Hello, lovely readers!
This month, I’m going to share some of the tips we’ve learned when planning our convention adventures. Saving money on logistics will allow you to spend more on the important stuff, like your dealer’s room haul. So, without further ado:
Big conventions like Dragon Con have official and fan-run sites and social media accounts you should keep your eye on.
If your con caps its attendance or increases fees throughout the year, you’ll want to get a badge as soon as they are available. Sometimes you can purchase next year’s badge at the convention.
Also keep tabs on sources of have hotel information. If you’re hoping to get a room through a site that uses Passkey, you’ll want to be at your computer at the exact time the rooms are released.
Every convention has at least one host hotel with a special discounted rate for con-goers. Make sure you are getting your room early and using this code. If you are going to a large con there will be a large influx of people into the area, so surrounding hotels may have increased their rates.
But if you missed out on the host hotel, or want to stay somewhere close by with more space or accommodations, shop around. It really does pay off to enroll in hotel chains’ points reward programs, and sometimes if you are a AAA member you can get a discount.
Another option is to beat the hotel game altogether and look at bed and breakfasts and vacation rentals. Vacation rentals can be a good option if you have the money up front and want to stay with a group of friends instead of cramming everyone into a hotel room.
Cons are most fun with a group of friends, but if yours aren’t coming you can find roommates online pretty easily to split the room cost with.
If you are the person whose name the reservation is under, the easiest way to book and pay is by getting yourself a PayPal account and debit card and having everyone send you their share of the room before you arrive. With a PayPal debit card, the funds will be available immediately so you don’t have to wait for it to transfer to your bank account. If your hotel takes out a deposit before your stay, make sure you’re splitting that too.
If you are driving a long way to your event, split the cost of gas. You can find gas calculators online which take your vehicle and current prices into account.
If you are flying into the city your con is in, make sure you are getting a good rate. You can set up fare alerts, or just keep an eye on prices. Shopping for plane tickets can be overwhelming, but you can find some good tips by searching online. This is another instance where signing up for reward programs can be helpful.
Conventions sometimes partner with airlines to offer discounts, so check before booking and see whether or not it’d be beneficial to use it.
Even if it means packing your car to the gills or taking a train or cab when you get there, it’s definitely a good idea to get some essentials for your room. Stock up on non-perishable snacks, protein bars, and water–or bring bottles and a filtered pitcher. If your room has a fridge, even better.
Some other good things to have on hand are sports drinks or coconut water, bananas, paper towels, extra trash bags, Band-Aids, and safety pins. Make sure your roommates don’t have any airborne food allergies or anything before you buy food!
If you are planning on drinking, be smart about it (see, they don’t call me Con Mom for nothing), stay hydrated, and buy your booze elsewhere. Some hotel bars charge exorbitant prices for drinks, so it’s best to bring your own. There’s a “corkage fee” hotels supposedly charge if they see you bringing alcohol in, so if that’s a concern for you, be stealthy and dispose of your bottles elsewhere.
Thanks for reading, and I hope this was helpful. Let us know what conventions you’ll be at!
Ell, for inDevelopment
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