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Hotel near the con for $$, or motel a few miles away for cheap?

UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
edited May 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
This has probably been asked around here before, but with search down and Google not acting as a very good replacement, I figured I'd just ask.

I and a couple of my friends are planning to go to Gen Con in Indianapolis. 4 day pass, August 4 to 7. It's about a 4 hour drive from where we live which is substantial enough that we want to get a hotel/motel room.

Is it a better idea to get a room close to the convention center that's comparatively expensive (say, $150-$200) versus a room at a motel 5-10 miles away for $50-$70? What is your experience in going to conventions and how these situations work out? I realize experiences are going to vary and there's no correct answer, just wanted some insight.

We can probably afford a more expensive room, especially split between several people, but the price of a cheap motel is very enticing. However, what kind of quality disparity will we see? How important is it that you're near to the con center?

I envision getting there and realizing we made a huge mistake one way or the other, and I'd like to avoid that!

Thoughts?

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  • StraygatsbyStraygatsby Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Pay for the close room.


    PAY FOR THE CLOSE ROOM.


    PAY FOR THE CLOSE ROOM!



    PAY FOR THE CLOSE ROOM!
    (+fireworks, dancers, choreography)

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  • LaPuzzaLaPuzza Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I've never met anyone that regretted staying close to their event.

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  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    The idea makes sense to me. Any opposing views on that, anyone who had a great time who stayed 5 miles away?

    What if it's 5 miles with a complimentary shuttle? Even then, the closer one's preferable?

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  • rockmonkeyrockmonkey Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Get the closer room. The convience and ability for a single member of your group to go back to the room for whatever reason and at point during the day with little hassle is very valuable. It also helps with getting going in the morning, especially if some of your party is up early and ready to meet the dawn while others prefer to take their time getting ready, you can go to the con in split groups and meet up once the later group arrives.

    When I first started going to events and crap and I was pretty young I chose the cheaper route, but for the last 6 years or so, and at the ripe old age of 28 I've been choosing to stay at/close to the event and have never regetted it. This is true for cons, disney world, weddings, and anything else I've been to.

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  • Dr. Phibbs McAtheyDr. Phibbs McAthey Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    All valid points, but what if a hotel we're considering that's8 miles away, at rates of about $120/night offers complimentary shuttle service to/from the convention?
    I've been having to go to trade shows for work, and have had hotels both within walking distance (a block away) to the convention, and that had complimentary shuttles to the show, and I never felt like I was missing anything by going with the shuttle. Granted, I was basically stuck working our booth the entire time, so there's that.

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  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited April 2011
    The price difference in staying closer when split between three people is miniscule compared to the time lost and inconvenience factor of having to shuttle back and forth to a distant hotel.

    Seriously, pony up the extra $30-$40 each and get a close room.

    Esh on
  • KirbithKirbith Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Our public transport here in Indy is really nonexistent. So your best bet really is to just stay downtown by the Convention Center. I mean if you reallllly can be assured that there will be a shuttle to ferry you back and forth at convenient times then go for it. But I would be really assured that the hotel will provide this, and that it will be at many different times, ect. Plus a lot of areas of Marion county are really not nice, so be careful to scope out the area well if you choose a hotel/ motel that's not downtown.

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  • Dr. Phibbs McAtheyDr. Phibbs McAthey Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Kirbith wrote: »
    Our public transport here in Indy is really nonexistent. So your best bet really is to just stay downtown by the Convention Center. I mean if you reallllly can be assured that there will be a shuttle to ferry you back and forth at convenient times then go for it. But I would be really assured that the hotel will provide this, and that it will be at many different times, ect. Plus a lot of areas of Marion county are really not nice, so be careful to scope out the area well if you choose a hotel/ motel that's not downtown.

    Well, the reason I assume the shuttle will be sponsored by the hotel and fairly frequent is that it's stated on the GenCon Hotel amenities page.
    The other conventions I've gone to (only one's been close to the size of GenCon, though) with shuttle service have been about every half hour. We're planning on discussing this as a group sometime soon and I'm planning on giving the hotel a call to confirm the shuttle service prior to that.

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  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    All valid points, but what if a hotel we're considering that's8 miles away, at rates of about $120/night offers complimentary shuttle service to/from the convention?
    I've been having to go to trade shows for work, and have had hotels both within walking distance (a block away) to the convention, and that had complimentary shuttles to the show, and I never felt like I was missing anything by going with the shuttle. Granted, I was basically stuck working our booth the entire time, so there's that.

    Comparing working a trade show to going to a nerd convention is like saying that traveling for work and going on a vacation are the same thing thing. Get the closest hotel you can.

    MushroomStick on
  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    shuttles are still a pain, get the closer place, you'll be glad you did.

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  • Chases Street DemonsChases Street Demons Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I've done Indy several times, and getting a place attached to the con hall was always a better experience.

    RIP Cincinatti Chili place. :(

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  • PotatoNinjaPotatoNinja Fake Gamer Goat Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Are you planning on drinking at all, or will any of your friends?

    Will your group split up at any point? Will there be any time when one person wants to rest and someone else wants to stay out?

    Will you be eating or drinking at local bars or restaurants?

    Do you have an arrangement for free parking?

    Ask yourself all of that, and imagine which scenario is more convenient. I don't know what kind of budget you have, so I can't tell you if an extra $100 a night is something you can afford. I can say that, split 4 ways, $25 a night for the convenience of not driving, not parking, and not carpooling seems like a good investment.

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  • PotatoNinjaPotatoNinja Fake Gamer Goat Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    All valid points, but what if a hotel we're considering that's8 miles away, at rates of about $120/night offers complimentary shuttle service to/from the convention?
    I've been having to go to trade shows for work, and have had hotels both within walking distance (a block away) to the convention, and that had complimentary shuttles to the show, and I never felt like I was missing anything by going with the shuttle. Granted, I was basically stuck working our booth the entire time, so there's that.

    Going with a group is a major factor. If you go alone the only complication is that you need to be able to drive to and from, so only an issue if traffic is a nightmare, parking is not available, or you want to do plenty of drinking.

    When you're with friends, if one person wants to leave you suddenly have a dilemma.

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  • KirbithKirbith Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    Oh hey this is worth knowing. Indianapolis has changed its parking, most noticeably when we have free parking available at meters. Previously meters were free on the weekend, but now they are all pay meters Monday - Saturday from 7am-9pm each day. So definitely look into being able to have parking at your hotel.

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  • UncleSporkyUncleSporky Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    I don't want to spurn the advice of the thread, we're definitely taking it all into account, but in light of you mentioning the parking situation - one hotel we're looking at offers free parking, free breakfast, free wifi, and free shuttle service for $120 (the one mentioned above, a few miles away). Free wifi is pretty important to me, and the parking sounds like a big benefit as well. I still consider the need for a shuttle to be mostly negative, though, and if I can find a decent hotel with parking and wifi that's really close, that'd be perfect.

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  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    If there's a hotel attached to the con, I mean physically attached, then that's the best one to get into. If this place is anything remotely like the cons in Chicago, all the extra pay parking and driving and such will negate any savings you get from a cheaper hotel room.

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  • KirbithKirbith Registered User regular
    edited April 2011
    If there's a hotel attached to the con, I mean physically attached, then that's the best one to get into. If this place is anything remotely like the cons in Chicago, all the extra pay parking and driving and such will negate any savings you get from a cheaper hotel room.

    Actually there are quite a few hotels in downtown Indy that are all connected to Circle Center mall & the convention center via some above ground tunnels.

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  • SporkedSporked Registered User regular
    edited May 2011
    I don't want to spurn the advice of the thread, we're definitely taking it all into account, but in light of you mentioning the parking situation - one hotel we're looking at offers free parking, free breakfast, free wifi, and free shuttle service for $120 (the one mentioned above, a few miles away). Free wifi is pretty important to me, and the parking sounds like a big benefit as well. I still consider the need for a shuttle to be mostly negative, though, and if I can find a decent hotel with parking and wifi that's really close, that'd be perfect.

    If you decide to go with the far hotel because it has a shuttle, make sure you know when the shuttle runs. It will almost certainly not be an on demand thing, and you might get stuck with a shitty schedule, like leaving or coming back super early (or late), or making 26 stops between your motel and the con. Thereby turning the shuttle into a shittle. No one likes a shittle. This has happened to me, and it's no fun sitting in a smelly short bus with busted AC with 17 other fairly annoyed people for an hour+. Also, planning your trip around someone else's schedule is a bit lame. Do what you want and can afford, but do your homework.

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