If you’re an anime fan, then you already well aware of how popular anime is in this modern day era. There’s titles for just about everyone; whether you’re an older fan, or a newbie trying to feel his/her way around the medium. The anime boom of the early 2000’s has given birth to what has now become a staple in the anime community, as well as the otaku lifestyle; anime conventions. These nerd sanctuaries and embassies have brought together fans from all ways of life who have one thing in common; their love and passion for anime.
If you were a 90’s kid (like ourselves), then you remember the days where you didn’t get a full season of a show on two or three DVDs like today. No, you only got two episodes on a VHS tape. Back then anime conventions only had at least 50 or 100 people; with only three or four going to an anime voice actor’s panel. (Not because they were bad, but because access to anime was still in its infancy stage. Basically before Youtube was invented.) It was also a lot cheaper to go to conventions back then, because the badges didn’t cost as much and because there weren’t as many con goers, it was easy to move around and get to the panels you wanted to get to. Try that now in 2018! XP
Now that we’ve given you a brief overview on what anime cons were like back in days of old, we’re going to get into one of the most taxing obstacles any anime fan faces when making the decision to go to an anime convention. There are four things you need to look at if you an your friends plan on attending the many sanctuaries of nerdom; Travel, Lodging, Membership, and your Meal Ticket. No matter what convention you go to (and this goes for other types of conventions), these four things are something that needs to be taken into account before making any plans to go to any convention – no matter how fun or exciting you think it’ll be.
There are over 200 anime conventions all over the U.S. and a few in Hawaii. They only happen on the weekends so you don’t have to worry about them interfering with your work life, or something to that effect. Now that you’ve found a con that you want to go to, how will you get there? Depending on the location of the con, your travel expenses can range anywhere from $40-$400 (if you plan to fly or take a train). Most of us don’t drive, and by most we mean anyone under the age of 16, so that group of anime fans may have to rely on mom and dad to take them to the anime convention they want to go to. If your state has a local anime convention, then your travel expenses are actually going to be much lower. Remember, the farther you travel to get to your con, the more it’ll cost.
Most anime conventions are held at the convention centers they’re based in, while others are held in what are called ‘host hotels’. Again, depending on the location of the convention itself, hotels that are only a few blocks from the event have contractual prices that are much lower than their standard ones. One example would be our Baltimore, MD home anime convention Animore; where the standard prices for a room at the Hyatt Regency are $199/night (plus tax), but the con prices are $119/night (plus tax). It’s hard to say what the true price range would be for staying at a hotel for an anime convention, but if we had to throw a ballpark figure, we’d say $99-$249/night depending on what hotel you’re staying in, and where the convention is located.
Different conventions have different rates for membership badges. Some offer individual day memberships while others are only available for all three days. You won’t have to worry able membership prices being more than hotel or travel expenses, not unless you’re going to a high-end four day convention like Anime Expo or SDCC (where V.I.P. badges can be somewhere in the 200’s, money-wise).
Now this expense is probably the lowest and the cheapest of the four. If you happen to be staying at a hotel near the convention, odds are there are some good eateries in town. If you don’t want to spend any money on any food inside the hotel, there are usually places like Subway, Royal Farms, Taco Bell, and others in the area. (Depending where you are.)
And there you have it! The four things that are a must when planning on attending an anime convention. The fifth thing to also take into account is going shopping in the Dealer’s Room. Some anime conventions do indeed have some good deals on anime merchandise like T-shirts, DVD and Blu-Rays, figures, wall scrolls, and more. If you plan on doing any shopping, just make sure to take some extra cash with you.
Ready for some money saving tips?
Tip #1: Start an Anime Convention Fund!
This is the first step in planning for an anime convention. There are a couple of way that you can do this, but for this tip, we’ll use ourselves as an example. A. Goldman and I use security envelopes when we started our anime con fund, and every payday we put a portion of what we made at work that week into our con fund. How much you want to put away is up to you, but we’ve found that putting away between $150-$200 a month has helped ease most of the financial tension. This brings us to our second tip.
Tip #2: Space Out Your Convention Travels!
Con goers drop an average of anywhere between $500-$850 per convention, depending on which one you go do. Kicking out that much money at a con can take some time to build it back up for the next one, which is actually one of the reasons why we haven’t been able to go to as many conventions as we did last year. Spacing out your cons to about 1 1/2 to 2 months each can give you some time to build up your funds, that way when the dates for your convention comes up, you’ll have the money to burn! 😉
Tip #3: Close Any Financial “Loopholes” or “Leaks”!
Here’s what we mean by this; if you find yourself spending a little more money on a weekly basis on things that you want rather than need, then its time to cut back just a little bit! Downsizing to a small coffee and a sausage biscuit can actually save you a little money in the long run. This also means buying some of your clothes from the Thrift Shop from time to time. Little things like that will help close down some loopholes or leaks in your wallet, so that you’ll have a few dollars to work with for what’s really important.
So, let’s review, shall we?
The Four Things to take into Account when Planning to go to a Con
- Meal Ticket
Tips on Saving Money for a Con
- Start an Anime Convention Fund
- Space Out your Con Travels
- Close any Loopholes or Leaks in your Finances
That’s it for this post guys n’ gals! As long as you keep these things in mind when getting ready for your next convention, you won’t feel the financial strain as much as you did before this post. Share this with anyone you think is having a little trouble saving money, and wants to enjoy going to anime conventions with friends or someone they love.