Comic-Con Survival Guide

SAN DIEGO — For nearly two decades, I’ve been lucky enough to attend the annual Comic-Con International here in San Diego. And each year, I’ve found and met people who come to the Con woefully unprepared for the five days which lies ahead of them.

Comic-Con is not just fun, but it’s a game of survival of the fittest and the most prepared. Here’s what you need to know to make your experience more enjoyable.

If the shoe fits, wear it. And what I mean by that is please, please find and wear comfortable shoes.  Whether you like it or not, you will be standing for a long period of time. And please break those shoes in. Now is not the time to be wearing high heels or sandals. Sneakers are your best bet. And with Harbor Drive being closed to cars, scooters and bikes, that trip to the front of the Con will be that much further.

Love is a many layered thing. You’ll be in several types of environments when at the Con. You’ll go from stuffy, hot rooms to artic temperatures in the blink of an eye. A tank top, (please wear deodorant — your fellow attendees will thank you), a long sleeve shirt, long pants and a hoodie are MUST have items. Trust me, you may think “Oh I’ll be fine” and realize too late that you won’t be.

Money makes the world go-around. The lines for food and snacks can be long in the Convention Center and the surrounding hotels. Having cash speeds up the process and takes away the debit/credit card approvals that slow things down. I don’t recommend walking around with a ton of cash on you because — let’s be real — people steal, but having a well-placed $20 can really save your day.

Dehydration isn’t cosplay. Ice-cold water is your friend. Every year I’ve attended the week of the Con, it’s always hot and humid. And believe it or not, it’s pretty easy to get dehydrated ( I learned this the hard way the first year I went). They do sell water in the Convention Center and in some rooms there are water dispensaries, but it’s best to have your own water. Pro tip: if you buy bottled water, always freeze the water the night before. It will slowly melt throughout the day and viola: ice cold water on command.

Charge! And I don’t mean using credit cards. I mean having a fully charged phone or iPad is a must at all times. You’re going to want to Instagram all the cool costumes and Snapchat your moments at panels.  So it’s best to follow the ABC plan. (Always Be Charging). A portable charger is a must. You can rent chargers at the convention center, but once again, it’s pricey. If you can afford it, go for it, but again it’s best to bring your own.

Snack attack. I always love Comic-Con because it’s the one week of the year I know I’m guaranteed to lose weight. With all the walking, standing and shoving (OK, I admit, I’m one of those people) I’m burning calories left and right. So, I like to keep snacks such as trail mix, gum and even apples near by. No-nos are stinky food of any kind. (One year I saw a person bring tuna and raw onions in a container and eat it during a panel) In Hall H, you will not be able to escape the smell of nachos and bad hot dogs, but if you’re in there, don’t add the “special” aroma of your food to an area which is already smelling bad from body odor.