TrekMovie Guide to Star Trek Las Vegas Con 2013: Tips and Tricks for the Best Con Experience

Star Trek Las Vegas is coming up fast! Do you remember your first Star Trek Convention? If you were like me (a convention newbie in 2011), for your first convention you wanted just three things: to see everything, do everything and know everything. In an attempt to be the most prepared as possible for my first convention, I searched the Internet for any advice or tips I could find for Trek convention-goers. Some of you may remember asking the same questions: Do I need to wear a Starfleet uniform? Do I need to dress up as a Klingon? Do I need to learn the Klingon language? Do I need to eat gagh, drink blood wine and participate in mating rituals? (Okay, maybe not the last one.) Well, this blog post is NOT an attempt to answer those questions, but I can offer a few tips to those who are new to the convention. And these tips may be useful to those of you who are ‘con veterans’ but are new to next week’s event, which runs August 8-11.

At the Rio Las Vegas Resort & Casino:

Sign up for a Total Rewards card. Even if you don’t plan to gamble, it’s worth the five minutes it takes to apply online. Have your card number handy when you check in to your Rio suite and you can start earning reward points immediately. Show your card everywhere. Not only can you continue to earn points for comps and deals for future visits to any Caesar’s Entertainment resort, but you’ll immediately reap benefits with shopping and dining discounts while at the Rio. Look for the reduced Total Rewards prices on Rio restaurant menus. Read the FAQs and fine print and shop through Total Rewards retail partners throughout the year — inactivity will cause your points to expire in six months.

Make advance dinner reservations. Why wait in long restaurant lines with a bunch of overpowering Jem’Hadar? Advance dinner booking may work best if you’re confident you’ll be dining on a particular day and time. For example, if you’re already planning a meetup with your fellow Ferengi for a 7 p.m. Friday night dinner at the All-American Bar & Grille, know you can make that reservation online and not wait for a table. (Not available at all Rio eateries.)

Enjoy the resort and the city. Gamble, shop, eat, drink, go to shows — do all that Vegas-type stuff. Get to know what’s playing and who’s performing, whether it’s part of the convention or not. Relax at the pool. Check out the VooDoo Lounge. Pamper yourself with a spa treatment. Explore one of the new casinos. Smart con-goers pad their stay with a day or two before or after the convention for this purpose. (Also see “10 reasons to stay at the Rio.”)

Ask for a map. Especially if you’re new to the Rio, a small map or smartphone image helps immensely. There’s nothing more humbling (or embarrassing if you’re not alone) than walking for half an hour down the wrong hallway… of the wrong floor… of the Ipanema Tower. Only you suddenly realize your room is in the Masquerade Tower! You could ask for one at check-in or find some handy maps and property info on Caesars’ properties website.

At the Convention:

Pack some snacks. Speaking of long walks, it’s a fair jaunt out from the room towers to the convention wing. Now I (almost) understand why so many ‘non-disabled’ people use those mobility scooters! At my first two conventions, I found it helpful to pack some granola or protein bars to nibble on between panel sessions. I hope again this year a deli-type food concession may be set up adjacent to the registration rotunda for light breakfast and lunch. You may want to bring along a plastic water bottle to fill up at one of the many water stations.

On a related note: Wear comfortable shoes. Standing, walking, waiting: you’ll need them. Even if you need special footwear to complete a costume or to comply with strict Starfleet (or Guinness World Record) uniform regulations, you’ll eventually want to slip into a pair of flip-flops or sneakers.

Don’t forget the batteries and chargers — for the laptops, tablets, cameras, phones, phasers, tricorders or portable transporter devices. I like my Mophie Juice Pack for iPhone – it gives me almost an extra day of usage, while on my cell service network. The alternative is paying $13.95 per day wireless internet access in the room or $22.95 per day for access throughout the resort. Of course for some, like those who require WiFi, those extra fees may not seem like a such a bad deal.

Take your time in the dealers room. You may want to plan your tour around the dealers room. For example, you might compare the dealers room to the galaxy: Divide it into quadrants and get ready to explore… or assimilate. Back in 2011, I had the temptation to run around and see every vendor and celebrity in the first hour of the first day. Now I take my time: talking to the vendors, enjoying the parade of fans, chatting with the celebrities, shopping for souvenirs and collectibles — posters, shirts, jewelry, accessories and props.

Take advantage of websites and social media. Regularly check Twitter using the hashtag #STLV. This is a great way to stay in the loop with all the impromptu meetups, breaking convention announcements or last-minute schedule changes. Keep track your convention activities with Bloodhound, a smartphone app developed for business conferences. With Bloodhound, you can customize your own schedule of events, view maps, connect with other attendees, and link to Twitter and Facebook.

Help set a new Guinness World Record for most Star Trek costumes in location. After my last blog post about the record attempt, I found a webpage outlining the costume regulations. It’s from a Texas Lottery promotion’s attempt from earlier this year. Please set your alerts and alarms to be there. Hopefully the powers that schedule events this year won’t put competing sessions during the half hour or so it takes to complete the World Record attempt.

And last, but probably the most unnecessary tip: Have fun! I say “unnecessary” because at my first two conventions, I was so amazed and impressed! Star Trek fans are the best! They’re the most friendly, patient, courteous, helpful, fun-loving, tolerant convention attendees! Where else can you find several thousand people with different backgrounds, ages, nationalities (or from different planets?) with one common bond? If the Star Trek community is like a big family, then think of the convention like a big family… on vacation!

Think back to your first convention: what tips can you suggest? Your suggestions are welcome! Let’s make this Star Trek Las Vegas the best ever!

This article is cross-posted on Nancy Garrett’s blog AZGetawayTravel. For more travel tips and tricks like this, head over to AZGetawayTravel.com!


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Adam
July 31, 2013 3:31 am

looks like fun, but I can’t go. Everyone who is, enjoy!

Hat Rick
July 31, 2013 3:59 am

These are great tips and hints.

If you sign up for the Rio loyalty card, be prepared to receive emails from them, if it’s anything like any other loyalty card for a Vegas casino and hotel.

SirMartman
July 31, 2013 4:16 am

Wish they had these in New Zealand !

July 31, 2013 4:22 am

Or in Australia. I wouldn’t call Americans friendly as I had a bloody nose on the Sunday of the convention and no one cared to stop or offer me help while I was going back to the room. No one asked if I needed a doctor or anything. Do hotels have medical staff or don’t they care about sick people at all.

Only downside of the convention experience so far. The reason I need to go again.

medicalwise
July 31, 2013 4:32 am

Can’t wait it’s our 2nd Vegas con. :) FUN!

LULZ
July 31, 2013 5:15 am

Smaug stirs!

*hides*

Admiral Stedman
July 31, 2013 6:12 am

Planning to attend in 2016. Like everyone else I would imagine.
Have fun everyone!

Hat Rick
July 31, 2013 6:28 am

Captain Spirk, I hope that incident is an isolated one. There is a certain kind of alienation (no pun intended) that has occurred in American society over the last several decades. This is a serious subject, not a parody, and not fun to talk about. I am quite unhappy about the lack of concern for others that we see all over this country. Please do not blame Star Trek fans or the hotel staff; this apathy seems universal. (I’m not excusing anyone, however, for not offering help.)

Honestly, civility and helpfulness toward others has been on a major decline and the causes are plentiful. Some of it is encouraged by the culture of self-regard; some of it is caused by fear of others. This is real, and it’s prevalent, and it’s depressing to those of us who, in the past, have thought of the future as a better place, because in many ways, it’s not. (Commenters here may speculate that maybe it’s because they thought it was part of your “thing,” or costume, or whatever. That’s only plausible if you were dressed up in costume.) At any rate, the bigger that America has grown, the less important the needs of the individual seem to be, and that’s quite sad.

That said, Star Trek fans are still some of the best and most caring people in the world, despite it all.

Yanks
July 31, 2013 6:49 am

My first was in 2010.

Wonderfull experience!

If at all possible, hook up with someone that attends conventions regularly or as in my case I was fortunate enough to have met up with someone that has worked conventions before.

My experience wouldn’t have been the same without that “knowledge”.

My input?

Hit the breakfast bar hard in the morning before the events start and skip lunch. Have a nice dinner somewhere after the day’s events are over.

Don’t put off doing something because of the “price” if you can. I screwed the pooch and didn’t get my picture taken with Jeri Ryan and have been kicking myself in the butt ever since.

Costumes in the vendors areas aren’t cheap. So if you can get one before you go ….

For all attending, ENJOY!!!

TUP
July 31, 2013 7:54 am

Never been to this (missed it by a day when I went to Vegas for the first time in 2008).

Does anyone know of online info concerning 2014? I’d seriously consider planning my Vegas trip around this.

And the Rio is awesome.

jas_montreal
July 31, 2013 8:30 am

I will go there next year hopefully :)

TUP
July 31, 2013 8:35 am

@11 Do you know details for next year? I wasnt able to find any info from a cursory check online (searches bring up 2013 info and I didnt dig too deeply).

Must be some Convention experts on here!

TP
July 31, 2013 10:57 am

I was searching for deals for food/clubs on groupon, livingsocial, etc. and found half off for general admission: http://www.groupon.com/deals/creation-entertainment?utm_campaign=UserReferral_dp&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=uu377205

Looks like this deal is best for general admission and last minute travelers like me. You don’t get preferred seating like for the gold packages. Still, after going to Comic-Con I could save a few dollars!

TP
July 31, 2013 10:58 am

Also, if you want free club admission edrinkit currently has passes to Tao, Lavos, and the Bellagio Club.

K-7
July 31, 2013 11:11 am

Tip 27

What to do if you end up with a dead hoooker in your room.

(just kidding….LOL)

bmar
July 31, 2013 12:15 pm

@15 – Just disintegrate with phaser.

Marja, a con-goer of old
July 31, 2013 1:15 pm
These tips are great – for the moneyed classes – but if you’re going to Vegas Creation con I hope you have saved your credits. The best fun is to be had at fan-run conventions, but the celebrities at those cons are often few & far between. That’s the lure of Creation – they cost a lot, but if celebrities and not fellow fen are your thing, Creation is the place. If you’re a collector, want pics with the celebrities, and hope to dine well, save up at least $1,000.00, I am not kidding. Cons cost money, and lots of it. Back in the early 90s, after I did the calculations for a year of con-going, I discovered I had spent $3,000 [keep in mind that’s in dollars of that era] for about six LOCAL conventions. I was buying print media for the most part. Collectors’ items/toys cost a lot more. Chat with vendors, but try not to monopolize their time if you’re not buying. They try to be tolerant, but the price they have to pay for vendor space at Creation Cons is *considerable.* They need to make that up in sales to get a profit. If you’re in the middle of a really good chat, stand aside when someone comes to buy. Be attentive to the needs of other con-goers. Allow the handicapped ahead of you in line at the vendors’, and those with fussy babies and toddlers. And for god’s sake if you see someone who looks… Read more »
Xplodin_Nacelle
July 31, 2013 1:28 pm

I hope to make it to Vegas-con someday – looks cool!!!

T'Cal
July 31, 2013 1:29 pm

Hope to attend in 2016!

TP
July 31, 2013 1:29 pm

What sorts of night events happen at the Rio at the end of the convention day? Unfortunately I don’t have a gold pass so I won’t have access to the exclusive parties!

Jaddldmad
July 31, 2013 1:41 pm

I used to go to Shore Leave convention during the early-mid 90’s and learned to check hobby store/toy stores on collector items. I found a Captain Kirk figure in the clearance section at a toy store for $9.99 and a sealer was selling them for $50. With the internet now-a-days, things are easier but be careful and have fun!

TUP
July 31, 2013 2:05 pm
@20 – When I was in Vegas in 2011, we went to the Rio t have dinner at the Voodoo Lounge. it was great. Restaurant with outdoor patio lounge/bar on the 51st floor. You can see the entire strip. The casino was cool. They have a “show in the sky” which is essentially floats that are on tracks on the cieling and they move around the casino with men and women dressed up throwing things out. They had a bartender show as well and a big song and dance number on a stage that rose out of the casino floor. It was likely the best free show’y type experience I had at the casinos and it made me want to stay at the Rio next time I am in Vegas. Rio is off the strip but only a couple blocks. Bus runs there from the strip (or rent a car). All their rooms are suites. As much fun as Rio was, I can only imagine how great it is packed with Trekkies/ers And remember, Vegas in August might be 40+ degrees C, but its a dry heat ;-) And for the person who hates everything about Vegas, dont knock it til you try out. I had zero interest in Vegas until my buddy made me go and I am now hooked. It is whatever you want it to be – guys weekend getting sloshed, gambling and picking up women? Sure. Romantic weekend for a couple? Yup. Easy going fun time… Read more »
July 31, 2013 3:39 pm

Bring some business cards (even homemade on your computer) to trade email addresses or Facebook information with people you meet.

Strike up conversations with people you meet while standing in line.

If you see someone in costume that you like to photograph or pose with, don’t hesitate to ask– most will be happy to pose with or for you.

July 31, 2013 4:02 pm

This will be the first year that I’m going. Should be fun.

tony
July 31, 2013 4:14 pm

plan to spend some cash lots of it and look at the schedule/ program as soon as it comes out I bought a bunch of pics w stars and autographs and almost didn’t get them all because of the schedule that was my 1st time this is my 5th in vegas

Helpful American
July 31, 2013 6:37 pm

@4… Seriously. You think we are not friendly because no one stopped to help with a bloody nose? You go to the bathroom and lean forward for a few seconds and your done… It’s no medical emergency that requires O’Brien to beam you directly to sick bay… Maybe people thought you were part of the show…

I mean its not like you fell down an escalator or made a scene that would get you noticed… With all the hustle and bustle of the star struck fans I’m sure you just got overlooked…

And lastly… I am sure if you asked for help someone would have… But really, it’s a bloody nose so whats a stranger supposed to do? Hold your hand while you sit their with a Kleenex in your nose?

Marja, not a Vegas fan
July 31, 2013 6:58 pm

22 TUP, I have been there, for a wedding in 1992 or thereabouts. We were at the Flamingo, and even then, when I was on active duty and making fair $$, I couldn’t afford half the amenities.

Oh, and the water show at Treasure Island made tremendous noise, even thru my hotel window …

I think a lot of it is my aversion to the desert in general and the high use of water in what is supposed to be an arid landscape … shoot me I’m an environmentalist ; ) … going there when Northern California was in a drought just seemed wrong.

Yeah, I’m kind of a fuddy-duddy : p

Lt Bailey
July 31, 2013 7:14 pm
That is a good tip about the TOTAL REWARDS card. It does help a lot to use it when you gamble but if you don’t gamble, it still works for you to use it in what ever you purchase in any of the Rio Restaurants and shops for anything you buy, as you get points. Gambling is the biggest point gaining you can do, my wife and I spend about an hour each morning before the CON opens. When you get enough points, you get free meals. Using the card at any of the bars to get free drinks is good too but you do have to play the bar’s video poker machine and put in at least $20.00 but if you are against gambling or want to use that $20.00 to buy something in the dealer room, then be prepared to spend $10 to $18.00+ for a drink at any bar. Even a beer will set you back at least $7.00 a glass/bottle at the bar. Best secret is to buy the cheaper beers for sale in the hotel sundry/gift shop in the Masquerade area. They sell for $3.00 there we found out from our friends who live in Vegas. Bad news about the Show in the Sky, its closed down and all gone as of a report from our friend when we were in town last month for visit. But the bar area there is very lively at night, that is where our Starfleet crew seems to wind… Read more »
Rocketeer77
July 31, 2013 8:14 pm

I love conventions, but I will never give my money to the (biting my tounge to) people who run creation events.

there are far better fan run conventions out there that don’t just look at you like a walking pocket book.

Bernie Meinhart
August 1, 2013 6:06 am

Havent been to a Vegas con since 1994,, Wife and I will see you there!!!

Niall
August 1, 2013 6:09 am

Creation being such a large convention, it’s very easy to get stressed. A reason I’m hesitant to go to ComicCon anymore is because it’s so damn crowded. Best advice I can give is to pore through the convention guide with a few highlighter pens and mark events as a must see; would be nice; and like to do but won’t be the end of the world if I miss.

The Creation Con i small enough that it is by no means overwhelming, yet large enough that you can find what you want all the time. If in the evenings you’re itching for something to do and save a few $$, don’t be afraid to network with groups of fellow Trekkies at bars, the casino floor etc. Granted, they’ll either be receptive or they won’t, but at the end of the day, you never know who’ll be throwing a party in their rooms!!

Last piece of advice is to try and stay the Sunday night, and leave Lunchtime Monday at the earliest. Allow yourself time to decompress and see life getting back to normal so it’ll be easier for you too. Sounds daft I know, but trust me. It helps!!!

Yanks
August 1, 2013 9:47 am

@ 17. Marja, a con-goer of old – July 31, 2013

Good advice, sounds like you may have had some run-ins with less desirable folks. Sorry to hear that.

I didn’t meet one person I didn’t enjoy talking with, even if it was just for a couple minutes. It was the most diverse nicest bunch of folks I’ve ever been around for 4 days.

And the lines…. I was pleasantly surprised at how fast the lines went. For example, I was in line for the Shatner/Nimoy photo… there were no less that 300 folks in line ahead of me. I was don’t inside 40 minutes. I don’t think it could have been organized better.

Break….

This is REALLY important for those that purchase Gold or Captain’s Chair or whatever “package” they’ve come up with now.

You HAVE to plan your day out around what you’ve paid for.

If you don’t you will miss something you paid for or miss something you wanted to see.

There is just so much stuff available, one can’t possibly do it all.

Break….

Someone mentioned feet. I’m not one that can go shopping for 8 hours… :-)

My feet were BARKING!! :-)

You’ll put some miles on there for sure. I had no idea how large these convention centers etc were.

Break….

If you can it’s better to arrive Wednesday night… get checked in etc then. You also get the program so you can plan.

Enjoy everyone!!

Rick
August 1, 2013 10:45 am

FYI — Awesome!!!

Galileo from Star Trek has been delivered to Space Centre Houston,
by SPACE.com July 31, 2013 02:08pm

> http://www.space.com/22189-star-trek-shuttlecraft-galileo-houston-museum.html

Marja, having my own fun with fanfic
August 1, 2013 11:01 am

23 Eric, genius suggestion – my last con was before the ubiquity of email but what a great way for fen to form an impromptu community!

To those of you who attend,

Have Fun!

And raise a glass to your fellow fen, even if we’re sitting home on TrekMovie.com : )

Hollie
August 1, 2013 11:40 am

Awesome article! I am so excited! :’)))

Joshua Caldwell
August 1, 2013 11:51 am

Thanks! Attending my first time this year

seangh
August 1, 2013 4:44 pm

My first Trek Con was SpaceCon in San Francisco, Feb 1977. They had a non stop TOS marathon, a panel with scientists and guest panelist James Doohan, explaining how warp drive works in theory, classic. Best part was watching the “Star Wars” trailer that debuted there.

Jim Nightshade
August 2, 2013 2:29 am
have fun…we were only able to attend in 2006 40th anniv….it was great…about 2000 bucks gone back then but worth it….overall almost everyone there were so nice….the two creation founders adam n gary are very hands on…gary in his baseball cap helped us out a few times….our only negative experience happened when a father n son were sitting in our reserved seats before a star appearance…we politely told them those were our seats they scowled at us and sat one row behind us—also not their seats where they started talkin, cussin n trying to make fun of us…my girlfriend got up n told gary he was at our seat minutes later but they knew she went to tell someone so they were gone when gary got there…she is mildly disabled n did not appreciate the rudeness…each reserved seating section is huge…we had the captains chair seating—2nd best we lucked out n were in the second row from the front of our section…i felt sorry that many spent just as much n were way in the back of our section..dont really blame anyone for wanting better seats n many dont attend every speech or show so i can understand how some might try to get better seats but they should not be rude or mean if the owners of the reserved seats want to see the show in their seats….we didnt care if they were behind us long as the seat owners werent there but rudeness n name calling goaded us… Read more »
jorDe'
August 2, 2013 8:19 pm

On your Smart Phone, down load the “Foursquare” App. Then “Check In” every day. Show the check in at the Reward’s Booth and get $5 off at the Buffet. Any money off is great.

CoffeeProf
August 4, 2013 4:35 pm

17

Grow up with your America bashing. I’ve been to Europe, was completely polite and got treated like crap at a number of places when I went there 12 years ago. So just cool down your xenophobic and bigoted remarks.

Jack
August 4, 2013 9:25 pm

Wait, you’re calling an American a basher, a xenophobe and a bigot for complaining generally about a decline in American manners? Way to show her!

CoffeeProf
August 5, 2013 9:04 am

It’s not rude when they’re acting in the way in which they are being accused. Also, I’m not calling them xenophobic and bigoted. I’m calling their remarks xenophobic and bigoted.

Jim Nightshade
August 8, 2013 2:55 am

cant believe masquerade in the sky is closed at the rio…my folks loved that….i found at the hilton that all their food establishments were overwhelmed by us trekkies….we found hoppin on the monorail to a nearby casino worked great for meals n avoiding the crowds for a short period…rio is bigger with more eating choices so dont know if u have same prob…they do have regular shuttles to the strip…when we were there a bus went from harrahs to the rio…

Rastaman
August 8, 2013 11:22 pm

Is Nimoy going to come out of convention retirement for the 50th anniversary? Missed the opportunity to visit the final Chicago Convention.

August 9, 2013 6:39 am

I live in town so I wander down there every year. If you have never been to the Vegas Trek Con check out my photo album via the link from 2012. Lots of photos to (I think) capture the vibe.

http://imgur.com/a/AUh8d

MJ (The Original).
August 13, 2013 12:36 am

@17 “I am not sure I’d want to go to a con anymore. I too have noticed the sharp and regrettable decline in manners in American society. People have their attention on their own wants and their noses in their cellphones or iPads and don’t take time to notice others. Others can’t hear you because they’re plugged into their MP3 players and earbuds block out society at large. So be assertive – if you need help, say so, and if you need to get by, a good resonant “excuse me, I’m trying to get through” can be helpful if spoken politely. And a “thank you” as or after the “waters” part is helpful to smooth the way.”

What a crock of shit. As someone who travels the world on both business and pleasure, I have been treated rudely and noticed assine manners in behavior in many, many countries — and most especially in the European countries of England and France.

Disinvited
August 13, 2013 8:37 am

#46. MJ (The Original). – August 13, 2013

You lost me there on the logic that seems to be “There can not be a ‘ regrettable decline in manners in American society’ because other countries are rude too.”? I just don’t see how France having rudeness precludes the U.S. from having a decline in manners?

MJ (The Original).
August 13, 2013 12:08 pm

@47

OK, well if that is the argument, then that is completely wrong as well. See how great manners were across the board towards blacks, jews, Mexicans and other non-while peoples in America were just 40 to 50 years ago.

Manners among all Americans have drastically improved over the past half century, unless you are just talking about white people-to white people manners???

Disinvited
August 14, 2013 2:00 pm

#48. MJ (The Original). – August 13, 2013

OK, now you are making some good points. However your cites are offset but what alarmingly has been growing in the black community where the increases in freely bandying about the “N” word, “ho”, and bitch can only be seen as a rise in rudeness. And a clear indication of the increase in the use of these rude expressions in public speaking is that it is frequently getting exported to the ignorant young outside the black community who mistakenly regard these terms as acceptable form of address to blacks in general.

To some degree, Oprah uses her role in THE BUTLER to address this.

wpDiscuz