’s likely a line and throng of people. Most common, if you’re interested in meeting a celeb, in getting their autograph or having a picture taken with them, you can expect to wait in line with other fans .  What can you do about it?  Firstly, if there is an option to purchase in advance online, do so! It will save you time at the con and guarantee your spot with the celeb. This makes it less likely you’ll be disappointed come the day of the event if you can’t get the coveted autograph! It’s also highly recommended you don’t overbook your own day. If you’re dying to get Matt Smith’s autograph and photo-op on Saturday, you can expect you’ll probably be doing that all day. Don’t plan to do a whole lot else that day. Try to keep your day as light as possible, and make that photo-op or autograph the highlight of your day. The best thing you can do is chat with the people around you in line. Get to know them. In fact, make them your best friend! If you’re going to be in line for two hours, sometimes three hours, you may need to step out of line to get food or use the washroom. Being nice to the people around you is critical. A little kindness goes a long way at conventions. Golden rule: You’re all in the same boat. Remember.


Patience is a virtue.


2. Food: No matter where you go, the food at conventions will be expensive and crappy. If possible, bring your own food from home. Pack portable snacks, like trail mix, nuts, granola bars,  fruit etc. Bring a refillable water bottle and refill as you go. Some venues will not allow you to bring in your own food, so don’t bring anything you can’t throw away. Your day will likely be packed, so you can just grab a snack and drink as you go. If you want to eat a sit-down meal, many cons have food vendors there or restaurants, but you can expect the prices to be hefty and the lines to be crowded.


You may find these at vendors; Remember, it’s gonna cost an arm and a leg!


Pack lots of snacks and drinks for easy refuelling on the go!


3. Backpack and footwear: Two essential items you cannot leave home without are a large backpack and comfortable footwear. Carry a backpack. You’ll need it for your water bottle, snacks, program guide, phone, other items,  and any items you may purchase from the vendor’s room. You’ll be grateful at the end of the day to have that large bag! Just remember when you do leave home, don’t bring any unnecessary items you don’t need for the day. Pack light. As for footwear, a supportive, comfortable running shoe is best, as you’ll probably be on your feet most of the day. When you’re in costume and your footwear is predicated on your costume, it can be more difficult. However, try to prioritize your comfort, especially if you’re going to a convention over multiple days.


This guy is con-ready in comfortable sneakers and his backpack.


4. Costumes and photos: If you’re interested, you can dress in costume or wear a t-shirt from a fandom of your choice. Most conventions feature people dressing up and dressing down, with some cosplaying and some in casual dress. You can do whatever you’re comfortable with. Take a lot of pictures to catalogue your time at the con. If you see someone cosplaying an interesting character, ask them if you can take their picture.  Be sure to bring home those memories!



5. The best advice is to just live in the moment and get as much as possible from your time there. Talk to the people around you who have similar interests. If you’re waiting in line, strike up a conversation with the people next to you. Everyone is there for the same reason, so get to know them. You can’t have the experience again, so live it to the fullest.



Hopefully this can help you plan your next con. Any questions feel free to let us know. Enjoy the convention season!

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