How to Prepare for SDCC—Tips for First Timers

San Diego Comic Con International

In case you missed it, the Collective Team is gearing up to attend this year’s Comic Con in San Diego, CA. This will be our second excursion to the famed event, and we already feel like old pros. Having been to multiple other conventions in the past, we’ve amassed a few tips here and there. If you’re a first time con-attendee, or just a first timer to SDCC, check out these ten easy tips to make your experience more enjoyable.

1.) Plan ahead

Take advantage of the online schedule and decide what you want to see and do in advance. There are a multitude of panels, booths, activities, and so on, so it’s easy to get overwhelmed if you don’t have a plan. By the same token, don’t schedule panels back to back. The convention center is enormous, and you simply won’t be able to get from one end to the other in ten minutes. Give yourself time in between activities to walk, rest, eat, and enjoy yourself.

2.) Cosplay essentials

If you’re in costume, remember to bring your emergency cosplay kit! Anything can go wrong, so it’s a good idea to have some backup safety pins, bobby pins, tape, and other essentials on hand.

3.) Bring snacks

via Giphy
via Giphy

Yes, there is food for sale. But it is expensive, the lines are often long, and sometimes it isn’t very good. There are exceptions, of course, but it’s good practice to bring granola bars or other things to munch on in case you don’t have time to buy a meal, or you can’t afford one.

4.) Come caffeinated 

Drink your coffee/tea and eat your breakfast before you arrive at the convention center. If you’re staying in a hotel, take advantage of any coffee or breakfast offered. Not only is the Starbucks across the street from the con expensive, it is usually jam packed full of people. There are lulls, but you won’t necessarily find one when you need it.

5.) Just bring a personal bag

While you should certainly have a bag for personal items, don’t feel compelled to bring an extra one for your purchases or free swag. They typically provide each attendant with a large bag that can be slung over your shoulders. And it’s free!

6.) Bring cash!

Although many vendors now accept credit cards, there are many who do not. And while there are lots of ATMs around, the lines are long.

7.) Be careful when preparing for Hall H

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via Giphy

The line to enter is infamously long (many people sleep in line overnight), and once you’re in, it’s probably not a good idea to leave unless you want to stand in the queue again. There are bathrooms and food available—but again, bring snacks unless you want to pay an arm and a leg. Also, if you dislike large crowds, then this probably isn’t the room you’ll want to spend a lot of time in. Some of the best panels of the convention will be in Hall H, however, so plan wisely!

8.) Bring a charged camera

…but remember to be courteous of cosplayers! If they are sitting down, eating, or simply look tired and/or preoccupied, don’t bother them for photos. Wait until they are in cosplay mode before asking.

9.) Be comfortable!

Wear comfortable shoes and clothing, and if you feel overwhelmed by the crowds, find somewhere to relax and recharge yourself. If you are uncomfortable, the experience might be ruined.

10.) Invest in a portable phone charger

via Giphy
via Giphy

There are plenty that aren’t expensive, and boy do they come in handy if you’ve been tweeting all day. Outlets can be hard to find, and this way you won’t have to camp out by one.

Will you be attending? We’d love to meet you! Until then,

The Collected Mutineer