We’re still ten months away from next year’s convention but it’s never too early to start to make your plans when it comes to attend Auto Assembly 2015. We’re always asked for tips and advice – from regulars and first time attendees – to help them get the most out of the convention weekend – so we thought we’d come up with this bite-sized list to get you all started to make the next year as stress free as possible!
1. Start Saving Now
It’s never too early to start saving up, not just for Auto Assembly but for any convention that you might think about attending. Before you realise it, August will be upon us and you’ll find that you won’t have as much money as you hoped for all those lovely toys or to spend in Swerve’s so what can you do? What we’ve found that always works wonders is to just put a tiny amount – even just a pound – away each day and it builds up very quickly. Set aside a jar, box or anything that you have to hand and watch that fund grow!
At the same time, check your pockets, wallets or purses… we all have small change lying around so why not make it work for you. Put it aside in a jar and every so often count what you have. Grab some money bags from your bank and when you have a full bank, exchange them. Again, if you do this, just putting all your loose coins from 1p up to 50p coins every few days you’d be astonished just how much you could save by August 2015!
This may sound obvious but a lot of people work out how much they have to spend on toys over the weekend and their hotel bill, but forget about food and drink! As many attendees now think of Auto Assembly as their yearly holiday that’s how we suggest you plan your budget for the convention. When you know how much money you have for the weekend, set aside your hotel bill straight away and then try to work out how much you’ll need for food and drink each day (depending on whether you decide to eat in the Hilton’s restaurant or Swerve’s Diner). Anything you have leftover, naturally, is for toys!
We do appreciate that drinks in the Hilton are more expensive than you would pay normally elsewhere but please remember that the Hilton is a four star hotel. Also, drinks in hotels generally (and dedicated convention centres and event venues) are more expensive than they would be in any pub or bar so please try to bear this in mind when working out your pre-con budget!
3. Book Early
We know that we say this every year, but tickets are once again selling faster than ever and although we are relocating to larger halls within the Hilton we still have to be aware of the capacity of these and the comfort of everyone so we don’t have unlimited space. Once you’ve booked your tickets it’s one less thing to think about nearer to the time and it’s also another expense out of the way early on as well so why not give yourselves a payday treat?
4. Book Your Hotel Early!
We say this every year but as soon as you get details through from us about the online booking system for the Hilton, book your hotel room. You don’t have to pay until you check out so there’s no reason why you can’t book sooner rather than later. The Hilton only has 790 rooms and as much as we would like them to, they can’t give them all to us but they can keep extending our block if there is enough demand and until the hotel is full!
5. Artists Sketches
We know that many of you love getting original sketches and art from many of the guests who attend the convention and those artists appearing in our Artists Alley but as always many of them are swamped with requests all weekend but why not guarantee your sketch by pre-ordering them? Many artists will have official threads on the Auto Assembly Forum taking pre-orders from attendees so you’ll be able to beat the queue and have your sketch ready for collection as soon as you arrive at the con!
6. Making New Friends
Travelling to Auto Assembly alone? Why not sign up to the Auto Assembly Forum or one of the many other Transformers forums that are out there and start chatting to other people who are going to be attending the convention. Straight away you’ll have someone that you will know attending the con and be able to meet up with, even if it’s just for a quick chat in the bar over a drink!
Advance booking will always get you the best prices, no matter whether it’s rail, coach or air but shop around if you can as well. A bit of time checking out all of your options is well worth it and could mean a few extra toys going home with you in your luggage! When it comes to train journeys, if you don’t mind a little bit of swapping trains or having pre-determined journey times, you can also make some fantastic savings by opting to buy two advance single tickets rather than a return ticket.
8. Fan Sales Table
The Fan Sales Table will be back and can be a great way for you to sell your unwanted toys and merchandise and we aim to have the forms online by the end of this year for you to download and complete so you can plan what to bring along to sell. However, when you do have items on the table don’t rely on any sales to help pay your hotel bill or to cover your food costs and think of any money you make as a bonus!
9. Be A Tourist!
Why not make a real holiday of your trip to Auto Assembly next year and come up to Birmingham a day or two early or stay a bit longer after the convention. There are plenty of things to see and do in the surrounding area – museums, places of interest, tourist attractions, theme parks… something for everyone! Many people coming along to Auto Assembly talk about the convention being their annual holiday so why not make it just that? Once again we’ll be putting a tourist guide up on the website to help you all find plenty of things to do in and around the area.
10. We’re Here To Help!
Finally, remember that our team is here to help if any of you have any questions about the convention. We can be contacted by email, our forum or through any of our social media outlets – Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr – and one of our team will get back to you to help with your queries about anything to do with the convention as soon as possible. Don’t be afraid to ask us anything, even if you think it may be something people have asked us a hundred times before as we’re here to support all of you!
Most importantly, enjoy the convention when the time comes and we’ll see you all next year!
The Auto Assembly Team
Husband, father and lifelong geek. Originally from the West Midlands, now spending my days in South Wales with my family and a house full of animals. Passionate about video games, especially retro gaming, the Commodore 64 and PlayStation Vita. Love pro wrestling, sci-fi and I’m an animal lover and vegetarian.
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