I am currently engaged in a heated battle against a condition which is affectionately known as "con crud."
We were lucky; of the four of us who attended Zenkaikon this past Saturday, only I got sick. Con crud is a common affliction following a convention. When you have that many people in an enclosed area, it's only natural that germs are going to be flying. In shortest form, I have a bad cold; that's really all it is.
In light of that fact, I thought I'd devote today's blog post to some convention advice. I attempted this once in the past and was criticized for my tone, but I'm going to be upbeat and cheerful here.
Try to avoid con crud! - This might seem a bit hypocritical, since I followed my own advice and I still got sick, but sometimes it's just unavoidable. Still, you can take steps to try to protect yourself from catching anything at the con. You don't have to wear a surgical mask, although there are certain cosplays for which that would actually work... Anyway, try to up your vitamin intake for a few days in advance, drinking extra orange juice and that kind of thing. At the con, wash your hands often and thoroughly, especially before eating anything or after using the restroom. Carry tissues and use them whenever coughing or sneezing, so that if you already have something you reduce the chance of passing it to someone else.
Wear comfortable shoes! - Even if you're in cosplay, you're going to want comfortable footwear. Cons in general require a lot of walking, and a sturdy pair of shoes will be your best friends. If your shoes aren't the most comfortable, consider bringing a pair of slippers and keeping them in the car to change into as soon as you leave the con, or take off your shoes as soon as you get back to your hotel room.
Stay hydrated! - This will also help you to fight off con crud, so bonus. With so many people in an enclosed space, it's going to get dry fast. Carry a bottle of water whenever possible; most cons, at least in my experience, are cool about that. Many cons will try to provide free drinking water, but it goes fast so don't depend on it. (The coolers at Zenkaikon were empty long before we spotted them.)
Bring cash! - We will probably see less of this as time and technology march on, but for the time being it's still good advice. Many vendors, especially in Artists' Alley, are not equipped to accept credit card payments for their wares. There's usually an ATM near con venues, but depending on your bank you could get slapped with some nasty fees, so it's a better idea to carry cash. Try for smaller bills, so they're easier for vendors to break. This is also a great way to limit your spending at the con, since you will know exactly how much money you have available.
Try not to be shy! - As my photo gallery from the con shows, I met several people who were only too willing to do that. Got your camera? Don't be afraid to walk up to someone in awesome cosplay and ask for a picture. Wearing an awesome cosplay? Don't be surprised when people want to photograph it. Cons are a wonderful place to make friends in your own fandom and others too!
(Having said that, you can be shy and still have an amazing time at the con. My husband does.)