New York Comic Con is one of my favorite events to attend every year (God willing I get tickets-it’s like the Hunger Games out there). However, it’s also the most stressful four days of the year. You think black Friday shopping is stressful? Ha. Wait until you see this. As a Con Veteran, here’s a few tips I’ve picked up throughout my experiences at New York Comic Con.

1. Download the NYCC Mobile App On Your Smartphone.

This app will save your life. It not only lists guests, panels, exhibitors, and exclusives, but also provides a map of the Javits Center that will guide you through the sea of people to get where you need to go.

2. Show Up On Time And Merge!

That’s right folks, you heard me right. Unless you want to line up in the Queue Hall or be hoarded into that corner outside while the sun blazes down on you like you’re a bunch of walkers clawing at the doors, don’t waste your time. The first year I attended comic con I came two hours early to wait on a line ten avenues long, and when I FINALLY got to the gate the Javits Center had already been open a half hour, and all the panels I wanted to go to were sold out. Blend. In.

3. Wear Deodorant and Bring A Gas Mask To Protect You From Those Who Don’t.

This is an ongoing issue I face every year. As if the amount of people that attend NYCC isn’t enough, but fighting the great fight of those who don’t wear deodorant. You’re squished like a sardine in that building, especially on the show floor, and the last thing you need is to be armpit level with a guy whose stench could kill you. I wish I was kidding about this one, but unfortunately, I’m not. Breathe with caution.

4. Stay Hydrated And Eat!

I can’t stress this enough. I’ve seen people pass out on the floor in the middle of a crowd. Maybe it wasn’t because of dehydration or hunger, but still. Bring water and snacks to survive the day because those prices at the food court can break your bank (as if the amount you spend on stuff you don’t really need on the show floor isn’t enough for you).

5. Plan Ahead!

This isn’t a carnival where you can mosey along as you please people. You need to have a blueprint! Know exactly what you’re doing, where you’re going, what line you have to stand in, when you’re taking a break, and how to escape the room you’re in without knocking anyone down on your way out to get to your next endeavor.