With San Diego Comic Con just around the corner, now is the perfect time to dig out all of your electronics and do the final round of checks for when you inevitably find a missing charging cord, filled SD card, or dead battery. Buying a new set of headphones has basically become a pre-con tradition for me.
Today, we’re going to focus on the most essential piece of tech – your phone – and a few tips and tricks to get it prepared and ready for surviving the convention. You can also check out our tips for using your smartphone to take pictures and our general tech recommendations for attendees and press.
Know How to Conserve Your Battery
External batteries were pretty extensively discussed in the tech recommendations post, including some options for brands to buy, but it bears repeating: get an external battery. You’ll be using your phone for so many things (pictures, social media, directions, the schedule, etc.) that will drain the battery faster than normal. And that’s before you get into Hall H and realize that the poor reception is going to kill your battery too.
If you’re inclined, you can bring your charging cord and a power strip in the event that you do manage to find a coveted outlet somewhere in the convention center. Turn one outlet into multiple and make some new friends in the process!
Some other suggestions to help conserve your battery include dimming your screen as much as you can and even turning it on low power mode to stop background apps from refreshing. If there’s a panel or activity that you absolutely don’t want to be interrupted in the middle of, put your phone on silent or on Do Not Disturb and check it once you’re finished.
But our biggest secret to conserving battery and remembering where we’re supposed to be and what we’re supposed to be doing at any given time? We take a screenshot of our schedule for the day and set it as the lock screen on our phone. All it takes is a momentary glance without actually unlocking our phones to see what’s going on.
Create Space on Your Phone
Time to actually listen to those podcast episodes you have hanging out on your phone and taking up space for what feels like forever. Whether you think so now or not, you’re going to want your phone for quick pictures or videos all throughout the convention and the worst thing to see during those times is an alert that you do not have enough space to take any more pictures or video.
Take the time now to clean up your phone by going through and removing or deleting anything taking up space that you don’t absolutely need during the convention. Consider listening to your podcasts, deleting any music (you’ll make a friend for smalltalk somewhere at the con, we promise!), and removing any apps that aren’t essential. Personally, the three biggest things taking up space on my phone right now are my messages, my photos, and my podcasts. You can bet I’ll be paring all of those down before SDCC!
Before you get to the convention, take all of the nonessential photos off of your phone. All of them, you’re going to want the space. And if you find that you’re still cutting it close, consider using Dropbox or downloading your photos off of your phone onto your computer daily. Be mindful of the space left on your phone, and check it nightly to avoid mid-day surprises and annoyances. There’s no reason you should have to delete any of the 38 pictures you took of the Supernatural boys running by the Hall H line at 3 AM.
Download Essential Apps
Okay, now that you’ve created a ton of space and thought you were in the clear, it’s time to download those essential apps and fill up some of that space again. You don’t want to be stuck doing this over poor hotel wi-fi, the free stuff in the Gaslamp, on your data (the horror!), or at the last second, so be sure to load up these apps before heading out to SDCC!
First, you’ll want the official app released by Comic Con International. It will give you the most up-to-date schedule information, as well as a map of the Exhibit Hall floor, and plenty of other helpful information. I use it every year to locate booths for swag, purchases, and just to make sure I know where I’m meeting up with friends. It should be updated for 2017 very soon.
Twitter is also essential for the convention. We’ve got a post explaining the benefits of using Twitter during the convention right here, but you can also have a trusted friend from home monitor the hashtags, swag giveaways, and companies you love on Twitter for updates if they’re willing to assist. You can also follow lists like this one provided by the Unofficial Comic Con Blog of companies inside the convention center or this publisher-specific list.
If you’re staying at a hotel near one of the trolley stops, consider downloading an app with the San Diego trolley schedule for planning purposes. You can also download Uber and/or Lyft, depending on your preference, because no matter how much you swear you won’t need them, you want to go to In N Out, right? There are always promo codes for new users, keep an eye out for those, and sometimes companies partner with the ride-sharing services to offer free rides. In 2015, we got to ride from the Conan show back to the convention center in a free Colony sponsored vehicle.
An app like Venmo or Paypal is also helpful to ensure you and your friends are covered on the money front. It’s easiest if someone pays for the hotel or catches a meal bill and everyone is able to quickly and easily transfer money to pay them back. We always do this for our hotel on the last night of the convention and it’s easier and safer than handing someone a large wad of cash.