The official Star Trek convention in Las Vegas is less than two weeks away, and as someone who has attended the convention four times now (!), I thought I’d share some hints and tips I’ve learned over the years.
(A lot of these hints are applicable to ANY convention or conference, so keep them in mind the next time you attend one)
And I don’t mean with beer, wine or hard liquor. Rio, the convention hotel, will be VERY air conditioned (some areas are actually downright COLD) and that is very deceptive. The convention area is VERY far away from the hotel towers, and you will be doing a lot of walking. If you go outside, the dry heat of Vegas will suck all the moisture out of you. Trust me, if you don’t want to have the equivalent of The Hangover, even if you don’t imbibe… drink lots of water.
Bring your own coffee and snacks
Every morning of the con last year I always saw a line of people trying to get a Starbucks coffee. It wasn’t because they were addicted to Starbucks… it was because the K cups in the hotel room cost money! So don’t pay the $8 for 3 k-cups or Starbucks “tax” – pack your own. And also, pack snacks. Granola, jerky, raisins… all good for you. Well, at least better than some of the food that they serve at the convention.
Take extra cash, but try not to spend it
If you run out of cash, where will you go? The dreaded ATM, which will charge you $5 to get your money. Yes, I know it’s “only” $5, but why spend that on a an ATM fee when that can go towards a tasty beverage?
Don’t buy anything in the dealer’s room
Yes, I am telling you to not spend any money on any Star Trek collectible, toy, nick-knack, or item of clothing at the convention. Why? For a couple of reasons. First, the dealers will be marking up their stuff to pay for their expenses (and that includes Creation, the people who put on the con) and you will be paying a premium for stuff that is actually not worth that much.
Just look at this ebay auction link - lots of stuff for dirt-cheap prices. The bottom has really dropped out of the Star Trek collectibles market… There’s just SO MUCH STUFF, and not a lot of buyers. I personally have bought about $100 worth of Trek items to give as gifts to friends at the convention, and I dare say if I had bought the same items there it would have been three or four times more than what I paid. Second, if you buy a lot of stuff at the con then you will have to lug it all home, and that’s gonna be a challenge if you didn’t pack light.
Go to the Star Trek Continues Premiere
Trek Movie has set up the theatrical premiere of the third episode of the fan series Star Trek Continues at a local theatre, and you don’t even have to pay to attend! It’s a great way to enjoy this loving recreation of the original series with fellow fans. Also there will be a Q&A with some of the cast afterwards. Details here.
Avoid the Creation auctions
For the same way I recommend you don’t buy anything in the dealer’s room, I’d avoid the Creation auction. Each day of the con Creation sells autographs, collectibles, and other merchandise. Because it is an auction, you may get “whipped up” to bid on something you can’t afford… I know I did. Twice, over the past two years. So, take by advice… skip it, unless you have a LOT of disposable income or willpower.
Get a good mirror
Trek fans, I love ya… But before you try on that original series outfit, buy a mirror. A good one. I’m all for people being free to express themselves, and I know many fans are “body conscious” in lots of unhealthy ways… but what you wear at the Trek con will be photographed and posted online, for, like… EVER. Wear something that is flattering and “fits” your body shape in an appropriate way.
Buy a day pass
Yes, you can buy those (very expensive) Gold or Silver or Captain’s packages, but why? You get access to some events that other people don’t, but most of the benefits of the convention are available anyone who pays for a one-day pass. I especially recommend that if you are only going to be there for a couple of days.
Don’t miss Harlan Ellison or Simon Pegg!
Creation has snagged two people who seldom attend any conventions, nonetheless a Star Trek one: Noted author Harlan Ellison and actor Simon Pegg. Pegg made some press last year when he told fans who didn’t like the new Trek film to “F%$@ off”, and Harlan Ellison… well, he’s Harlan Ellison. He once said that “Star Trek can turn your brains to puree of bat guano”. Can’t wait to see what both of them have to say to Trek fans…
And go see Penn & Teller!
Penn and Teller has a permanent theater at the Rio, and they put on a great show. If you are there Saturday or Sunday, checdk them out. You can get tickets here.
Check Out Unkhan!
If you can attaned, you can drop by and check out Unkhan! It’s an “unconvention” that my friends and I are throwing, but mostly it’s an excuse to get together and have fun. More details here.