Well it’s that time of year when the geek world unites in San Diego California for the geekgasm of the year. So after attending SDCC for over 20 years I am going to share some ideas to make going to the convention fun and help with planning ahead.
1) Wear comfortable shoes
This is by far the biggest thing that you need to have. Remember that you are going to be on your feet either walking or standing for 8 to 10 hours in the day so you need to be ready for it. Make sure that your shoes fit well and are super comfortable. If you get a new pair of shoes for the con make sure that you break them in before you get there. So that way if you run in any problems you can get them out-of-the-way early.
2) Portable food and water
The next most important thing is that you want to always carry some snacks such as granola bars, nuts, jerky, dried fruit or vegetables. All of these items will give you needed energy during the day when you are unable to eat a full meal. They are also small and portable so you are not lugging a ton of weight with you during the day. Beware of convention food! Never buy anything involving meat because you run the risk of getting sick from it. If you do buy anything a pretzel is one of your better bets. The odds of getting sick from that are minimal. Make sure you bring at least 1 bottle of water minimum. You really need to stay hydrated during the long day at the con. Make sure that you set aside some money to buy extra water if needed. Try and stay away from sodas because they will not hydrate you as well as water. Another good idea is to eat at least one real meal during the day. It will help your energy level to handle being at the con for all five days.
People tend to forget to put on sunscreen. It’s summertime folks and the UV is at its highest during the convention. Even on an overcast day there can still be harmful UV rays that can burn your skin. There is nothing more miserable during the con than having a sunburn. Make sure that before you head out in the morning that you apply a good amount and take some with you. Remember that when you are waiting outside for Hall H that you may not always be covered by the tents and it doesn’t take long to get burnt to a crisp in the sun.
Before you head to the con get some pill containers and fill them with aspirin/pain pills, pepto bismol tablets (easier to carry than the liquid), diarrhea pills, antacids and band aids. Also get some blister shields incase you develop a blister with all of the walking that you are going to do. Also get a travel size of baby powder that will help if you have any chaffing issues. If you have any allergies or specific non perception medical needs take some extra pills/med’s just in case.
5) Personal Hygiene
This is not only for you but the rest of us that do not want to experience your Fanboy Funk! First take a bath or shower every day PERIOD! Take the time to wash your entire body well. Buy some good deodorant or anti-persperent not the cheap stuff. It’s not that expensive. Guys do not buy AXE spray and think you are good to go. It’s just smells like over powering perfume on a pile of shit, the two do not mix. Ladies do not use half of the bottle of perfume. It should be a complement smell not leaving a cloud trail behind you. This leads us to number 6.
6) Bring at least a clean change of clothing everyday
Change you shirt, socks, underwear every day folks. Remember you are going to be sweating all day and it soaks right into your clothing. Pants can possibly go for a few days but always check them to smell if they pass the ripe test everyday. Make sure that you pack extra shirts, socks and underwear just in case. You never know when you might need to change your clothes.
7) Bring at least one set of nice clothes
You never know if you are going to get invited to a nice party so bring at least one dress shirt and a nice pair of pants and some dress shoes. You don’t want to look like you were at the con all day if you meet a person that you want to impress. T-shirt and jeans are fine for the con but put a little effort into it if you are going to a nice place or a party.
8) Portable power
In the age of cell phones, iPad and cameras you need to plan ahead with extra batteries or a portable charger. There are very few outlets for use at the convention center so by bringing a portable charger you can charge you phone while you are in a panel with ease. You will run out of juice in no time and if you need to make a call you could be screwed. Bring a power strip for your hotel room because there are never enough outlets in the room. Be sure to charge them every night at the hotel. Also put your phone on vibrate when you are in a panel so you are not the pinhead getting a call during it.
9) Plan a Schedule
SDCC has put the programming schedule online and you can set your own schedule up via the web or the smart phone app. This will really help you figure out what you are doing each day and where you need to be. Even if you plan everything out there are some panels that you will not be able to get into because they are full. So when making your schedule put alternative panels in your schedule so you have some backup plans. Set aside time each night after the con to update your schedule for each of the following days. Once you have the basic framework ready it’s easy to change things each day if you need to. Manage your time. Sadly the days of showing up a few minutes before a popular panel and getting into it are over. If there is a panel that you really want to see I would plan to sit in at least one and possibly up to three panels before the one you want to see. You never know you might actually stumble onto a great panel that you would have never otherwise went to.
10) Washing your hands
One of the most important things you can never do enough of is washing your hands. There are going to be over 130,000 people from all over the world and you don’t want to get sick during the con. So wash those hands as often as you can and also have some hand sanitizer at the ready when you are unable to wash them with soap and water.
11) Budget Your Money
This is probably one of the hardest things to do at SDCC. There is a million things that you want to buy but that can get very expensive very quickly. So try to set a certain amount of money that you can spend and plan accordingly. Trust me I usually fail at this one so maybe you can do better than me.
Make peace with SDCC. I realized about 6 or so years ago that the chaos of SDCC is frankly overwhelming. So remember if you don’t get into a panel that you wanted to, you’re not going to die. If you don’t get that exclusive item, you’re not going to die. If you don’t get to meet your favorite Nerdlebrity, you’re not going to die. One thing to keep in mind is just go with the flow. Take your time to see things. When you run around like a chicken with its head cut off you are going to miss things. It will keep your stress level down and you will have a lot more fun at the convention.