So, you want to go to a big con? Maybe see a new city, meet some celebrities that don't visit the tiny cons? Then you go to buy tickets, only to find out that they’ve been sold out for ages. It’s heartbreaking, and means waiting another full year before the opportunity comes around again.
Make sure you stay on top of your dates! Many cons will sell out long before the opening day, and a few will require you to buy tickets 6-10 months in advance! Sounds crazy, right? Back in 2013, I was lucky enough to score tickets to San Diego ComicCon only because three of my friends were prepped, finger on the button when the sales opened in January. Even then, only one of us made it through to the purchase screen for the rest of us. It’s a daunting thought, but patience and knowing when the sale happens is key.
Don’t forget about hotels too! Many hotels surrounding con venues will fill up even before tickets go on sale, especially in the case of SDCC and Dragon*Con. Tickets aren’t quite so useful if you have nowhere to stay when you arrive, and they tend to frown on sleeping in convention center hallways… The best option is to reserve a hotel with the option to cancel up to a few days beforehand. It ensures you’re covered without risking a ton of money on a room you can’t use.
Most cons will post their dates on their websites, so check back frequently! Many cons will also offer emailed updates on new guests and other admin related items! And if all else fails, check with others in your network (PSA throwback!) to find friends to plan buying tickets/hotels as a group and better your chances.