Getting through conventions without a hitch!

Summertime is often associated with the height of convention season.  However, we’re in an era of such fandom that conventions now happen all year round.  Boston area conventioneers go to tons of events, including: SnowCon, Arisia, CaptainCon, ConnectiCon, Anime Boston, TotalCon, PAX East, PAX Unplugged, OGC, GenCon, Neon, Council of Five Nations, and Carnage on the Mountain. With so many options available, we feel that it’s best to be prepared!  Metro Boston has your back with these tips to help keep you happy and safe with a few common sense precautions.

It’s horrifying to lose your ID and credit cards when you’re 3,000 miles from home.  But it happens. Bring the minimum documentation you need to get by. If you’re flying, bring your government issued ID, but you can probably leave other documents at home.  If you’re going overseas, bring your passport and only those documents that you’ll need.

Most financial institutions have easy apps you can use to indicate your travel plans.  (It was a happy surprise the first time our card was declined at an out-if-state convention.  We had forgotten to inform the card company, and they were on the lookout for unusual activity–as they should be.)  You can avoid extra hassle by taking a couple of minutes to set your travel dates and locations where atypical transactions will be made.

If you don’t have someone you trust keeping a sharp eye on your home, maybe you can wait to post your awesome photos on social media until after you’re back.  No need to let everyone know your stuff is ripe for the picking.

Have a plan for what you want to do at the convention.  It can be as general or as detailed as you feel comfortable with.  It can help keep you on track and on budget, too! Realize that sometimes plans go awry. Try to go with the flow if things fall through.  If you have the time and energy, you can try to set a backup in case anything you wanted to do is unexpectedly unavailable–for example: if a panel was accidentally oversold or a fire alarm interrupts a tournament game.

Try not to get so absorbed by everything that you forget your personal safety.  Sadly, incidents are on the rise–bomb threats, harassment, attendees being attacked and more. Everyone owns their own safety and should never give that power away. If you witness something inappropriate, or if it happens to you, the subsequent procedure should be:

  1. Get to a safe place
  2. Inform someone

That’s it.

Sure, there are other nice-to-have suggestions (take notes, take photos, find witnesses, etc).  However, in the moment, you might be too frazzled, confused, or frozen to act–and that’s OK.

Your first responsibility is to yourself: get to safety.  Once you’re safe, you can take a moment. Breathe. Know that you are valued, and that someone will believe you.

Next, even if you wonder “what just happened?” find someone you trust. Let them know what seemed wrong.  Now more than ever, if you see something that’s not right, it’s important to say something. And remember: criminal activity falls under the purview of law enforcement.  Dial 911 when you need to.

Do you have any other tips for going to conventions?  Please share them!


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