It’s hard to believe that two weeks from today, we’ll be wrapping up San Diego Comic Con 2016. With the release of the schedule, we’re in the final hurdles of planning (or hopefully you are!) and we want to share some tips, tricks, and recommendations to make every last bit of time count!

Keep in mind that it’s difficult to plan out every minute of every day, and we certainly don’t want you to stress out about planning that far down to the minutia, but this is a good start to get a general idea of what your top ‘must-see’ or ‘must-do’ events might be during the convention and plan around that.

The fastest way to begin keeping track of the panels you would like to see is to create an account with MySched and simply check mark the panels you’re interested in. This will compile an overview and also help you to begin thinking about any extra considerations – like room sizes and lines.

See each day here:

The only drawback to MySched is that it only lists out official Comic Con International panels and autograph sessions, which means booth signings and offsites aren’t accounted for in this system.

To see what other signing possibilities there are, the SDCC Unofficial Blog may have the most complete list of signings, covering the official ones on the schedule, as well as the booth and Exhibit Hall signings. They’ve also got the off-site autograph sessions in case you don’t have a badge or really want to hunt down your favorite celebrity or creator outside the convention center!

Speaking of outside the convention center, Outside Comic Con has a calendar of events happening alongside San Diego Comic Con in the Gaslamp area and beyond. We also previously noted some events that could help fill up your evenings if you’re not too tired from running around all day.

To  keep track of all of those activities and more, the SDCC Unofficial Blog has a ready-made Google Drive spreadsheet that makes it easy to make your own schedule, but you can also create your own in Google Sheets, Excel, iCal, or any other program that you are comfortable with.

Feeling overwhelmed yet? Don’t be! Take a deep breath and remember to follow these steps:

Have a Plan

Whether you use MySched or the Unofficial SDCC Blog spreadsheet or create your own, make sure to have a plan of some kind.

You could show up and wing it every day and still have a great time – there’s so much to do that it’s nearly impossible not to have fun at comic con – but deciding between the panel and the signing and having a plan in place to see your favorite actor takes some of the pressure and stress out of the equation!

Use the resources listed above to pick out your priorities and plan around them daily to maximize your enjoyment of San Diego Comic Con.

Have a Backup Plan

Now that you’ve picked out your number one choice for the day, pick out a second (and third and maybe a fourth). Things happen, rooms fill up, guests have to cancel unexpectedly and that shouldn’t ruin your convention!

Having a backup plan in case something happens will keep the stress down, while helping you to remain flexible without feeling like you’re missing out on anything. There are going to be conflicts in the schedule, which makes finding backup plans relatively easy (for better or worse).

Look for Hidden Gems

Pay careful attention while going through the schedule for hidden gems buried in smaller panel rooms or descriptions. Friends of CCI forum does a great job of pointing out the hidden gems for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday that may be overlooked in the frenzy to check out Hall H and Ballroom 20.

My personal hidden gem? The Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – Behind the Scenes of the Immersive Narrative panel in Room 6BCF from 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM Thursday. Attendees will get a special, limited Mondo post drawn by Matt Taylor (whose work I absolutely adore).

Have A Hard Copy for Reference

With the resources shared here, you’ll probably have a digital copy of your schedule all mapped out and ready for referencing throughout the day. It will be the most accessible form of your schedule as long as you have a signal or wifi!

But even with this year’s promise of wifi throughout the city for San Diego Comic Con, it doesn’t hurt to have an offline copy saved in your phone or an actual paper hard copy to reference or scribble on should you not be able to access your digital copy or plan to make changes on the fly.

Check the Schedule the Day Of

Going hand in hand with having a backup plan, there’s a daily schedule printed out by Comic Con International that will make note of any changes to programing so you’re not caught off-guard. A quick, cursory glance will keep you from any unpleasant surprises.

What’s your number one must-see at San Diego Comic Con 2016? Tell us about your game plan in the comments!

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