The Cost Of Comic-Con: 2012 Edition

San Diego Comic Con

We did a few of these last year which you can read here and here. We actually had an email asking for this, which I hope means that these type of posts help you guys out.

Here’s the breakdown for Mario’s trip:

Flight – 2 people from the east coast to SAN – $718.60 (booked FAR in advance)
Hotel – $1909.40 (Hard Rock, 5 nights. $652.91 deposit through Travel Planners at time of booking, the rest due at check out including a $33.65 a day upgrade fee to a better room.)
Food – About $300 for two people, but that’s mostly fine dining (Toscana, The Palm, etc), also includes $50 spent at Ralph’s for food supplies.
Exclusives – I went light this year and only spent under $300
Incidentals – Taxis, tips, etc – $75

Total – $3303

Mario wanted to mention that they spent way more than last year, but they did stay two extra nights at a more expensive hotel. I actually recommend adding a day or two onto your trip to help you adjust if there’s a big time difference and to give you time to actually enjoy San Diego. On the plus, they were able to save money by attending various functions throughout the weekend that supplied both food and drinks. This might not work for everyone but it might for some of you out there.

Now here’s Erin’s breakdown for her trip!

Condo: $1475 for the week (plus a $250 deposit we should get back, and a $100 cleaning fee we won’t get back)
Groceries: $48
Food/Drinks: $310 ($5 on a pretzel with icing at the convention center)
Shipping: $31
Taxi (twice): $30
Mondo Posters/Prints: $1250
Art Commission: $100
Gifts: $30
Airfare: $760 (saved money because of miles)
Total: $4,039

As you can see, Erin spent a good chunk at the Mondo booth. I think Erin and Mario provide perfect examples of how being into a certain item (exclusives, prints) can make or break a budget. There are some costs you can’t avoid but others are more personal.

Our readers sent in some of their expenses too! You guys are great.

Rob attended for the first time and came from Canada. Here are a few of his costs:

Badges: $350
Airport Parking: $90
Flight Toronto to San Diego: $1005.00
Westin Gaslamp Hotel 6 days: $1450
Food for stocking the hotel mini fridge: $50ish for the week
Total: Approx $3,330 for 2 people or $1665 per person

I left out some of the minor items but made sure to include his total for the trip. I’m glad he included the airport parking from back home! That’s one of those costs you forget about sometimes. He gave a good tip as well, try saving money throughout the year. If you can start stashing away $100 a month, you’ll be in good shape by the time Comic-Con rolls around again.

I was glad when Eve contacted us. Why? She attended Comic-Con all the way from Belgium! I know we have readers from all over the world who wonder about costs and hopefully these numbers will help a few of you.

Flight: $1245
Hotel (6 nights): $357
Food: about $150 and I skipped a lot of meals (no time to eat!)
Toys: about $470

Yes, I did a double take too when I saw the hotel costs. She stayed at the 500w Broadway Hotel which is actually a hostel. She paid for 1 bed in a room with 4 people in total. Since all she really needed was a bed, it worked for her. If you aren’t too picky about where you sleep this might be a good option to check out. She even asked if they were fully booked for Comic-Con and they said no!

Adam didn’t attend this past year because of how much it can cost, especially as a single traveler. He did pass along his numbers from 2011 though. He admits he booked his flights a little late and that might have cost him, his airfare from Boston to San Diego was $800 on Jetblue. His hotel ended up being $1,500 total which is crazy for a single person to pay. In the end, his trip ended up costing him $3,000. You can see why he passed on this year! He does hope to attend in 2013 though and to find a few friends to split the cost. This is probably the number one way to save money. If you can find some friends it’ll help a great deal. Hell, they don’t even need to be interested in attending SDCC. There’s enough to do in San Diego like the Zoo or a trip up to L.A. that would keep a non attendee busy.

Shawn (@The_Con_Fluence) was kind enough to share his information as well:

This is our actual for 2012 ($2721):
Tix: $175
Parking: $50
Room: $456
Sitter: $200
Food/Ent: $800
Stuff: $1040

Again, another example of how “Stuff” can add up! Don’t think you need to spend every dime though to land awesome items. There’s enough free swag floating around that sometimes you don’t even need to spend a penny!They only had to pay for one pass because Shawn was lucky enough to score the Golden Ticket, that being a Press Pass. They were able to drive to San Diego as well which helped save some money I’m sure. Then again, it probably was spent on goodies!

In the end, there are some costs that you just have to suck up and deal with. The best way to save money is to try and book airfare early and try splitting the costs with friends. If hotels are too expensive for you, try looking into a condo. We did a little post on that here. If you live within driving distance, even if it’s a few hours, try doing the math to see if it might actually be cheaper than flying. You never know until you add it all up.

We hope these breakdowns and numbers aid in your planning for San Diego Comic Con 2013! If you have any money saving tips, feel free to add them to the comments!


  • Me and my brother’s total:

    Flight: $1026 (for 2 people, from mexico city)
    Badges: $160 (2 people – 2 days each)
    Hotel: $648 4 nights town & country
    Food: $200
    Exclusives and other CC shopping: $350
    Total: $2384

    Since the flight, hotel and badges were paid at least a couple of months in advance, I could save up enough money to hang around san diego and visit the zoo, the uss midway, do shoppping and extend the vacations to las vegas.

    awesome experience all in all

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