Unless you’re planning on buying a copy of Spider-man number 1 then this is probably going to be one of your biggest single expenses. There are ways of getting this figure down but they aren’t pretty.
Many cons are held in hotels or in convention centres connected to hotels. These are usually your best bet for accommodation. Reduced room rates are generally offered to attendees and these can be good value they often throw in free parking or Wi-Fi as well.
Another reason to stay in the con hotel is that there’s also a bit more of a buzz around the con location with attendees and guests often mingling in the bar into the small hours of the morning.
and Irish cons are really good
for this kind of thing in my experience. Go on, have a drink with your
favourite cast member of Doctor Who. It’s worth paying for that
isn’t it? UK
Sharing a room with another attendee can bring down the cost but ideally make sure you know your roommate. I’ve heard horror stories about people being left in the lurch by randomers they’ve agreed to share a room with at a convention. (Room service they didn’t order, breakages, being locked out of the room and forced to sleep in the hall etc).
Most conventions will be held in a city centre or within a short bus journey of same so you’ll have other options if you want to spend less on your place to stay. Tripadvisor is your friend, or ask someone with local knowledge.
As regards SDCC, Hotel rooms in
can run on the expensive side though many hotels offer reduced convention
rates. These reduced rates will still run you around $150 a night or more and
they’re as hard to get as tickets for the convention itself. This year’s
allocation was offered via the comic con website and is gone already. San Diego
Expect to pay $200 a night for a standard (i.e. clean and not rat infested) room at SDCC. Three star hotels in NYC will run you around the same price but there’s many other options to get those costs down if needs be. Such as staying away from the convention and using the subway to get around.
If going to SDCC, try to get a hotel on one of the convention organised bus routes. The buses run through the night from the convention centre to the hotels and are a safe way to get around. I’ve never experienced any trouble on them no matter what time I got one. Most of the convention approved hotels are within walking distance of the con as well and
is reasonably safe even at night. San Diego
The usual tips for travelling in any city apply: Don’t look too much like a tourist or leave your bag hanging off the back of your chair. Try avoid any areas where membership of a gang is a prerequisite.
Now, this next part isn’t addressed to you, don’t be insulted. But….there is always, ALWAYS some people at every con I’ve been to that smells like Satan’s armpit. These people (again, not you) clearly didn’t like the price of the hotels and decided that sleeping in a dumpster was the way to go.
There’s probably a shower in your hotel. Use it at least once a day. They have unlimited hot water. You have no excuse: SHOWER!!!!! No amount of deodorant or eau de toilette will cover up your stink after standing in line for hours on end if you haven’t had a shower. (Though a good deodorant is also necessary. Roll on ones work best. Body spray cracks under the pressure.)
Also, brush your teeth and use mouthwash, you may end up chatting to Stan Lee or someone equally as famous. You do not want your breath to stink like a horses’ hairy hole.
What should I bring to the con with me?
Firstly, bring a backpack, one you can carry comfortably for hours. It'll be extremely handy and will allow you to have you hands free. Your backpack should contain:
Food and water. Nothing too crazy. Just a bottle or two of water and something to graze on. It’s often difficult to find time to get food if you have a full itinerary and on site food provision at cons is stupidly expensive (think airport prices.) and usually rancid.
Extra bags. Plastic bags are necessary if you’re planning on buying merchandise. If you’re thinking of getting a lot of stuff or something particularly grandiose then pack one of those massive bags that Toy’s R Us give out when you buy something there or even one of those IKEA blue bags.
Camera. Holy cow! That’s (insert famous person name here)! I really wish I had a decent camera to take a once in a lifetime picture…
Seriously, photo opportunities will happen. Be prepared to capture them.
Batteries. For your camera.
Money and credit card.
Baby wipes. Yes, Really! You may break out in a cold sweat at certain times. Have something to clean yourself off with.
Dress comfortably for the con if you can. You’ll be standing for long periods in queues etc and will probably walk quite a bit to get to panels and on the trading floor if it’s a bigger show. I've heard of people losing several pounds at SDCC due to the amount of walking that needs to be done to get around the convention centre. Hence why you should bring water and why people get really sweaty.
If you're cosplaying, well...good luck.
Next Week: At the convention!