October 4, 2018 marks the start of the 12th annual New York Comic Con (NYCC) the largest pop culture convention on the East Coast. The mecca of all things comic book, TV, movie, video games, cosplay, collector’s items, manga and literature, it broke records and drew over 200,000 fans in 2017 alone! With that many fellow fans and more booths, panels, screenings and events than you can count, the experience can be more than a little daunting. Here are some tips on how both first-time attendees and repeat fans can optimize their day for a truly memorable experience.

1. Download the app and create a game plan. 

The DIRECTV-sponsored app is available on Android and iPhone and is a must-have for any fan. View the event floor plan with exact locations of guests, panels, artists, exhibitors and autograph sessions (and in a venue as big as the Javits Center, which can save you a lot of time and confusion), and create a personalized list to keep your day organized. Don’t wait to download the app the day of though; keep it year-round and get important announcements first, the opportunity to enter contests for NYCC swag and tickets, and see social content from panels you attended via the new NYCC LiveStory feature.

2. Prioritize: Accept that you can’t see every panel and every thing. 

There are literally hundreds of guests, artists, exhibits and panels, so unless you have a time-turner, you simply can’t see everything. Remember that you will be sharing this space with roughly 200,000 other fans, so even if you made yourself a schedule and mapped out the floor, you’re at the mercy of a huge crowd. Choose the things that are most important to you, whether it be your favorite Marvel artist, a panel on diversity in comics, or an autograph from the Boy Meets World cast, and consider everything else icing on the cake.

3. Pack your bag of holding. 

Fortunately, you’re allowed to bring bags to the event so pack yours wisely. NYCC wants you to save your money for its wares, so it encourages attendees to bring their own water and snacks instead of buying (arguably) overpriced food and drinks at Javits. You should also come prepared with a cell phone charger, Band-Aids and aspirin for inevitable blisters and headaches, and room for all your new purchases.

4. Follow @NYCCLines. 

This Twitter account will be your best friend. It will keep you updated on when lines start forming, when they’re close to full, and when they’re closed. Keep an eye on updates so you don’t miss out!

5. Think hard about your wardrobe. 

Ah, to cosplay or not to cosplay? If you’re looking for the opportunity to showcase your fandom (and costume skills), Comic Con is better than Halloween. But before you commit to masks or face paint, wigs, contacts, restrictive or bulky outfits, ask yourself if you can make it eight-plus hours in a 200,000-person crowd. Too much for you? Consider representing your favorites with a themed t-shirt and some comfy sneakers instead.

6. Bring cash. 

While most vendors will take card payments, don’t find yourself losing out at a cash-only booth or facing hefty ATM fees. Cash is also a good way to keep your spending in check and avoid buyer’s remorse when that credit card bill drops next month!

Now that you’re ready to conquer New York Comic Con, you’ll need to make room for all your new swag!  Trust Gotham Mini Storage the Manhattan mini storage and self storage experts and move the belongings you no longer have room for—but don’t want to part with—into a secure, climate-controlled unit today!