For my first ever international convention and independent holiday, I decided to spend a few days away in the US at Atlanta, Georgia. Me and a good friend of mine, chose this destination mainly for Dragon Con, as it was the con’s 30th anniversary and we had an amazing time there. Money was tight, and the tourist attractions were great, plus the people were also quite friendly, but the food and drink portions were huge! It was such a fab vacation away and to compare conventions in the US to what we have here just doesn’t come close! I suppose there was one annoying thing with some people, as I had witnessed select amounts of people taking photos without asking for permission. It is a bit rude if I’m honest, but aside from that, the general people of Atlanta and the people who attended Dragon Con were lovely, if we got lost, we could always ask people for help. Whenever we went to a restaurant for food, they would always ask if we were getting on alright with our food. Queues might’ve stated a wait time of 45 minutes but in reality we probably waited for a duration of 15 – 20 minutes to be seated which is pretty quick compared to how queues are in the UK! In terms of photography opportunities, if you don’t use flash – you’re pretty buggered, it’s not like at MCM where you can easily take photos outsides or around the exhibition halls, at Dragon Con, you just physically can’t, there were too many people roaming around within the venues and there was just as many people outside so the best way to take photographs would be to use flash photography indoors, rely on sky light on the rooftop or balcony, or even just try and shoot somewhere off site which can be pretty inconvenient if you don’t have lots of time. On a different note we had a chance to visit the local Georgia Aquarium and we had a great time there seeing all the sea life including whales, otters, fish – of so many different variations – sea horses, crabs etc. We also heard it was the biggest aquarium in the US, with that in mind, it was definitely worth the price of $40. From my first holiday I learnt a few things – always take more cash with you because card charges are ridiculous or at least take a pre-paid card with you, take the MARTA if you can help it or just walk, because, when we got to the hotel, they told us we could’ve paid $2 for the train from the airport to the hotel, rather than paying $35 for the cab! Having a map is always handy to help you get around the city. If you need access to the Internet, don’t always rely on Wi-Fi as it’s not always strong or reliable, it’s best to either get a US sim or have a sim from the UK that has ‘roaming’ data on it. This can usually be added onto your data plan for a few more pounds, then cancelled again when you return. Final few things are, always remember to carry water with you because, as it’s so hot there in the summer, it’s always best to try and stay hydrated. One final thing I recall which is that, if you aren’t taking a big backpack with you every single day then you should have a messenger bag or a ‘man bag’ as I was advised after losing my phone, heh, but also, try to remember to file a report with the police if you ever lose any of your electronics otherwise the insurance won’t pay out.
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