It’s almost here! The first (hopefully annual) Penny Arcade Expo in our lovely Australia and I thought I’d share some tips and tricks that I’ve learnt from going to conventions (see: one) and things I’ve learnt from others. So let’s start at the beginning, shall we?
Hotels and accommodation:
It’s probably a good idea to call up your hotel/motel/where ever you’re staying and confirm your reservation. Most places do this by email, but it never hurts to double check. Make sure you know where your hotel is! It sounds stupid but you don’t wanna get lost after flying in from where ever and having to haul all your luggage around!
Travel to/from PAX:
Melbourne has an excellent public transport system and for the PAX weekend, they’ll be extra trains and trams running to the Melbourne Showground. You’ll need a MyKi to use the public transport in Melbourne, but they’re available everywhere. For information on extra transport, click here. For information on buying a MyKi, click here.
Melbourne Showground has parking for up to 2,000 cars with the potential for more, but your best bet is to leave the car at home and find an alternative route in or carpool.
What to Wear:
Obviously, the biggest thing about conventions (other than enjoying yourself!) is being comfortable! Unless you’re cosplaying, it can be kind of hard to know what to wear. Melbourne has a reputation to be a city where you’ll experience four seasons in one day. It can also be incredibly cold outside so you’ll want to dress for all occasions.
Shirts: T-shirts are always comfortable and you’re bound to have a few favourite nerdy shirts lying around.
Pants: Jeans will keep you warm while you’re outside but aren’t going to overheat you while you’re inside. Let’s face it, you’re going to be doing lots of different activities (walking, sitting, gaming) and you’re going to need something that moves with your body. If you wanna wear skinny jeans, you might find they’re a little difficult unless they’re a day old or so.
Jumpers/Jackets: This is where things get difficult. A warm jacket is great for when you’re waiting for transport outside or outside the event, but they can be bulky. Try for something that you’re not going to be bothered carrying around with you all day and night. If you can put it in a bag (or tie it), the better. Same with any accessories like scarves and beanies. Any extra bulk is extra weight that you’re going to have with you the whole day.
Shoes: Whatever you know you can walk in for 8+ hours. It varies from person to person.
This is vital. Know where you need to be and when. If you know a panel is going to be popular, I’d suggest lining up a little early to make sure you can get a good seat. The schedule has been up for a while and it’s always worth having a look while you’re at the event to check times. If you search “PAX” in your smartphone’s app store (Android, Windows, iPhone, Blackberry), the guidebook app will appear. Definitely download it!
Edit: As Tehkella mentions in the comments below, foooooood! Keeping yourself fed and watered is going to make sure you’re going to have the energy to get through the day. Make sure you’e got a bottle of water in your bag so you’ve got something to sip other than energy drink and Coke is going to make sure you’re always hydrated. Lunch and snacks are going to be your major issue. While the PAX organisers told Twitter yesterday during a Q&A that there would be cafes’ and other various food stalls (gluten free, too!), there are going to be several hungry tummies. Getting food before the lunch rush or bringing snacks to tide you over while you’re waiting in line to see the next panel might be a good idea.
Other than that! Have fun! That’s what’s important about this event. I hope to see you all there.