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TIPS & TRICKS

How to Survive Comic-Con: The Beginner’s Guide

Summertime is almost here, and even though San Diego is known for world-class breweries, restaurants, beaches and sunshine, there's one event that draws more geeks and die-hard fans than the latest Hot Toys collectible: Comic-Con.

Each year, there are thousands of newcomers who have no idea how to survive this once-in-a-lifetime experience. If you’re new to the scene but don’t want to look like a rookie, this blog post is for you! We’ll divulge some of the best tips so that you can Con like a pro.

1. PLAN ACTIVITIES IN ADVANCE

We can't stress this enough. Ticket sales come out six months in advance for everyone around the world. Going to the website and trying to book a single ticket can turn into a nightmare if you aren't quick and plan everything in advance. You also need to schedule every activity before you get to San Diego. The entire calendar of panels and events is typically posted on the Comic-Con website a week prior to the event, which is very useful for beginners who have no idea what to do when they get there.

2. BOOK A PLACE TO STAY ASAP

While there are many hotels in San Diego where you can book a room for this massive event, the hotels near the heart of downtown book up extremely fast. Hotel rooms are also extremely small and provide minimum amenities. If you’re looking for high-quality accommodations and amenities, we’d suggest the spacious rooms at Welk Resorts San Diego. Welk offers multiple bedroom and lock-off options, which allow you and your entire squad to stay in a spacious villa together. The rooms also include all the amenities of home, like a kitchen and spare bathroom, which sets them apart from your standard hotel room.

3. SINGLE FILE, PLEASE

Standing in lines is arguably one of the most repetitive activities you will undertake during your experience at the Con. Whether it's the line for a panel you love, buying food, going to the bathroom, or even taking money from an ATM, you need to be ready for this activity. A lot of people bring some portable chairs to wait in line, which is a very good idea for when you get sore feet.

4. REST AND RECHARGE

The white wizards of Comic-Con (a.k.a. seasoned attendees) know that having a hotel or resort to rest and recharge – both your smartphones and your feet – is essential. You have no idea how tired you’ll be by the end of every adventure in the Convention Center. When you go back to your resort or hotel, try to rest, hydrate, and get some much-needed sleep so that you can wake up fresh and ready to experience another jam-packed day of Comic-Con bliss.

5. BRING SNACKS

Purchasing all your food at the event can get expensive, especially when you really want to buy memorabilia and collectibles. We highly recommend you have some breakfast near your resort or hotel before going in. Bringing snacks to eat between activities is also highly recommended. Remember, you need to save all the money you can to buy that action figure you had been craving, or that t-shirt collection you always wanted. Priorities!

6. DEVICES ARE YOUR BEST FRIENDS

Any mobile device or laptop is welcome inside the Convention Center. The building has decent internet connection, and during the time you'll be waiting in line, having another way to spend time is always a good idea. Also, remember to bring all the equipment necessary to help your batteries survive the day. Plus, there are times when a movie trailer gets dropped online to all the public during a panel and having a device to enjoy it is a must. Always be prepared for these unexpected gems.

7. HEAT IS YOUR ENEMY

San Diego is known for its beautiful, sun-filled days, but don’t be deceived into thinking that it’s a perfect 75 degrees year-round. Near the end of July, it can be scorching, and the ocean air can add a level of humidity that you (and your hair) weren’t expecting. That's why you need to bring out your light clothing, sunscreen, and be ready to withstand incredible heat waves. Staying hydrated the entire time you’re there is essential. Kudos to all the cosplayers who take the heat like champs – we don't know how you do it, but we have respect for all y'all!

8. THE INFAMOUS HALL H

Just in case you didn't already know about this, Hall H is where all the major panels go down during the entire weekend at Comic-Con. People will be making lines two days before many of the panels because all they want is to get a glimpse of their favorite movie or TV stars. Always keep this in mind and prepare for the panel you want to attend. Going to all panels in Hall H is impossible unless you have a press pass. That's why you need to be organized and decide which one you want to attend above all others. If you’re not attending Comic-Con to see a panel, then it’s best to avoid Hall H.

9. SNAG THE FREE SWAG

We know that buying things is something critical for all the geeks who attend the event, but bear in mind that there’s a lot of free stuff you’ll be getting at the Con as well. A good tip is to hold onto as many big bags as you can when you first enter the Convention Center; you have no idea how useful these are to carry all the free swag you'll get during the week.

10. COMFY SHOES WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE

This is self-explanatory. Please take good care of your feet when you’re cruising the Convention Center and wear shoes that will keep your feet happy. You'll walk, run, stand in line for hours, sit on the floor, and do all kinds of things while wearing these shoes. We recommend you to choose wisely.

11. ALWAYS BE POLITE TO COSPLAYERS

Just think about this if you are a newbie in this Comic-Con adventure, Cosplayers make an incredible effort to get dressed as their favorite characters, and while asking them for a picture is something they always expect, it can also be overwhelming sometimes. You always need to keep in mind that they are dealing with other people all day, which is why being polite to them when you ask them for something is critical. People go to these conventions to feel accepted by a community that shares the same passion with them—the least you can do is be a part of that community for a couple of days.

12. OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES

Let's not forget that the whole city of San Diego is consumed during this event (yes, it’s that epic). There are multiple events related to the Con that will take place on the outskirts of the Convention Center, especially in the famous Gaslamp District. Check the websites of local San Diego restaurants, pubs and shops for a schedule of activities that you may fancy taking part in. The list of things to do is long for the Con.

This guide is a great place to start as you begin planning your Comic-Con adventure. If there’s something we missed, please tell us in the comments!

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