Just a half-reminder, half-estimate that the Early Bird Hotel Sale will probably kick off in the next few weeks.
If you don't know what that is, here's the deal. You have 3 ways to book a hotel room for SDCC.
- You can book one on your own (not easy as many rooms are already blocked off).
- You can participate in Early Bird. This offers everyone the opportunity to book a hotel room at one of the more distant, second-tier hotels. You have to pay up front and the room is non-refundable. If you already have a badge and don't mind staying a few (or more) miles away from the Con, this is a peaceful way to guarantee a room. You also get to pick your hotel.
- You can participate in Hotel Day, which you'll see referred to online as Hoteloween and other charming nicknames. This is a brutally swift contest in which you submit your top choices and then wait for 2-3 days to find out where you landed. Sometimes you get a hotel on your list, sometimes you get a hotel that makes you shudder, and sometimes you don't get a hotel at all. Although that last part is rare.
Basically, booking hotels for San Diego Comic-Con is kind of like the Con version of the good-fast-cheap conundrum. You can definitely book a top-tier hotel, you can have a discount on your room, and you can have a stress-free booking experience - but you can't have all 3.
Back to Early Bird. Traditionally this sale has lasted for several weeks to a month, and there have always been rooms left over by the time actual Hotel Day launched. However, I think there's a good chance that Early Bird could sell out this year. Here's why: last year we had a smooth Early Bird sale, then a smooth Hotel Day, then reservations shut down for a few days like always... and when they went live again, the system crashed spectacularly. I suspect people who suffered through that experience may be more anxious to lock down a room this year and not gamble on their Comic-Con fate.
Then again, I feel like most SDCC attendees are gamblers and optimists at heart, so maybe I'm wrong. We'll see. Sometimes Comic-Con reminds me of how my friends talk about childbirth - you scream in agony and swear you're never doing this again, and then a special fog erases that memory and there you are trying to get knocked up again.
In any case, if you're intrigued by the Early Bird sale, keep an open mind - it really is a calm alternative to Hotel Day and you can save some decent cash if you're disciplined about waiting for shuttles and not splurging on cabs. And some people enjoy getting away from the Con each night.
I expect this to be announced over the next few weeks, so stay tuned.
ETA: Hotel tip from commenter Ferd: He booked a room at the Comfort Inn Gaslamp on his own for $489 a night. It's 6 blocks (walking distance) from the convention center and it's not part of Hotel Day - so if you're looking to lock something down now on your own, and want to stay downtown , consider this as an option. Yes, it's more expensive than the Comic Con hotels (which range from about 180-300 a night, depending on how close you stay to the Con) but you can skip the stress of Hotel Day and you'll choose your own hotel instead of letting Travel Planners assign one to you.