In a less than two weeks, LVL UP EXPO will be here in Las Vegas. It will be one of Las Vegas’ largest conventions for gamers and anime lovers in the valley. My team and I will be attending this convention for three days and have been preparing for the long haul for months! It’s not like this for everyone, usually just avid cosplayers, but for those of you who’ve never been to a convention and are planning on going to LVL UP, here are some really easy tips for your first time!

  • Firstly, if this is your first con, don’t cosplay. I say this because, unless you go to cosplay events frequently and are used to the attention, you’ll be too distracted by the people wanting to take your photo and having to keep an eye on your costume that you might not experience the con to its fullest. I can’t imagine what my first convention would have been like if I had gone in a cosplay like Undyne; the paint and now the armor? No way! The following points will help you focus more on really enjoying the convention.
  • Look at the schedule ahead of time and plan out what you want to do. See what signings you’re adamant about going to and getting an autograph for and what other events might be happening in town. Here in Vegas, I would definitely recommend going to the kinds of events where everyone gets together to participate in activities. Masquerades and lip singing contests are really popular here in Las Vegas’ conventions, so if you ever see one of those it’s always a good way to make friends and meet new people while being highly entertained!
  • Go with good friends. I went to my first convention with my younger brother and ex. We had a lot of fun, but the atmosphere was definitely different than what it is now when I go with my entire squad. If you can, I advise going with a group of friends. If you have a sizable group, you’re more likely to all get to do what you want or at least most of it. Most likely, someone else in the group wants to see what you want to, so it’s always a good idea. Besides, the more people there, the more everyone can help each other out if someone’s in a jam.
  • Bring a bag. A backpack, a purse, a small cat that can hold your things, it doesn’t matter. Just make sure you have some way to hold your stuff and anything you might buy while you’re at the convention. This is usually an issue my group and I face when we cosplay, but it also happened to me when I went to my first convention and didn’t know any better.
  • BRING MONEY AND HAVE A PLAN FOR GETTING HOME! This is my big must for anyone going to a convention. Or even just trips in general. It’s always a good idea to have some kind of backup plan as well. You never know if you’re going to run out of money or your ride will skip. It’s also a good rule of thumb to know your prices and know how to tell real merch from fake merch. As an avid figure collector, I used to drool at the dealer’s alley, but the last few times I’ve gone to a convention, I’ve been careful about what I buy. If I know I can buy the same figure online for much cheaper, and I know it’s real, I’ll hold out. If it’s rare or special, however, I might buy it there for the memory.
  • Speaking of getting home, not everyone going to a convention is from that city. If you’re coming into Las Vegas for LVL UP, for example, you might want to try booking a hotel close to the convention’s venue. It’s always helpful to know you’re close by in case you need to take a break and relax. Even if you’re from town, I know plenty of cosplayers and con-goers who like to rent a room just in case; besides staycations are always fun! Try Vegas.com for bookings and other travel deals if you’ll be in Las Vegas for LVL UP.

Conventions have something magical about them, believe me. I never thought I would fall in love with them the way I did, but when you get a bunch of people together who all love the same thing, there’s always something so special about the air around the venue; and it’s not just the smell of a freshly painted cosplay or plastic figures because that is literally the smell of my room.

I encourage all anime, game and other geek lovers to go and participate in conventions. They’re such a fun way to get involved with your local geek community and have a fun, and maybe even tiring, weekend. So go out there, fall in love and be safe! 

Are any of you going to LVL UP or conventions near you? What are some of your tips? Leave them in the comment section! 

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