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
The 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
This 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!
One 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.
If 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.
If 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
Another 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
Since 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 GeekyU, Five Finger Tees, RedBubble, Jack of All Trades, and SnorgTees.
Comic-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.
Social 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!