Vegas.com inspired me to share some nerdy advice about attending conventions. The LVL Up Expo is fast approaching and will held in Vegas for its 5th year since existing. (Get it? That's why Vegas.com is involved in case you couldn't piece that together.) A lot of you may be attending your first convention this year, so I wanted to share some tricks of the trade on surviving it!
For those unaware - LVL UP EXPO is a pretty rad thing! From tournaments to events to really cool guests - you will get your fill of nerdiness - that's for sure. This year you can participate in a Super Smash Bros, Street Fighter, Pokemon and Hearthstone tournament if you're feeling up for it - and those are just naming a few! What stands out to me here is LVL UP EXPO has a Cosplay lip sync event and with how much I love RuPaul's Drag Race.. how couldn't I want to see that especially seeing my fave characters doing it?! There's also a Pokemon Gym Leader challenge. Those are the two main events that stood out to me - but there are so many more that will probably tickle your fancy! The guests that are going to be here this year are spectacular:
Jez Roth --> freaking AMAZING tailor who has worked on Cirque, won 15 Best in Show awards, designed Opera gowns at The Venetian in Vegas, and designs for A-list events / celebrities.
Jennifer Hale ---> well known voice actress: Mass Effect 3, Wreck it Ralph, Powerpuff Girls, and Totally Spies!
Sean Schemmel ---> Voice actor most primarily known for Dragon Ball Z! (FUCK!)
Christopher Sabat ---> Voice actor from Dragon Ball Z, Yuri! On Ice, One Piece, Star Wars: Go Rogue, and Fullmetal Alchemist.
Ali Hillis ---> Voice actress from Mass Effect, Naruto, Regular Show in Space, X-Men, Starcraft II, and Open Water 2!
"A nonprofit Vegas convention, covering various gaming platforms, technology, design and anime!" LVL UP EXPO
The idea of going to a convention will get you super excited with over the top emotions of all sorts. This may make you forget some crucial things on going to a multiple day convention! Here are my top tips on surviving ANY convention - but hopefully you can use it if you're attending LVL UP EXPO especially!
PRINT OUT PHYSICAL COPIES OF EVERYTHING
For anything that involves a ticket, please print out a physical copy just in case! This can be a plane ticket, hotel booking, or even the actual pass for the con! The worst way to start a lil trip is by having issues getting there. If you can prevent a miscommunication - take all precautions in doing so. You can throw all this stuff away upon checking in and arriving, outside of your pass for the convention of course!
CREATE A LIST PRE-PACKING
Before leaving, have a list handy of stuff you need for your adventure! It's super easy to forget the basics and at hotel gift shops - simple items can be ridiculously overpriced. Of course please don't pack for the end of the world but don't forget these essentials: (all in travel size if possible)
Deodorant / body mist (PLEASE DO EVERYONE A FAVOR AND DO NOT FORGET THIS AND MOST IMPORTANTLY DO NOT FORGET TO APPLY AT LEAST ONCE A DAY)
---> Tide "To Go" Pen or equivalent <---
---> EXTRA Pairs of Socks n Undies <---
---> Sunscreen & Sunglasses <---
---> Camera <---
---> Phone Charger / Portable Charger / All the Chargers <---
---> Toothpaste n Toothbrush <---
---> Moisturizer and Face Wash / Moist Towelettes <---
---> Ibuprofen / Pepto Bismol <---
---> Reusable Water Bottle (It's entirely too easy to forget to stay hydrated with all of the distractions you're going to have!) <---
---> Gum or Mints <---
---> Tissues (You will probably get emotional seeing one of your fave series or characters! (Or just for allergies if you're a dweeb like me!) <---
---> Nintendo DS / PSP / Book (Something to have while you're waiting in lines!) <---
HAVE A LOOSE PLAN
This seems so common, right? WRONG. Most con-goers just arrive at the convention and wander around aimlessly for hours. This results in them missing so many awesome things. GET A PAMPHLET AND READ IT! It takes 10 minutes. Highlight what you must see and go from there. You'll kick yourself from paying for a ticket and missing a large chunk of stuff you adore. Just remember to keep going - if you miss an event, booth, meet and greet, etc - don't cry! Just move on to the next cool thing. ALSO - pull up the venue on Google Maps or something similar to explore the layout. The worst thing is feeling lost and losing valuable time by figuring out where the heck you are.
SAVE SHOPPING FOR LAST
Do not impulse buy! I repeat, DO NOT IMPULSE BUY. I know, look at the pot calling the kettle black but I guarantee the merch you gush over will be at a bunch of other booths. With that guarantee comes competitive pricing! Also - the longer you wait - the lower prices will drop because merchants have a certain goal they want to make for each convention and when the con is about to end...they get a little desperate!
SET A BUDGET.....please
Speaking of shopping - do yourself a huge favor and have a BUDGET. Keep in mind that 80% of stuff you are seeing at the convention can be found online more then likely. I find it helpful to give yourself a set amount of cash each day and that's IT. Figure out what works for you and stay disciplined. I know it's very hard with all of the cute shiz you're going to see within twenty feet of yourself....but you'll end up going home and wondering why you bought half the crap you did. Don't forget you'll be getting a lot of freebies throughout your time here too!
HAVE A SENSIBLE BAG
At conventions....do not think it's "uncool" to carry around a backpack or tote. You will regret immensely if you have to hold everything you need / buy / etc for 8+ hours! And no - you WON'T go back and forth between the hotel and the convention multiple times during the day. I know you think you will, but you won't. Keep those travel sized items I mentioned above in your bag too!
PLAN OUT FOOD
As I mentioned it's so easy to forget to stay hydrated and nourished at these events. We lose that logical part of our brain due to all the rad stuff that's crammed into a building. It's overwhelming! Try to eat 1-2 times each day OUTSIDE of the convention center. This will be a nice lil break for you and a wonderful way to not only refuel but to explore the town you are in! Do a tad bit of researching via a simple Yelp search before the event so you don't have to fret over that in the moment.
Try not to forget a camera! Don't be shy to approach cosplayers and ask for a photo! If you do take photos ---> take full length pictures, (waist up shots are blatant yawn fests when you share them or look back in the future) and take three shots of each pictures to avoid blinking mishaps and such.
DO'S AND DONT'S FOR FIRST TIMERS/ANYONE
DO: go with friends! go alone and MAKE friends! take TOO many photos! try to do everything you possibly can! get at least 5 hours of GOOD sleep a night! drink water and eat food! get out of your comfort zone to meet rad peeps that like the same dorky things you do! WEAR COMFY SHOES!
DON'T: stress if you miss a few things you wanted to do! OVERSPEND! forget to shower at least once a day! make people feel less than you if they aren't an "ULTIMATE" fan that knows each little detail of a series or franchise!
There you have it! That's my kenNERDdy Survival Guide to Convention-ing. My fave exhibits at any convention are anything involving Sailor Moon, Star Trek, Kingdom Hearts, Nintendo or Pokemon! What are your favorite exhibits? What advice do you think I missed? What's your best convention story or memory? Tell me and #staynerdy until next week! Don't forget to check out Las Vegas travel deals as well for amazing flight and hotel packages if you're hitting up the LVL Up Expo or are just going to Vegas! You cannot beat their deals - seriously! Thanks again to Vegas.com for the inspiration - I had so much fun with this article! <3
ADVICE OF THE WEEK
I have a rant - SPOILER it's a first world problem. I have a very peculiar diet. I eat small portions and usually change most of what I'm ordering (No cheese, no meat, subsitutions etc -- yes I suck, I know). A lot of times - restaurants try to over compensate for me eating so little by giving me a free upgrade to a large or adding extra of something. PLEASE DON'T DO THIS! I have an addictive personality and will just eat it all - hence why I ordered the way I did! I do appreciate the gesture but it's just a thought I had to get off my deformed chest.
ALBUM OF THE WEEK
I probably only knew two Gorillaz' songs prior to this week. They dropped their latest album the other day and it's been on loop for me ever since. It has so many different styles of music on one album and so many good guest musicians! It has a song for almost any mood you can be in - which I like so much! FAVE TRACKS: Momentz and Out of Body.
STEFFULIE NEWS OF THE WEEK
Crap! Stephen and I have been dating officially for ONE YEAR ALREADY. Go us, I think? We are celebrating hxc by hitting up Disneyland. We are going to try to stay the entire day and night - but we will see how that goes cause it's super hard to do that!! I'll fill you in next week on how it goes - I cannot wait!