Consluts.com

04 Jun

Fan Convention Tutorials for n00bs: Early, Early Preparation Pt. 2

AnimeTeacherContiuned – This is a continuation of a previous article on the topic of making early plans to attend an out of town fan convention…

Now for sake of being thorough comprehensive, let’s briefly discuss the possibility that you screwed up and didn’t make a reservation in time. The host hotels are booked solid. In this case, you sometimes have the option of looking at overflow hotels that are located in the area. These properties are not actually part of the convention, but they’re local and will work in a pinch. They don’t always offer a group rate either, but then again they’re usually not as nice as the host hotels. Ergo, they’re probably less expensive anyway. In any case, look around. Explore your options.

Note: There will be a few upcoming articles that specifically discuss dealing with hotels. Keep an eye out for these.

Since we mentioned roommates above, I suppose we should go ahead and address this part of pre-convention preparations. The roommate(s) decision is one you must make very carefully for a myriad of reasons. First, you’re going to be sharing a living space with these people for up to 5 days. For even the best of friends, this can get a little grating especially if you’re packing 4 (or more) people and their 2 metric tons of baggage into a room with two queen beds, one closet, and one bathroom. Second, these are the people who are supposed to be chipping in on the room and quite possibly other types of expenses. If they don’t come through, you could be sca-rewed. Last, these people are usually close friends and weird things happen at con. I’ve seen more friendships ended by con shenanigans than just about anything else and that’s no shit. (article continues…)

Since we mentioned roommates above, I suppose we should go ahead and address this part of pre-convention preparations. The roommate(s) decision is one you must make very carefully for a myriad of reasons. First, you’re going to be sharing a living space with these people for up to 5 days. For even the best of friends, this can get a little grating especially if you’re packing 4 (or more) people and their 2 metric tons of baggage into a room with two queen beds, one closet, and one bathroom. Second, these are the people who are supposed to be chipping in on the room and quite possibly other types of expenses. If they don’t come through, you could be sca-rewed. Last, these people are usually close friends and weird things happen at con. I’ve seen more friendships ended by con shenanigans than just about anything else and that’s no shit.

Violence, adultery, substance overdoses, and theft are just a few of the things I’ve seen happen between roomies at con. You laugh and say, “Well, that won’t happen to me,” but you might eat those words. Be very careful when selecting your roomies. Finally, on the topic of roomies, while it is best to get your group of roomies in line as soon as possible, just bear in mind that things change. People lose jobs, move, get sick, relationships end, and all kinds of other such things happen that could hamper your trek to the convention of your choice. Hell, some people are just plain irresponsible and blow the cash they need for con on something else and then leave their roomies high and dry with a few weeks before con! Just have backup plans. If you’re the person who has made the hotel reservation, do your best to have enough money in the bank (or room on your credit card) to cover at least the entire hotel bill. Assume you’ll be going this alone or at the very least, with one other person (think spouse, sibling, etc.).

Okay, since we’re assuming, let’s assume that you’ve been able to figure out all the financial stuff, secure lodging, and gather a reasonable group of roomies unless you’re lucky enough to not need them. Things are coming together nicely, right? Good.

Now it’s time to start throwing money down on some other necessities you’ll need. First and foremost, if you don’t plan on driving because you’re too far away for that kind of nonsense, go ahead and consider buying your airline tickets as soon as possible. Now, if you live near a major airport that serves as a hub for big airline, you just might score a flight at an excellent price if you’re patient. Even though I’ve flown around the United States and Europe quite a bit in my time, I’m no expert. However, unless the rate for your flight is just plain outrageous, I’d just go ahead and plunk down some greenbacks to book your flight as soon as you can. If you’re a frequent traveler, check you’re frequent flyer account. You just might be able to score a free flight! When you book said flight (no matter when you do it), be sure to note weight restrictions and any fees that might come with having a lot of baggage. The general rule is that you can check two bags for free and carry one small bag and a personal item (laptop computer, brief case, big purse, etc) onto the plane. So if you’re gonna be bringing tons of stuff for costumes and such, keep in mind how much it’s going to cost when you check your bags. Weight is also a concern when it comes to luggage. Be sure to check on weight limits to avoid any extra fees or at the very least, be able to anticipate them.

Note: Restrictions on baggage are changing from airline to airline now due to rising fuel costs. This makes it doubly important to check on these things

Another thing you’ll have to do eventually is buy your tickets/passes for the convention. For pretty much any convention of any type (be it a fan convention or Dirt Farmer’s convention, it doesn’t matter) you’ll pay less if you purchase your passes earlier. In other words, the price rises as the date of the convention gets closer with everything maxing out around a month or so until con. So if you know everything is on the level, get’em as early as you can. Just to give you an idea of how important this can be, the greedheads over at a certain convention in Atlanta, GA that takes place over Labor Day Weekend is charging almost $100 for tickets if you get them around 2 weeks before con until day of. Get’em as cheap as you can. Some of these things are becoming a racket!

Scott “Scooter” McGowan

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