This last weekend I attended my first ever Comic Con! I did not know exactly what to expect but I learned a lot about cosplaying, staying in a different city without my parents, and surviving walking around the Convention Center in Denver all day. It was a huge learning experience, so hopefully next year I will be better prepared! In this post I am going to share what I did that worked, did not work, and what I think will work better next year.
1. Do not bring more than you need.
This goes two ways - what you pack if you are going out of town and what you carry on you at the con. I tend to over-pack like crazy. I did not plan ahead as to how I would carry everything from the car to the hotel room, and I especially did not plan on how I would carry everything around the convention center all day long. My boyfriend Jeremy brought his backpack but since it did not go with his costume, he had to put it down and then pick it up constantly because so many people asked for his picture. My solution to this problem would be to incorporate what you need to carry into your costume. For example, I made my utility belt for one of my costumes, so I made the pockets big enough to carry my cell phone, chapstick, money, and hotel key card. I was even able to fit a tampon in one of the pockets (this is important for girls!). For next year, I will probably make a small backpack or purse that matches my costume and is easy to carry. I will also try to create a stylish way to carry a water bottle!
Look into parking costs for your hotel and convention center. We waited until the last minute to book our rooms, so we found that although the rooms we booked were the cheapest options, we had to pay for parking. We ended up parking about a block away from the hotel we stayed at because it was cheaper than the hotel's parking options. If you have to drive to the convention center, look into the parking options and whether or not it costs money so you can be prepared. We were lucky enough to be able to walk everywhere, but we still had to pay for daily parking.
Book your rooms ASAP!!! Do not wait until the last minute because it will cost more and you will not get the best options. Our hotel rooms were great but WiFi costed extra and parking in the parking garage costed almost $30 a day. Many hotels offer free WiFi and free parking, so look into those things before you book your room, or plan accordingly so you have enough money.
4. Take Breaks
When you are walking around the convention center all day, make sure you take the time to sit down and rest. Unless you attend panels all day, but you still might need to give your brain a rest! On the last day of Comic Con Jeremy and I walked to the car, opened it all up, and sat in the back eating snacks and drinking water for about half an hour. If we had done that the other two days, we would have been well rested and we would not have gotten cranky with each other in the middle of the day!
Keep your costume pieces together, but make sure that your costumes are separate so they do not get mixed up or lost. Also, whether you are staying in a hotel, at home, or at someone else's house, keep your space clean so you can find everything. Another thing is to plan ahead with your costume and the weather. One thing Jeremy and I wished we had was those small battery-powered fans so we could cool off during the day. We both wore masks and he wore a helmet over his face so we both were dripping sweat at some points. Next year we will have those fans on us at all times! Also, the Denver Comic Con website advises that if your costume is too hot to bring a change of clothes so you do not get overheated. If you happen to be carrying a backpack or bag, this is a great idea. The first day we actually left the con in the middle of the day to eat lunch and go swimming at our hotel, so we changed into normal clothes before we went back at the end of the day. It made a huge difference in how comfortable we were.
Another important aspect about costumes and even regular clothes is the type of shoes you wear. We walked so much and I made a huge mistake on the first day by wearing heels to walk 5+ blocks to the convention center and then around the convention center. My feet were bleeding in the first two hours. The next day I wore wedges that I always thought were sooo comfortable but by the middle of the day, my feet were killing me. Yes, those shoes were for my costumes, but I wish I had brought tennis shoes instead! For next year, I hope to find flat shoes with arches or at least gel support so walking in them all day will feel better.
That's all for now. If I think of more I will write part two! Here are some of my pictures from Denver Comic Con 2014: