Convention Budgeting for Beginners

Published: October 9, 2015 | Updated: July 3, 2020 | Posted by: Carlo Miguel Castañeda | Lifestyle


Convention Event
You’ve probably heard that Paul Bettany was in the country for Asia Pop Comic Con recently. You’ve also seen just how some of the bigger convention centers and mall exhibit halls pack with people during certain months for pop culture conventions, book conventions, or auto shows.

The reality is most convention goers prepare months in advance for every convention. It’s no secret that all that preparation is because going to a convention has a lot of costs.

If this is your first time attending a convention, you’ll have lot of things to consider, especially since most conventions are the best place to get things that normally cost more in shops. So if you’re planning to hit one, here’s a look at things to consider for convention budgeting.

Tickets and travel

Local conventions usually post ticket prices a few weeks in advance of the actual event. Most pop culture conventions last around three days (Friday-Sunday), with the average cost of a day pass between Php 250 to Php 500.

One of the first things you need to decide on is how many days you’re going. Look up the panels, programs, or guests you’re interested in – and which days they happen on. If you plan on bringing a car to the convention, there’s usually parking, but consider the traffic in the area and your gas costs.

Celebrity Meet-Ups

Panel discussions and screenings are usually free, but meet-and-greet, and photo-ops with celebrity guests are usually a cost on top of your passes to the convention. At APCC, the cost for both meeting and a photo with a celebrity guest averaged at Php 3,000.

Other guests also have booths where you can get them to sign merchandise, or purchase their merchandise. For example, art prints cost anywhere between Php 600 to Php 2,000 depending on the size.

Convention Swag

A whole slew of activities in a convention can get you freebies. Participation can range anywhere from sharing your memory about a certain show to simply attending a panel.

Other than that, you can find a lot of merchandise on discount at conventions. Books and graphic novels, for example, are often available at a 5% to 20% discount. Some apparel brands also have freebies (such as a photo in a giant suit of armor) that come with the purchase of a shirt.

Incidentals

Walking around and geeking out at everything will tire you out. Most convention spaces don’t allow food and drink within the venue, which means these are outside the space.

The most important thing con-goers will want is water. When you’re walking around under those halogen lamps all day, you’ll definitely want to hydrate. These conventions are also a space for food trucks and other stalls you may see at places like Mercato, so expect to spend anywhere between Php 130 to Php 300 on food and drink.

Overall

If you’re planning on doing the full rounds of the convention, here’s what you can expect to spend:

ExpenseBreakdownAverage Cost
Tickets
1-Day PassPhp 300
Event Activities
Photo Op (1 Celebrity)Php 1,407
Meet and Greet (1 Celebrity)Php 1,759
Event Swag
2 Art PrintsPhp 550
1 Graphic Novel (discounted)Php 1,250
1 ShirtPhp 420
Incidentals
FoodPhp 200
DrinksPhp 100
Parking (8 hours)Php 120
GasPhp 300
TotalPhp 6,406

As you can see, going to a convention can be expensive. This is the average if you plan on going nuts at a convention, but you can cut costs in certain places as needed:

  • Pre-con/early bird tickets are sometimes sold, and at a discounted price – particularly if you get multi-day passes.
  • Guests are announced a few weeks in advance, so you can always plan around which day you want to go.
  • If you’ve got friends who’re going, carpool instead.
  • Pack light snacks and drinks that you can stow in your bag to cut costs on food and drink.

You may be paying a premium for the experience, but it’s highly doubtful that you’d ever forget it. And if you plan ahead and make room in your budget, it won’t have to hurt your wallet.