Welcome to the League! Now that your Comic-Con badges are secured, it’s time to unite and develop a plan for the next 3 months. If this is your first time to Comic-Con, there is much, much more than just showing up on Preview Night. Whether it’s parking, hotels, budgeting, or buying supplies, planning is the key to a successful Comic-Con. Three months will pass before we know it so here are a few things to consider as you prepare for the big trip:
1. Your badge
If you don’t have a CC badge, your remaining options are pretty limited. You might be able to work for an exhibitor or to be invited as a guest of a volunteer or panelist. There are, of course, contests out there but they are far and few between and chances of winning are slim. There will be no other badge sales so praying for a special invite is your only hope. For you current badge holders, make sure you have your e-mail badge confirmation in an easy to find place folder on your computer. Your RFID badge won’t be mailed to you till a few weeks before the show so keep track of any documentation just in case you don’t get your badge.
Hotel registration is the next big sale that will occur soon. Unlike badge sales, there is no waiting and you will just submit when the registration opens up and hope for the best. Comic-Con will post a list of options with instructions which will indicate when ‘Hotelpacalypse’ will occur. It’s also a lottery situation so good to have a back up plan in place BEFORE hotel reg begins. Comic-Con offers a Early Bird option which is open right now.
The less stressful but still important Parking Sale will complete the last major piece for planning for Comic-Con. If you are commuting in for a day, parking can be a beast to find as well as pricey. You will want to take care of parking so you don’t spend an hour driving around in circles in an already congested downtown. Ace Parking Lottery is now open till April 24th.
4. Offsite and Exclusives!
If you are new to Comic-Con, the experience is so much more than just the show- there are Offsite Events which offers a variety of parties, concerts, and interactive experiences hosted by various organizations separate from Comic-Con. Check out last year’s list to get an idea of what to expect and we’ll be posting them again this year. If you love to collect rare toys (and other cool stuff) then keep your eyes out for new Comic-Con Exclusive announcements over the next few months. Check out last year’s Exclusives and we’ll be posting about this year’s soon.
5. Show me the $!
Fortunately, you can do Comic-Con on a pretty tight budget once you get past the badges and hotels. Pack a few PB&J sandwiches and your good to go. However, if you want to experience SDCC to the fullest, you can definitely throw down some dough for food, Exclusives, Offsite Events, and more. Start saving anywhere from a couple of hundred to a thousand if you really want to be safe. Set aside $20 a week till Comic-Con and you won’t be sorry.
6. Connect with other Leaguers
Social media has probably been the best invention to impact the Comic-Con community 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 updated news, tips, and tricks from con veterans from all around the world. It takes time to get used to it so start tweeting now. Even if you are not active on 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): @EnglishmanSDCC, @SDCCNerdsAttack, @ComicConFamily, and @FriendsOfCCI to name a few. Regularly search #SDCC to pick up the latest tweets too.
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.
A lot more tips coming up in the coming weeks covering Exclusives, budgeting, backpacks, cosplay, first time press and more! Make sure to check my building list of 2016 tips to help you out. Also read the First Time stories of past attendees! Please leave a comment of how you are preparing for the show!