Never been to Comic-Con? While I’m not going this year, I can pass along some tips.
Make a Con kit. While most of these things are readily available, it’s good to carry them on you. I always carried two bottles of water, and three energy bars. Helped me while waiting for panels and keeping hydrated on the warm convention floor. I also only carried what I needed – photo ID, a credit card for emergencies, some cash for shopping and food (while they do take debit at lots of places, cash will get you through faster), some feminine hygiene products (just in case) and a pair of flip flops or small sneakers. Since I usually was in costume, the shoes were in case I got tired of wearing 4 inch heels. (I have a messenger bag with a comfy strap that I use, and if I’m in costume, I make sure I have a someone who doesn’t mind wearing it.) Also, if you’re in costume and your costume requires makeup, bring it with you- you’ll have to retouch at some point in time. Bring extra bobby pins, and a small sewing kit just in case.
Plan out your trip. The first problem people who are new make is that they don’t plan their day out, or they think that they can get from one panel into another without a wait. It’s going to be busy and expect a wait, especially for the TV show and movie panels. And Kevin Smith? You’d better be willing to wait most of the day for that one. Now, they don’t empty out each hall between panels, so people can comfortably wait once they’re inside. And once you’re in, you can get a readmit ticket that’ll get you back in so long as you’re back before the current panel ends- which covers bathroom trips and trips to the snack carts. So unless those two back to back panels for the hot new movie are in the same room, you might want to figure out which one you’d rather see.
If there’s an autograph that you just have to get, remember that you will have to wait. So get there early. Also, give yourself three times as much time to cross the convention floor as you think it’d take. Often, the walkways get congested on the floor, so you might find yourself in gridlocked traffic while the person you wanted to get something signed by is wrapping it up and leaving. So really, give yourself lots of time.
You’re going to get a lot of freebies. They’ll give you a cheap plastic bag when you first get your con badge, but if you see a nicer, heavy duty bag- don’t be afraid to ask someone where they got it. Also, if you’re planning on keeping movie posters (they usually give away a few), bring your own carrying tube. Otherwise, those posters will be bent by the time you get back to your car/hotel room.
Food-wise, they have some stands at the convention that sell nachos, sandwiches, pizza (at least the last time I went, that was the deal). There’s a Starbucks on property. Make sure you have cash- I’ve been there when their debit/credit card machines went down and people suddenly didn’t have money for food. You’ll be within walking distance of the Gaslamp district as well as Seaport Village, where there are actual restaurants, but make sure you give yourself plenty of time for meals if you’re going to walk.
Other than that, make sure that your shoes aren’t brand new. Nothing worse than having sore feet because your shoes weren’t broken in. Costume tips: Make sure you can wear 4″ heels all day while walking a lot if that’s what your costume entails. Make sure your make up doesn’t keep you from using the bathroom (hint: wear gloves if you can and don’t put makeup on your hands). Don’t wear fake nails for your costume if you’ve never worn them before. And also, they’re pretty strict about weapons so make sure that you check out the guidelines before you show up there.
Finally, it will be hot. Not just because it’s July in San Diego- but while they’ll be running the air conditioning on the floor, it’ll be really hot. Drink lots of water and be safe!