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Is Bigger Better?

Small Cons vs. Large Cons

When it comes to choosing anime conventions to attend, new fans might often go to the biggest convention they can, without looking closely at some smaller conventions. Here's a comparison of the benefits of each kind of convention.

Most smaller conventions have lower registration prices, which can be obvious. But, looking more closely, there are many other costs that are neglected. Most larger conventions are held in large convention centers connected to high-class convention hotels. Comparatively, a stay at a Hyatt Regency (large con) might cost over $139 a night, while a stay at an independent chain could be as low as $89 a night. Divided four ways, that's a savings of $30+ dollars per person after taxes. And because there are more smaller conventions, the smaller convention will likely costs a lot less to travel to.

Guests are the next major difference between large and small conventions. At a larger convention, you are competing with more fans for the same autographs. And if you want a picture, you're going to be out of luck when there are a thousand people waiting behind you. Compare that to a smaller convention, and you are much more likely to be able to have a chat with the guest you wish to see, get your picture with them, and have all your stuff signed.

You can also be much more likely to make new friends at a smaller event. In a large convention, imagine yourself sitting next to someone in a panel and you strike up a conversation. Odds are, you won't see them for the rest of the con. At a smaller con, you are bound to run into them and build lasting friendships.

Big cons naturally win in the variety of activities. The cosplay contests will be bigger, there will be more panels, more contests, and more events in total. Be careful, however, as it's also more likely that you won't get into all the events you want, at least not without a long wait in line.

And that leads to the final important difference: lines. A convention with 6,000 attendees is going to have longer lines no matter what in comparison with a 3,000 person event - because at some point there will be a big event that just about everyone wants to go to. While there may be more events to choose from, you might not be able to attend as many if you have to get a good spot in line.

For the small cons: Lower cost, less wait in lines, more time with guests, better chance of seeing all the events you want.

For the big cons: More variety, more guests of honor, bigger events.

Keep in mind a lot of conventions fall in a "medium con" size. These ideas still apply, a medium con will likely cost less than a huge convention, and a huge convention will likely have more guests than a medium con. Just make sure to keep these ideas in mind, and always look for conventions near you.