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A convention can be seen as very different when compared with an Expo.  For a start a convention is not an excuse to spend all your savings yet again on anime figures (although if you wish to you still can).  It is instead an opportunity to have a laugh and cosplay at the same time.  This guide will take you through some of the dos and don'ts of cons...

Want to go to an event?  Make sure you sign up ASAP.  Some events get booked up within a short period, so if you're not quick there will be no place available for you.  Often conventions ask that you pay for your place within a certain time period, so make sure you have enough money to pay for it or else you will be kicked off the waiting list.  Most conventions nowadays accept both electronic and cheque payments  

Once you have paid, you are often sent an email confirming your details, make sure you keep the email and print it off nearer to the time as you may need it on the day.  Make sure before

you leave your house you have one of the approved ID mentioned on the conventions website, without this you will be unable to claim your badge which will allow you in all the event activities.

Before the convention, try and register to the cons forum page as it is a great way to meet new friends, plus meet up with people who are cosplaying from the same anime!  Another big tip is to print off the activities list before you go and highlight the events you want to go to as this will minimise you missing out on all the good stuff.


At a convention there are two types of accommodation that you can choose from:

1. Hotels
My tip here is research, you need to ensure that the hotel is as near as possible to the event.  Taxis are expensive and you don't want to be over reliant on a nominated driver.  Furthermore, do research to find the best deal.  For example on some websites you can get breakfast included in the price for no extra cost.  At hotel conventions you are often offered a special deal to book a room at the chosen venue.  Do not just accept this at face value!  Sometimes you will be able to book at the same hotel for an even cheaper price on a different website!  Secondly, there could also be a hotel nearby to the venue which is even cheaper.

2. University Accommodation
Some events offer on-site accommodation, this offers a number of advantages.  One is that you can pay for it in advance so that it is one less cost before the event.  Secondly, you only pay for yourself so you do not have to worry about how much everyone owes you.  Finally, this accommodation is often very near to the site.  My advice for this one though is to reserve quick especially if you want an en-suite room.

Train:

One of the quickest form of travel to expo.  If you are under 26 I would recommend that you
buy a young persons rail card (24) which will save you a 1/3 on all train travel for a year.  Also to make extra savings book in advance as this can often save up to half of the full train fare.  If you haven't been to the event before, make sure you know your travel arrangements in advance as it will make your day far less stressful.

Nearer to the event you can use the National Rail website, you can use this to check any delays or problems that may happen on the day of travel.


Coach:

A slightly longer but cheaper alternative that you can use is the coach.  Yet again you can buy a young person card from National Express if you are under 26, which can save you over a third.  Furthermore, you can book 'fun fare' tickets which can cost as little as a 1 if they are booked in advanced.  You're also guaranteed a seat which is handy for people who have a lot of cosplay to lug around.  Megabus also offers a range of cheap fares across the the country.

Car:
If you decide to stay in a hotel they will often have a car park in which you can park in.  Please though make sure that your aware of any charges the hotel may charge for parking in their facilities.

If you do decide to use the university accommodation instead, it will depend on which event you are going to, on what kind of parking facilities are available and the costs involved.



Some simple rules to follow:

1.  Go around the whole place once before deciding what to buy.  Believe me you will regret it if you've spent your entire money half way across the room and see something you really want.

2 Set a budget and stick to it!  Don't go above it or else you'll be paying it back till next con.  If you're on a budget do not take a credit card as you will seriously regret it!

3. Be nice to the sellers and don't be afraid to ask for discount.  They can only say no!



If you're on a budget and at a university held convention then eating in the canteen will keep your costs low.  I would be surprised if I spent more than 15 on food at Amecon 07. However, please note not all conventions have on site food facilities, so it is important to check before the event.  A further way to save money is if you book a hotel room which includes breakfast in the price.  If you are at a hotel convention be prepared to budget a higher amount for food.  Also complete some research before going on places nearby to eat.



If you are at a university convention, you may not wish to return to the hotel to drink as you'll be too busy partying at the arranged events.  In other words do not take alcohol with you, its heavy!  Save your money and use it on your nights out.  Often drinks at these types of conventions are reasonable.

On the other hand, if the convention is being held at a hotel, take some alcohol with you.  Drinks are expensive and depending on how much you can drink, it can take a large chunk of your budget!

 Remember to drink responsibly.



Please respect these people, as they have often paid the same price as you!  They have simply chosen to help out with the event, so be nice to them.

Finally...have fun!   
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