Make Your Trip to Comic-Con (or any con) a Critical Success

  • September 9, 2021
  • Victoria Phillips
  • 0
Comic-Con Trip Planning Header

Comic-Con

So you’ve gathered your guild and selected the perfect con to attend, you’re all set to unlock the ‘experience of a lifetime’ achievement, right? Not quite, be it Comic-Con, PAX, Dragon Con or any other, proper trip planning is a major part of this quest-line! 

Comic-con Trip Planning

While some major events like New York Comic Con are right around the corner for 2021, it’s not too early to start planning for next year’s convention lineup. So this is one tutorial you won’t want to skip as we’re bringing you tips and tricks that will help you take your fandom fantasy and “make it so.” 

Group of cosplayers at Megacon Orlando, 2021 (Photo Courtesy of Cody & Jason Tucker)

01 - Badges

Yes, you need those stinkin’ badges! And getting them for your convention of choice isn’t always quite as simple as it sounds. Some of the larger conventions frequently sell out in as little as two hours from when the sale goes live. To up your chances:

  • Pre-register as soon as you know you’re planning to attend to be among the first to know when badge sales go live.
  • Invite your group members and start collecting payments as soon as you’ve pre-registered so that you’re ready to buy right away.
  • Missed out on badges for the big days? That’s okay! Purchasing badges for the lighter days can still give you a great experience and attending on the first day may just help you to finally get the hang of Thursdays.

Ghostbusters display at Megacon Orlando, 2021 (Photo Courtesy of Cody & Jason Tucker)

02 - Plan Your Travel

With badges secured, your next step is to focus on planning for your travel to and from the convention city, securing accommodations, and transportation while you’re there.

  • Since both the ship that made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs and the T.A.R.D.I.S are unlikely to be available to transport you to your destination, a major airline will have to do. Purchasing one-way flights for each part of your journey often offers better pricing and time-frame options than a round-trip package.
  • Hotels around these major events book up almost as quickly as the badges sell out, booking early can get you your ideal place to stay. Many hotels offer rates with flexible cancellation policies for advance bookings so, consider making your reservation before the convention rush so you know your spot is secured. 
  • Explore alternative options, booking in nearby areas that aren’t right by the venue, and opting for a short-term vacation rental over a traditional hotel are both choices that can save your group on cost.
  • For getting around the city, if public transportation’s not your thing, consider pooling finances to cover parking and rent an SUV or van that will accommodate your whole group.

Cosplayers enjoying Megacon Orlando, 2021 (Photo Courtesy of Cody & Jason Tucker)

03 - Create Your Convention Schedule

Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no substitute for a good blaster...err...schedule at your side, kid. Once the events, panels, and signings are released, creating a schedule for what you and your group members want to attend is key to an epic comic-con trip planning experience. 

  • Plan to attend 1-2 of the major events, with many of the conventions you’ll find that seating in the main exhibition hall is “sit & stay” where once you’ve got your seat in the morning that spot is yours all day unless you leave. Even if the panel you want to attend is at 5 PM, you’ll need to arrive first thing and stay to ensure you have a seat so, attending more than a couple of major events limits your whole experience to just the exhibition hall.
  • Working out a team line-holding strategy with your group members can be a great thing for your convention experience. Having one or two group members hold spaces for your whole crew allows for you to “hurry up and wait” in shifts so that each person can explore and experience their smaller events and signings without the group missing the big events as a whole.

Supernatural display at Megacon Orlando, 2021 (Photo Courtesy of Cody & Jason Tucker)

04 - Add Some Off-Site Events

Don’t be fooled into thinking that all the fun happens within convention center walls. You'll find many brand hosted off-site events referred to as activations, lots of local businesses will have specials and events of their own specifically for convention goers, and there will be plenty to explore in the local area. 

  • Follow the official (and unofficial) Twitter accounts for the convention and major brands to get details about their activations.
  • Check out the websites and social media accounts of local venues to see what they have to offer.
  • Only have badges for the lighter days? Think outside the con! Add some great local experiences to level up from basic comic-con trip planning to a complete vacation for you and your group.

Group of cosplayers at Megacon Orlando, 2021 (Photo Courtesy of Cody & Jason Tucker)

05 - Safety First

At the risk of sounding like a Sailor Moon Says PSA, it’s important to be mindful and put safety first when planning to attend a con. While we know for sure there are COVID-19 protocols in place for this year’s conventions, there will likely still be some of these requirements in place for 2022 as well.

  • Follow the official accounts for the con you're attending and check as the date approaches so you have all the details on the full safety guidelines for the event.
  • Be prepared to have to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for entry. Check the official guidelines for your con to ensure you are meeting requirements within the proper timelines.
  • While we don’t know yet if masks will be required for conventions in 2022, consider planning masks that work as a part of your cosplay or rep your favorite fandoms so you’re prepared just in case.

Crowd of Attendees exploring Megacon Orlando, 2021 (Photo Courtesy of Cody & Jason Tucker)

Congratulations, you’ve completed the tutorial and you’re ready to take your quest! Assemble your group like the Avengers or your fandom crew of choice and get ready for the fun you are going to have at your Con.

Keep in mind the tips above and spend your time geeking out with your fellow fans and enjoying exclusive experiences with your favorite creators, cosplayers, and celebs rather than stressing about the event itself. No matter which convention you choose to attend, GroupTools is here to help make your planning process safe and stress-free. Visit GroupTools.com to learn more or jump right into your planning today.

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