7 Things You Should Always Bring to Fairs and Conventions
by Jace Amodo, April 24, 2019 10:00am
Art by Allen Mirambel
Every year, countless fairs and conventions occur in the country wherein similarly passionate people gather to talk about history, gaming, food, and much more. In Manila, we have the AsiaPop Comicon, History Con, Manila International Book Fair, Big Bad Wolf Book Sale, and Sticker Con to name a few. We all participate to have fun and celebrate what we love, but common mishaps still happen caused by lack of preparation.
Picture this: you've browsed nook after nook to search what you're looking for, waited in line to check out your haul, only to find out that the event does not accept credit cards. This scenario and more prove how much apt preparation can make or break your convention your experience. Aiming to help you solve common convention problems, here are our top seven items every con-goer should bring.
Lucky for us, most conventions happen indoors. However, conventions are conventions, and they still require a lot of walking (and screaming, if you’re a hardcore fan or a "very" enthusiastic person). It can be exhausting, which is something you wouldn’t want to experience halfway through the event.
If the venue allows it, bringing bottled water is a must. Though there may be kiosks dedicated for light refreshments around the convention hall, be prepared ‘cause food items are more expensive than outside. Stay hydrated—we can't stress this enough.
Going through an entire day of entertainment with an empty stomach is no fun at all. While some events include snacks in your ticket purchase, it won’t last long, especially if you’re moving from panel to panel. You’ll find yourself peckish, trust us.
Pack chips, power bars, or biscuits and save yourself some cash from high-priced convention snacks you could use to buy mementos. Not that we're discouraging it, FYI, but the markup is real.
As we've mentioned earlier, not all fairs and conventions accept credit cards. Bringing cash is urged, but be aware of pickpockets; you never know when one will pop-up.
Carrying extra bucks will bear fruit once you see the wide range of products sold by artists and collectors among others. It’s also likely that exhibitors will offer hall-exclusive, discounted items you might not find again anywhere. Treat 'yo self, they say; Treat 'yo self, you will.
Some join conventions for the glory, some to glimpse a particular guest. In the rare event that an idol is visiting the country, getting an autograph has been a part of meet-and-greets inside conventions.
From prints to shirts, fans have been creative in getting their favorites’ signature. Keep in mind that you won’t be the only one asking for it, though, so be polite when it is your turn. Nobody likes an unruly con-goer.
Believe or not, there’s “con crud,” a cold, flu, or other non-threatening illness you can get at gatherings. It takes only one sick con-goer to send a rippling wave of disease, and we've seen enough zombie films and series to know where that is going.
Huge crowds touching the same thing, if not airborne, is the main culprit for this situation. Keep a hand sanitizer accessible at all costs and leave a convention with swag, newfound knowledge, and a healthy immune system. Use a face mask too, if you can.
It might strike you as a no-brainer, but this is included because of several accounts wherein some con-goers tried the “look through your eyes, live at the moment” type of mantra, only to regret it later. You can always enjoy the moment while simultaneously taking visual souvenirs you can cherish later on.
It doesn’t matter if you use your phone’s camera or a professional one; Except if you’re aiming for beautiful photos, then you do need the latter. Nothing immortalizes your experience better than photographs.
Take this: you’re next to meet your idol, you shake hands, you ask for a picture, and then suddenly the remaining juice you hope would last for at least two more minutes gives up. That’s embarrassing. And if you’re not quick on your foot, you may even catch razor sharp looks from those waiting in line.
Connecting your phone to a Wi-Fi or activating its mobile data trying to live tweet or contact friends also takes up battery. It's often rare to find a charging station inside a venue, so it's best to bring a handy power bank.
Well, *scoffs* you can't carry all these stuff without a functional bag. Bring only what's needed, and you'll be as chill as an experienced con-goer can be. Or opt for the in-hall locker services, because it's a thing now.
If you’re planning to haul items, bring storage to keep it from getting damaged by any means. You could use a box or a bubble wrap for fragile objects (and for your pleasure), a tube for posters, etc. Go green with tote bags!
Having a good game plan is something you’ll also thank yourself for. Most conventions offer several events squeezed in, say, three days, and pocket stages may collide in the schedule. It can overwhelm, especially without a planned schedule. Review the panels and meet-and-greets and plan ahead of time.
Take into account, however, that conventions often experience unexpected situations—late guests or technical difficulties—so have a Plan B ready, just in case. Ultimately, be smart and always come prepared—it's more fun that way.