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Rogue Travel Travel Tips

Top 5 Tips for Attending a Gaming Expo

So you’re attending your first gaming, anime, or entertainment expo, and you’re wondering what you need to know. “What should I pack for E3?” “What should I bring to Anime Expo?” “What will I need to bring to PAX?” No matter which event you plan to attend, the questions are all the same, and luckily, so are the answers.

Whether you’re attending a grassroots fan-festival in your local town, or flying out to a major city to attend one of the most popular gaming or entertainment expos in the world, these are the top 5 tips you need to know to make the most of your time there.

Book Way in Advance

Big expos bring in big tourism bucks, and the surrounding hotels know it. You can expect to see huge spikes in hotel prices when the big entertainment expos come around, so make sure you book as far in advance as you can. Hotels that might otherwise average $150 per night may be charging $400 a night when booking just a week or two out from the event, so make sure you give yourself one to three months — at least — to book. You can find all our travel packages here that include your accommodation, tickets and other exclusive items.

Bring a Portable Battery

Thankfully, the most common issue for expo, conference, and festival attendees has an extremely simple remedy.

While attending a gaming expo, you’re going to spend all day long walking around, taking pictures of booths and stages, capturing videos and snapping pictures with celebrities or cosplayers, texting your friends, and browsing social media while waiting in lines. Unless your phone is brand new, your battery isn’t going to last more than four to six hours, so you’ll want to bring a portable battery with you.

You can find plenty of cheap portable batteries on Amazon, most of which are capable of fully charging your phone, or multiple phones, multiple times in a single day. Grab one with USB-C fast charging capabilities, and you can even keep your Nintendo Switch charged for when you’re stuck in those longer lines!

Stay Hydrated

This sounds like something your mom would tell you, but please don’t disregard what I’m about to tell you. When you’re attending an expo, time slips away from you. Six hours can go by in the blink of an eye, and you’ll be active the entire time.

You’ll spend an entire day walking, climbing stairs, attending panels, shopping, playing demos, waiting for trailer debuts, and meeting people, and when you’re thatbusy, it’s easy to neglect your body. You’re going to be much more active than usual, so you’re going to need more water than usual.

People falling ill due to extreme fatigue and dehydration is common at these types of events, and I can guarantee you that none of them thought that it could possibly happen to them. You don’t think it can happen to you, but it can, and it will. Pack a lot of water, and please drink it.

Look Up the Panels, Use a Map, and Make a Plan

If this is your first expo or fan event, it can be very tempting to “wing it.” You just want to go in, see all of the huge decorations and banners, preview some games or shows, possibly meet a celeb, and have a good time, right? There’s going to be so much to do, so you might as well just walk around and do whatever you want.

The thing is, there’s actually too much to do. Demos and premieres will have long lines that you’ll have to stand in. Popular panels with celebrity or developer guests have limited seating, and people will queue up for hours to get in. Large trailer premieres or exclusive game demos will be hosted in special halls or rooms with limited capacities.

You need to know what is most important to you so that you can plan your time accordingly. What’s your number one, can’t-miss event at the expo? Do you have to attend the panel where Hideo Kojima is talking about his latest game, or the panel where Akira Toriyama discusses his history with Dragon Ball? You need to know where the panels are being held, and when.

Don’t stress though. We’ll provide you with all the information you need so you can tick off all the ‘must do’ boxes.

Pack Light

You need some water and a portable battery for sure, and perhaps a few snacks. Bring your Nintendo Switch if you have to. Otherwise, you’re going to want to pack light for your day at the expo center.

There are two, simple, practical reasons for this. The first is that you’re going to be walking around and standing in lines all day, and your back and your shoulders will hate you if you try to lug around your laptop, camera equipment, books for signing, and other knickknacks. You’re also going to take up an annoying amount of space in lines and packed presentation rooms if you have a bulging pack on your back, so stay comfortable and consider others around you.

The second reason you’ll want to pack light is because you’re going to be doing some shopping. Whether you think you’ll buy merch or not, just trust me, you’re going to walk away with more than what you walked in with. You’re going to see a retro game in pristine packaging for a reasonable price. You’re going to find the perfect t-shirt. You’re going to fall in love with a new board game after its creator gives you a personal demonstration. You’re going to grab some free swag. There’s nothing worse than having to spend six hours carrying around boxes and bags, so leave your backpack nice and open for those spontaneous purchases.

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