Sorry I've been MIA for so long, I've been struggling to get into the mood to write. I've got a few ideas on what to write, but I just can't seem to find the motivation.
But I'm working for the next seven days straight and then going to Melbourne for the Armageddon Pop Culture Expo for four days so there will be little time to write in the near future. So I'm sucking it up and writing now. This is all stream of consciousness writing; this isn't planned or moderated in any way.
This is how to prepare for a convention/expo:
1- Check out the schedule as soon as possible
Many conventions will release a demo of their schedule before the official one is made. While these are never set in stone (and they aren't even set in stone on the day) it's good to look these over and get a sense of how busy you're convention is going to be. Personally, I like to copy the schedule into a spreadsheet. This helps me to get rid of the events that don't interest me and help me to focus on what I really want to see.
2- Understand how much money your convention experience will cost
Just getting into the convention area will cost money, but there will also be many things inside the convention that you will want to have or you will want to do. If you don't prepare for this beforehand you can be blind-sided in one of two ways; you can overspend and you can underspend. Overspending is pretty self explanatory, and the effects of this are pretty obvious. Underspending can also be an issue because you can end up feeling that the convention wasn't worth attending.
Proper planning will mean you'll know exactly how much you will be spending so you won't be surprised or disappointed.
3- Plan for the unknown
That sounds impossible, but it's always good to plan for when things go wrong. At many conventions and expos guests can pull out at any minute. Guests can even pull out the morning of the convention, if another offer comes up such as a job or they get sick or their family gets sick. Guests can show up for day one but something can go wrong and they don't make it to day two.
The schedule can also change depending on the already mentioned guest changes but also for other reasons such as inefficient space for the expected number of ticket holders. Other reasons for last minute changes include flooding of the convention space due to heavy rain (this has happened before).
Preparing for a comic convention or pop culture expo can be a lot of work, but it's only a lot of work to make sure you have a good time. Knowing the schedule before you arrive means that you won't miss out on anything, and knowing how much it will cost will help you to budget wisely.
Conventions are meant to be fun, so relax and smile and enjoy the experience.
If you have any other tips on how to prepare for a convention please add them in the comments.