How to survive your first Comic Con

It's a scary world out there...
Photograph: East London News
MCM London is in just under two months (hooray!) which means every nerd in the country is going to be doing their last minute adjustments to perfect their cosplay, or - if you are like me - it's a mad rush to get it all done in time. This will be my first time attending a May convention, but I am slowly becoming a seasoned Con-goer with this being my eighth convention and fourth time to London, therefore this means I have also made many mistakes when attending. I wish then to pass on my pearls of wisdom to those who are thinking of attending or are going to their first convention on how to survive.

Decide how many days you want to spend there

Wonder Woman
Photograph: Michael Antoine Photography

October 2017 was the first time I spent all three days at a convention and it was fantastic. I was able to bring three different cosplays to the con which gave me a nice amount of variety. Doing all three days was great for attending different cosplay meets and various photo shoots; however, if you are not planning on cosplaying it might be an idea to only do two days. I believe Saturday and Sunday are perfect for being able to look around the entire convention, so I would recommend the entire weekend for those keen on cosplaying.

Book your accommodation early

I cannot stress this enough. Hotels close to the convention centre will put the prices up because they know people, particularly first time attendees, will want to stay as close to the con as possible. My advice: find somewhere that is ideally 5-15 minutes away, therefore this will give you plenty of time to get ready in the morning and you won't be worrying about transport. My personal recommendation for a good hotel nearby is the Moxy London Excel which is about five minutes walk on the opposite side from the main entrance and offers special rates so you can get that sweet sweet discount. Others include the Hampton London Docklands and the ibis Styles London Excel.
AirBnb options around the Excel Centre

Another fantastic option is using AirBnB to find either an entire home to spread out in or, as myself and my boyfriend are doing, paying for a private room with an en-suite inside a house. These can be a great alternative to staying in a hotel as it can also be quite a bit cheaper.

Know who and what will be there

Conventions are great for meeting famous people but if it's a popular person, the autographs and photo sessions will be busy! Have a browse of the Con's website and figure out who is worth spending your hard-earned money on, whether it be an autograph or a photo opportunity. In October 2017, I had the extreme pleasure of meeting Hayley Atwell and in 2016 met Ian McElhinney (Ser Barristan Selmy in Game of Thrones), and absolutely would again! To me, this was worth the money so do your research and see if there is anyone you would die to meet. For MCM London May 2018, you can find who will be there here.

Research cosplay meets

What's better than one Peggy?
Stucky and the Peglegs Meet October 2017
Cosplaying is such an integral part of conventions and if you just fancy exploring the con in regular clothes, that's cool. However, cosplay is huge and if it's something you are interested in participating in, then have a look if there will be any meets that relate to the character you are cosplaying. Facebook is usually the best way to scout out these meets by simply typing in the film/television show/comic/game followed by the Con you are attending and the word 'meet' (e.g. "Game of Thrones MCM London Meet") which will give you all the information you need. Meets are a great way to meet people with the same interests with you and make new friends, so don't be shy and go along to one!

(Shameless plug: Stucky and the Peglegs will be holding our biannual shoot on 26th May 2018 at MCM London)

Bring food (if your cosplay allows you to!)

This is probably not a surprise, but food inside the Con will be expensive...

If you are not going to be cosplaying, bring a small backpack where you can keep some food and a bottle of water as you'll most likely be at the convention for quite a long while. If your cosplay allows you to have a small bag, breakfast bars (or brownies) are your best friend if you want to save your money for the stalls. Having these little bad boys will keep you going throughout the day and you wouldn't need to spend quite a bit of money on your lunch. :P

Here's my top tip for eating at MCM London: if you have the choice to have breakfast at your accommodation, do it. It'll save you money. If you can't, at both the West and East Entrances are Costa Coffees and because they are a chain, they are unable to put up prices within the convention centre. I know a chocolate brownie isn't the most nutritious breakfast (even though I did it all three days in October!), but a panini will always see you through!

If you enjoyed this post, feel free to share it on social media and if you would like me to do my Comic Con essentials, leave me a comment down below to let me know!

Here is my Twitter to see what I'm thinking and my Instagram to see my life in pictures.

Come back in a fortnight for more nerdy advice, travel tips, story times and general good vibes!

- Katie 

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