Tip of the Day #9: 2 Months and Counting…

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The San Diego Comic-Con is only two months away, which might sounds like a long time to prepare for an ordinary con… but this is not an ordinary con. If you have been before, you know that lack of planning can mean the difference between an ordinary or epic SDCC experience. So for you ‘first-timers’ out there, here are a few things to consider now that we are 56 days out from the show.

1. Start Your List
ultimate-checklist1The best way to think of Comic-Con is like going camping. You wouldn’t want to be stuck camping without matches or batteries, so make sure not to forget anything essential. Start making a master list of all the things to order, buy, pack, or create. I know, this sounds kinda basic but it’s the fundamental of a great con experience.

2. Check Receipts
receiptsThis is probably the most important step in preparing for Comic-Con. Make sure that all your receipts and reservations are in order. First and foremost, make sure you have your SDCC badge confirmation (the one with the barcode) with your correct name and info. If you have hotel reservations through Travel Planners, you should have two nights charged to your credit card already. If not, something is wrong. Put all your key e-mails in a clearly labeled folder and take screen caps of them. I’ve heard of too many horror stories of fans losing their e-mail just days before the show- and it’s hard to get a hold of anyone to get it resolved that week. Also, make sure to print out copies for redundancy and put them in an obvious place. Remember, you will need to show an ID in order to pick up your badge so make sure your everything is valid and current.

3. Power Up!
321260777104_1One of the most valuable commodities during Comic-Con is power. The days are long and electrical outlets or charging stations are far and few between. Overly congested networks cause phones and devices to spool for much longer periods of time. Sending up a simple tweet can take exponentially longer time causing your battery to drain much quicker (not to mention posting a photo). One of the most important purchases you can make is an external battery. Whether it’s an extended charging case or a battery dock, you will be surprised how quickly you will need it each day. There are tons to choose from out there but my personal favorites are from Mophie.

4. Exclusives
2014_SDCC_Marvel_Infinite_Gauntlet_4_Inch_01__scaled_600If you are new to San Diego Comic-Con or to con culture in general, one term you’ll be seeing more of is the word ‘Exclusives’. Typically only offered at larger cons, Exclusives are toys and collectibles that are first offered to the public at the show. Offered in limited amount, the Exclusives are the ‘brass ring’ for toy hobbiest and con enthusiasts. Check out my recent Tip of the Day posts further explaining SDCC Exclusives and how to get them. Also, check out my page highlighting my  favorites being offered for 2014.

5. Cosplay
IMG_2873If you plan on going to San Diego in costume, two months out is not too early to be working on your costume. If you are going to commission an artist to help make a costume for you, then you should be well into that process by now. This is also the best time to order online any items that are essential and hard to make like shoes or boots. Some skilled cosplayers can put together an ensemble within a week but if you are new to this world, give yourself as much time as you can. Remember, cosplay doesn’t have to be big but a sincere, committed effort goes a long way.

6. Outside Events
walking-dead-escapeAnother aspect that makes Comic-Con so awesome are all the off-site events going on during and after hours. Over the next two months, you will start hearing about multiple fan meet ups, mini-cons, concerts, promotions, and special events. Some are paid, some are free, some are small, and some are huge. These extracurricular activities have become some of my favorite parts of the show over the past few years. From Nerd HQ to The Walking Dead Escape to the Summer Pops Concerts, there is plenty to see and do outside of the convention center. I’ll be doing some special posts in a few weeks highlighting my favorites

7. Nerd Wear
Screen shot 2014-05-27 at 7.18.05 AMSince this is the super bowl of nerdom, you gotta get your nerd swag on by carefully selecting your tees for the week. Everyone will be wearing every shirt you can possibly imagine and this is a great way to express your fandom. Because of the awesomeness of the internet, there are more options than ever to help assemble your wardrobe for San Diego. A few of my favorite shops are GeekyUFive Finger Tees, RedBubble, Jack of All Trades, and SnorgTees.

8. Budget
MoneyCutBudgetComic-Con is quite a hit for most of us but smart planning will help you stretch your dollars. Once you have your badge and hotel room, you can get by pretty inexpensively each day. Budgeting for Comic Con can range on what your priorities are. I am not a huge collector anymore so I usually can get by on just a $100 for gifts, snacks, and misc. If you want one of the SDCC Exclusive items or plan on attending a paid event , then you will need to budget for more. All in all, you can get by cheaply if you plan ahead. Set aside $20 a week until Comic-Con and it should help relieve the financial pressure. 

9. Twitter
screen-shot-2014-04-24-at-12-43-07-pmSocial media has probably been the best invention to impact Comic-Con in the past few years. Not only is it a great way to meet other like-minded fans but it’s the best way to get news, tips, and tricks from con veterans from all around the world. Even if you are not big into Twitter, it would be good to create a ‘list’ of a few accounts to help you prepare for the show. Some suggestions (but certainly not all): @TheNerdyGirlie @EnglishmanSDCC @SDCCNerdsAttack @FriendsOfCCI 

10. Toucan Blog
Comic-Con International’s very own Toucan Blog will have a lot of great tips and announcements so you will want to check that regularly.

Check out my past Tip of the Day posts and stay tuned for more to come!

9 thoughts on “Tip of the Day #9: 2 Months and Counting…

  1. I used these tips last year for my first ever Comic Con. Your tips helped me out greatly Tony and the most valuable tip is bringing an external power source and packing food as well as packing light for the day.

    I would like to add my experience: I over planned my day to day activities and was too overenthusiastic about attending events. I wanted to go to too many events and didn’t take into consideration my age, exhaustion level and how long it takes to do things (such as eat, getting to/from places, navigating crowds). So in short, everything flew out the window and I let the Con take me where it wanted, so to speak, and I ended up finding/doing more exciting things than if I would have planned it. It was as if an unseen hand was guiding me…taking me to things that I never would have found had a planned it. So just go with the flow and you will be amazed at what you find!

    • So true- sometimes you just have to go with the flow and let the con lead you! Thanks so much for commenting and hope to meet ya at the con!

  2. As always, another great helpful post for SDCC prep! One thing to also start looking into, is pet care options. Because while SDCC offers childcare, they’re a little lacking when it comes to providing care options for our 4-legged friends, haha! So, unless you have friends/family/neighbours who can drop in and check up on your pet, now is the time to start looking into pet care options!

    Last year, my husband and I dropped our cat off at a cat hotel in Los Angeles (Best Little Cat House on Beverly Blvd.) but this year we’re going to be using a pet sitter instead. If you’re opting to board your pet somewhere, now is the time to look for a place because a lot of places require various shots and/or blood tests to be done before they’ll take care of your pet.

    The requirements for pet sitters aren’t quite as stringent, and if you have a pet who doesn’t like to be taken out of their home (like our cat), that might be the best option for you. This year we’re going with Sitter-4-Paws, and for about $19 per half an hour visit, they’ll drop by, feed our cat, clean the litterbox, etc. They also offer dog walking services.

    Just something to think about. With all the other things you have to worry about as Comic Con approaches, you do not want to add scrambling to find reliable care for your pet to the list!

    • Thanks for speaking out for our four legged companions! Great advice and very helpful! Thanks for commenting.

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