(I made a small adjustment because I completely forget about the costs for the Nerd HQ panels. It didn’t add a huge amount to the total but it’s another cost to keep in mind.)
These posts are always a hit, especially with those of you going to San Diego for the first time. Now, keep in mind, these numbers are always changing. The biggest change is probably the travel related expenses. It seems that airfare is always on the rise and the fact that in most cases your stuck with the Hotel Lotto, you’re not always 100% sure what your hotel costs will be until you get closer to the event. I will say, the most important thing in helping to keep costs down is to have a group. If you do have a group though, make sure everyone is 100% committed. With that, onto my numbers.
This is probably the biggest expense for most of us. We’re not all lucky enough to live in San Diego or even just the west coast. I’m 3,000 miles away which means airfare can get a bit pricey. I normally fly Southwest because of their baggage policy and the options they offer. This year I was able to purchase my airfare for $380. I had almost enough points for one free flight. I purchased the difference which was still cheaper than an actual ticket. My flight home was full fare. In the past I’ve been lucky enough to have free flights which really does help the wallet. If you’re a member of a rewards program, try and take advantage of it! I’m lucky enough that my parents drop me off at the airport as well. This means I’m not paying for parking. This is something you should keep in mind when planning your budget!
This year we managed to land a pretty sweet deal on a condo. It was in the perfect location and was just the right size for two of us. My half was just $475. This was for a week. We normally try and book Monday to Monday if we can. In some cases, a rental might even cut you a little bit of a deal if you can make your stay a week or longer. It makes it easier on them when renting out a unit then say doing a Wednesday to Sunday. I honestly think we found the only person who didn’t jack prices up. It was a studio as well which played a part in the rate.
Spending Money: $600
I’m lumping this together since I don’t really do exclusives or expensive artwork. I took about $600 cash with me which was used for everything from dining out to Starbucks. Our meals averaged about $30 for the two of us whenever we went out. I spent around $200 at Comic-Con. $160 of that was for MCU Set and $40 for a sketch. That’s about it. We spent some money on stocking the condo as well. If you go the rental route, this is something to keep in mind. It was great being able to buy water that didn’t cost an arm and leg. If you can find the time to cook, even better. You’ll save even more.
Nerd HQ: $66
That brings my total to $1,521. This is around the norm for myself. In 2010 (my first year) my total was $1,360 and then in 2011 around $1,185. The thing is, both of those years I had free airfare. You can see what a huge different having a condo made! We really lucked out in that department. The past two years we haven’t had a rental car which is a money saver too, especially when you factor in parking costs. Since I attend as Press, I save a little there too.
If you’d like to share your Comic-Con costs with everyone just send an email. Be sure to include where you’re traveling from when discussing airfare/travel expenses. We get a lot of questions about the budget for international travels. If you’re someone who’s from outside the U.S. who has attended, we’d really love to share your numbers!