We’re counting down the weeks leading up to Comic-Con by reposting some of our important SDCC tips which have appeared on the blog over the years, updated with current information. You can find all of our guides under the main menu, or by clicking here.
Now, for those of you who will be driving to the con, getting all of these goodies home won’t be a problem. But for those who have to get on a plane, packing up all this stuff in a suitcase is no small feat.
To do this, you’ll want to first sign up for an account with one of the big shipping companies. FedEx works best, although you can call ahead to your hotel and see if they also do pick-ups from UPS, DHL or any other carriers. You don’t even need to be a business to have your own account, and it’s free to sign up. You’ll be asked to enter a credit card and billing information when you create your account, but this is a good thing. By having a billing address on file, all you have to do is write your account number on the shipment and the shipping fees are all billed to that account. No worrying about how much postage you need, just sign and ship.
If you can fit all of your stuff in your suitcase, another option is to just bypass the airlines altogether – along with their crazy handling fees and tendency to lose checked bags – and ship your luggage home. Lots of people use this method to ship their luggage when traveling nowadays, and we’ve used this method on several occasions and swear by it. Most hotels will ship directly, but call ahead to make sure yours will. And if you have your account already created, all you have to do is write your account number down and let the hotel do the rest – no settling the bill with the hotel.
Now if your luggage just won’t have enough room to bring home all the stuff you’re planning to buy, or if you don’t think you’ll be able to securely pack it to survive the trip home without breaking valuable merchandise, there’s an important second part to this tip. We all know Staples, right? Well, you can order all your shipping supplies from Staples.com and have them delivered directly to your hotel in advance of your stay. This is what you’ll need:
- Boxes – they usually come in bulk, so you’ll end up with more boxes than you’ll need. Also, make sure you order boxes large enough to ship home your big merchandise. If your merchandise requires odd or large-size boxes, save your money and camp out behind one of the exhibitor booths. They toss out the empty shipping boxes when they sell the merchandise, so you’ll be able to score a huge box meant for case of Super Hellicarriers, for the low, low price of free. And usually, since the boxes are meant to hold more than one unit of the product, you’ll be able to fit some of your other merchandise in there as well.
- Packaging Tape – when you’re shipping valuable, exclusive merchandise that you can’t get anywhere else, you’ll want to close up the box with more than scotch tape and bubble gum, right?
- Bubble Wrap and Packing Noodles – Again, some of those SDCC toys and collectibles can be pretty fragile, so you’ll want to make sure they are securely packed for a cross-country trip.
- Mailing Tubes – You’re going to get tons of cool posters and prints that you won’t want to fold. That’s why the tubes are an essential shipping supply. A 24″ width is a good size – we went with the 36″ size in prior years and had to stuff the end to prevent our posters and prints from moving around. But it all depends on what size you’re going for, so determine what will work best for your needs.
One other thing to note, most everything you order from Staples comes in bulk, so try to find someone to go in with to save on costs. Just call your hotel ahead of time to make sure they will receive shipments ahead of your stay.
Also, When purchasing something that’s expensive, large, or breakable, ask the booth about their wrapping and shipping options. Telling Southwest that your life-size Hellboy bust is a carry-on never turns out well. If the booth doesn’t have these options your hotel probably will.
Our best shipping recommendation at Comic-Con is to use the FedEx office inside the convention center. This way you won’t even have to leave the building with your merchandise, and your back will thank you for not having to lug it all the way to your hotel room. The FedEx office also sells shipping supplies, so if you didn’t come prepared with bubble wrap, packing popcorn or packaging tape, you can get it there. And if you sign up for a FedEx account prior to the con, all you need is to fill out your account number on the packing slip and the credit card on the account will be automatically billed.
It’s as easy as that. Just call ahead to make sure your hotel will ship directly. Also, if you’re hotel doesn’t offer pickup services from your shipping company of choice, just go on their website and find one in the area that will. Being in the center of the city, most likely you won’t have to go far to find one.
Ready for Comic-Con? See you there!