San Diego Comic-Con Tips From a Newbie – What to Bring With You Everyday (Tip #1)

I cannot believe it, but we’re already only 29 days out from San Diego Comic-Con! This will be my 2nd year attending and I am beyond excited! Last year was pretty intense for me as a newbie and I admit being a little overwhelmed by everything, especially because I was there by myself for the first two days. This year I am taking a more relaxed approach, but will still prepare as much as I can. I am putting together a series of tips that will help if you’re a newbie or a seasoned vet who is open to ways you can improve your experience! Here’s tip #1:

What To Bring With You Everyday

  • A backpack – This should be a pretty good size, but not too bulky especially if your car isn’t nearby or you’re not staying within walking distance from the convention center. Make sure it’s comfortable on your back and has adjustable straps. I made the mistake of using the bag they give you on the floor, and my back was in pain by the second day.
  • Earplugs – Ok, you may not realize it, but the convention floor is noisy! There are thousands of people walking around talking to each other, music blaring, booths playing video clips or doing some sort of demo, announcements, etc. It can be really overwhelming especially if you’re an anxious person already. Earplugs can cancel out most of that noise and allow you to focus on yourself and your breathing so you don’t freak out like I did, lol. Earplugs are also great at night in the hotels when you’re trying to sleep!
  • A plastic water bottle – Ok believe me, I am all for reducing water bottle waste in landfills, but this is one time when I refuse to use a refillable water bottle from the store. Last year I brought my metal water bottle with me and it added so much weight to my backpack. You’ll be much better off just buying a normal sized water from the store and refilling it at a water fountain throughout the day because it hardly weighs anything even with 16 oz of water in it.
  • A good camera – Unless you’re a cosplay photographer or photojournalist, I don’t really recommend carrying around a heavy DSLR with multiple lenses everywhere. However, whatever comes to mind when I say “good camera,” bring it. It can be your iPhone or a consumer grade DSLR or a small point and shoot. There is just so much happening that you are going to want a good camera, especially if you plan to blog about your experience. A good camera is great too for those random celebrity sitings (I saw Kyle Gass from Tenacious D last year!). Don’t forget your charger, extra batteries, and memory cards too!
  • Business cards – Comic-Con is great for networking if you’re in the biz or want to be. You never know who you might meet! Last year I met a cameraman for IGN at a bar in the Gaslamp District, many bloggers and cosplayers, and a wide variety of people from all over the world. Don’t be afraid to talk to people and promote yourself a bit!
  • Snacks – OK this one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how little time you have to gather snacks together during a con. Buy all your snacks the day of preview night so you’re all stocked up for the week. Be sure to bring stuff high in protein and complex carbs. The best snacks are fruit, cut up veggies (with dip if you have a container to keep it in), protein or granola bars, nuts, sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, cheese sticks, and beef jerky. These will keep you feeling full and give you the energy you need to walk multiple miles every day during the convention.
  • Your badge – Duh! But seriously don’t forget it! You’ll need it to get into special outside events as well as the actual convention center.
  • Phone charger or extra battery – Chances are you’ll be checking your phone a lot at Comic-Con. Using the official Comic-Con app, following the #SDCC tag on Twitter, posting photos to Instagram and status updates to Facebook, texting your friends, listening to music while you wait in 2+ hour lines. Your phone will most likely die before the end of the day so make sure you have a way to charge it.
  • Sharpie  or pen – To jot down notes, doodle while you’re bored, or for spur of the moment celebrity encounters or sightings.
  • Sunglasses – Cause July in San Diego is hot and sunny (for the most part) and some of the panel lines start outdoors.
  • Poster Tube – This is something I was lacking last year and really wish I had. There are so many free posters during conventions and the best way to keep them looking good is in a poster tube. The Nerdy Girlie mentioned she made one out of a wrapping paper tube. The FOX booth also usually gives them away at the start of each day.
  • Handheld mirror – Especially useful if you’re cosplaying. For checking your hair and makeup before a photo is taken, and there will be lots of photos taken!
  • Light sweater or hoodie – The convention center can get cold and the weather does get cooler at night in San Diego because it’s right on the water. Layering is a good idea so you can take off and put on as needed.
  • Comfy shoes – Cannot stress this one enough. You’ll be doing so much walking. The convention center has 2.6 million sq. ft. of facilities and outside events extend a couple miles from that in every direction.

What else am I missing? What are your must haves for Comic-Con this year?

3 thoughts on “San Diego Comic-Con Tips From a Newbie – What to Bring With You Everyday (Tip #1)

  1. This is a great list! Another thing I would add is a little bit of cash. Most booths will take cards but some in artist alley might only accept cash OR if there’s an issue with the wifi/network, cards might not work at the time you’re trying to make a purchase!

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