Whether you are going to a large anime convention like Anime Expo or to your local anime convention, there are a number of things that you should consider bringing with you. First-time con goers usually make the mistake of leaving something at home and wishing that they had brought it with them. This is a short list of some of the essential items that a regular con goer should bring to an anime convention.
Pre-registration Confirmation and Tickets
Many conventions have pre-registration at a discounted price, which makes it a popular choice for convention goers. If you pre-register for a convention, make sure you bring your confirmation letter with you when you show up. It makes it easier for the registration desk to get your pass and you don’t have to wait as long. The same goes for tickets to special events that may be happening at a convention.
Convention Schedule and Map
If you’re one of those people that can’t tell North from South or always seem to lose track of time, it would be wise to print out a copy of the convention schedule and a map of the area. Going through it the night before and checking off what you want to see/do will also help you plan your day and make sure that you don’t miss anything.
I have seen numerous people try to take pictures of cosplayers or Japanese guests on their smartphones or tablets, only to be disappointed with a very blurry picture. While these devices are great for taking Facebook pictures, they are no substitute for a good camera. Nowadays cheap point-n-shoot cameras are loaded with special features that can eliminate camera shake, take pictures in low lighting, and focus on moving objects. Just remember to bring spare batteries and memory with you.
Shopping and/or Collection List
Most people go to anime conventions to shop for anime goodies. Some people are so preoccupied with all of the merchandise they find that they forget what they wanted to buy in the first place. A shopping list of the things you want will make sure you don’t miss anything. Prices should be added if you can find them so that you don’t get ripped off. Likewise, a list of the things you already have is also a good way of making sure you don’t buy a second copy of a DVD you already own.
It is surprising the number of people that say they don’t have enough money for something at an anime convention. ATMs often run out of cash during large events like anime conventions, and not all sellers take credit cards. Bringing enough cash to pay for food and the things you want to buy will ensure you don’t run into this problem.
Walking around all day in crowded areas will make anyone sweat. For the sake of the other convention goers and everyone around you, please bring and use some deodorant. Even if you don’t smell anything, put it on anyways.
On a similar note, breath mints, gum, tic tacs, etc. never hurt anyone. Being at a convention all day can also cause some serious bad breath.
The majority of conventions are held at convention centers and likely sell water at exorbitant prices. The good news is that they almost always have water fountains around. Bring a water bottle to stay hydrated and save some money.
Larger anime conventions will usually have famous voice actors, singers, or directors come to the event and sign autographs. Rather than getting your cheap program guide signed, you can bring an autograph book or sheet for them to sign. Don’t forget to bring a sharpie or other marker just in case you run into someone outside of a signing session.
Backpacks and other types of bags are very common at anime conventions. Not only do you need one to carry items such as those listed above, but they’re also useful for when you’ve spent all of your money on anime goods and need someplace to put them. A poster tube is also useful if you’re looking to buy some posters and don’t want them to get crumpled.
An Open Mind
Anime conventions are places where you will find everything from rainbow-coloured hair to free hugs. People are there to have fun, and if you want to join in, you have to keep an open mind.