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John Kaiser

Total Geek

Even if Fan Expo Dallas, set for April 6 through 8 at the Dallas Convention Center, won't be your first convention, these "Survival Tips" may still come in handy. If you plan on hitting Fan Expo Dallas as your first, do yourself a favor and check out these nuggets of advice:


The bigger the Con, the more there will be that you and your group will want to take in, especially if you are only going to be able to make it for one of the days. Most conventions like Fan Expo Dallas have a schedule of all events available on their website. Be sure to factor in local places to eat and "waiting in line" time. Make sure your phone is fully charged. If you are going with a group, be sure to come up with meeting points and times should you get separated.

Take advantage of coupons when available. Fan Expo Dallas has three: Military Discounts, Group Discounts and Kid's Free Coupons. All can be found in the Coupons & Discounts section on the Tickets page.


Come to peace with the knowledge that you will be standing in lines. For autographs, picture opportunities, panels, food, and rest rooms, there will be lines to surmount. The bigger the name, the longer the line. You may have to sacrifice one or two other panels you want to see to ensure your place in the big one you really want to attend.


Wear socks and comfortable shoes. You will be on your feet for extended periods of time walking around on concrete floors (usually). While you will get hot, flip flops are a poor choice. Well-strapped sandals are okay, but keep in mind all the feet that will be stepping around your toes. Is it really worth chancing a smashed pinkie toe?


Take a nice soapy shower before hitting the con floor and remember that deodorant is your friend. It is also the friend of those that will be herded around you from time to time each day of the con. With so many bodies giving off heat in a large open space coupled with all the walking - you will get hot and you will sweat. Keep breath mints on hand. You will likely be up close and in the personal space of some of your favorite creators and actors and you don't want them to be talking about your stank breath to the other celebs around the celebrity water cooler.


As I just mentioned, you will be getting hot and sweating. You will need to stay hydrated, so be sure to keep a bottle of water handy at all times. Heat exhaustion is real, and it will take you down. Do not try to go the whole day without eating. Your body will need the fuel to propel you through all those lines. To that end, and as part of the planning, be sure to note where all the rest rooms are.


If you know anyone who has ever been to a convention you have probably heard the term "Con Crud". The crud is real and your chances of catching it can be reduced. Bring and use hand sanitizer liberally. Wash your hands thoroughly after using the rest room. Take some Airborne and keep some Sambucol on you. These immunity boosters could mean the difference between life and "I wish I were dead" sickness once you get home.


While more and more vendors are adopting things like Square to accept credit cards on their tablets and phones, there are still a number of vendors, parking lots and booths that operate with cold hard cash. Also be prepared to spend money in general. While you can enjoy a Con without spending much more than your entrance fee, keep in mind that everything costs money. Autographed pictures of celebs? Those tend to be about $20 or more. Want to be in a picture with them? You might have to sign up for that and pay good money.


Take it all in. Get all the free swag you can get. Admire all the cosplayers. Visit with the artists and writers and actors at all the booths. Embrace all that is geek within you! If you see Danny, Guy, or me there, be sure to stop us and say hello!

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