This article was originally published at ComicBook.Com on July 6, 2015.
San Diego Comic-Con is just a few days away. As you probably know, it’s the biggest comics convention in the world, a five day marathon of panels, signings, exclusives, and parties. When the madness hits, you’ll want to be prepared. Luckily for you, SDCC survivors at ComicBook.Com have compiled a useful list of tips to keep in mind now that it’s crunchtime.
1. Shoes Will Make or Break You
Make sure to pack at least two pairs of good walking shoes that have already been broken in. There’s no way around it, if you’re going to Comic-Con, you will be doing a lot on your feet. Unless you’re seated in a panel, you’ll be walking, standing in line, walking, or standing in line. That doesn’t even account for waiting outside in the morning or going out at night. If you’re not careful, then you will definitely wind up with sore feet and, possibly, a trip to the podiatrist. Having a pair of shoes that you know will treat you well, and backups in case the originals get soaked or lost (s**t happens in San Diego), will ensure a far more enjoyable time walking the hall.
2. Cash is King
Bring cash. Bring more cash than you think you need. While most vendors have the ability to run credit cards, there are multiple downfalls to using plastic at the con. It takes longer to run a card, taking precious moments away when you could have just handed someone a few bills. Meanwhile, smaller vendors relying on mobile platforms are likely to have poor data reception, if any at all, with so many people pushed together. If you always have some cash at the ready, you’ll be able to get lots of cool stuff quickly and painlessly.
3. Half of the Event is Outside of the Convention
Be sure to enjoy other events and places outside of the convention. There are a lot of things to do inside the convention center, but don’t forget that “Comic-Con” is only half of the name. You’re in San Diego for five days, so enjoy it. When Comic-Con comes to town, it takes over. There are lots of Con-related events occurring all around the convention center during the day and at night. Bars and restaurants in the Gaslamp District will be crowded, but the food and local brews are worth the wait. Beyond the convention atmosphere, San Diego is one of the most beautiful cities in America and the weather is great all year round. It’s worth taking an afternoon off to just go to the beach or check out San Diego’s world famous zoo.
4. Plan Ahead for the Important Events
If there’s something you really want to do at Comic-Con, make sure you have a plant to get it done. You’re not going to San Diego just to hang out. There are creators to meet, panels to attend, and comics to buy! Pick the few things that are most important to you (that means 2-4, not 20) and figure out what you’ll have to do to make those things happen before arriving. Odds are a lot of other people want to attend the same events or buy the same exclusives, so a little preparation will help to avoid disappointment.
5. Pack a Bag
Make sure to have a reliable bag to transport your things. It’s a good idea to already have cash, mouthwash, water, and snacks when you enter the convention center, and then you still need somewhere to put all of the cool stuff you’ll be buying. Backpacks, purses, and satchels (hey, Indiana Jones had one) are all great places to safely store your belongings. If fannypacks are your thing, bring those too. But make sure that whatever you bring is comfortable and easily portable, as you–and everyone else–will have to deal with it all day. If you clock someone with an oversized duffle, that’s a good way to ruin multiple weekends.
6. Eat Well and Drink Water, But Avoid Convention Center Prices
Eat regularly and drink lots of water. The convention may not seem like a work out, but you’ll be moving most of the day. Factor in the additional stress of long waits, crowds, and travel, and your body will need all the nourishment it can get. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all essential meals, and those should include fruits and vegetables. Try avoiding fried food, lest you want your guts to do their best Jabba the Hutt cosplay. Having some healthy snacks like nuts or beef jerky will help prevent getting “hangry” throughout the day as well. Water is essential to avoid staying dehydrated, especially if the weather is anything like last year. And be sure to get all of these things outside of the convention. By walking a few blocks you can save a lot of money and get a little fresh air to stay energized throughout the day.
7. Only You Can Prevent Hygiene Disasters
Pack all of your bathroom essentials and use them regularly. This means toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, shampoo… You get the picture. There are a lot of people gathering closely together in the middle of summer, so it’s easy for one rotten apple to spoil the bunch. It’s an absolute necessity to shower every morning, and probably again in the evening. Not only will your friends and fellow con-goers appreciate the effort, but you will feel better and be more approachable as well.
Relax. Seriously. Comic-Con is crazy. It’s five days of non-stop pop culture madness. There’s little time to sleep, ten things to do at any moment, and crowds wherever you go. It’s also the closest things that we geeks have to Mecca. When it all seems like too much just stop and look around. You’re in a beautiful city surrounded by things you love and people who share that same passion. It doesn’t matter whether you get into Hall H or snag a certain exclusive. There’s always more to do and see; you never know what new thing might surprise you. The experience of San Diego Comic-Con is something to be enjoyed with others, not stressed over alone. As long as you keep that in mind, no matter what happens, you should be okay.
What other useful tips and hints do you have for Comic-Con attendees? Share your ideas in the comments below. Also, Follow along with ComicBook.com’s San Diego Comic Con 2015 coverage by clicking here.