Five Ways To Do San Diego Comic Con On The Cheap

San Diego Comic Con is expensive. Really expensive. You wouldn’t believe how expensive it can be. Not so much the show with its $25 a day tickets, but they’ve all gone now and you may find yourself resorting to ticket touts for hundreds of dollars for each day and the very real risk that you won’t gain entry to the show. Then hotel rooms anywhere close to the show are hundreds and hundreds of dollars a night. And of course actually getting to San Diego can cost a major sum, depending where you are travelling from. And then there’s food – how much can anyone justify spending on a pretzel?

So how about you do it cheap instead? Get the whole Comic Con experience, maybe better than you might get otherwise, but keep your money in your pocket? Here is your cut out and keep guide…

1. Hitch.

If you’re flying in from Europe, I’m sorry, but you’re paying a four figure dollar sum. There’s no other way around it. Sorry. Fuel prices have rocketed, the dollar price has slummed, you’re paying out. Sorry. It’s a $5 ride from the airport, but I walked it last time, and it does give you a better sense of your environment.

But remember there’s little reason to fly if you are travelling within America. There’s an Amtrak station so close to the show that it should be illegal to come in other way. And, especially coming from and going to Los Angeles, you’ll never know who’ll be on the train with you. Two years ago I scored Geoff Johns and Jeff Smith.

But there are plenty of people going to San Diego Comic Con from around the country, and a stack of them are driving. And they may have room for someone else of a like mind and a geek sentiment, especially if you are the type to shower on a regular basis. You can split gas, or course, but you might also be able to trade it for a prized possession of yours. This is Comic Con after all.

2. Don’t Actually Go To The Con.

There are no tickets left. Not for press, for professionals, not for anyone. Touting has been made more and more difficult – and more and more expensive. You might get in by offering services to a vendor, a few hours work a day on the booths and the rest of the day is yours. But if you’re not a large breasted slim waisted young woman, it’s not easy.

But what has grown outside the Convention Center is a street convention of its very own. People set up booths, there are zombie marches, cosplayoffs, all sorts of nonsense crowding those tramlines. The Tr!ckster bar is setting up over the road with a guest list that most non-San Diego Comic Cons would be proud of. The hotels have their own events during the day, there are galleries and shows stetching up through the Gas Lamp quarter, often with the likes of Stan Lee signing, and there are the evening parties which you might be able to blag entrance to. And the bars have comic book and movie professional shoulder to shoulder. If you;ve got the chutzpah, you get get more one on one time with your idols here than in the show itself. If you smoke it’s even easier, just find the smoking points, make sure you have a light to offer, and pull out those cancer sticks.

And I bet theylve got expene accounts for the bar too…

3. Sleep Under The Stars.

Blame Hall H for this. Twilight, Avengers and the like have attracted such huge crowds for a relatively small panel area of 6,000 people that the only way to get in is to line up. For hours. Through the night. To the extent that the show has put up tents and marquees for people to sleep under. The climate is so pleasant that, as long as you can make sure you don’t end up snuggled nest to an overweight Klingon, it’s quite pleasant. You may even get a few hours sleep, but you’ll end up making lifelong friends too. A true bonding geek experience that may be far more entertaining than the panel you’re all lining up to see.

4. Work Out Where Ralph’s Is.

You’ve seen the price of everything to eat and drink in and around the Convention Center. And seriously, for that price the hot dog should be slabbed CGC 9.8 or higher.

And then there’s Ralph’s. Between the Gaslamp Quarter and the Horton Westfield Plaza. Fresh fruit, meat, cheese, salads, pastries, plenty of drinks and consumables, all at a relatively decent price. It’s a short walk up the hill and it pays dividends. Last year all the staff were wearing comic T-shirts too. I endedd up comparing pineapple chunks with C3PO. And I don’t mean a cosplayer.

5. Never Hail A Pedicab.

Just don;t. You’re better off walking. Or try jumping on a passing Taunton cosplayer.