18 JULY 2016
I know - there are about 32 new posts a day titled "What to Pack for San Diego Comic-Con." I was going to skip it because hey, you're not stupid. You know how to pack for a few days of fun, right?
Then I recalled all of the many "I wish I had brought..." or "I can't believe I forgot my..." comments I hear every year. So here we go.
What should you bring to Comic-Con?
Something warm to wear. San Diego nights can get chilly in my thin-blooded opinion, so I always bring a sweater or two. If you're going to camp under the city stars, you'll really want something warm. Just be aware that the mornings can turn hot quickly, so be ready to dress for up and down the thermometer.
Something comfortable to wear. Especially if you're getting snazzed up for the Star Trek premiere or some other fancy nightlife doing, or wearing elaborate cosplay - you'll eventually want to crawl into the most comfortable shoes and pants you have. Think you're too vain to look schlumpy at Comic-Con? After a few days and multiple lines, you won't care.
Cosplay repair. It can all go awry so quickly. And it only takes one malfunctioning mask or torn dress to ruin the whole effect. Bring either an alternate costume or repair tools.
Extra batteries, headphones and chargers. Don't count on charging up when and where you need to. It's faster and more reliable to just pop in a fresh battery.
Contact cards. Even if you're not marketing yourself in some capacity, you will meet people you want to stay in touch with. Bring something that can be quickly exchanged instead of making someone unlock their phone and type in your number.
Food and water. I'm baking tonight because as much as I eat out at SDCC, it's just handier to have snacks in your room. Plus having fruit or pretzels or what have you can save you from splurging on an expensive meal you didn't want that much anyhow.
Contact info of your friends. It seems like we'd all be able to find each other through our interconnected accounts, but sometimes you realize you can't text your ex-roommate because they got a new number and oops, there goes your whole night.
Aspirin, bandaids, eyedrops, drugstore cures. Travel can do a number on many of us, but add in the noise and stress of Comic-Con and headaches, constipation, dry eyes and sore muscles become an epidemic. Instead of forking over 20 a pill in the hotel gift shop, just bring it.
Earplugs and sleep mask. These aren't just for ladies of leisure who sleep till noon. If you don't sleep well in hotels or are sensitive to city noise, earplugs and sleep mask can help you get genuinely restful sleep. I travel with an entire insomnia kit involving melatonin, lavender oil, my own pillow and a white noise app on my iPad. It helps.
Condoms. Let's not be coy about this: people hook up at Comic-Con. To avoid bringing home the wrong kind of memento, bring condoms if there's even the smallest chance you might meet someone. When it's late at night and you're tired and have no idea where the nearest drugstore is, it's really tempting to be stupid.
Sketchbook. A different kind of chance encounter: that amazing artist is suddenly right next to you, there's no line, and he's willing to sketch. Instead of scrambling for a promotional flyer with a white back, have a nice sketchbook on hand. You can keep collecting sketches and autographs at different Cons and create a really cool keepsake.
Bathing suit. Even if you're not a big swimmer per se, just getting in your hotel hot tub or sauna is a nice break. Or maybe you'll get sick of the Con and decide to hit the beach.
A water bottle. Comic-Con is really dehydrating, so just get in the habit of carrying a bottle around that you can keep refilling.
YOUR BADGE. There aren't enough panic attacks in the world for the moment you step off the plane and realize your badge is back home in Minnesota.
What shouldn't you bring?
A ton of different outfits and 6 pairs of shoes. You can probably get by on your support shoes and one pair of going-out shoes..
Shipping materials. The UPS and Fedex stores (in the convention centers and nearby hotels) will have all the boxes and tape you need.
An entire of suitcase of back issues and old action figures to sell. The vendors aren't interested unless you'e got something super special.
Your laptop. You can upload all your photos to social from your phone. You really won't be in your room that much anyhow.
Anything extra, since you want room to bring home the goods.
It's almost zero hour!