Taking kids to a comic book convention is a fantastic way to share what you love with the next generation. But it can also be a stressful, expensive weekend if you don't know what you're doing. If this is your first time attending a convention with your whole family, here are 5 tips for saving money and your sanity.
Rent a Haven. If you're going to the convention more than one day -- and it can be impossible to see and do what you want in only one day -- spend the extra money to get a hotel room nearby. But don't feel limited to the (often expensive) convention hotels based around the venue. By looking just a little further afield, you can almost always find a nice hotel for less money. Then, upgrade to a family suite so that you and the kids can unwind separately after spending the day in a crowded and overstimulating convention.
Don't Overstay. There's a lot to do at a comic convention, but you may want to break it up into two or three smaller days rather than only pay for one long day. Small kids aren't likely to last all day, and your family's enjoyment and mood may deteriorate as they get tired. Arrive after the doors are already opened to avoid long lines, then feel free to leave to take naps, have lunch outside, or just get some sun. You can always come back for something fun after a little rest or a dip in the pool.
Take Snacks. Convention food is generally overpriced, underwhelming, unhealthy and the subject of long lines. Avoid all these problems by packing some of your kids' favorite snacks to dole out through the day. And be sure to carry sufficient water for everyone, since conventions can be warm and humid inside. There are usually plenty of water fountains where you can refill.
Set a Budget. A comic convention is filled with ways to separate you from your money -- especially when you have excited kids trailing along. Counter the tendency to spend a lot by limiting yourself to cash only. Or give all the family members a budget for buying things, then stick to it. There are often plenty of fun things to do and see with kids for free, so try to focus on those instead of purchases.
Costume. One of the best -- and cheapest -- ways to give your child a great convention experience is to encourage them to dress in a costume. It doesn't need to be extravagant, and you can find a lot of DIY costuming tips on the internet (such as these simple Thor and Captain America costumes). Taking lots of pictures with others in costume is something your child (and you) will love and remember a lot more than a cheap souvenir or churros.
Spending time with your kids at a comic convention can be the highlight of a parent's year. And by following these simple tips, you can do it without losing your cool or your money.