Convention Survival Guide Part 2: Picking the Hotel

Now that you know what convention you want to go to the very next thing you should do is plan your lodging for the event.  Transportation tends to be easy but hotels for big events sell out quickly so this is the next thing you should prioritize before doing anything else.

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My Fiance got an adorable hamster thing at Momocon 2016.

While I tend to recommend being cost friendly for most aspects of the convention experience, I have a very different approach for the hotel accommodations.  Cheap hotels have a reputation for having bad service, rough neighborhoods and bed bugs.  While there are many exceptions, unfortunately this reputation was created by a lot of bad experiences.  Which is why I’ll explain some helpful tips on how to pick the right hotel.

Our view from the hotel
Imagine opening the window and seeing this, yeah that happened to us and it was awesome.

Your first option is to use the hotels linked via the conventions website.  These hotels tend to be within easy walking or shuttle distance to the event and they are usually very nice hotels; however, they also tend to be the most expensive ones in the area because the hotels will jack up their prices in anticipation of us eager con goers to pay for them. While these tend to be expensive they also are the best option for con goers who prioritize a good hotel with the fastest time to the convention, but these hotels sell out quickly so if you want one of these hotels then do not hesitate to make your reservation.

If you’re looking to save some money but still have all the luxuries of home then you’re likely going to have to do some digging.

First of all the farther the hotel is from the convention center the lower the price tends to be.  So if you’re willing to do some walking then picking these hotels will help, but the further the hotel the longer the trip to the convention, so here are some options to help plan your way too and from these farther hotels.  Most big cities have a handy metro system, Atlanta has the Marta and New York has the subway.  These are fast handy and cheap modes of transportation that tend to be very reliable; however, you will spend time waiting for the train to arrive and you need to make sure you map out which stations you need to use.  If you’re not a fan of crowds then your next best option is to use Uber, but while that’s handy you must also consider the price.  If you’re saving $40 a day for a hotel further away but your Uber is $20 per trip then you’re not saving any money and you’re using up more time.  So before deciding how far you want to be from the convention, consider the means of transportation you need to use to compensate for the distance.

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This is why I don’t drive close to the conventions, too many pedestrians and I’m one of them lol.

Now that you have an idea of how far you want your hotel to be, you need to decide what hotel is right for you.  While google tends to be very helpful other sides like Trivago or Expedia might show you special rates for hotels that could help you save some money.  Another option is to talk to the HR department of where you work because some companies have access to websites as a special employee benefit that you can use to get cheaper hotel rates.  Personally I use Ticketsatwork and managed to save $100 on a hotel that was a 10 minute walk to the convention.  Understand though if you book through these third party sites that any changes to the reservation are usually met with some hassle versus booking directly through the hotel’s website.

The big thing you must also consider is the quality of the hotel itself. It’s one thing to save a dollar and it’s another to come home with bed bugs.  I always recommend looking at sites like Tripadvisor or Yelp to see what other people thought of their stay.  Keep in mind some of these reviews could be lies because the person hated their stay and wanted to make the hotel look bad.  When looking at reviews know that person to person experiences are subjective and vary drastically so I often pay little attention when people say the staff was rude or hard to work with.  I often look for comments about the cleanliness of the hotel and especially if anyone has photographic proof.  If you’re also concerned you can go here this site is a bed bug registry that can help in checking for anyone that is very serious about their bed bug complaints.  I know I rant a lot about how clean the hotel room is but trust me the room has a huge impact to your whole trip.

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Also consider your cosplay because traveling in costume is tough

Once you know how far your hotel is, and what hotel fits that distance that also meets your expectations of a clean room then the next step is to make the reservation.  When you do make the reservations you’ll get a confirmation email and I recommend saving these emails just for your convenience.  Now you’ve got a nice clean bed waiting for you when you get to the convention.

 

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