But...if you run across that hard-to-find item you’ve been searching for for the last 10 years, buy it immediately. If you miss a deal on a model that’s widely available, it’s not a big deal, but you’ll regret passing on a rare kit when you come back later to find it’s gone.
I generally have a short list of items I’m looking for at any given point in time, and the Nats is a great opportunity to find some of them, but every year I fall victim to a number of impulse purchases. These are the models that are sold at price that I find too low to pass on. They’re models I’m not necessarily seeking out but interest me nonetheless. Sometimes they're duplicates of favorite subjects. The same thing may happen to you. It’s okay. Allow yourself a budget for impulse purchases, but don't let them blow your budget. Remember, there will be things you want to buy in the months after the Nats.
If you arrive on opening day, it's very easy to blow your budget within a short time. One day even! I suggest you save a portion of your budget for Saturday. Many vendors will offer end-of-day sales, and you’ll want to capitalize on them. (For what it’s worth, only one or two vendors last year had noteworthy sales. Most simply packed up and went home without any sales.)
The vendors room at the Nats can be truly overwhelming. You’ll see things you’ve never seen before. Models in the contest will inspire you to find the same kit for yourself. Your purchases will be a “fly by the seat of your pants” experience. You’ll be tempted to take your wish. You can do that, but you should also take a list of the stuff you own. There’s nothing more frustration than being in Eduard’s stall, for example, and not remembering if you own their photoetch set for that Merkava III you bought last year. If you have a mobile device, I recommend a cloud service like DropBox, which allows you to create and manage files of any type on your personal computer and view them on your mobile device.
No matter what you do, I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy the vendors room and go home with your fair share of booty. See you there!