Vacations and traveling in general can be a stressful preparation experience, let alone when you’re considering knocking off a bucket list worthy trip like San Diego Comic Con. With that being said our team has extensive travel experiences and tips we want to share.
Start with planning well ahead of your desired event, in this case, Comic Con isn’t something you decide to do 2 months in advance; you need a solid 8-10 months of advanced warning to save, prep, acquire passes, and so on.
As Comic Con becomes a transcendent event, passes get harder to come by; you can no longer show up to San Diego, walk up to the event and get in – scalping is being cracked down on as well. It’s suggested you do the right thing and go through the SDCC.com membership and ticket process, this can take the stress out of getting into the event, and as long as you stay on top of announcements and emails you shouldn’t have a big problem getting passes.
Let’s talk about hotel choices. San Diego offers a plethora of options, we suggest looking at where you stay from a transportation stand point, staying with a SDCC preferred hotel has it’s perks, but can be pricey and booking that far in advance can be troublesome. Try reviewing the “circle” of transportation around the event and consider the hotels on the outer borders, if you’re in a group of 4 or more using a service like Uber (lots of coupon codes out there so do some googling) can be cheaper than each person paying for trolley tickets. Think About the beautiful Hyatt Mission Bay, on the beach, it’s much more reasonable than the Hyatt Bay front. If you want to drive or it’s in the budget for a rental car, consider Del Mar as a place to stay, a little of a drive in but one of the higher end, prettiest places in the country. Having a car has perks, food storage, clothes storage, and a trunk for all that swag, consider making friends at the hotel that will kick in for gas. Parking can always be a challenge in major cities for events; but lots of options are available in SD – SDCC has a few recommended partners, and we suggest you go get those passes when they become available.
Now for our bread and butter: flying. There are a ton of stereo types with flying that cause the occasional traveler heartburn and panic, but no worries that’s what we’re here to help with. Let’s start with when to book, get familiar with your airport options, and know who is the preferred carrier of your departure city and destination city. Booking in advance doesn’t always guarantee the best deal, depending on how busy your local airport is 10-21 days out can be a steal. Do the research, it’s worth it. Once you’ve decided on an airline, sign up for their rewards program. With all your Cosplay gear, your changes of clothes (don’t skimp, showering, and changing is the key to keeping all those new friends you’ll make) and all the swag you may bring back – the first free checked bag is important. There is a myth out there that says airlines lose your bags, it’s just not true, and you won’t win rounds with the TSA if you’re trying to carry on your Star Wars Blasters. Check a bag for free with the airline program. If you still have a lot to take with you, know that most airlines offer free gate checks, take your roller boards through security and ask the gate agent. Now you’ve rid yourself of carrying all that stuff and it didn’t cost you a dime. This still isn’t an excuse for not packing smart, make a list of days in our trip, be prepared to have extra clothes if the weather is hot, don’t throw your bag together as if it were a laundry basket, if you’re not the best at folding (aka a man) ask your closest female friend or mom to do it, and while you’re at it lay out your items and consider grouping all the TSA avoidable items in that first checked bag. Nothing’s worse than trying to pull out your shampoo and dumping your Scooby Do’s on the airport floor.
Lastly a few general tips:
Make conversation on the plane, chances are you may find someone making the same pilgrimage or even a local with great foodie tips.
When you get to the hotel, check in with the concierge. They are there to help and you never know what kind of insider info they may drop on you.
Document your experiences and share! Comic Con is a nerdy community event, give back by helping out the next time someone needs event advice.
Have fun and don’t stress about hitting all the cool stuff, no one can do it all in one trip. Take advantage of what you can and enjoy the crazy ride.
Hopefully we’ve done our part dropping some knowledge on you. Feel free to comment and ask questions of anything we may have missed.
~ By E.S. Norton ~
Categories: SDCC 2014