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PAX on a budget

ccarroll85ccarroll85 Registered User regular
edited July 2010 in PAX Archive
I am in the military stationed near Seattle. I attended PAX 09 and had a blast. I am currently deployed and get back a couple weeks AFTER PAX Prime (Bummer!). Anyhow the wife and I want to attend PAX East 11 in Boston. How feasible would this be on a budget of approximately $2000? This would include airfare. Not too sure on how expensive Boston is. We would want to arrive on a Thursday and leave on a Sunday. I have never had so much fun as we did at PAX. Already getting excited about 11.

Donatello: You're a claustrophobic.

Casey Jones
: You want a fist in the mouth? I've never even looked at another guy.
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Posts

  • SlickShughesSlickShughes Registered User
    edited June 2010
    That sounds roughly right. VERY rough estimates: $600 for plane tickets, $600 for hotel, $100 for pax passes. $700 should be enough to get you by for the weekend for food and fun stuffs.

    SlickShughes on
    Houn wrote: »
    This is Penny Motherfuckin' Arcade. It's a better class of forum, and you know it.
  • LimondLimond Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Can try to get into one of the hostels around boston. I know at they Hynes there was one about a block away or so. Much cheaper than a hotel, just have to book early if you want to get private room, else its all bunks. Also depends on how you adapt to con life. My friend and I would both get breakfast right outside at dunkin doughnuts and buy one of the lunches at the con. (around 15 dollars for both) Only ate dinner the first night we were there (Thursday) Also get in on friday, saves money on one less day on food/rooms. Consider leaving sunday night. Though having all of sunday at the con and the night to rest up and pack is much better then rushing.

    I don't know much about plane prices from West to East coast but doing a quick search seems to be around 450 per person (For this upcoming week) So prices may change drastically.

    So say around 900 for tickets, 3 nights at around 70$ for a private room, then meals say 100/day if go for all 3 at fine dining places. Looking at around 1410$

    Definitely doable. May have to pinch a few pennies if big changes happen, or you want an actual hotel.

    Limond on
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  • VisionOfClarityVisionOfClarity Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Limond wrote: »
    Can try to get into one of the hostels around boston. I know at they Hynes there was one about a block away or so. Much cheaper than a hotel, just have to book early if you want to get private room, else its all bunks. Also depends on how you adapt to con life. My friend and I would both get breakfast right outside at dunkin doughnuts and buy one of the lunches at the con. (around 15 dollars for both) Only ate dinner the first night we were there (Thursday) Also get in on friday, saves money on one less day on food/rooms. Consider leaving sunday night. Though having all of sunday at the con and the night to rest up and pack is much better then rushing.

    I don't know much about plane prices from West to East coast but doing a quick search seems to be around 450 per person (For this upcoming week) So prices may change drastically.

    So say around 900 for tickets, 3 nights at around 70$ for a private room, then meals say 100/day if go for all 3 at fine dining places. Looking at around 1410$

    Definitely doable. May have to pinch a few pennies if big changes happen, or you want an actual hotel.

    I'm assuming you mean if you don't go to fine places for all 3. $50/person for 3 meals in Boston is pretty modest. Also, I wouldn't advocate skipping dinner for 3 days just to avoid the cost.

    VisionOfClarity on
  • ccarroll85ccarroll85 Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Me and the wife aren't "Set" on the 2000. We basically are trying to get an idea of what a trip like this usually costs. We will probably look to stay in a hotel within a block or so of the convention. We have never been to boston and didn't have much knowledge on eateries there. May do a fine dining one day, besides that we will probably do convention during the day, do some pubs with friends we meet that night, return to free play area, head to hotel. It seems the consensus is that we should think about budgeting more than 2000 if we want to do all these things. :mrgreen:

    ccarroll85 on
    Donatello: You're a claustrophobic.

    Casey Jones
    : You want a fist in the mouth? I've never even looked at another guy.
  • LimondLimond Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    We didn't skip dinner to avoid the cost. We both just weren't that hungry and seemed like a better idea to not go out and waste the money on a half eaten meal when we could have been catching late night panels or some free play etc.

    Limond on
    One clip, one kill.

    I am a monster truck that walks like a man.
  • JewldPnthrJewldPnthr Registered User
    edited June 2010
    If you're looking to spend about $2000, then you should be well set. However, with complete access to the train system from the outskirts of Boston, you don't need to drop a fortune on the hotel. I booked in advance for 3 days in Revere (about 15 miles outside the city) and ended up paying less than $100/night. Also, the hotel offered free shuttle service to the train station, so there was no need to get a taxi. If you're interested in going, you really should look into booking ahead of time.. All you'd need is a map of the trains, which you can get online at MBTA.com. Print that out and learn the stop and you would be golden with a ton more money in your pocket.

    JewldPnthr on
  • SlickShughesSlickShughes Registered User
    edited June 2010
    Depending on the train system limits how late you can stay at the con. I had two friends who had a similar plan, and wound up cabbing it home after the concerts every night.

    SlickShughes on
    Houn wrote: »
    This is Penny Motherfuckin' Arcade. It's a better class of forum, and you know it.
  • papaprinnypapaprinny Registered User
    edited June 2010
    I travel to Prime and East each year from Iowa. I usually fly. To save money on tickets, I keep an eye on air fare trends from all airlines using the tools at farecompare.com. This site also allows you to compare fares offered by all the popular and less popular travel sites.
    Protip: Investigate both one-way and two-way airfares. Airlines tend to charge way more for two-way tickets when the traveler stays at their destination over the weekend. Buying two one-way tickets per person could save you a bundle.
    If you are planning to arrive only a day early, book the first flight out of town on a Thursday morning. I tend to grab a ~6am or 5:30am flight. This way, if there are any layovers, you are more likely to be able to catch a flight to your destination the same day as opposed to Friday at noon two hours before the doors have opened at PAX. This is an economic, sometimes effective alternative to arriving on Wednesday and spending the money on an extra night's stay at a hotel.
    If you are able to travel extremely light, stay in a hostel, but make your reservation now. Hostels are among the first to fill up.
    You can save a lot of money by packing cheap food in your backpack. Go with Fiber One bars for their extremely high fiber content to wake you up. Bring some beef jerky for your meat, and additionally pack some small fruit salad cans with pull tabs so you don't have to carry a can opener. Granola bars are good munchers as well. Might want to grab a submarine sandwich from a supermarket beforehand for something more substantial to nibble on during the day. Or, in your case, just steal some MREs on your way back from deployment.
    If you stay at a hotel, ask them about shuttle services. Some of them have good discounts to and from Logan International Airport.

    papaprinny on
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  • LigerLiger Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Don't pick a flight that stops over in Texas! They are prone to thunderstorms in late March. My flight to East this year went from SEA --> DAL --> BOS. My first flight was delayed 2+ hours (and it was a red-eye to begin with), the plane that finally came was so late we refueled, cleaned and boarded in under 20 minutes because another plane needed the terminal (and was on time), and when we got to Dallas we had 10 minutes to sprint from one concourse to another, which involved waiting for the train. We (myself and another Enforcer) barely made it to our connecting flight with 2 attendees in tow.

    Maybe it was just my luck, but the two times I've had connecting flights through Texas now, I've been late to my event elsewhere because of storm delays.

    Also, nothing awesome ever happens in Texas. *hides from #TXTS*

    Liger on
    5932306549_6b4d957b56.jpg CUSTOM LANYARDS FOR PAX
  • ccarroll85ccarroll85 Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    papaprinny thank you for all the tips! It would be hilarious to bust out the MRE's at PAX. My wife would cast "Husband's Bane" on me though with "Icy Stare" Debuff. Do we know the dates of East? I would go ahead and purchase all these things now and probably save right?

    ccarroll85 on
    Donatello: You're a claustrophobic.

    Casey Jones
    : You want a fist in the mouth? I've never even looked at another guy.
  • papaprinnypapaprinny Registered User
    edited June 2010
    Not necessarily. Prices for airline tickets, even those far in the future, are affected by things such as oil prices now. Watch those airfare trends and buy during a period that looks like a low point in prices. For some additional tips, here's a post by farecompare's CEO on the Consumerist:
    http://consumerist.com/2006/08/the-best-time-to-buy-tickets-explained-by-smarty-man.html
    And no, East dates have not been announced. Watch for those some time after Prime.

    papaprinny on
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  • WillethWilleth Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    $2000 each? Might be a bit of a squeeze, but doable. I've been to PAX three times, and each time spent around $1500. This includes the hotel, tickets to the event, food, far too much merchandise and travel from the UK to the US. The money I've actually taken with me - basically that total without travel and event tickets - has been $1000 each time and it's been more than enough.

    I was able to save money by sharing the cost of accommodation with other folks on the forum. The first year, I went on the CCST and shared a hotel room at the Sheraton with the two folks I carpooled with on the trip. The second, I roomed with four other guys at the same hotel. East doesn't quite count because LewieP's Mummy let me stay with them for free, but if I had had to pay for accommodation it'd still most likely round out to $1500 or so - maybe a tad more because I stayed for a week rather than just the weekend.

    For four days in Seattle for me, $1000 was plenty. If your travel costs are eating into that then I'd suggest looking into the community-run trips like the train and so forth, and looking at hostel accommodation )although for East 2011, the convention centre's failry out of the way). But it's absolutely doable.

    Willeth on
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  • feitocomfrutafeitocomfruta Denver, Colorado, USARegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    I am on the East Coast, but I am in a similar situation for PAX East. It will be significantly less for me that you guys, but I still need to figure stuff out.

    feitocomfruta on
  • zerzhulzerzhul Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited June 2010
    $600 for a hotel could be offset by maybe sharing it with another couple. You could cut that in half in that case. $800 for airfare (max probably), that's looking at $1200-1500 not including the passes and food. If you think you can eat for 3 days for under $400, you're golden.

    I stayed outside of the city for only $100/night, but I drove to Boston so I had my car handy to drive into the city... Ended up spending maybe $700 the whole weekend including gas for 12 hours round trip in the car and maybe 3 hours total commute time in and out of the city every day.

    zerzhul on
  • tehnakkitehnakki Registered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Also keep in mind when you plane to fly in and fly out. The T (the boston public transit consisting of subway and busses) is only open from 6am to midnight-ish. You'll want to fly in and out so that you can take the T rather than bother with a taxi (which will run you $40ish)
    Liger wrote: »
    Also, nothing awesome ever happens in Texas. *hides from #TXTS*

    You're just jealous you weren't there :)

    tehnakki on
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  • feitocomfrutafeitocomfruta Denver, Colorado, USARegistered User regular
    edited June 2010
    Also, like you need to be reminded to do this, but ALWAYS ASK FOR MILITARY DISCOUNTS. As far as I know, most travel sites will give you an option for adding a military discount. When you book the hotel though, I don't know if you can add a military discount into the PAX rate.

    The only reason I remind you of that is because as a retail clerk, we actually got a sign in to put on our counter to say we give a military discount, so I get asked about it.

    feitocomfruta on
  • papaprinnypapaprinny Registered User
    edited July 2010
    Another piece of advice for those strapped for cash: Book on Tuesday, travel on Wednesday.
    http://consumerist.com/2010/06/save-on-airfare-by-booking-on-tuesdays-flying-on-wednesdays.html
    Incidentally, as I post this, it is Tuesday after noon. I just received an email from Farecompare telling me that my fare dropped like a rock. Gonna snag it.

    papaprinny on
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  • LigerLiger Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    If you want to cut cost on hotel, share your room! Go with another couple or find some people on these forums to split your room with. If you only plan to sleep there and have a place to store your stuff, then it's easier to squeeze the personal bubbles and share the floor space. When you have 4 people in a hotel room for 4-5 days, it's only ~$200/person. 7 people (floor sleepers) cuts it down to just over $100/person.

    For food, Dunkin' Donuts and other fast food is cheap, but not filling. You can get bigger, tastier meals for maybe $1-2 more by chowing down on appetizers at restaurants. More bang for your buck and there are lots of great places to eat around Boston. As the concierge at the Sheraton told me, just look for the red brick building. You can't miss it. ;)

    Liger on
    5932306549_6b4d957b56.jpg CUSTOM LANYARDS FOR PAX
  • Masquerade78Masquerade78 Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    We are from Seattle and we booked 4 nights in a hotel + round trip airfare on Orbitz for $450pp. And we ate at small sandwich shops in Chinatown and over by the convention center to keep the food costs low. I would say between the two of us (and we had a great time, didn't really pinch pennies all that much) we probably spent total $1300 or so. Totally doable. And we stayed right downtown in a nice hotel, too.

    It's all about the package deals on discount websites. We took a red eye over, which helped with costs as well because it eliminated a hotel night. Metro week long passes were only about $15 each, so transportation was no problem as well. And we booked it all in late January, too, so it wasn't way ahead of time.

    There are great deals to be had! Also, I agree that your military discount might come in handy somewhere...

    Masquerade78 on
  • ZeroHourHeroZeroHourHero Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    Ccarol, get with me closer to next year. Im in the military myself, and I did boston for a total of 19 days on less than a grand. With the help of the locals showing me the cheap places to eat, hotel deals, and everything else. If you know where to look you should be fine.

    I would also suggest checking out Couchsurfing.com because Im staying with one of the guys from there next year for free. Theres numerous ways like that you can go to pax and have a blast on a budget.

    ZeroHourHero on
  • macrogeekmacrogeek Registered User regular
    edited July 2010
    I did PAX East on about $600. That covered my plane ticket from the Midwest, and hotel & food.

    The thing that helped me the most was using the Flights "flexible search" on Bing.
    http://www.bing.com/travel/flight/flexibleTravel?tvl_t=graph

    Once you drill down on the time you want to travel, there is a little link called "track fare". You need to create an account on Bing.com, but then you can get e-mail updates of what the rates are doing, and when Bing things you should buy. (and the probability of it going lower or higher based on historical data)

    I got my plane tickets really cheap that way.

    I followed the hotel thread here on the forums & got a tip on a good hotel that was a block farther away, but cost me a third what my friends were paying at the Conv. Center.

    If you're looking for hostels and smaller hotels, look up the convention center on Google and Bing maps, and then ran searches hotels in the area. There were tons of hotels within walking distance that were too small to rank on the major hotel search sites.

    macrogeek on
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