For many geeks, conventions are a way to connect to the communities they are a part of and immerse themselves in the fandoms they love. And there are so many different conventions out there now for all types of fandoms and groups, it can be hard to find the best one for you. So here is a guide to help you figure out ways to choose a con for you.
Pick Your Favorite Group or Fandom
Finding a con within a particular niche is so much easier now because of the plethora of cons. So if you have a particular favorite, like video games, board games, Harry Potter, or anime to name a few, lean towards attending events with focuses on those. As an example, I’ve chosen to go to Twitch Con twice as a fan of the platform and video games. It’s a pretty niche event when looking at it, but because I have found great enjoyment within that niche, it’s a good event for me. So don’t think you have to go to a comic con and hope your fandom is somewhere there when you can find a more niche event for you.
Figure Out What You Want To Get Out Of Going
Cons have so many opportunities that it’s impossible to be able to do everything in a single con trip. So while there is something for everyone, it’s good to figure out what exactly you want out of the trip. Do you want to go to panels? Do meet and greets with specific guests? Explore and expo hall and try out new games? While most cons offer all of these, with more specific cons you can more easily find what you specifically want to do and what events offer those things.
Explore What’s Closest To You First
While many geeks look starry-eyed at the likes of SDCC and other huge conventions, there are many options that are more local and smaller and easier to get to than traveling cross country for a con. I’ve often had recommended to me to check out local and smaller conventions for particular niches, as large events can be intimidating for those who haven’t gone to one before. While I benefit by living in California and having many great cons close to me, that’s not always the case. The perks of closer conventions have so many perks that you may not get at the larger cons, and sometimes the larger cons are worth it. But for your first convention, it helps to start looking closer to home.
Consider your Expenses
Let’s be super clear: cons are not cheap to do. First, you have a badge to buy, you may need to pay for travel and housing, then you have food during the con and merchandise, and don’t forget transportation while at the convention. It can get expensive quickly. So be honest with yourself about your budget before you start planning a huge trip to a con. This is a plus for a local convention, as it can cut down travel expenses. And I am speaking as someone who has made a lot of spontaneous decisions about travel and cons: plan expenses out and be prepared for the money side of it all.
Have you gone to a con before? Which one was it and what made you choose it? Let me know with a comment!