Let’s establish this aspect first. This post will be in regards to individual planning, as well as small group. It is not for clubs or organizations, though I would imagine that many of the such would still apply. I was also inspired to do this based on something a couple friends of mine were saying regarding their tax returns; as such, I will be playing with the idea that someone with money in April is planning for an end-of-the-year con.
The first thing to consider is obvious: where are you going? Odds are that if you’re going to travel somewhere for a convention of any sort, you’re going to want to register. Ghosting a con is alright, but it’s a complete waste of time if you’re making a lengthy travel. For this, let’s choose Kumoricon in Portland, Oregon, which (as of 2016) takes place around Halloween. Registration prices are currently $55 for those 13 and older, $40 for those 6-12, and $300 for VIP badges. These prices will go up after July 27. (Oh yeah, once you get to the con site to get your badge, HAVE VALID ID!!!).
Next, figure out how many people will be going. Will it be just you? Is a friend or two tagging along? Any offspring you’d like to bring? For the sake of this example, I’m going to pretend that I will be going with my son (age 4) and his mother. Taking the info from the previous paragraph, our registration total would be $110.
Most of what comes next can be linked through your convention’s website. For the sake of this blog, I will leave an octothorpe (or hashtag as it’s popularly referred to now) for what’s mentioned (and relevant) to this scenario. However, I like to play these things dangerously safe (especially since there could still be other options).
# Now comes the hotel. Figure out how you and your group would prefer to arrange rooms, THEN reserve your room/s. Kumoricon has an arrangement with the nearby DoubleTree Hotel (and by nearby, I mean about 6 blocks away) for $150-170 per night + taxes and fees. I will instead choose the Motel 6, which is about 2 blocks away. Now, part of what I’m about to say relates to knowing specific dates, including traveling and when you want to arrive to/leave from the con site. Kumoricon 2017 will be October 27-29, so I will play with a single room (or two adults) for 3 nights starting on October 26. Find the location in the Lloyd District. As I’m typing this, they have only 3 Queen-sized beds available for $99.57 per night. If and when you select to book this room, this site will calculate the complete total, including taxes and fees, which is $336.06.
How are you going to get to the con? Let’s make this fun and say that you’re flying in from Kansas City, via Southwest Airlines, flying on the 26th and 29th. For the first trip, I am selecting the 11:25-3:45 trip with a detour in Oakland and the Wanna Get Away offer, which is $208 (per person). The trip back home will be the nonstop 12:35-5:50 (per person), which is $179. The site will then do its math stuff and come up with a grand total of $1160.85. (Note: I haven’t flown in almost 20 years, so I don’t know much about the length of waiting times and such; this is more relevant to the next section).
Now comes a confusing part for some: getting to and from airports and destinations. I recommend public transits, pending that you aren’t hauling your entire wardrobe. Let’s first look at while in Kansas City. Their system is called KCATA. For this, I told their site, ridekc.org, to plot the following: From Kansas City city hall, To Kansas City International Airport, Arrive by 10 am, Date April 20 (because this is the same day of the week as October 26). They use Google to show you a map, which in this case… only involves one bus. Now, I’m a little confused about EXACTLY what their site is telling me, but it sounds like a single bus ride is $1.50, with potential reductions where applicable (like in this case, those 5 and younger ride free). Bam. $3. # Similarly, the system in Portland, TriMet, will tell you to ride the Red MAX line for $2.50 a pop, $5 total, after telling it to leave at 4:30 pm for the Oregon Convention Center. That’s $8 total, with both days totaling $16.
Unless I forget something, these are the essentials of what you’ll need to plan. There are many ways to bundle many of these things together, and thus lower the prices. However, looking at things like this, separately, your grand total is $1512.91. I would recommend also planning for food and merchandise. If you go with $25 per day per person for food, and a $200 cap on merch, that’s an extra $500 to add on.
Good luck with your preparations, my friends!