As a goer of Comic Con, I have to say that one of the biggest downwards spiral in the entire convention is swag. If you aren’t familiar with it, swag or stuff we all get, is a term for all of the free things that you can get at a convention and toss into your mammoth sized swag bags.

Unlike smaller cons, SDCC is pretty much notorious for having awesome swag yearly. Free things handed out on the floor can turn around to be worth hundreds on bay or just something that you could never find in a store. With that knowledge, and also with my own personal greed, I can end up with just heaving bags of swag that I leave in a closet after my four day trip and never see again. It’s dead weight and I’ve been training myself to do better, here are some tips and tricks to grabbing swag, as well as some life lessons.

  1.  Flight. If you are flying there, think about how you’ll store your swag. Nothing worse than a signed poster being crushed or a packaged collectible being broken in the tossing around of luggage. My advice is to bring a carryon sized luggage case and pack lightly. Then you can put stuff in your carryon and toss whatever else you have on hand into the swag bag so you don’t need to drop like $25 to get your bag checked and tossed around.
  2. Carrying Capacity. For those of us not lucky enough to make it into a local hotel where you can drop off a heavy swag bag over the day, things can add up. Be aware of what you are grabbing, and if your bag gets a little too heavy for you to handle, drop it off at the bag check near the entrance. They’ll give you a tag and tag your bag so you can come and pick it up by the end of the day.
  3. Quality over quantity. Sometimes in the whirlwind of people handing me free things I grab them and toss them into my bag only to realize that I never wanted them in the first place. If you don’t know what something is just don’t grab it until you know for sure. Chances are someone out there will want it more than you.
  4. Bag Size. I know. It’s a huge bag. You could fit two teenagers in it comfortably. And a big empty bag just makes me want to fill it. It makes me want to pack it with all of the things that I find. Fight against this will. The bag quickly becomes heavy, and a heavy bag means less movability on the floor and outside.
  5. Plan It Out! Look up what swag will be given away on what days, etc. Most of the things are exclusives but some are more common than others. Paying attention is the first thing you have to do, but before you even enter into San Diego you can be prepared by knowing what is going to be there. This post by Swag Magnet is updated on almost all of the things you can find as well as some more awesome tips and tricks.

Happy hunting, fellow con goer!

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