The East Coast's largest celebration of popular culture is just around the corner, kicking off October 3 and continuing through October 6 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. Make the most of your experience by doing everything in your power to prepare for the adventure ahead. Whether you're a first time convention attendee or have years of convention experience under your belt, we've got you covered with advice, wisdom and tips from pop culture enthusiasts with decades of combined convention experience.
Do Your Research Before You Go
Before you even begin packing, there are a few things you can and should do to prepare your convention itinerary and ensure you make the most of your time at the convention. First of all, follow New York Comic on across all social media channels including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Tenor GIFs. Sign up for the newsletter to ensure you receive the latest updates and news. Download the NYCC mobile app to have up to date information on hand.
As you're preparing your convention timeline, regularly check the schedule on the website with the understanding that things can and will change. Prepare a game plan that allows you to get the most out of the experience but prepare to be flexible. A convention is always greater than the sum of its parts and inevitably there will be occurrences beyond your control. Rather than allowing these situations to ruin your experience or mood, roll with the proverbial punches and focus on the many positive elements of your experience. And as you're scheduling, don't forget to research parties and events taking place outside the traditional convention walls. Many businesses in New York will be celebrating Comic Con with their own special events which is a great opportunity to take a break from the crowds.
Lotteries: May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor
Part of the benefit of following the relevant social media channels and subscribing to the newsletter is that you'll have ample notice of any lotteries taking place. Lotteries are a key—if sometimes challenging and frustrating—aspect of conventions because they may be your only opportunity to visit a particular booth, panel or screening. When in doubt, enter the lottery because it may be your only opportunity to enjoy a particular booth or experience.
Caring for Your Mental and Physical Health
Conventions can be an exhausting experience with long days (and lines), lots of walking, intense emotions ranging from excitement to disappointment, extreme temperatures and exposure to lots of different people and bacteria. Con crud is very real but can potentially be avoided with a healthy supply of Emergen-C and vitamins. Bring hand sanitizer as well as hand wipes to minimize contact with bacteria throughout the day and keep yourself feeling fresh and ready for the next adventure. Medications, including any prescriptions you might require, as well as ibuprofen for potential headaches and band-aids for blisters.
Remember to drink plenty of water, wear comfortable shoes because you will likely do a lot of walking and don't be afraid to take a break and give yourself some downtime. Taking an afternoon or evening off to explore another part of the city or simply enjoy a refreshing nap at your hotel might improve your overall convention experience. One key way to mitigate the possibility of blisters is to alternate shoes every other day.
Cosplay All Day (And Night)
If you plan to cosplay, first of all, congratulations on your commitment to pop culture! Cosplay is one of the most challenging and rewarding ways to express your fandom and will undeniably require some additional preparation. First of all, remember to take your full costume for a test run before the convention. This is the best way to figure out which accessories will break, whether your costume is comfortable enough to walk in and generally prepare for unexpected problems. Even if your test run goes well, it's best to be prepared for potential costumes snags along the way. A small repair kit including glue, sewing materials, safety pins, scissors and makeup remover can help alleviate the stress of a broken buckle, shoe or accessory. If something breaks and you don't have the necessary repair materials, don't despair! There's a good chance there's at least one, if not several, mobile cosplay repair technicians wandering the exhibition floors eager to repair your costume for free. If you're looking for a mobile cosplay repair tech try following #mobilecosplayrepair and #cosplayrepair on Instagram.
Planning ahead will make the convention process a lot more manageable, and your convention experience a lot less stressful. When planning outfits for each day, don't forget to take comfort into account, as well as the possibility that you might want to change clothes at some point during the day. It's easy to forget about food and drinks, but if your hotel or Airbnb doesn't provide easy and cheap access to food and beverages, you might want to pack snacks for your room. When managing space in your suitcase, don't forget to account for souvenirs! If you're one of the many pop culture fans planning on bringing back artwork, Funko products and other convention goodies, you'll need plenty of space in your suitcase.
What You'll Need Each Day of the Convention
Every fan approaches conventions differently and, depending on your priorities each day, you might not need this full list of supplies. However, it pays to be prepared, especially at conventions, so use this checklist before heading out for the convention each day:
- The perfect con bag. Whether you're a fan of backpacks or totes, make sure whatever you choose will have sufficient space for everything you need and will be comfortable after wearing it all day.
- Water bottle with filter
- Backup battery and cables for all electronic devices
- Snacks with an emphasis on the protein and carbs you'll need to get you through the day
- Medications including ibuprofen and band aids
- Smell good for the crowds: Deoderent, body spray, mints, etc.
- Tissues, sanitizers and wipes to help you feel fresh throughout the day
- Printouts including schedules, maps, confirmation codes, and necessary tickets
- Comic book bags and boards to protect new acquisitions
- Lanyards and pins
- Poster tubes
In all likelihood, you're going to want to thoroughly document your convention experience. With a little advanced prep, you can eliminate a lot of potential stress and challenges. If you're traveling out of state (or country) you'll need to notify your bank to ensure that any debit or credit cards don't get frozen. Before you go, update your phone and clear space for photos, videos and new apps that might be useful.
Is there something we forgot? Share your best convention tips on social media using #FunkoNYCC.