This was my first year attending San Diego Comic-Con and I took away some lessons that I thought should be shared.  I started with the press preview on Wednesday night and stayed through the end on Sunday.  I was able to see a few of the panels I wanted to see but missed out on a few of the bigger ones due to poor line management on my part.  I took away some good learnings and here are 6 that I think could help future convention goers.

  1. Pack light and smart – This one is kind of an overarching lesson that can be applied to most of the rest of these.  If you’re attending for all 4 days and you’re carrying around a heavy bag, shoulders will start to ache early and often if you’re not used to lugging around a lot of weight.  Not a lot of fun.  Plus, if you’re like most, you’ll be buying items or receiving freebies.  This means more weight and more soreness.
  2. Be prepared for long lines – get mentally ready for this and as mentioned in #1, pack light.  Depending on what you are there to see, lines for panels can be very long.  Anything popular and you’re talking multiple hours waiting and waiting.  Have a book a phone, tablet or something to keep you occupied.  Get ready to make acquaintances with others in line – you may end up with new friends (like I did) or you may just learn a few new things.  Either way, you’re stuck together for a while so make the best of it.  Meditate, whatever.  Just be ready – whatever form that takes for you.  If you’re outside, bring sunblock.  Again, see rule #1 – make it a small sunblock and you’ll be good.
  3. Buddy system – if you can, have a friend there.  The first 2 lessons come in to play, if you must leave the lines for a Bio Break  – who will save your spot if you’re alone?  Answer, no one.  You’re it kid.  Make a friend or bring one.  If you get in to one of the panels and have to leave for a sec, who is saving your seat?  Your buddy if you have one.   Who will take your photo with all the superstars you meet?  This may be a stretch but I really could have used a camera person a few times but there was no one there to lean on.  Next year.
  4. Good shoes – I thought my shoes were comfy.  Wrong.  I ended up buying new ones for the last couple days.  With the long lines mentioned in #2 you learn quickly that standing around in bad shoes makes for a long long day.  Even if you’re not standing in line, you’re walking the convention center, the downtown area, to the transit systems or whatever – you will be walking a lot.  Be ready.
  5. Power, Power, Power – any other bloggers out there?  On Twitter?  Sending pics to facebook?  You need power.  Have back up batteries.   Your phone will die quickly and you’ll really want it charged.  Whatever you bring to keep yourself powered, see #1.  Make it light.
  6. You will be tired – There is a lot to see, huge crowds, a lot of walking and long days.  Be ready to be tired when you’re done.  If you’re planning daily recaps or anything like that, make sure you’re in a comfy spot when you fall asleep at the keyboard.

All in all, it was a great event and I really look forward to next year.  If you went, or if you have been there before – what hints or tips might you have?