Clark Collis
July 12, 2013 AT 04:00 AM EDT

This year will mark Chris Hardwick’s 11th trip to San Diego Comic-Con. ”It really is all about the fans,” says the Talking Dead host and Nerdist supremo, who will once again cohost the pre-Con relay race Course of the Force for charity. We asked the SDCC vet for tips on how to get the most out of the mayhem.

Do make sure your Wookiee costume is made of breathable fur.
”If you’re going in a costume, make sure there is some ventilation,” says Hardwick. ”It’s very hot on the Con floor.” He’ll be keeping things chill by dressing as a human, Booker from the videogame BioShock Infinite.

Do see Hardwick moderate a panel.
The much-in-demand moderator will host showcases for The Walking Dead (July 19) and Breaking Bad (July 21). ”It’s a question of giving everyone on the panel equal time and making sure the audience gets what they want,” Hardwick says. At last year’s Hobbit event, he decided fans wanted to hear Andy Serkis speak as Gollum; Serkis obliged by dropping the F-bomb in character.

Don’t forget your wallet.
T-shirts, toys, tattoos — Comic-Con has all the geek essentials. ”You can binge-purchase on the first day,” says Hardwick, ”or you can see if the price comes down closer to the last day.” What’s the weirdest thing he’s brought back from SDCC? ”Herpes,” he laughs, before quickly adding, ”That’s not true.”

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