SDCC 2013: Should I Try For Early Bird Hotel Sales?

So if you have been looking into going to San Diego Comic-Con International this year, this post will be important for you. Unless you live in San Diego, you’ll probably be living in a hotel room come Comic Con this July. Now costs can add up at SDCC, the flight/drive there, the ticket, the food, the commemorative gear, it all comes up to a pretty pricey trip, and it’s nice to know you can try to save as much money as you can.

This Wednesday, January 23rd at 9:00 pacific time, CC is doing their Early Bird Hotel sales! It’s a good way to ensure a great deal if you are planning to go to CC. I’ll lay out some pros and cons to this deal and then some tips if you are going to choose to get your rooms on Wednesday morning.

Pros to Early Bird

Convenience: The biggest pro to early bird is the obvious one, you get everything settled and out of the way. If you already have pre-registration tickets, then this is a great choice. All of the hotels on the Early Bird list are on the CCI shuttle route, so while they are not near the convention center, you also don’t need to worry about parking or traffic because there are shuttles there waiting to take you back.

Cheaper: These hotel rooms are nearly over half the price of a room in a hotel that is within walking distance of the convention center. The cheapest rooms on the list are about $169 a night, which may still seem steep for those who know room prices, but compared to the $300+ you will get from the Hilton, the Marriot, or the Omni (the Hard Rock runs up to $500, I believe), it’s a much better deal.

Food: Hotel food is expensive, but not compared to the restaurants and bars downtown. If you are planning on eating out near the convention center be prepared for outrageous prices on sustenance.

I stayed at the Hilton Bayfront and the cheapest food we could find was pizza which was still around $10 for two slices and a drink. Now in the further hotels, the inner cafés are cheaper and you don’t have to walk a mile to save yourself money. Plus many of these deals come with breakfast, or some sort of food deal, trust me this is a good idea.

Also if you can, go the day before the mayhem and buy some snack food in bulk from Vons or something. Then you can snack on something while you wait in lines, this is proven to be a great way to save money rather than a $4 pretzel that you’ll be resenting as you eat it.

Cons to Early Bird

Non-Refundable: My biggest problem with this system is that it is non-refundable. Once you order your hotel room, you are keeping it. It is a done deal. And for those of us who have gotten our pre-registration tickets, that’s fine. But many people have not bought tickets because the general sales have not passed yet.

So it is a very small pool of people who can get these rooms. If you have not gotten tickets yet, do not consider this. I’ve said many times that people who don’t have tickets to SDCC can go to San Diego too during the four days and have just as much fun perusing the streets and getting all the swag and going to outdoor events, but that is only if you live close to the center.

Distance: The biggest reason why I won’t be purchasing a room this year at these hotels is because of the distance. For me, SDCC is a splurge every year, so I’m willing to shell out the big bucks. I hate getting up super early and waiting for a shuttle that will drive me all the way out to the center on a 20 minute ride. I hate waiting on the curb for my bus after a long day of walking. I did that for two years, and I do not want to go back.

I like being close to the action. I like being able to drop my heavy swag bags off at the room and running back down stairs. I like walking around at night and seeing the night life.

Method

So if you haven’t closed this window yet because you have tickets to SDCC 2013 and you are okay with staying at a farther hotel to save money, then read on and I’ll give you some tips.

First thing is first, don’t underestimate the crowds. Although I predict that the group to buy these rooms will be significantly smaller, do not expect to sign on at 9:15 and get the rooms you want.

Get online AT LEAST half an hour earlier with all your party’s info ready. It’s best to share rooms with people, so if you are going with friends, give each other your Member ID and a single address you’ve all agreed to use, and a credit card. That being said, don’t give your credit card information to just anyone, you should trust these people.

Next, turn off all extra programs on your computer and make sure it’s running at the fastest speed it can be. Better be safe than sorry. Have your list of hotels ready. Which ones do you want the most? List them out in numbered order and share that around with your friends. Finally, wait. Keep updated on Comic-Con’s twitter and their Facebook. These tips should help you snag the hotel of your preference!

Remember this starts on Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 9:00 am Pacific Standard Time. For all the official information, please read this page thoroughly and make your lists.

Personally, I stayed at the Courtyard Marriot in Mission Valley and it was awesome. Their bistro serves pretty good food and their rooms are very comfy. Also if you haven’t read my article on Comic Con in general, you should take a look. Good luck and good hunting.

P.S. If you haven’t signed up for a Comic Con Member ID, I suggest you do so. It costs you nothing, and if you do decide to attend SDCC you’ll need it. They close registration around the time when they start to sell tickets.