Avoiding Hotel Day

10 MARCH 2015

Just a few weeks from now, on 24 March, we’ll have Hotel Day. There’s no reason to fear it; it’s a game of chance, but one that offers you better odds than Open Reg (you will get a hotel room, just not always the one you wanted) and one that’s far less stressful. You go into the system, make your choices, and leave. It’s over with in minutes.
All the same, those of you who don’t have the stomach for anymore risk or stress are usually looking for an alternative around this time. Here’s what not to do: pay some ungodly sum for a nonrefundable hotel. You have Early Bird for that, and those hotels are much cheaper than those outside the system. But you do have other options at your disposal.

San Diego Craigslist
Yeah, I know. But that is where most residents are advertising condos, spare rooms and so on. At the same time, there are a fair amount of grifters, so caveat emptor.

Shake the nerd tree
Ask around Facebook and your digital communities for fellow attendees (or just sympathizers) who are open to letting you crash in their guest room/couch for a minimal fee. Is this weird? It would be for me, but I’m a distrustful misanthrope who needs my space. If you love hobnobbing with strangers, this could be just the ticket.

Hostels and Campgrounds
You know if you’re up for this route. Most of the attendees I know who’ve stayed in hostels were more than satisfied.

Airbnb will continually have new rooms and houses appearing over the next few months so keep checking back even if you don’t see anything reasonable right now.

Split your stay
To hedge your bets, you can book 2 nights at a less-desirable hotel right now and then look for 2 nights through the official hotel sale. Why this ups your chances: because a lot more un-badged people will be flooding in on the weekend just to hang. So if you book Friday and Saturday now somewhere else, then only do Wednesday and Thursday through the hotel sale, you have a slightly better chance at landing at a premium hotel compared to those of us who are trying to book all four nights at the Marriott. Yes, packing up your stuff and taking it on the shuttle is kind of a pain, but it’s not that awful.

Look at non-Travel Planners hotels.
Personally I wouldn’t go this route unless you A) want to avoid the mayhem of Hotel Day at all costs or B) want to blend other vacation elements into your trip, in which case some of these hotels (like the Hotel Del Coronado) can offer a leisurely beach/recreational experience.

These hotels are not discounted, they are not on the Shuttle Grid - but they’re also a sure thing should you want to pay their price.

In the end, remember that your lodgings are just a place to sleep off your SDCC exhaustion. This isn’t the kind of thing that should make or break your Con experience – so be practical and make the arrangements that are best for you. Once you're there in the rush of excitement, you won't care where you hit the pillow each night.

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