New York Comic Con is right around the corner, but there are many folks out there who are attending for the first time. This will be my fifth year, so I will provide tips (in no particular order) based on my experiences - though some may not need to follow certain ones - on how to prepare and survive NYCC.
1. Make sure you HAVE your badge.
If you do not have a badge, read this for next year. You obviously cannot get in without your badge. IT IS CRUCIAL THAT YOU MUST BRING IT. Upon the entrance, they will have a scanner (therefore, you cannot fake your badge also). If you forgot it, go back and get it. Make sure the badge you have is the day you are going. A Thursday badge will not work on a Friday. BRING IT.
2. Make sure your badge is ACTIVATED.
Upon receiving your badge in the mail, you will see a sticker that says "Badge activation is required." There is a link on there to activate it. Your activation code is on the back of the badge. It must be activated, so that the entrance scanners can accept your badge. If you forgot to activate it on the day of the event, you can easily go to your phone and enter: http://newyorkcomiccon.com/rfid and activate it.
3. Read the rules and Fan FAQs.
4. Review the maps and building overview.
The Javits Center is spacious, but at the same time, crowded as hell. It will be easy to get lost. Make sure you check out the map and floors of the whole building, so it will be easier to navigate a bit. Here are a bunch of maps: Javits Overview. The Show Floor/The Block. The Artist Alley. Area Map.
5. Adapt to your surroundings.
It will be crowded. You will get tired. You get hungry. You will get lost. Good luck.
6. Bring LOTS of money (USD)!
Products and merchandises (mostly in the Show Floor/The Block) will obviously be a bit pricey because of the "exclusiveness" and the demand. Autographs and photos (depending on the person's preference) will not be free for the most. Autographs are between $20 - $60, maybe more. In the Artist Alley, posters and items will most likely be $20+. Food will be really expensive, too. An average meal would probably be between $12 - $18. Hot dogs inside will be about $5, and drinks will be between $3 - $5. If you are definitely planning to buy merchandise at NYCC, the least amount to bring is $200. If you aren't planning to buy anything, it is best to bring at least $50 because you might get hungry, or you might see something you want to buy and keep. Sorry for this blurry picture.
7. Wear COMFORTABLE shoes.
You will be walking heavily. Even worse, you will be walking slowly because of overcrowding. It will be hard to walk casually. If you get pushed around a bit, don't get too annoyed. It's practically normal. Each year, NYCC's numbers have been growing, so you really just have to get used to it. Regardless, you will definitely get tired of walking, so don't be surprised if you see a good amount of people sitting on the floor at the sideline.
8. Take advantage of sitting areas and rest up if you can.
Resting is good to continue your journey along the event. You will get tired, as I reiterate. Take advantage of sitting areas like the chairs or sit at the side on the floor where people are usually sitting and chilling. It is perfectly okay to do that unless you sit in the middle of the center, then we will run over you.
9. Take a shower beforehand and bring deodorant.
There are more than 100,000 people there. You will run into people who probably got too excited that they forgot to shower. Please, be hygienic.
10. Bring FOOD and water.
As I mentioned, food will be pricey. I don't buy food there, so I either bring food (either made or bought from outside), eat beforehand, and/or eat afterwards. Scout the nearest food places around the area. You will definitely get hungry because of all the walking. Javits Center is an enormous place to be. Bring water, too!
11. Bring your chargers, portable chargers, and wireless chargers.
Trust me, you will lose so much battery than normal. You will record and take lots of pictures of famous people and/or people's awesome cosplays. You will be calling or texting your group of friends because you guys don't know where to meet or where you all are. You will be checking the New York Comic Con app on events or locations constantly just to see what's interesting. You will definitely be Snapchatting and posting images/videos on Instagram a lot. Hell, you might even chill and play Pokémon Go because there are gyms there. CHARGE THEM UP!
12. Bring a backpack.
It is best to bring a book bag or a storage backpack of some sort. Single shoulder bags will wear you down, so backpack is a better option. You can store your food, water, electronics, merchandises, personal belongings, and chargers easily.
13. Bring a light sweater.
It really depends, to be honest. Some people sweat while others feel cold in there.
14. Know the location of NYCC.
New York Comic Con is located between 34th and 40th streets at 11th Avenue. It is easy to get lost around there. The closest transportation (MTA) to getting there is the 7 Train (purple line) which stops at 34th Street Hudson Yard (last stop on the 7 Train going to Manhattan). You are literally there. The second closest transportation is the A, C, E Trains (blue line) and the Long Island Railroad (Penn Station) at 34th Street Penn Station at Eighth Avenue. You have to walk three more avenues towards the west. However, you are most likely be guided to walk up to 39th street or 40th street (11th Avenue) as the entrances for the event are located there.
15. Prepare your costumes and cosplays in advance if you like.
NYCC is the best place to show off your costumes and cosplays. It is not weird to see people dressing up around the first weekend of October. If you have seen this in the past, then you now know where they were heading to/coming back from. If you're thinking of going all out and cosplaying, make sure you have it done (if it was handmade) or bought and ready before the event. People think cosplaying and costume-wearing and -making are easy, but it is tremendously tedious, time-consuming, and it takes a great amount of effort. My best friend, her big sister, and her big sister's friends do awesome cosplays, but they have spent countless of hours and months creating their outfits. Props and respect for their patience and creativity! If you aren't cosplaying or going all out, plan your outfit beforehand or just go in what you usually/normally wear. No one will judge you at all. It is a positive area.
16. Download the New York Comic Con mobile app on your phone.
17. Check New York Comic Con's Twitter.
They will definitely have real-time updates on who is coming, what is happening, and other latest and last-minute news.
18. Lines will be long. Be patient.
Accept the fact that people enjoy things just as much as you do. Therefore, they will go to those things that you like. There will be lines, and they will be long. Be patient. If panels and showings reached their max, if you can afford to wait, go ahead, because there will be a couple of people inside who leave.
19. Plan out your schedule on what shows, panels, and other events to view beforehand.
View the panels and showings on the site or the mobile app, and mark down the locations and such. Make sure you do not overlap other events that you really want to see. Some panels or showings happen at the same time, so it all matters on which one you want to go.
20. Be at least an hour early for popular panels, showings, and autograph sessions.
The keyword is popular. You definitely know how popular they are. Therefore, they will get a lot of fans waiting. Panels and showings do get filled up and reach the cap space. It is best to be there an hour early, so you can claim your place in the line. However, if they are REALLY popular, like the Stranger Things panel, people will think the same and get there an hour early. If you think that is going to happen, you have no choice, but to go EXTRA early (maybe two to three hours early). Be advised, NYCC officially opens at 10 AM, so if a panel like I mentioned is at 11 AM, you wait till the doors open and safely secure your place in line. This is what you will expect inside a LARGER panel or showing.
21. Go with the flow and get out of your comfort zone.
If you're at a panel, and everyone starts cheering and such, go ahead and cheer with them. It is okay to go out of your comfort zone.
22. Don't be shy, but always ask first.
If you want to take a picture, ask. If you want a selfie, ask. If you want to ask a question, go for it. If you want to stay in touch, just ask. If you want to touch something, simply ask. Consent is key. I asked for a selfie with the awesome voice of Toph, Jessie Flower, and she said, "Sure!"
23. Exclusive things are exclusive.
Don't record or take pictures of things that are meant to be shown in panels, showings, and such. They will announce and warn people not to beforehand. If you think you can sneak, good luck. There will be staff members going around to see if anyone breaks the rules. It is exclusive. This picture was taken slightly before the exclusive previews, hehe.
24. Free stuff.
Take advantage of free stuff. It varies though. However, don't be that person who takes a bucket load of free stuff. That's not cool.
25. Go with a friend(s).
Sometimes, you can have the best NYCC experience just being with a friend or a group. If you know someone or a few people who are going, ask to tag along.
26. Don't be an asshole.
There are times when things do not go the way you want them to be. Maybe the panel you really wanted to see reached its max capacity. Don't throw a fit at the staff members. Don't be disappointed if you cannot get an autograph. Everyone is here to have fun.
27. Have fun.
Just have fun.
I'll be there for three days from Friday to Sunday! See you at New York Comic Con 2016!!