Con food
The five con food groups – fruit, vegetables, grains, protein and chocolate with hard candy coating.

It’s that time again, New York Comic Con is back. And as a New Yorker, it’s  much more accessible than, say, San Diego Comic-Con. The Beat already has guides for what to do when you get on the floor. Everyone knows that you have to plan a convention trip as if you were invading Normandy – or Khazad-dum for that matter. But that con in your own hometown or city? Has secret pitfalls that’ll the get unwary every time. Sure, there’s no hotel room scramble, no airport or bus station nightmares, but will you still want to live there on Monday morning?

Here are some things to think about before you ever foot on the floor…

Laundry, laundry, laundry

When you’re going away to a con, the clothes problem takes care of itself. No one wants to pack dirty clothes. But when you’re at home, you don’t need a suitcase, and hey, you don’t have to weed out what to wear, you’ve got all of your clothes right there! Yes, but is it clean? If you wore your “Joss Whedon is My Master Now” shirt to go bowling on Sunday, it might not be clean and ready to wear to the con on Friday. Do your laundry (or at least, the parts you want to wear) a day or two before the con, and you won’t have this problem.

And while we’re talking about clothes… layers. May I suggest layers? If it’s hot out, the convention center is too cold. If it’s brisk, you’re going to get overheated on the walk there, or freezing while you stand in line outside. You don’t have a hotel room to go back to.

Grocery shopping

You are not a stranger in a strange land. You actually know where the grocery store is, there’s no reason to wander the halls searching for scraps or spend eight bucks on an awful sandwich. Pick up food that won’t take much time or effort to cook, for those late post-con, pre-crash dinners, not to mention food to eat at the con.

(Oh, and make sure you have enough of the things you need every day, like milk, coffee and toilet paper.)

Speaking of food to eat at the con, pack a lunch. And snacks – protein, not just starches and sugars, so you don’t crash an hour later. Personally, I like to pack a sandwich, some carrot sticks, some kind of fruit something and some trail mix or energy bars for between panel attacks of the munchies. And, okay, maybe a little candy.

Charge all the things

“Oh hey, that’s right, I have a kindle I can read comics on!” Not if you didn’t charge it, you don’t.

A con in your own town feels more casual and last minute. More spontaneous! Batteries don’t care.

Plan your route early

When you’re away from home, you have to figure out how to get there. When you’re at home, it’s easy to think you know how. But did you check what roads or subways are working, or where they’re allowing you to park or enter? Do you know how long it takes to get there?  It’s annoying, but you don’t really want to miss that George Perez signing because you got lost.

Have a con houseguest? Don’t leave anything to chance.

We’re a community, and fans like to help each other out. This means couch surfing. Don’t try to play host at the same time you’re hunting back issues – work out the details of when they’re showing up and how they’re getting there now, not at 2pm on Friday while you’re in line for the megapanel for that show you like. Put the sheets on the couch (or guest bed or air mattress or yoga mat), put the key under the rug, and buy that soy milk that they absolutely can’t live without. Now, not tomorrow. Because let’s face it. You won’t, tomorrow.

Where is my food?
But Daddy, where is my cat food?

You’re going to need that to do list

No amount of planning will change the fact that you still live here, and stuff needs to get done. Make a check list of the things that you still need to do every night, so you don’t have to try and remember when you’re half asleep and wiping off your Gamzee cosplay face paint. Your cats will thank you when they have a clean litter box!

Clean house.

No, seriously, clean house.

Change your sheets, water your plants, sweep the floor, set your TIVO and scrub down the stove and counters because, let’s face it, once the con starts, you’re a zombie. And zombies don’t clean the fridge.

Don’t get me wrong, your home will still go to hell during the con, but at least you won’t be giving it a head start.


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