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For any newcomer, a Comic Con is a weird and wonderful event that can make someone who has felt on the fringes of society feel like they are in a welcome and loving home. Comic Cons are an amazing experience, but for first-timers, they can be a bit on the overwhelming side. But if you or a friend in your life wants to dip their toe into this scene, what do you have to remember?
Choose Your Convention Wisely
The world of Comic Con is, literally, worldwide, so depending on where you, are you may want to choose a Comic Con that is potentially more family-friendly. In the UK, there are a variety of great Comic Cons, and if you or your friend are more into Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who, a UK convention is arguably your best bet.
But there are always a variety of things that appeal to almost everyone. However, if you are venturing across the pond, you may want to bring some home comforts. You will need some of the following:
A Bag You Can Carry
In addition to your suitcase, you will need a sturdy bag that is going to fit all of your posters, comics, or anything that you want signed.
A Comic Con is a physical ordeal. The Comic Con may be under one roof, but you can easily average 7 miles of walking around the floor, and this doesn’t even include when you are standing in various lines for up to 2 hours.
A Phone Battery Backup
You need to take your charger but if you are heading for a weekend convention, a spare battery is going to make all the difference because you will drain it based on the amount of photos you are taking! It’s also a good idea to have some data preloaded onto it so you can contact people back home. There are a variety of 5g UK SIM deals, so you can easily get in contact with people back home. And, of course, the hotel you’re staying at will have Wi-Fi.
Comic Con food is incredibly expensive. Having a collection of loose food that you can eat while you are on the go will make a big difference. You could take sandwiches with you or a variety of protein bars just to make sure that you have the energy to traipse all around!
You may want some peace and quiet, especially when you are sitting down for lunch. Comic Cons can be an assault on the senses, and for any newcomer that may not have seen so many Klingons and Dr. Stranges under one roof, good pair of noise canceling headphones could make a big difference here.
Figure Out What You Need To Do
A Comic Con begins months in advance. As soon as you find out the lineup, you have to ensure you decide what you absolutely need to see it against what you think would be nice to do. There are a lot of events, and as a general rule, give yourself 30 minutes in between events so you can get out of a venue and find the next location.
Get a Map of the Venue
A Comic Con is only as good as the value you get from it. It’s going to be impossible to see absolutely everybody, but you’ve got to think that if you want to see as many people as possible, you have got to be crafty in terms of how you navigate the venue. You may want to print out a map of the venue itself, even if it’s just for the bathrooms, but if you can see exactly who is going to be where, you can choose your own schedule. There will be things that are going to run over, especially if there’s a big name and you are absolutely desperate for the autograph or a picture. Those are the people that, if you absolutely need to see them, you need to get in early and you’ve got to be prepared to wait, even if this means you miss out on a few other things.
Get Your Budget in Place
This is absolutely pivotal for anybody just starting out. The problem with Comic Con is that you can easily spend hundreds, if not thousands, on mementos of your amazing weekend. If you want to make things a little easier on your wallet, the best thing you can do is to take cash with you. Because it’s so easy to pay by a card or your phone, the best thing you could do is to stick to cash for smaller purchases and use the card for the big one or two purchases. You’ve got to pre-plan your budget before you go and stick to it religiously.
Navigating the Show
The show is where all this planning and preparation comes into its own. Navigating the show with an understanding of where everything is makes for a far more streamlined and easier experience. You’ve got to bear in mind that not everything will go according to plan, and this is why some of the following things are non-negotiable.
Find Where the Bathrooms Are
You will need to space out your day due to the number of queues you’ll be in, which means drinking water little and often, so if you are absolutely desperate to go to the bathroom at the end of the day, you won’t miss out on anything. It’s also important to remember that one of the bathrooms is going to be jam-packed, so always go to the bathroom at the very beginning of the day, so you can set yourself up for a great day without thinking about your bladder!
Purchase Items Later On in the Day
Unless you’re looking for exclusive items, you’re better off venturing to these booths at the end of the day. Also, don’t be distracted by free stuff. It’s so easy to load up on free stuff, but you soon run out of room for the things you actually want. If you are going to carry stuff, make sure that it’s the things you really want to buy. You’ve got very limited space in your bag, so make sure it has the things you really want.
Be Polite to the Security People or Staff
A lot of Comic Cons can be like a feeding frenzy. As desperate as you might be to meet or catch a glimpse of Jodie Whittaker, you’ve got to play it cool, and if there are big panels you want to attend, you’ve got to get there 30 minutes early, and before the major panels like DC or Marvel, those security people are going to be your friends, and if you are nice to them and ask a couple of calm questions, such as when will they let people start lining up or if the event is running on time, you’ve got a far better understanding of what you can do to fill your time more effectively.
Don’t Be Afraid To Go Off-Piste
There is always going to be something unexpected, and allowing yourself a little bit of time to wander around will give you opportunities to enjoy the event.
For anybody who is just starting out in the world of Comic Cons, it can be incredibly addictive. The great Comic Cons are those where you come home with an abundance of stories, not just of the famous people you met, but the people you’ve made friends with along the way. It’s not just about the events in the auditorium, but when you find someone else that you’ve got a connection with, this can be the beginning of a lifelong friendship. To anybody that has never ventured to a Comic Con before, now is the time to do it!
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