Evidently, you're not only an AB/DL, but also a furry who wants to know some things about furry conventions. You may not be ready to attend quite yet, but this article should assist when you decide the time is right.
One of the key things you must do before attending any convention is plan. Within the parameters of a furry convention, there are a few key things to plan ahead for:
1. Sort out your travel. Don't be shocked if that random furry you met at a meet one time isn't pleased that you're now attempting to force your way into his car for a ride down to the convention. If you're going to drive, sort out with whom and when you will meet up to depart. If you intend to fly, be sure to sort out transport to and from the airport, leaving plenty of time between arrival at the airport and when your flight departs. Delays do happen; don't let them ruin your chances at attending.
2. Sort out your lodging during the convention as well. Generally, hotel rates for larger conventions are in the $100/night range, leaving you with a couple choices. If you're there for just two nights, you may wish to room alone, however if you are intending to stay four nights (generally Thursday evening to Monday morning), as many attendees do, it may be preferable to find a roommate or two. Pay attention to the maximum occupancy listed for each room, as that is the maximum number of guests each room may sleep according to local fire codes. Most of the time, it's four for a standard room, with suites and penthouses having appropriately higher ratings.
3. Bring enough funds to have a good time. In addition to your hotel and flight fees, there will also be things such as the convention attendance fee (generally ranging from $30-200, depending on your level of membership), souvenirs such as nick-nacks from the dealer's den, or perhaps a new piece of art. You'll also need to eat obviously, which depending on where your hotel is located, may prove expensive. If you're thrifty, you might be able to hunt down someone to give you a lift to the local grocery chain, which will allow you to save by purchasing some sandwich materials and other easy-to-prepare food. This trip also allows you to pick up other items you may want, such as trash bags and those socks you forgot to pack.
4. Diapers are something you should review before the convention. If you intend to wear at the convention, but are flying it, you may wish to simply mail however many you'll need (Or more, if you want to bring some which you can't get at home back with you) to the hotel. Most hotels offer a package hold service for guests at no charge, but it may be worth calling ahead if you are unsure. This also helps eliminate strange looks if you are carpooling with people who are not AB/DLs, or just don't know that you are one.
You're at ground zero, preparing for the fun to start. Don't let some minor incidents ruin it now!
1. A key to ensuring everyone has a good time is for all attendees to be courteous and responsible. This applies to everyone you meet, hotel staff and non-convention guests included. Take a look at the convention's rules, usually posted in the registration area or online. Essentially, don't be rude to anyone, and it will help ensure everyone has a good time, yourself included.
2. Moving on, one of the key reasons for attending a convention is to meet others. With that in mind, try and get out there and explore the convention grounds a bit. Talk to people, be social, and drop by the convention suite. Generally these are open areas for attendees to gather, have a drink or two, maybe a light snack. Lots of talkative people gather there; just watch out for the drunks later in the night.
3. In addition to merely roaming the convention grounds, consider attending panels. Discussion panels, which are held in a convention area, generally hold an open forum style discussion on various topics ranging from "Best way to compose photographic shots of fursuiters" to "Babyfurs Unite! Cartoons and Candy!" Just look through your convention booklet, or download the "MyCon" app, if you have a smartphone (most of the larger conventions are now using this as a backup to a printed itinerary).
4. In the same itinerary, you will probably find other events, such as raves or dances. Attending one of these at your first con is really quite fun, and is yet again, another way to meet new people.
5. One thing you probably won't find in your conbook is the location and existence of room parties. These generally require either an invite or at least someone to tell you where it is. Typical room parties include some sort of alcoholic beverage being served, so be sure to notify the host if you aren't of the legal drinking age (Some will have to ask you to leave, others will just stamp your hand with the word "minor" or something of the like.) Be aware though, as these room parties are not officially sanctioned by conventions, there may be more leniency in the events carried out in them.
6. Atop general room parties, there are also often "Cub Hubs", which are room parties hosted for babyfurs. These generally have less drinking, but there are some which include it. Again, these are generally invitation only, as information about them is spread by word of mouth (or perhaps twitter.) The goings on in these can range from "story time" to "full-blown drunkenness". With that in mind, you'll never know if you don't at least drop by.
Farewell, and see you next year perhaps!
Once your time at the convention is nearing an end, there are a few things you can do to pitch in and do your part to make the convention a better event overall.
1. The simplest thing you can do to enhance the chances of the convention being considered a success by all, including the hotel, is tidy up afterwards. Don't leave a mess in your room or anywhere else in the hotel, and by extension, the hotel will thank you. For those wearing diapers, you may wish to bag up your garbage and run it down to the dumpster if you think it may be a problem for the cleaning crew. If not, be sure to at least double bag it, preferably in an opaque bag.
2. If you're there until the bitter end, most conventions love having volunteers to help with tear-down. This sort of work is usually fairly simple, but if you're experienced in A/V systems, they may have you help disassemble lighting rigs and the like. Either way, if you're up to the task, ask a member of staff if they would like some help; they're sure to appreciate it. Some conventions will even reward you for such actions.
1. Plan, plan, and plan some more. Research your desired convention, find out if they have a pool or a sauna, check the weather for the area, and pack appropriately.
2. Cleanliness is next to godliness, (or so everyone keeps telling that suiter who doesn't shower all weekend) so wash up! You'll often hear the series of numbers "6-2-1". This is the gold standard for conventions: 6 hours of sleep, 2 meals, and 1 shower a day. This is done to help stifle the "Con-Crud" everyone loathes. I would strongly suggest following this rule if you intend to wear diapers for the duration of the convention, lest you wish to smell like a walking diaper pail.
3. "When in Rome" does not equate to messy diapers at a hotel. This sort of behavior shines a bad light on everyone if it takes place in a public location, or even a room of "cubs". Simply put: Don't do this, it probably won't make you any new friends, and it will no doubt upset whoever is in the room with you.
4. On the topic of cleanliness, changing often is very important if you intend to wear diapers for the duration of the convention. If it smells, it's probably time to change. After all, spending a few extra dollars on diapers is a heck of a lot better than nursing a rash for days after the con. A good means of ensuring "freshness" down there would be to change more often than you would at home; this will prevent you from being "that gross guy."
5. Another key thing is to remember to drink enough fluids. Not only will this help you fight off the con crud, but it will also cut down on the aforementioned smells down there. The standard measure of hydration still applies: 50% of body weight in ounces, or 1400% of body weight in mL per day.
6. Looking to save some money? There's a few simple things you can do. If you're going to take a cab somewhere, consider asking if the hotel has a shuttle service, or just plain hoof it; either way, you're bound to save some money (be sure to tip if you take a shuttle, though). Don't eat out for every meal, as was mentioned before; sandwiches can really save some money. Another thing to save some pennies is to pass up the "Sponsor" or higher tier badges. These often come with little perks like a free souvenir, but don't really get you anything measurable.
7. Take lots of pictures! Chances are, you'll regret it if you don't. Just be sure to check out the convention's media policy, as some have limitations on where photos are allowed.
Finally, have fun!
Try not to get overwhelmed; there's a lot to do at any given convention and not enough time to do as much as you'd like. Just be sure you enjoy yourself no matter what you're doing and enjoy your trip.