Don't bite off more than you can chew, especially when it comes to understanding the time and energy it takes to travel around the con area.
Don't schedule a bunch of things back-to-back. Expect to have one planned thing in the morning, one planned thing in the afternoon, and one planned thing in the evening. If you plan more than that, you might make it but you might not. You'll have to make some hard choices as to what events you want to go to, especially if you like celebrity panels, which have extremely long lines. Don't be too upset if you miss something. If you're going to panels or scheduled events, expect to show up an hour early if you want to get in. Some of the bigger panels or more crowded events, show up two or three hours early.
If you're cosplaying, make sure your costumes are comfortable, especially the shoes. Don't try to break in new costume shoes on the first day of the con, or you'll hate yourself for the rest of the weekend. If you have a costume with limited mobility or visibility, make sure you have a handler/helper or two, to help you navigate the crowds, hills, and stairs. It's HOT HOT HOT in downtown Atlanta, so plan costumes accordingly.
Stay hydrated and nourished. Don't skip too many meals. Carry light snacks with you (granola bars, etc), and have cash on hand to buy cold water. Don't drink too much alcohol, especially if you are underage.
Buy your pass early. The price is $65 right now but will be $130+ at the door.
Find hotel rooms early too, especially if you want one of the host hotels. The host hotels release rooms in blocks over the next several months, and the first blocks are already sold out for 2014. There are Facebook groups and the Livejournal page for finding hotel rooms and roommates. If you're sharing a room with someone new - this is a common practice to save on room costs - then make sure you find someone who's compatible with your habits, not just someone who has cool costumes.
Secure your pass. I keep mine on a lanyard, with both the pass clip and a zip-tie securing it to the lanyard. If you just clip it to your costume or shirt, it'll get lost.
Don't expect to be able to use any sort of data - wi-fi, 3G, LTE, none of it. Due to the sheer number of like-minded individuals who are all trying to use data at the same time, none of those will work reliably and will just burn down your phone's battery. Use texting to keep in touch, and keep paper notes of what you want to do and who you want to keep in contact with. Bring some sort of external battery pack for your phone, and use your phone sparingly.
Aside from that, it really depends on what you like to do. Some people just go for the costumes and photos, some people like the panels and celebrities, some people like the gaming and filking and such, and some people just go to drink and party and rave.
Last edited by nathancarter : 09-10-2013 at 10:35 AM.