After months of counting down, 2012 CIAA week is finally here! In a few days, thousands of partygoers(many of them first timers) will embark on the Queen City for the biggest party weekend of the year. For those CI weekend vets, you may think you’ve seen it all, but with crowds in and around the metro Charlotte area expected to swell near 200,000, AND over 120 events announced throughout the week, this year will be different.

So how will you get through it all? CI All Access is back with it’s 2nd Annual Party Weekend Survival Guide. We created this for those who have never been to CI Weekend, but I think everyone can pick up a few tips on here.

12. Be Ready for the unpredictable weather.
Between now and Thursday, The weather forecast is probably gonna change 10 times. Right now, it looks like at some point during the weekend, we will see some rain. We also will see it go from a comfortable mid 60s in the height of the day parties, to a windy near freezing at night. Be ready for everything, and double check the forecast before you leave out your hotel room daily.

Read the rest of the list after the jump.

11. Buying VIP tickets in advance > Paying for general admission at the door.
We told many of you last year that buying the pre-sale VIP tickets is usually a better deal than general admission the day of. This year will be no different. The “average” day party presale VIP ticket cost $35.00. Most 5 Star day party general admission prices the day of will START at $40.00. Some of the most popular events have sold out of their early bird tickets, but it’s not too late.

10. Have a plan of what parties/events you and your crew are going to.
If you don’t buy tickets in advance, at least have an idea of what events each day you want to go too. It’s funny every year people make it to Charlotte, and Friday/Saturday morning arrive, and they have no clue where they want to go. Most say they wanna go where the parties jumpin. During this particular weekend, MOST are jumpin. If you are partying anywhere at/near the Epicentre, you can’t go wrong, because of the sheer amount of people that will be in the area. But, those aren’t the only parties poppin.

9. Pace yourself if you are a lightweight drinking.
You wanna have a good time, but you also wanna make it to all the events you did pay advance tickets for. I know more than a few of our supporters who hit us up in the days that followed last years events, telling they didn’t make it out Friday or Saturday Night because they went in too much during the day parties. Those $60.00 advance tickets are non-refundable, remember that.

8. Fellas, don’t forget the 4 C’s at home…
Cologne, Credit Card, Cell Phone, and condoms. Always need to be prepared, for anything.

7. Vets, plan to do hit up at least one new venue this year.

Even if you want to CI Weekend last year, many people fall in love with, and wind up going to, the same parties/venues again and again. Not to say you shouldn’t hit up that favorite day party Saturday, or Friday night event, but if you do, make sure you go somewhere new the next day.

6. Don’t drive if you don’t have to.
The traffic last year during peak times was unbearable, and this year, if weather is an issue, it could be even worse. Remember, even though you are in town for the events, you are in the middle of a major city that still has business going on Thursday and Friday. That means rush hour getting in and out of uptown Charlotte will be a mess.

5. Charlotte is not Miami, New York, or Vegas…
Meaning most of the parties will shut down around 2AM, even during this weekend. There will be a couple after hours spots here and there, but if you want to get all the partying in you paid for, then you might wanna read number 4…

4. Don’t show up “fashionably late” for any major event this weekend.
You gotta realize most of the biggest events will have lines, even if you paid for a ticket in advance. It’s not the promoters trying to make it appear more packed than it is, it is the fact that everyone is trying to get in. Once the venues get to capacity, no more people will get in, whether you have a ticket or not.

3. Not all the celebrities on the flyers will show up/perform this weekend.
Hate to be the one to break it to you, but there’s a good chance a few of the celebs that are scheduled to show up this weekend will not make it, for one reason or another. Also, unless the flyer specifically says the celebrity will be performing, assume they are just appearing. What’s the difference? An appearance is a contractual agreement that says that person will show up and be there for a set amount of time at some point that night. A performance is the celeb actually singing/rapping/etc.

2. Let’s Keep The Peace!
2012 is set to be the biggest weekend the CI has seen, with people coming from all over the country to embark on Charlotte. Many nay sayers who don’t want the event to continue in Charlotte will be ready to jump on the first news story to break where violence or disorderly conduct breaks. Let’s not give them anything to report, and continue to make this weekend what it has always been, one of the best events to attend year in and year out!

1. Start Planning for 2013 when you leave this year!
Some of you weren’t aware CI before this year, and I promise many of you will be ready to make plans to come back in 2013 after this weekend! Make sure you stay locked in with CI All Access, as we already have plans in the works to provide you the best event and travel information, resources, and options in 2013!