Going To San Diego Comic-Con? A Guide To Saving Money And Your Sanity

Your first trip to attend San Diego Comic-Con is an exciting adventure. From the myriads of merchandise and art to buy to the fun of spending a long weekend with thousands of your fellow fans, it can be the trip of a lifetime for some fans. But it can also be overwhelming and expensive to newbies. To help get you through the weekend, here is a handy list of 4 easy ways to save both money and your sanity at Comic-Con. 

Look for Hotels Outside the Zone. Comic-Con always arranges rooms at several nearby hotels, which can be very convenient. However, they can also be quite expensive for the average attendee. And they're more likely to be party hotels that can keep you awake more than you may want. For the sake of savings and a good night's sleep, look for hotels outside this immediate area. Check out the bus and trolley routes to find a more reasonable hotel near a stop. Don't worry about missing out on the camaraderie though -- you're likely to find any San Diego hotel filled with fans for this weekend. Contact a hotel like Oak Tree Inn to learn more.

Pack Snacks. Convention food is often marked by long lines, exorbitant costs and lack of good quality. Help keep your system in top shape for this annual marathon of fandom by packing your own snacks and even a few small meals. High protein snacks like nuts, edamame, protein bars and jerky are light, portable and don't require refrigeration. Be sure to pack at least one water bottle and keep it filled at drinking fountains to stay hydrated. Conventions are notoriously warm and humid -- especially given the San Diego locale in July -- so it's vital to stay healthy. 

Skip the Driving. The bad news is that San Diego's convention center neighborhood and nearby Gaslamp Quarter are packed with traffic and pedestrians during Comic-Con. The good news is that the city has a convenient (and partially free) public transportation system already set up. The trolley is a well-kept light rail network that can take you right to the steps of the convention center. Buy a one-day or multi-day pass and skip even more hassle. If you're driving to San Diego, consider parking near a trolley stop at Qualcomm Stadium or the Santa Fe Depot. 

Attend Panels. The exhibition hall floor at this con is particularly large and offers more ways than you can count to separate you from your money. The best way to avoid spending all your money on merchandise, art or collectibles is to avoid spending a lot of time in this area. Instead of wandering the booths, plan out a schedule that includes a lot of panels. You're likely to find this more relaxing, more comfortable and much less costly. 

By knowing how to successfully navigate San Diego Comic-Con in a less stressful and less expensive way, you can ensure the best possible first time experience.