1. Bring a backpack
Last year, I won a Maker Studios hoodie as well as a lot of candy. You'll also be given a bunch of free stuff (sunglasses, T-shirts, stickers). Make sure you bring a bag that has lots of room otherwise, you'll be in a predicament.
2. Arrive a day early (on Industry Day)
The two times that I went to VidCon, I stayed at the Hilton Anaheim. I definitely recommend staying there because half of the fun is sitting in the Hilton lobby and watching all of the YouTubers arrive. This is normally when they're excited to meet some fans, too.
But there's another reason for arriving early: Located directly inside the convention center, there are booths where you can pick up your name tag and complimentary T-shirt. Do yourself a favor and do this as soon as you arrive, because the morning of the first day, the lines to registration will be outrageous and you'll be wasting your day standing in a mile-long line. I can't stress doing this enough.
3. Meet as many people as you can
I don't know who you'll be going with, but the first year I went I decided to meet up with my Internet friend, Nikki. We had met on Twitter a year before and bonded over the Shaytards and Maker Studios. It was such a magical experience meeting her in person. We spent that entire weekend together and talked about everything imaginable. We stayed friends over that next year and the following VidCon, we met up with our other Twitter friends and went to panels and concerts together. Internet friends are amazing, so make sure you meet people that aren't famous YouTubers too.
4. VLOG EVERYTHING
The weekend goes by so fast, you'll want to relive it. Also, live-tweeting really helps to preserve the memories. And of course, here is a shameless plug for one of my three VidCon vlogs:
5. Don't get any sleep
You'll be exhausted every morning and it'll become a chore to crawl out of those crisp, white hotel sheets, but I'm letting you know now, don't be a fool, and don't sleep in past 8 a.m. Just get dressed, grab Starbucks and line up. You'll thank me later.
6. Go to a few panels
One of the most underrated parts of VidCon are the panels. Not the Q&As, but the panels where executives talk to you about the important issues of creating content on the Internet. VidCon isn't just about meeting hot British boys. Go ahead and learn about how you can be a better YouTuber and be on your own panel next year. When VidCon is over, you'll be having this crazy urge to produce your content at it's highest quality. After my first VidCon, I managed to post weekly videos for nine months straight. These panels will inspire you and motivate you to be the best you can be. Give them a try.
7. Wander the Hilton Hotel
You never know who you'll run in to. Once I was in a crowded elevator with a squished Davedays beside me and although I didn't say a word to him. It is a fond memory of mine.
8. Visit the strip of sestaurants on the corner of W. Katella Ave. and S. Clement St.
There is a strip of restaurants about a 10-minute walk north from the Hilton. Once at dinner time, I was waiting for my dad on a bench when Steve Greene, Michael Gallagher, Nikki Limo and other people walked by. I can only imagine that there were more people I recognized in the area. Just use your judgment and don't interrupt them if they seem busy. You don't want to be rude.
9. Be first in line. Always.
Be first at the meet-ups. Be first at the concerts. Be first at the main stage every morning. When you're first, you save time by getting out quicker and ultimately make a good impression on the YouTubers you're waiting for. Maybe they'll reward you for being so dedicated.
Also, I recommend not being front row center at the concerts. Instead, stand to the left of the stage, or what is normally referred to as "house left" for thespians. Get close to the front and as far left as possible. Part way through the show, some YouTubers will come out from backstage and watch the performances from that area. That's where I saw Jack and Finn last year. Shaycarl even came out and vlogged my friends and I. So it's a good spot. Trust me.
10. The most important rule of all: Respect the YouTubers
The whole weekend is full of fun events and concerts where you can meet your favorite content creators, so feel free to go to as many of those as you like! But if you see Grace Helbig sitting with some friends eating Baja Fresh, let her eat in peace.
Every YouTuber won't directly say it, but they have meet-ups for a reason and that's so they can meet you and be prepared for it. Imagine if someone came up to you and asked to take a picture while you were attacking a gorgeous plate of tacos -- you'd hate it. Also, remember that YouTubers are people, too and that VidCon is one of the only places in the world where everybody knows who they are. For some creators, having screaming girls approach them can be abnormal and uncomfortable, especially since they're used to sitting in a room editing quietly on a laptop. Resist the urge to follow someone to their hotel room, please don't stalk them and try not to cry when you meet PewDiePie. It can all be very overwhelming for some people.
If you have any questions or want some more insight, tweet at me: @fun6001
Follow Erin Mclaughlin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/fun6001