Never argue with a GI Joe- especially when Comic Con is on the line. In the many years I have gone, I have learned there are many little decisions that can lead to you losing the Comic Con battle. It’s easy to do if you are a rookie or if you are only there for just a day or two. Here is my top ten ways to avoid ruining the best event of the year. Good luck troops and happy hunting!
- Whether you are arriving for the preview night or just coming in on Saturday, account for traffic and parking. The first year I went I almost spent an hour in downtown trying to get through traffic and find parking. In haste, I ended up spending $25 and walking across town. I was frustrated and already tired, not a good way to start the day. Plan an extra hour for traffic and parking. Map it out with alternative parking ready.
- To me, the swag bags that are given out are more of a hassle than helpful. They are more clumsy than a blaster and wear down your arms throughout the day. Instead, bring a big backpack. Besides being more elegant, it’s much easier navigating the floor when your hands are free. You will need them to shuffle through the program book periodically.
- Speaking of backpacks, make sure to pack a bottle of water(s), some granola bars, Lunchable, or anything else to provide you protein throughout the long day. If you are a hobbit, plan on bringing ‘second breakfast’. The bad and over priced food is available but you might not have time to stand in long lines between panels. Remember to replenish your supplies each day.
- preventive measures are very important. So that would include a hat and sunscreen for the lines outside. Good walking shoes is a must, no flip-flops! The convention floor is like three Football fields long so you don’t want to hike it in sandals. Aprin is good to take care of any other problems. A compass and a fire extinguisher wouldn’t hurt either 🙂
- Prep the electronics. Getting to know your line-mate is preferred but if you need some down time then make sure you load up your iPod with quality material. I prefer movie reviews since it helps me stay in the ‘spirit’. If you are an avid Twitter or blogger like me, then make sure you fully charge your laptop. Although wi-fi is available indoors, I don’t rely on it and prefer a data card for instant access. See if you can borrow someone’s for the weekend. Don’t forget to charge your camera battery and clear the memory. Nothing is worst than trying to delete photos as a celeb strolls by. Unless you can find some real ‘Unobtainium’ on the floor, you will have to watch your power supply to last all day (and night for some events).
- If you are fortunate to experience Comic Con with some comrades then most likely the day’s schedule will split you apart. Plan times to reconnect and attend some of the same panels. I remember some Cons when I literally didn’t see my group till closing time at the end of the day- which was sad. Comic Con was meant to be experienced together so plan your meet ups. Pairs is the best way to travel. Besides being nimble, you can scout multiple places without sacrificing your place in line.
- Planning your schedule can be considered an art form. The best panels are usually stacked with little time in between. If you don’t plan accordingly, you might feel like a new Starfleet recruit rushing down the halls on your first day at the Academy. The key is always have a ‘plan B’ panel if your first choice fills up. Standing there thumbing through your booklet wastes precious time and hundreds of fans will move ahead of you. Prioritize what is a must then schedule everything around that.
- Beware of the allure of ‘the floor’. The floor is massive with more nooks and crannies than Middle Earth. I think it takes about one FULL DAY to meticulously explore through all the booths with time to chat with vendors. If you are not intentional, the floor will attract you away from the real gems in the panels. Remember, the floor isn’t going anywhere so you might want to prioritize it low. It’s hard to do because of all the bright and shiny toys (and babes) but it is a real time sucker and might not be worth it (unless you are hunting for something specific). So the key, at the beginning of each day, go directly to a panel first. New attendees will gravitate towards the floor first giving you more opportunity to get into some of the coveted panels. Hit the show room later in the day once you accomplished some other goals.
Side note, I think 95% of the swag is crap and pointless. You will see crowds trying to get t-shirts and posters which will end up lost in the Narnia closet anyways. Save yourself the stress and just avoid it.
- Plan where you will want to eat dinner before the day begins, especially if you are with a large group. Nothing is worst than being tired, hot, hungry, and emotionally drained while kicking around ideas of places to eat. Remember that tens of thousands of people are doing the same so your chances of finding a quick and easy solution in the Gas Lamp Quarter is about as good as trying to bullseye a Womp Rat with your t-16 back home. So have a place decided (reservations would be nice) and get there right away before the dark side of the force sets in.
- Now that the dust has settled for the day. Enjoy reflecting on it. Blog and Tweet like crazy. I have picked up a ton of online followers as a result of reporting my day and up loading pictures. Enjoy a relaxing drink with new friends made while standing in line. Most importantly, get good rest because it all starts back up the next day. You WILL regret a night of downing Romulan Ale if you are not careful. If you are there just for the day than start planning your multi-day experience for next year!*A bonus tip. Make sure you take care of your serious bathroom business BEFORE you get to the CON. After a long day, the men’s restroom will end up like the ones on the Klingon mining planet of Rura Pente.
Check back for my Top 10 of how to have a GREAT Comic Con. Good luck and may the Comic Con force be with you.