Just to answer some random questions:
1) Backpacks are good. If you have a lot, suitcases are common.
2) There are huge empty areas where you can sit down and trade your cards. Also, if you get the VIP package, I think you are allowed to use the VIP room. If not, there are places INSIDE the building but OUTSIDE of the main hall with tables and chairs. The convention is HUGE.
3) Wrapper redemptions are usually every day, but most people that are able to not work, get their fill the first few days. Depending on how Topps and UD do their redemptions this year, they put a limit and only did it at certain times. Panini was pretty much open until they ran out. This is speaking from the 2010 National. If someone that went to the 2011 National or a smaller show inbetween, things have probably changed.
4) BO does promotional stuff all the time. Last time they gave out tickets to the O's game as part of the VIP package. They also have good giveaways during the show. Some of the other retailers will be there, but no one does the show the way BO does. They work the masses.
5) For outsiders, Baltimore is not the safest city. So be careful and lock your cars. Not trying to scare you, but I'm just sayin. Don't be naive.
It's going to be so much fun guys...don't miss it!
DC Sports Collector: Redskins, Orioles, Wizards, Capitals.
Also collecting other DC and Seattle Area Teams: Ravens, Nationals, Seahawks, Mariners, Sonics.
Maryland Terps Collector! GO TERPS!