Tips that will make your SDCC better than last year
Stay hydrated! San Diego isn’t a hot city. As a matter of fact, it’s going to be consistently in the 70s and low 80s throughout Comic-Con. The problem isn’t the heat, it’s that you’re going to be standing nearly the entire time and walking for a majority of it. Soda isn’t a good idea because the sugars and sodium will not quench your thirst. Plan for the day by taking a large travel-size container of water with you.
Your comfort is going to matter! Comfortable shoes and well-fitting socks are a must. Stretch your legs, ankles and calves early in the day to avoid cramps and gel insoles are not a bad idea.
Bathe and use deodorant! This is not a request. It’s a demand. The smells of Comic-Con are not what we’re there for. It’s the sights and sound! No one wants to be around you if you smell like sour milk and cat pee. Do us a favor and wash those clothes and keep yourself clean.
Look at your map and have a plan, then have a back-up plan. There are panels and rooms you simply won’t get into. There’s not time in the day to see everything and more times than not, you’ll have to pick one “big thing” and then several small things for your daily schedule at the convention. Know where to go and how to get there. The convention floor, pavilion and offsite locations can be absolutely overwhelming your first year…and your second. Particularly when 100,000 people are in your way.
Prepare for closeness. Being pushed, brushed, crowded, tired and be around people who you may not like is common among that many people. Keep a positive outlook and attitude! It goes a long way at SDCC. You are one of the fortunate few who made it. There are countless people who would love to be in your shoes, so enjoy it and smile through the uncomfortable situations.
Ask before you touch or take photos. See that beautiful Poison Ivy cosplayer? Much like poison ivy, you should not go up and touch! If you want a photo, she’ll be more than happy to pose, but ask first. Don’t potentially ruin her costume that she spent a year making by putting your grimy, nacho cheese stained paws on it and don’t touch her butt. It’s not yours and the geek community will let you know, in no uncertain terms, that you are out of line. Not to mention, you can potentially face charges and be kicked out of the convention. Rightly so.
Budget your money. Exclusives are great. Artwork is wonderful. Vintage toys and rare comics are easy to find. Comic-Con is a haven of the things you only wish your local comic book store had in stock. Know how much money you have available for the week and budget it wisely. You still have to eat and that Voltron exclusive isn’t going to kick in for food.
Have the right apps. Uber and Lyft are awesome around Gaslamp. Walking is, too. So I recommend having Pacer, or a similar app, so you’ll know how many steps you’re taking and calories you’re burning. Have a good app to tell you local cuisine, where the restrooms in the city are, a map and any other information you may wish to find outside the convention. Twitter is a must to know when celebrities are showing up at booths, or when giveaways are happening. Avoid staring at your phone the entire time, though. Pokemon Go isn’t your primary objective and running into other convention goers is going to eventually make you as unpopular as the guys who smell like cat pee and sour milk.
Everyone wants to hand you something. Business cards, stickers, flyers, coupons, books and the stuff that other people have handed them. Be polite, but it’s ok to say, “no, thank you.” when offered something that you’re going to have to carry around all day. Not everything is an exclusive that will be worth money someday! Go easy on what you’re hauling with you.
Be aware of exits and watch for suspicious activity. In years past, this has not been something that we’ve had to stress, but in a world that faces such evil and hatred as we do today, know how to get out quickly and watch for anything that you should alert security officers to. Security is heightened at Comic-Con, but we ALL have to be aware of our surroundings.
Enjoy yourself. It’s easy to plan too much, go too fast and not even be aware of what all you did. Take in the moment and talk to people. Listen at the panels and put your phone away. Attend a panel you are curious about, but know very little about. Take notes. Check out the artists and cosplayers. Get a good night of sleep each night and get up early to get as much in as you can. Every SDCC is one of a kind and different. You’ll have stories for a lifetime, if you let yourself live them.