Shipping Your Weight in Swag

SDCC Tips/Info

As the final day of your con trip winds down and the time comes to pack up your backs you may become overwhelmed with the mere thought of bringing back all of your Comic-Con swag. You got some awesome shirts, some posters and managed to pick up a few figures and exclusives along the way. You casually start packing when it dawns on you; you have too much stuff and not enough space! Much like a child at a buffet your eyes were much larger than your stomach (so to speak).

Don’t worry! It happens to the best of us and it’s easy to loose track of how much stuff you pick up along the way during any convention. The total combined volume of what you pick up can and probably will easily surpass what you had originally budgeted so you will have a few decisions to make. If you are worried about how many carry on bags you are allowed and do not wish to go through your pile-o-loot cherry picking what you’d want to keep and leaving the rest in a neat pile for some maid to then dig through you could simply ship your items back home.

Choices:
If you want to ship your items back you pretty much have three choices. You can use UPS, USPS or FedEx. They each have their own advantages and I know some people are more comfortable with one company over another. The nice thing is you can look up prices online! It’s best if you have all the dimensions and weight of your packages. That way you get a more accurate price. Just keep in mind that there still might be a small difference because you are dealing with locations either inside the convention center or very close to it.

The more popular choice for shipping during the con is FedEx. There is a FedEx store right in the lobby of the Convention Center in front of Hall C I believe (M-F 8-5, S&S 9-5) and that is really convenient for people who want to get their items out of their hands ASAP. They have boxes and tape available for use on the spot and even a helpful employee who can help you out before you make it to the register. But being the more popular choice does come with the negative of the potentially very long wait that you’ll have ahead of you (an hour or more at times).

I ship on a regular basis using UPS and am happy that there is a UPS Store inside of the Marriott Marina just near the Starbucks by the lobby. They are open every day (7-7 M-F, 7-5 S&S). There is a UPS Store inside of the OMNI hotel (M-F 8-4, S&S 9-2), and there is also a UPS Store inside the Hilton Bayfront located on the third floor Aqua Level (M-F 7-8, S&S 8-4). This is on average a tad more expensive than FedEx but it is a lot easier on your schedule due to the “hidden” locations. Even if there is a line it’ll probably be no more than 3 or 5 people. If you choose one of these options it is probably a good idea to purchase your box ahead of time so you can pack it as you go and when it comes time to ship it out all you’ll need is some packing tape and you’ll be good to go.

Of course if you go with USPS, they have “if it fits, it ships” boxes. You can even pay for shipping online and then drop your package off at the Post Office or check with your hotel about mail pickup but knowing Con fans like I do they’d want to mark the boxes off themselves as far as possible. There are two fully functioning USPS locations in San Diego, one in Horton Plaza (M-F 9:30-6 Sat 10-5) and another on 9th Ave and E St (M-F 9-5). This is a bit of a hike away from the con center and most of the major downtown hotels, and the option of packing in swag from Sunday is eliminated, but it could be worth it since in general it will be cheaper to ship via USPS but depending on distance and weight it can actually be beneficial to use one of the other parcel services.

Supplies:
You can always bring some supplies with you when you head out to San Diego. A few smaller items like tape and markers won’t take up too much space in your luggage. Since you’re heading to San Diego and not a third world country, you can always pop into Ralph’s or CVS or other convenience store and pick up items too. There are three CVS locations downtown including Horton Plaza, C Street and Market Street. If you go with UPS, some UPS Stores will do the packing for you. The UPS Store at the San Diego Marriott is one of these stores. While it might cost a little extra, we all know time is money. Another option is Office Depot. You’re more likely to find boxes here then you would at CVS. Some stores offer shipping and packing services as well. If you’re shipping items that might break, you should be able to find bubble wrap at an office store or even a place like Target or Wal-Mart.

Ship Throughout The Con:
As I said before, time is money. Instead of wasting your last few hours in Nerd Nirvana with packing and shipping, consider shipping throughout the week. This will depend on the amount of swag you have but if you’re someone who picks up exclusives the first day or two of the Con, I highly recommend getting that out of the way. If you don’t have a porch or other secure location back home for deliveries, consider shipping them to a friend or relative. Just be sure to check or uncheck (depending on the service) the signature box. If you know someone won’t be home, checking this box will allow UPS/FedEx to leave the package without a signature. If you don’t have the option of shipping to someone else and you’re on the East Coast, if you select Ground (depending on the service) it should take 7-10 days to get back home. This should be plenty of time for you to make it back home in time to get your package.

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