Boldly go where many geeks (including myself) have gone before at one of countless Star Trek conventions around the world. Today is the release of the latest Star Trek movie on DVD and if it’s got your hooked you might consider stopping by one of the major conventions along your travel route.
A Star Trek convention is an experience many travelers will marvel at (for better or for worse) and if you’ve never been this is your beginner’s guide to Star Trek conventions.
Where To Find Them
There are several major Star Trek-only conventions and some that are parts of larger general science fictions ones like Comic Con. Held all over the world there are a few official resources you can check that will list the major conventions.
- StarTrek.com Official Site – You can get a good list of Star Trek and science fiction conventions at the official site, which also includes the biggest Star Trek convention in the world. It’s held in Las Vegas annually every summer.
- Creation Entertainment – Organizers of large Star Trek conventions, and the next on is at the end of January. At the convention will be several Trek actors, including William Shatner and Patrick Stewart.
- Containment – A list of smaller conventions, mostly around the US.
- Fed-Con – Europe’s largest Star Trek convention will be held in Bonn, Germany at the end of April 2010. While strongly Trek-oriented there will also be cast and activities for other shows including Battlestar Galactica, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Torchwood.
These are just some good places to start but if you’re looking for a convention in Bangkok or Cairo, there probably is one. You shouldn’t have to Google around too long before finding it.
Convention prices vary but the bigger the convention the bigger the price tag. Tickets range anywhere from $25-400 for a weekend. If you’re headed to the Star Trek convention in Las Vegas or going to Comic Con it’s a good idea to get tickets as far in advance as you can. You’ll generally save 20-40% on the price of tickets this way.
Those of you headed to smaller venues can call the day of to see how busy things are. Conventions that aren’t sold out as they’re going on will usually cut you a very good price break at the door. The less enthusiastic you look to get in, the better your chances will be of getting a good price. (I’m not sure why but I’ve found that to be quite common.)
You’ll find people dressed up as Klingons, members of Star Fleet, or perhaps even the occasional Borg. Around you there will be discussions of warp drives and which Star Trek’s top intergalactic destinations. Conventions are colorful, active events that will bring out your fantasy, science fiction, or ren faire nerd in you. There are lots of (overpriced) merchandise for sale, actors from various shows, and discussion panels.
Conventions have really gained stream and evolved to cater to wider audiences within the past 6-8 years. (For example, Comic Con is now a mega-event with growing audiences each year.) More and more Star Trek conventions are becoming general science fiction conventions so you’re likely to find something you enjoy even if you’re not a Trekie (or Trekker).
Star Trek: The Experience
Moved from the Las Vegas Hilton, Star Trek: The Experience themed attraction will be opening in Las Vegas Neonopolis Mall sometime in 2010. One of the main attractions of the original was a “live” transporter pad that beamed you from one part of the USS Enterprise to the other. It’s not a Star Trek convention but a good alternative if you’re looking to be in Las Vegas sometime later next year.
Why A Convention?
You can add a new dimension to any trip by visiting some of the more unorthodox events that might be in town and a Star Trek convention is one of them. It’s certainly an experience you’ll find difficult to forget. (The first person you see dressed as a Vulcan or hear rapping in Klingon is hard to erase from memory.)
A Star Trek convention is also where you’ll see lots of people who were inspired by the concept of Star Trek to travel and explore planet Earth and the cultures who call it home. Even if you decide on not hitting up your local sci-fi convention, they can be a good way to get a discount at nearby hotels.