Hey, all of you amazing geeks, it’s that time of the year to start thinking about which Comic-Con you will be attending. There are tons of cons to consider and perhaps a smaller local con might be better than one a major city will hold, or if you really want to go all out you can visit the holy grail of cons, San Diego. If this is your first time attending, we’ll help you with picking which one to go to, figuring out where to stay, what to expect plus the dos and don’ts of con behavior. Here are our helpful tips and tricks for navigating your first Comic-Con experience.
1. What do you want out of your experience?
Do you want to go to panels, get autographs from celebrities being showcased, meet writers or artists in Artist Alley or are you on a mission for collectibles? Figure out what you or your group wants to do. How do you make the most out of your experience? Veteran con-goer and author, Daniel A. Willis recommends attending cons that match your interests and notes, “Many smaller cons are devoted to a specific genre, like Horror, Myths and Magic, etc. These are also quite affordable to go to. They all have their own groove, so you really don’t know if [it’s] your tribe unless you check it out.”
2. Make a plan.
Winging it in such large places is less than ideal. Plan, plan and plan ahead unless you want to be a voyeur. If you are there to just take in the sights and wonder, by all means, do it. If there are things you want to do, a little bit of preparedness goes a long way. If you are traveling for the first time to this city having a layout of where you are from the convention and restaurants is pretty vital. This information not only keeps you safe it helps you familiarize yourself with your surroundings. Before you get to the Con, you or your group should take a look at the daily itinerary. Make yourself a personal itinerary and having the floor plan handy is essential to navigating the convention floor efficient and effectively. Also figuring out who you want to see, estimating how long the lines will be, how worthwhile events are going to be to your experience and how best to prepare for the day. It may seem like a lot to do but once you are on th convention floor and you have a plan it might feel or seem less daunting being surrounded by so many people.
3. Buy all tickets in advance and use apps.
Make sure you have your flights and hotel planned well ahead of time. We recommend at least 3 months in advance. You can get a ton of help from travel sites like Travelocity, Orbitz, Priceline, Hotwire, Expedia or Cheap Tickets. Some of the best advice on where to find places to stay, eat and how to travel around town come from the Con’s forums or twitter community. People are usually very helpful in recommendations on where to stay, eat and play after the convention is done for the day. And downloading apps like Lyft, Foursquare and the convention app are great resources to help you traverse the city. Willis offers this advice: “If the con has a negotiated rate at a hotel, use it. It will almost always the cheapest rate within walking distance of the convention.” While researching the con that fits your personality, getting tickets including exclusives or multi-day passes are vital. Some cons sell out very fast.
4. Be prepared.
Spending day 1 of my vacation getting ready for comic-con. which is 2 days away, well 1 day if you count preview night. But now I present to you my comic-con survival kit. 1) sunglasses for when waiting in line outside. 2) my comic-con bar code to get my badge. 3) my camera & extra batteries. 4) wallet and phone case,a must have. 5) iPhone charger & head phones. 6) iPad and 2ds , for the long lines. 7) water bottle. 8) plastic sleeve for autographs, art prints and posters. 9) my vape pen. 10) deodorant, every guy should have one with them and use it! 11) and finally my sonic screwdriver, you never know when your gonna need it. #nerdy #nerdlife #comiccon #comiccon2014 #comicconsandiego #sdcc #sandiegocomiccon #sandiegocomiccon2014 #comicconsurvivalkit #soniccrewdriver #greenlantern #starwars
This means wearing comfortable shoes, a great backpack and being aware of yourself (yeah sometimes we need extra deodorant), among other things. You will get hot, sweaty and cranky. Make sure you have an emergency survival kits along with your bag and include a refillable water bottle, cash, snacks, bags and boards, deodorant, hand sanitizer and mini first aid basics. Not only with this make your life easier it’s courteous to the other convention goers. Plus, having blisters from new shoes on the first day is will definitely put a damper in your convention experience.
5. Your phone will die.
Do you have your power cord or extra charging packs? There are so many wonderful things to see and do. Capturing them in an image or video is only natural. If you are like many of us, you don’t know phone numbers off the top of your head. Keep your emergency contacts or the people you came with’s number handy along with your charger. Some conventions will have charging stations that are incredibly helpful. If the convention doesn’t, come up with a plan for a meeting point. A plan B will be really helpful to find your group if your phone dies and your perusing solo.
6. Be prepared for crowds, be polite and be aware of your surroundings.
Ask permission to take pictures, record panels or touch people. People work very hard on their cosplay and some can be fragile or delicate, so ask first and respect their decision. From experience, having a child dressing in cosplay just because we took a picture with someone before you doesn’t mean that we are want to take every picture. Cosplayers get tired, have to use the facilities or would like to have their own experiences without getting stopped. It’s best to remember cosplay is not consent.
7. Have fun!
We are all in this together and making sure that you have the best experience is key. People feed off the energy of the crowd. If you are getting overwhelmed take a break, recenter yourself and remember it’s about making the most of your time from this event.
From Emerald City Comic-Con to Dragon Con, C2E2 to San Diego Comic-Con, there are a ton out there to suit everyone’s sensibilities. Make sure you research which con is best for you. Do you have any tips for people attending their first con?