PAX Travel Guide

Qs23Qs23 Registered User regular
edited March 2008 in PAX Archive
So you want to goto PAX? That's great. Have you put any thought into how you're going to get there? Have you also put any thought into your other options of getting there? Well if you haven't, grab a cup of coffee and take a breeze through this and find out what your options are.

Now, first off, there are basically 4 ways of getting to PAX:
  • Fly
  • Drive
  • Take A Train (Amtrak)
  • Take The Bus (Greyhound)

Each have their pros and cons that weigh in on the decision making process, but there is basically one common decision point between all of them...

Time vs. Comfort vs. Money:


In this section, we're going to discuss just that. In any form of traveling, one of those 3 things is going to be the constant and you're not going to be able to change it. One example could be a college student planning his spring break trip. He knows when his last class before spring break ends and when his first class after break starts. So for him, Time is the constant.

My grandma had a walker, couldn't sit still for very long and had to goto the bathroom constantly. So when we traveled with her, her comfort was the constant.

And last year with me, being a poor college student working at a public radio station, I had a small money supply, and so the total amount of money I was able to spend on the trip was my constant. Some people might have more then one constant, but some might not have any. In either case, figure out which of the three is most important and use that as a constant.

So, how do the four ways of getting to PAX relate to Time, Comfort and Money? Well let's take a quick look.

Time

It is really easy to compare the time factors of the four ways of getting to PAX. You just compare times. And that comparison breaks down to two things: Flying and Not Flying. As you will see in more detail later, I looked at 11 places from across the US, ranging from approx. 200 miles away to 3,300 miles away. Now the airlines suggest that you arrive 2 hours before your flight. And I know that some airports won't let you check baggage if it's less then an hour till your flight departs. And Seattle's airport is at least a 20-30 minute drive from the convention center and hotels.

So what does that mean? Well, there is a hidden hour and a half at least in the travel time of flying that you need to add in. But even with that time added on, flying is still going going to be faster then the other forms of transportation. We'll look into the specific times farther down when we look at each of the forms individually, but flying is the clear winner of this one.

Comfort

Comfort can mean different things for different people. For some it's a preference. They prefer a train ride to a bus ride. Or the open skies to the chaos that's on the highway. But for others, it's a medical necessity. What ever the case maybe, before you start your trip, find what comforts or special attention you may need or want, and then do a little research to find out which of the four modes of transportation fill your need and go from there.

Money

Money is just like time, very easy to compare the four ways of getting to PAX. All you gotta do is look at cost. First off, flying is in a class almost by itself. It is hands down the fastest way to travel to most places, but you pay a premium for that speed. The others move at a much slower pace compared to the plane. So when you are traveling, you should take into account that you will need to eat, and food will cost some money, and so that should be taken into account. Out of the rest, the train is more expensive then the bus and driving throws a twist into the mix.

That twist comes in the total cost for a group of people. Now when you are traveling by plane, train or bus, the cost of you ticket will not change depending on if you travel with your friends. (Unless you have a lot of friends and are able to get the normally 10-20 person group discount.) But with driving, the major cost for the trip is going to be gas. And your going to be paying the same amount for gas whether you are the only one in your vehicle or you've got everybody crammed in like circus clowns. But the cost to each person is going to be A LOT lower in the clown car then the solo driver.

If that analogy didn't work here are the real numbers from my drive last year. Round-trip, my friends and I spent a total of $475 on gas. Now if I was going by myself, it would have been cheaper to take the train, ($393) the bus ($198) and even the plane ($400) to and from PAX. But since there was 3 of us in the car, I only had to pay $160ish for the trip. So if money is tight, Driving can be the cheapest under the right circumstances.

Modes of Transportation

Now that you've got the basic overall decisions of time, money and comfort figured out, lets take a closer look at each of the 4 ways to get to PAX. But before that, let me explain how this section is setup. First is going to be a list of pros and cons for each form of transportation. Then doing some simple travel website digging, I'm going to list the prices and times of transportation from 11 different cities from across the US. I chose these cities due to the fact that they range in population from slightly over half a million people to almost 19 million.

But more so is their distances from PAX. they are spaced out, according to Google maps, in approx. 200 to 500 mile increments from Seattle. And so it should give a pretty good idea what the price and time is going to be from anywhere in the US that you are at. The cities are as follows (in order of closeness to Seattle):
  1. Portland, OR - 200 miles
  2. Boise, ID - 500 miles
  3. San Fransisco, CA - 800 miles
  4. Los Angeles, CA - 1,100 miles
  5. Denver, CO - 1,300 miles
  6. Omaha, NE - 1,700 miles
  7. Chicago, IL - 2,000 miles
  8. Detroit, MI - 2,200 miles
  9. Houston, TX - 2,400 miles
  10. New York City, NY - 2,800 miles
  11. Miami, FL - 3,300 miles


I know I didn't do any research from outside the country, but that is because there is enough research to for traveling inside the US. And I would put money on the fact that most people traveling to PAX outside the US will most likely just fly to Seattle and back.

Oh, on one final note, I chose to arrive at Seattle on Thursday night and leave Monday morning when I was doing my research due to the fact that that is when the CCST and the WCTT arrive and depart from PAX. And don't quote me on the prices. These were all taken back in January and might have changed since then. And the time is listed in hours and minutes if you didn't notice. The prices listed is for the cost round trip and the time listed is for just one-way. Why I did I do it that way? because that is how the travel sites list it.

Flying

Pros:
  • It's fast. There's not many other ways you can travel over 3,000 miles in under 7 hours.
  • You leave the flying to somebody else.
  • If you work during the week, you can be back anywhere in the US by Sunday night if need be.
  • You won't kill your travel-mates because you won't have time.
  • Did I mention it's fast?
Cons:
  • It's more expensive most of the time.
  • The Seattle Airport is 15 miles from the convention center and a taxi would cost around $20
  • Might not have power to run electronic devices.
  • Not allowed to use certain devices during take-off and landing.
  • Severe rules for carry-ons.
  • Possibility of getting a Body Cavity search.
  • Coach class.
  • Screaming Babies have nowhere else to go.
  • The Friday before Labor Day ranked as the second busiest day for air travel.
  • Chance of missing connecting flight if you have one or more.
  • Possible jet-lag.
  • Fear of flying.

Price and travel times by city:
(Price is for round trip, but time is one-way)
  • Portland - $150 and 0:50
  • Boise - $163 and 1:30
  • S.F. - $209 and 2:00
  • LA - $300 and 2:45
  • Denver - $240 and 2:45
  • Omaha - $336 and 5:45 (Including Layover. No direct flights)
  • Chicago - $341 and 4:20
  • Detroit - $421 and 5:00 ($392 and 6:30 if willing to have a layover)
  • Houston - $315 and 4:20
  • NYC - $375 and 6:30 ($320 and 9:00 if willing to have a layover)
  • Miami - $400 and 6:00 ($331 and 7:30 if willing to have a layover)

Train

Pro:
  • Plenty of time to hang out with other people on the train... Like the guys from the West Coast Train Trip
  • Don't have to be in charge of driving the train.
  • More room to move around and actually get up and walk around.
  • West Coast Train Trip. Have you heard about it?
  • Looser security then planes.
  • Seats have power outlets next to them.
  • Less then 1 mile from train station to PAX.
  • If you're traveling up the west coast, you can hook up with the West Coast Train Trip.

Con:
  • There is still a limit on what you can pack and bring with you.
  • Multi-day trip on most occasions.
  • Only two direct routes goto Seattle. One from Chicago and one from San Fran and LA.
  • frequent delays due to freight trains.
  • Sleeper cars are expensive if you want one.
  • Food on the train is expensive.
  • Train swaying might not be good for motion sickness people.
  • Train seats are hard to sleep in.
  • Not that many train routes it seems and that means not many choices on times.
  • Once you get on the train, you are stuck on the train.
Price and travel times by city:
(Price is for round trip. but time is one-way)
  • Portland - $56 and 3:30
  • Boise - $158 and 15:25 (9:30 of which is spent on a bus and 3:00 on layover)
  • S.F. - $179 and 23:45 (1:00 spent on a bus and 0:30 spent on layover)
  • LA - $184 and 34:30
  • Denver - $348 and 58:00 (around 6:00 spent on layover)
  • Omaha - $408 and 68:14 (around 6:00 spent on layover)
  • Chicago - $286 and 46:05
  • Detroit - $385 and 51:30 (around 2:00 spent on layover)
  • Houston - $446 and 72:00 (note: If the Houston train to LA is even 5 mins late, you'll miss the LA to Seattle train and you're SOL. So add another 24:00 onto the trip there to be safe. Also, the trip back has a 17:30 layover)
  • NYC - $415 and 70:50 (5:00 spent on layover)
  • Miami - $579 and 100:30 (14:00 spent on layover)

Driving

Pros:
  • If you're traveling with a couple of friends, it can be the cheapest way to travel.
  • Traveling with the CCST is one of the easiest ways to meet other PAXgoers before you get to PAX.
  • The only limit on what you can bring is the size of your vehicle.
  • Driving with the CCST means you're not traveling alone. You're traveling with people who have driven to PAX for years. Most of the legwork (scheduling, gas stops, breaks, etc.) has been already done for you.
  • A cigarette lighter + a power inverter = power for almost every electronic device you own.
  • Did I mention how cool riding with the CCST is?


Con:
  • Possibility of forgetting to adjust the travel time from what google maps gives you and thinking you can drive from NYC to Seattle in 42 hours. (The CCST has already adjusted for this)
  • Traveling speed is comparable to the train and the bus.
  • You are at the mercy of the traffic near big cities.
  • Toll Roads for some people who are traveling east of Chicago.
  • Parking near the convention center or at the hotels is $20+ a day.
  • The car might break down... in the middle of Montana. (Knock on Wood)
  • Driving long distances takes a toll on some people.
  • Truckstop food isn't the greatest (don't eat it in Butte, MT).
  • Smelly feet.
  • If you don't have enough people, it's going to be more expensive.


Prices and Times:
(Prices are for round trip and travel time is for one-way)

Note: Trying to figure out the price and times for driving is a lot harder then any of the others. The reason is that there are too many unknowns. How much is gas going to cost next August? What type of MPG does your car get? The number of people you are going to take also makes a difference.

So what I've decided to do here is take the data that I've acquired from the two previous CCST trips and use it to estimate the time and cost that I would have to pay if I was making the journey. The specifics are of a 2000 Toyota Camry with an MPG of 28, with 3 people in the car. And we're going to go with an average of $3.00 per gallon of gas, to make the calculations a little easier.
  • Portland- $12.42 and 3:00
  • Boise- $36.07 and 10:00
  • SF- $57.71 and 16:00
  • LA- $81.07 and 25:00
  • Denver- $95.14 and 30:00
  • Omaha- $132.14 and 37:00
  • Chicago- $147.64 and 45:00
  • Detroit- $167.78 and 51:00
  • Houston- $174.28 and 54:00
  • NYC- $203.92 and 60:00
  • Miami- $249.78 and 76:00

Summary
So that's the long of it, what's the short of it?
  • Planes are fast but expensive. Which is fine if you've got an actual M-F job that you can't miss and can cover the higher cost compared to the others.
  • Trains are not as expensive as planes in some cases, but not others. And if you're not coming from Chicago or right on the west coast, be prepared for some wicked layover. And if you're coming from west coast, check out the West Coast Train Trip. If they get enough people, There's bound to be some sort of a discount.
  • Buses are cheap. You can go anywhere in the US and back for under $200 if you give them 2 weeks notice. It may or may not be faster then the train.
  • Driving is even cheaper then the bus if you've got a full car. Plus, if you're east of the Mississippi, check out the Cross Country Supertrip. Nothing like meeting a couple dozen gamers even before PAX has started. And driving in a convoy is a lot safer then driving in one car (and wicked fun).

Well, that's it. Comments? Suggestions?

PASig.gif
Qs23 on
«1

Posts

  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited January 2008
    You know, this thread should probably be named "How to get to PAX" or "PAX Travel Guide". "How do I get to PAX?" sounds like you're asking for help.

    Moe Fwacky on
    E6LkoFK.png

  • ASimPersonASimPerson Cold... ... and hard.Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    If you have a M-F job but can take the Friday before PAX off, it's probably a good idea to try to fly up on Thursday night if you can. If you live on the west coast it's only a 2-3 hour flight, and if you live in the east coast you can take advantage of the time zone changes to still get to Seattle at a reasonable hour.

    That way, you'll get there when the convention starts and still have a night of sleep, instead of getting up at 5 or 6 am to catch a flight to try to be there by the time the convention starts.

    ASimPerson on
    redoctober2.png
    SE++ Forum Battle Archive | PDT is not PST | DRUNKSTUCK: A Homestuck recap
  • Qs23Qs23 Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    _______moe wrote: »
    You know, this thread should probably be named "How to get to PAX" or "PAX Travel Guide". "How do I get to PAX?" sounds like you're asking for help.

    Thanks for the suggestion. Fixed the title.
    ASimPerson wrote:
    If you have a M-F job but can take the Friday before PAX off, it's probably a good idea to try to fly up on Thursday night if you can. If you live on the west coast it's only a 2-3 hour flight, and if you live in the east coast you can take advantage of the time zone changes to still get to Seattle at a reasonable hour.

    That way, you'll get there when the convention starts and still have a night of sleep, instead of getting up at 5 or 6 am to catch a flight to try to be there by the time the convention starts.

    That is a good point. But don't forget that time zones work both ways. Coming back, you've got to add those time zone changes instead of subtracting them. PAX doesn't get out until 9pm EST (6pm PST) on Sunday, so you better be able to catch some Zzz on the plane or be lucky enough that your job has Labor Day off.

    Qs23 on
    PASig.gif
  • leafleaf Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    I know where every liquor store is within walking distance/moderate drive from the centre. Just thought I'd share.

    leaf on
    newsig-notweed.jpg
  • VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    For those coming up from California by car, I found the first trip around that avoiding the major highways around Portland may be in order. What was an ten to twelve hour trip turned into fourteen thanks to being stuck on a highway near Portland.

    I'm not sure what the alternatives are short of taking side roads or doing a long loop around the area, but be warned that the trek through the Portland area can end up depressingly slow.

    But the trip in general, despite the slowdown, is amazing: I'd do it even if there wasn't PAX on the other side of the trip. Fantastic scenery, good friends (if you pack your car full), and in general revelry and adventure is to be had.

    This time, however, I'm considering the train. I've never rode in one, and I imagine it'd be more roomy... but perhaps that's just the "old movie" interpretation of trains rather than reality.

    VThornheart on
    3DS Friend Code: 1950-8938-9095
  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited January 2008
    From what I've heard from the WCTT guys, the train was a total blast. It's definitely a great way to meet people who will be at PAX before you get to PAX. The same concept works for the Cross-Country Supertrip as well. Traveling to PAX with people is a lot more fun than going it alone (or even with just one carload).

    Moe Fwacky on
    E6LkoFK.png

  • VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    _______moe wrote: »
    From what I've heard from the WCTT guys, the train was a total blast. It's definitely a great way to meet people who will be at PAX before you get to PAX. The same concept works for the Cross-Country Supertrip as well. Traveling to PAX with people is a lot more fun than going it alone (or even with just one carload).

    Has the West Coast Supertrip (by car) been replaced by the West Coast Train Trip then (as in everyone who used to go by car goes by train now), or is there a West Coast Supertrip still as well? I see that there's a Cross Country Supertrip (which is AWESOME, though it looks like it's understandably swinging north instead of looping south through California).

    That first year we ended up just missing being in the Supertrip... I had a car full of friends, but we woke up too late to actually meet the Supertrip at the local Fry's Electronics as they stopped there. If I remember correctly, they stopped there at sometime around 4am (or it was planned to), and we didn't wake up until probably 8. =) It might be fun to follow them from stop to stop, maybe take along a passenger if there's room in the car. (If we end up going by car of course, or going at all... as I said in another post, I have to convince the Mrs. ;) )

    VThornheart on
    3DS Friend Code: 1950-8938-9095
  • ASimPersonASimPerson Cold... ... and hard.Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    The train trip replaced the supertrip, yes.

    ASimPerson on
    redoctober2.png
    SE++ Forum Battle Archive | PDT is not PST | DRUNKSTUCK: A Homestuck recap
  • VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    ASimPerson wrote: »
    The train trip replaced the supertrip, yes.

    Ah, why'd they do that? Did the train end up being easier/cheaper in the end?

    I can see it coming close to a car on a price perspective if everyone was driving their own car... but having 2/3 people in your car could dramatically reduce the price. That's too bad. =( But, it IS incentive for us to go by train... and I think my wife's always wanted to try riding on a train (as have I), which is a plus.

    Edit: Ooh, the "power outlets" is also a big train bonus. Hmm... decisions, decisions. =)

    VThornheart on
    3DS Friend Code: 1950-8938-9095
  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited January 2008
    Well, when the guy who ran the WCST in 05-06 decided to do a train trip in 07. He left the field open for somebody else to takeover on the supertrip, but most of the WCST people (and many more) went for the train option and the car option fell to the wayside. I hear the train is pretty sweet.

    Moe Fwacky on
    E6LkoFK.png

  • VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    _______moe wrote: »
    Well, when the guy who ran the WCST in 05-06 decided to do a train trip in 07. He left the field open for somebody else to takeover on the supertrip, but most of the WCST people (and many more) went for the train option and the car option fell to the wayside. I hear the train is pretty sweet.

    I have to admit, after I saw the post above and was bummed for about 30 seconds that the WCST didn't happen, I went to Amtrak to see how trains actually look.

    http://www.amtrak.com/trainTour/superlinerSLEEPER_CONTROLLER.html (holy shit)

    I... I'm speechless. They look BETTER than the movies made them out to look, which usually is a feat. That looks like a blast.

    EDIT: The "Superliner Roomette" looks like I imagined the inside of trains would look like... and they're reasonably priced (looks like a total of ~400 or so there and back from where we are)... but those "bedroom suites" look like something I could LIVE in.

    Kind of makes me wish train service like that went to more areas. It DOES indeed look awesome.

    VThornheart on
    3DS Friend Code: 1950-8938-9095
  • ASimPersonASimPerson Cold... ... and hard.Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Well, trains are pretty comfortable, though it probably ends up taking longer.

    Plus side is that it drops you off right in downtown Seattle and if you want to shell out the money you can even get a cabin in the sleeper car.

    It's a good compromise between flying and driving, depending on where you're coming from.

    That said, while I'm sure the train is comfortable and all, I plan on flying again from SJC-SEA. Yeah, it's $250, but it's a 2 hour flight and so I can leave Thursday night and only have to take 1 day of vacation.

    ASimPerson on
    redoctober2.png
    SE++ Forum Battle Archive | PDT is not PST | DRUNKSTUCK: A Homestuck recap
  • TNTrooperTNTrooper Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    The train ride costs like 90 bucks if leave from LA plus whatever you pay in taxi money from not having a car. Hell Moe probably payed more parking his car then I did in taxi money anyway.

    Out of all the ways listed it is by far the most comfortable and less stressful of all the options. the seats are way more comfortable then ones on a plane or bus and unlike a car you can get up and wander around to stretch your legs and maybe sit in the observation car and watch the scenery. The dining car had nice food if you could get a reservation and afford it.

    Last year we found an empty room that was barren except a small TV, some benches and a power outlet, by the time we got off the train at Seattle we had tons of people playing Mario Kart on the DS, various board and card games, maybe a bit of D&D, watched some movies, not to mention Guitar Hero and my SNES and N64 and a suitcase full of games for them. Hell on the way back one guy finished a 100% completion run on Super Mario World. We even had internet access thanks to one guy.

    Also you can pull out a bottle of booze and have a drink on the train and not have to worry about getting yelled at by flight attendant/bus driver/people that expect you to drive the car providing you don't end up making a huge scene and have to be sent the to the cops at the next station.

    Edit: Like I said on the train trip thread the trip itself is one huge PAX party that can end up almost doubling the time you spent hanging out with PAX goers.

    TNTrooper on
    steam_sig.png
  • VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    TNTrooper wrote: »
    The train ride costs like 90 bucks if leave from LA plus whatever you pay in taxi money from not having a car. Hell Moe probably payed more parking his car then I did in taxi money anyway.

    Out of all the ways listed it is by far the most comfortable and less stressful of all the options. the seats are way more comfortable then ones on a plane or bus and unlike a car you can get up and wander around to stretch your legs and maybe sit in the observation car and watch the scenery. The dining car had nice food if you could get a reservation and afford it.

    Last year we found an empty room that was barren except a small TV, some benches and a power outlet, by the time we got off the train at Seattle we had tons of people playing Mario Kart on the DS, various board and card games, maybe a bit of D&D, watched some movies, not to mention Guitar Hero and my SNES and N64 and a suitcase full of games for them. Hell on the way back one guy finished a 100% completion run on Super Mario World. We even had internet access thanks to one guy.

    Also you can pull out a bottle of booze and have a drink on the train and not have to worry about getting yelled at by flight attendant/bus driver/people that expect you to drive the car providing you don't end up making a huge scene and have to be sent the to the cops at the next station.

    Edit: Like I said on the train trip thread the trip itself is one huge PAX party that can end up almost doubling the time you spent hanging out with PAX goers.

    That's excellent! So I take it you guys just got standard seats then and hung out in the common area cars? I was talking to the wife about getting a sleeper car, but if it's just as good to get a normal seat and then hang out in social cars (like the dining car etc...), then we'd be set. And indeed, the price of round trip train tickets for both of us is less than the cost of one round trip plane ticket. I'm absolutely sold. Train it is!

    VThornheart on
    3DS Friend Code: 1950-8938-9095
  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited January 2008
    ctishman and co. need to get the Train Trip thread up and running

    granted, the train trip does take less planning than the ccst

    Moe Fwacky on
    E6LkoFK.png

  • TNTrooperTNTrooper Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    TNTrooper wrote: »
    The train ride costs like 90 bucks if leave from LA plus whatever you pay in taxi money from not having a car. Hell Moe probably payed more parking his car then I did in taxi money anyway.

    Out of all the ways listed it is by far the most comfortable and less stressful of all the options. the seats are way more comfortable then ones on a plane or bus and unlike a car you can get up and wander around to stretch your legs and maybe sit in the observation car and watch the scenery. The dining car had nice food if you could get a reservation and afford it.

    Last year we found an empty room that was barren except a small TV, some benches and a power outlet, by the time we got off the train at Seattle we had tons of people playing Mario Kart on the DS, various board and card games, maybe a bit of D&D, watched some movies, not to mention Guitar Hero and my SNES and N64 and a suitcase full of games for them. Hell on the way back one guy finished a 100% completion run on Super Mario World. We even had internet access thanks to one guy.

    Also you can pull out a bottle of booze and have a drink on the train and not have to worry about getting yelled at by flight attendant/bus driver/people that expect you to drive the car providing you don't end up making a huge scene and have to be sent the to the cops at the next station.

    Edit: Like I said on the train trip thread the trip itself is one huge PAX party that can end up almost doubling the time you spent hanging out with PAX goers.

    That's excellent! So I take it you guys just got standard seats then and hung out in the common area cars? I was talking to the wife about getting a sleeper car, but if it's just as good to get a normal seat and then hang out in social cars (like the dining car etc...), then we'd be set. And indeed, the price of round trip train tickets for both of us is less than the cost of one round trip plane ticket. I'm absolutely sold. Train it is!

    The standard seats are like the seats in an airplane only with more padding so it is comfy to sit in for a couple hours plus a footrest and it can recline. If you are going overnight then you probably wake up with sore back. The sleeper cars have access to a shared bathroom which includes a shower, you get a reclining seats which convert to a bed, you also get your meals covered in the cost of the ticket which are pretty expensive the cheapest meal was a burger and with a soda that came out to $10 even. And over all you get a bunch of little perks like first dibs on dining car reservations and I think they had wine and cheese tasting for non-coach people (we still liberated the cheese form them when no one was watching though)

    No one stayed in the seats longer then the battery life of their half dead DS lite then we wandered out and took over areas with power outlets to get them charged up and people found out the observation and snack car had tables for playing Settlers of Catan and Munchkins. Then we got some 4 player Bomberman going on my SNES in the TV room and after that the only time I went back to my actually seat was to get my remaining suitcase to the TV room so I could keep an eye on it.

    TNTrooper on
    steam_sig.png
  • VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    TNTrooper wrote: »
    TNTrooper wrote: »
    The train ride costs like 90 bucks if leave from LA plus whatever you pay in taxi money from not having a car. Hell Moe probably payed more parking his car then I did in taxi money anyway.

    Out of all the ways listed it is by far the most comfortable and less stressful of all the options. the seats are way more comfortable then ones on a plane or bus and unlike a car you can get up and wander around to stretch your legs and maybe sit in the observation car and watch the scenery. The dining car had nice food if you could get a reservation and afford it.

    Last year we found an empty room that was barren except a small TV, some benches and a power outlet, by the time we got off the train at Seattle we had tons of people playing Mario Kart on the DS, various board and card games, maybe a bit of D&D, watched some movies, not to mention Guitar Hero and my SNES and N64 and a suitcase full of games for them. Hell on the way back one guy finished a 100% completion run on Super Mario World. We even had internet access thanks to one guy.

    Also you can pull out a bottle of booze and have a drink on the train and not have to worry about getting yelled at by flight attendant/bus driver/people that expect you to drive the car providing you don't end up making a huge scene and have to be sent the to the cops at the next station.

    Edit: Like I said on the train trip thread the trip itself is one huge PAX party that can end up almost doubling the time you spent hanging out with PAX goers.

    That's excellent! So I take it you guys just got standard seats then and hung out in the common area cars? I was talking to the wife about getting a sleeper car, but if it's just as good to get a normal seat and then hang out in social cars (like the dining car etc...), then we'd be set. And indeed, the price of round trip train tickets for both of us is less than the cost of one round trip plane ticket. I'm absolutely sold. Train it is!

    The standard seats are like the seats in an airplane only with more padding so it is comfy to sit in for a couple hours plus a footrest and it can recline. If you are going overnight then you probably wake up with sore back. The sleeper cars have access to a shared bathroom which includes a shower, you get a reclining seats which convert to a bed, you also get your meals covered in the cost of the ticket which are pretty expensive the cheapest meal was a burger and with a soda that came out to $10 even. And over all you get a bunch of little perks like first dibs on dining car reservations and I think they had wine and cheese tasting for non-coach people (we still liberated the cheese form them when no one was watching though)

    No one stayed in the seats longer then the battery life of their half dead DS lite then we wandered out and took over areas with power outlets to get them charged up and people found out the observation and snack car had tables for playing Settlers of Catan and Munchkins. Then we got some 4 player Bomberman going on my SNES in the TV room and after that the only time I went back to my actually seat was to get my remaining suitcase to the TV room so I could keep an eye on it.

    Damn, this sounds like a BLAST. I'll bring my copy of the Order of the Stick board game if anyone's up for playing. Dibs on Elan. =) I'm certainly up for a round of Catan as well... I've seen people play it, and I like the concept... but admittedly, I've never had a chance to actually pony up to the table and play it myself. (embarrassment and laughter may ensue at will ;-) )

    EDIT: And something tells me that we'd have to take our own food anyways... my wife's terribly allergic to wheat AND has celiac disease, so it's usually hard to find things for her to eat. You'd be surprised what has wheat or gluten (or both) in it. =) So with that and the fact that we'd spend all of our time out of the sleeper cabin having fun even if we DID get one, I'll pass on the sleeper and just get the cheap seats. =) Woot!

    VThornheart on
    3DS Friend Code: 1950-8938-9095
  • TimeCruiserMikeTimeCruiserMike Past Organizer of the West Coast Train Trip San Fernando ValleyRegistered User regular
    edited January 2008
    ASimPerson wrote: »
    The train trip replaced the supertrip, yes.

    Ah, why'd they do that? Did the train end up being easier/cheaper in the end?

    It was in part due to the fact that in 06 one guy crashed his car into a pole and another guy's engine seized up and he and his party were forced to take a greyhound the rest of the way. (I'm the second guy, and I'm still without a car.)

    TimeCruiserMike on
    SkOelFN.png
    {Fondly remembers the PAXTrain}
  • King of MarsKing of Mars Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Has anyone here dealt with travel sites such as travelocity or priceline or anything like that, and if so, what can you tell us about them? I'm not sure if I should use one of them or if I should avoid them. It seems convenient to do so, but I don't know anyone that's actually tried it. (I know it's really early to be looking at these things, but the farther in advance I plan the better off I am)

    King of Mars on
    Writhe your naked ass to the mindless groove.
    twitter //
    3DS: 2492-5478-6311 // Steam & WiiU: kingofmars2099
  • VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    ASimPerson wrote: »
    The train trip replaced the supertrip, yes.

    Ah, why'd they do that? Did the train end up being easier/cheaper in the end?

    It was in part due to the fact that in 06 one guy crashed his car into a pole and another guy's engine seized up and he and his party were forced to take a greyhound the rest of the way. (I'm the second guy, and I'm still without a car.)

    Holy crap, I didn't know that... hopefully everyone was okay. Damn... I guess crashing your car into a pole is better than having it spill over the side of one of those mountains in Oregon (which I almost did at one point in the '04 trip now that I think about it), but not by much. Sorry to hear about the car too. =( =( Yeah, the train sounds like it's golden.

    VThornheart on
    3DS Friend Code: 1950-8938-9095
  • ASimPersonASimPerson Cold... ... and hard.Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Use those sites to find fares, but don't buy from them. Once you find the fare you want, go to the airline's website and buy from them directly. This ensures you avoid any booking fees and that you will get frequent flier miles, and perhaps even a small amount of bonus miles for booking directly from them.

    Sometimes those sites can discount hotel rooms enough such that their packages are actually a good deal, but if you want to be in one of the official hotels I suspect the best discount is the PAX discount anyway.

    Personally, I avoid sites like that entirely and use this guy: http://matrix.itasoftware.com/cvg/dispatch/
    It's like the Orbitz matrix display but without the ads and crap. Extremely useful.

    ASimPerson on
    redoctober2.png
    SE++ Forum Battle Archive | PDT is not PST | DRUNKSTUCK: A Homestuck recap
  • VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    ASimPerson wrote: »
    Use those sites to find fares, but don't buy from them. Once you find the fare you want, go to the airline's website and buy from them directly. This ensures you avoid any booking fees and that you will get frequent flier miles, and perhaps even a small amount of bonus miles for booking directly from them.

    Sometimes those sites can discount hotel rooms enough such that their packages are actually a good deal, but if you want to be in one of the official hotels I suspect the best discount is the PAX discount anyway.

    Personally, I avoid sites like that entirely and use this guy: http://matrix.itasoftware.com/cvg/dispatch/
    It's like the Orbitz matrix display but without the ads and crap. Extremely useful.

    Ah, cool! I've never seen that. I'll be sure to use it. =)

    I've got to look up more about the potential for getting weekly discounts etc... from hotels. I know you can, so I'll have to do some searching tonight after work. The wife's birthday is about a week before PAX, and she dropped the "heavy hint" that she wants to go to this Gluten-free restaurant for her birthday... which, for better or worse, means a week and a half to two weeks in Seattle counting PAX.

    Hmm... maybe at that rate, I'd be better off renting part of a duplex, or the upper floor of someone's house or something... I've heard that can be economical for extended stays. So many things to think about. =)

    VThornheart on
    3DS Friend Code: 1950-8938-9095
  • BamboozaBambooza Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Nice write up Qs.

    One thing to add is that the train trip typically doubles the time it would take to go by car. As an example for me to go from Reno to Seattle by train would take 26 hours plus 7 hour layover in Sac. Where driving is 12 hours plus what ever breaks we take. So I would need to leave Tuesday morning to get to Seattle in time for the pre pax dinner where normally i would leave Thursday morning. Also for those who are looking at a train trip upwards of 20 plus hours. It might be a good idea to share a room with others and take turns hot bunking it.

    Bambooza on
    The problem with America is stupidity. I'm not saying there should be a capital punishment for stupidity, but why don't we just take the safety labels off of everything and let the problem solve itself?
  • That_GuyThat_Guy I don't wanna be that guy Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Hmm, this thread got me-a-thinking. It looks like it would only cost me $8 for a coach ticket from Edmonds down to Seattle. It would take me about twice as long by train than driving, but it would be much more convenient.

    Hotels usually offer shuttle service don't they?

    That_Guy on
    camo_sig.png
  • ctishmanctishman Registered User
    edited January 2008
    ...dammit, I really need to get the train trip up and running.



    ...I also really need to get to work.



    Maybe I'll do it after work tonight. (runs off to work and forgets about it)

    ctishman on
    WCTT_banner.gif
    Get the PAX 2008 Countdown widget and while away your sad, pathetic life watching it tick down the hours to PAX '08!
    http://homepage.mac.com/ctishman
  • VThornheartVThornheart Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    ctishman wrote: »
    ...dammit, I really need to get the train trip up and running.



    ...I also really need to get to work.



    Maybe I'll do it after work tonight. (runs off to work and forgets about it)

    No worries. The train'll still be there when you get back from work. ;)

    VThornheart on
    3DS Friend Code: 1950-8938-9095
  • smessmes Registered User
    edited January 2008
    If you live within a 600 km radius of Seattle, I'd recommend driving. Otherwise (unless your a marathon driver) find some other alternative means of transit. I had a blast driving down from Victoria and meeting fellow Canadian SuperTrippers on the Anacortes ferry.

    smes on
  • Qs23Qs23 Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    smes wrote: »
    If you live within a 600 km radius of Seattle, I'd recommend driving. Otherwise (unless your a marathon driver) find some other alternative means of transit. I had a blast driving down from Victoria and meeting fellow Canadian SuperTrippers on the Anacortes ferry.


    If you talking about driving by yourself, then yes I would agree. If you're talking about driving with multiple people in the car, then I think the entire CCST would disagree.

    Qs23 on
    PASig.gif
  • Qs23Qs23 Registered User regular
    edited January 2008
    Has anyone here dealt with travel sites such as travelocity or priceline or anything like that, and if so, what can you tell us about them? I'm not sure if I should use one of them or if I should avoid them. It seems convenient to do so, but I don't know anyone that's actually tried it. (I know it's really early to be looking at these things, but the farther in advance I plan the better off I am)

    I guess I forgot to answer this question earlier.

    The one site that I use is Kayak.com. It was the site I used to give the price quotes for the "Flying" section. But that other one is more then fine as well.

    If I was buying tickets, I'd keep an eye on these guys. I know not all of them goto seattle, but I haven't been able to really check the list enough to give specifics.

    I know if I was flying from Detroit (like one of my friends is planning on doing) I would be waiting for Southwest to finally start accepting reservations. (they current are only up to Aug. 3rd)

    Qs23 on
    PASig.gif
  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited March 2008
    Hey, I think everybody forgot about this thread. Don't forget about this thread, everybody.

    Moe Fwacky on
    E6LkoFK.png

  • nemaihnenemaihne Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Bambooza wrote: »
    Nice write up Qs.

    One thing to add is that the train trip typically doubles the time it would take to go by car. As an example for me to go from Reno to Seattle by train would take 26 hours plus 7 hour layover in Sac. Where driving is 12 hours plus what ever breaks we take. So I would need to leave Tuesday morning to get to Seattle in time for the pre pax dinner where normally i would leave Thursday morning. Also for those who are looking at a train trip upwards of 20 plus hours. It might be a good idea to share a room with others and take turns hot bunking it.


    I have to say in this in favor of the train- it doesn't take I-5. As a motorcyclist I've squared a set of tires doing this stupid route, it's like the west coast's answer to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. At least when you look out the train window you see some beautiful stuff. Plus there are loads of friendly people, you can walk around whenever you want and sleep if you feel like it. I completely fell in love with it last year. FTR, we did shell out for a room figuring we were only ever going to take a train once so why not, and I found it was pretty sweet to be able to go hide there when I got shy. :) So sweet, in fact, that we're taking it again (and still shelling out the extra.) IMHO, the WCTT is more of an unlockable level to PAX than a transportation option and I'd guess the CCSTers feel the same about driving.

    nemaihne on
    I *think* that's what I meant to say...
  • sephirion0sephirion0 Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    I live in Portland, OR. So I'll be taking the train.

    Honestly, parking in Seattle is one of the worst things about PAX. It's so stupid expensive, it's unbelievable. It was something like an additional $100 last year for the three days. I HIGHLY advise leaving your car at home if you can. The public transit in Seattle is awesome, and really once you get there, everything you could possibly want is within walking distance of PAX if not in there already. (though we did effectively shut down that Subway last year. =P )

    Driving may be fun, but fuck it's expensive now. What with the parking and insane gas prices on top of it. Expect $4.00 a gallon by PAX. Jesus, I just realized it's going to cost me almost $50 to fill my freaking Honda Civic......

    sephirion0 on
  • Moe FwackyMoe Fwacky Moderator mod
    edited March 2008
    You know, every year people say "expect $4/gal by PAX" and it has yet to happen. I'd appreciate it if people would stop saying that. Hell in 2007, gas cost the CCST less than in 2006.

    (cue Qs23 with the numbers)

    Moe Fwacky on
    E6LkoFK.png

  • Qs23Qs23 Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    Moe Fwacky wrote: »
    You know, every year people say "expect $4/gal by PAX" and it has yet to happen. I'd appreciate it if people would stop saying that. Hell in 2007, gas cost the CCST less than in 2006.

    (cue Qs23 with the numbers)

    And here we go... I've got 10 mins to make this quick.

    Last Year:
    2285 miles each way.
    Gas ranged from 2.77 to 3.09. And the average was 2.93 per gallon.

    Two Years Ago:
    2437 miles of driving each way.
    Gas ranged from 2.77 to 3.25. And the average was 2.99 a gallon.

    Shit, my 10 mins is up. I'll fill the rest in later.

    Qs23 on
    PASig.gif
  • seraphexseraphex Registered User
    edited March 2008
    sephirion0 wrote: »
    I live in Portland, OR. So I'll be taking the train.

    Honestly, parking in Seattle is one of the worst things about PAX. It's so stupid expensive, it's unbelievable. It was something like an additional $100 last year for the three days. I HIGHLY advise leaving your car at home if you can. The public transit in Seattle is awesome, and really once you get there, everything you could possibly want is within walking distance of PAX if not in there already. (though we did effectively shut down that Subway last year. =P )

    Driving may be fun, but fuck it's expensive now. What with the parking and insane gas prices on top of it. Expect $4.00 a gallon by PAX. Jesus, I just realized it's going to cost me almost $50 to fill my freaking Honda Civic......

    I'm also coming from Portland with three extra guys. Even if we're looking at $4.00 a gallon, that still only costs us about $15.00 each in gas. Free parking at the hotel. We're set. I looked at the train too, but I think this is the most economical and gives the best flexibility for coming and going. By the way, if we end up with more cars in our pack (which is looking likely), would you be interested in a ride up?

    seraphex on
    If I had talent, I wouldn't need all this money.
    Twitter - @papapwnsPAX
  • SlickShughesSlickShughes Registered User
    edited March 2008
    seraphex wrote: »
    Free parking at the hotel.

    What hotel are you staying at? All the ones I've seen so far, notably all the PAX ones, have stupidly high parking costs.

    SlickShughes on
    Houn wrote: »
    This is Penny Motherfuckin' Arcade. It's a better class of forum, and you know it.
  • seraphexseraphex Registered User
    edited March 2008
    Holiday Inn on Aurora. It's about a mile away (easy walk for my crew) and we're using some earned free nights to foot the bill. You're right about expensive parking... it is normally $8 per night.

    seraphex on
    If I had talent, I wouldn't need all this money.
    Twitter - @papapwnsPAX
  • BrokenAngelBrokenAngel Registered User regular
    edited March 2008
    seraphex wrote: »
    You're right about expensive parking... it is normally $8 per night.

    Actually, all the hotels around the center have a rate more in the 24-28 range per night. it's ridiculous.

    BrokenAngel on
    k9mk2carn.pngeleventhdoc2carn.png *Proud Head Girl of Slytherin & Team Red*
  • The DeliveratorThe Deliverator Slingin Pies The California BurbclavesRegistered User regular
    edited March 2008
    The cheapest parking near the WSCTC is still in it's very own parking garage, last I checked. Last year at the Sheraton the one night i kept my car in their garage cost $35 or something crazy. The WSCTC parking is under $20 a day, if I remember right.

    The Deliverator on
    camo_sig2.png
  • seraphexseraphex Registered User
    edited March 2008
    seraphex wrote: »
    You're right about expensive parking... it is normally $8 per night.

    Actually, all the hotels around the center have a rate more in the 24-28 range per night. it's ridiculous.

    Right...I meant the Holiday Inn. It is normally $8 per night. Maybe you meant that too. Maybe I should take it easy on the bourbon. Maybe not, 'cause it's FRIDAY NIGHT.

    I checked out parking at the WSCTC and they're pretty vague about pricing for anything other than reserved or voucher.
    Payment machines and cashier’s accept major credit cards and cash. The Convention Center is one of the few parking garages that do not charge higher event rates for big events. The Convention Center daily rates are consistently on the low side of rate surveys of surrounding parking garages.

    What does this mean? "Low side?" Not a clue.

    seraphex on
    If I had talent, I wouldn't need all this money.
    Twitter - @papapwnsPAX
This discussion has been closed.