There are plenty of ongoing, online conversations questioning whether or not you should attend a convention alone. Should You Go Alone? We say YES! Go and enjoy yourself. There is no denying there is safety in numbers, but there is nothing wrong with going to a convention alone. You should absolutely talk to strangers! Have fun! Make some new friends!
First of all, remember: If this is a “road trip” for you, know that your vehicle will make it there (and back). You know how we always say to break in your shoes before coming to con? You should also give your car, cat-bus, hovercraft, or Go-Go-Gadget copter the once-over about a week before the convention. Keep a break-down plan that doesn’t require you to have a charged phone battery.
But when you get there? You’re at con! Your job is to have fun, enjoy yourself, make new friends, and tell everyone you know about how awesome the con is. Generally speaking, conventions are very safe environments. They’re usually indoors, self-contained, with plenty of friendly staff and helpful folks.
If you’re part of a group but choose to split off and do your own thing, it does make some sense to have regular check-ins scheduled with your group. Maybe it’s a simple phone call. Maybe it’s an agreement to check in at midnight or something. But for safety’s sake, this small measure remains a good idea.
Similarly, if you’ve come to the con solo, it makes some sense to have a periodic check-in with someone back home. A family member or a friend. You don’t like your family and you have no friends? Okay, how about a neighbor? Your neighbors are jerks? Alright then, a co-worker. You don’t work? Then how about your third grade math teacher?
Seriously, there’s an app for that.
At the con, a little situational awareness certainly helps. This can be hard at conventions, because as the Cheshire Cat once said, “We’re all a little bit mad here.” Each Fandom has its own quirks, so how do you know who is trouble? Trust your instincts. Exercise the same caution that you would if you were out at a bar. If a situation doesn’t feel right to you, politely excuse yourself and get to a safer place. Know how to recognize con staffers and where to get help. The UsagiMed station is always a “safe space” for everyone.