My Dragoncon tips :)

RL is a PITA at the moment, hence the late post. I'm linking to last year's post w/ the 2 links here:

As always, suggestions, updates, corrections, additions, subtractions are welcomed! I'll edit asap and give credit, of course. :)

My annual Boingo recommendation!

I discovered a couple of years ago that, for a single $10 monthly subscription fee that could be turned off at any time, Boingo Wireless would get me online in the hotels and airports I was going to be in for Dragon*Con, where I'd otherwise have to pay separately.

Boingo works in the Atlanta Marriott Marquis and the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, as well as in the Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta Airport and many of the connecting airports I travel through. So, I could pay $78 to the Marriott for six days of Wi-Fi connectivity, plus whatever fees are charged at the Detroit and Atlanta airports during my sojourns there, or I could just pay Boingo $10. Not a tough choice. You should join me. (No, sadly, I don't get any benefit from you signing up from Boingo, other than the warm glow of helping someone save their money for something better than handing it to the Marriott or Hyatt.)

My blog post on the subject:

Boingo's web site:
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DragonCon budget schedule

Does anyone have a year-long-ish budget schedule or anything that they do for DragonCon?

Seems like I end up paying for the entire damn thing in the summer, which gave me problems this year with being unemployed all year, of course. Not to mention that when the hotels went up for booking, they ALL started requiring a deposit, so we had to scramble to ask someone -anyone- with available space on a credit card.

Tickets right now are only $60. I'm trying to talk a friend who hasn't gone for like three years into going again, and he really wants to, but he may be switching to part time- so budgeting and paying for things in small chunks over the months would be AMAZING.

Just wondering if someone has worked this out already, and can toss me some pointers? Thanks!
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Staying at the Marriott Marquis for Dragon*Con? Use Boingo. Duh.

Last summer, a kind LJer clued me in to the fact that Boingo Wireless, the pay service that offers Wi-Fi access in a bazillion airports and hotels, includes the Atlanta Marriott Marquis among their hotel partners. That means if you're a $9.95/month Boingo customer, you get to use the Marriott's Wi-Fi in your guest room or the common spaces, at no extra charge.

Figured I should share this wisdom again this summer, as I know many of us will be at the Marriott, and few of us want to spend $12.95/day to getting online when a single payment of $9.95 could cover us for a whole month -- not just at the hotel, but maybe also at the airports we're traveling through on the way to and from the con. (In other words, sign up before you leave home, and you'll be all set when you hit the airport.)

If you're feeling particularly charitable toward the Marriott or toward IBAHN, their Wi-Fi provider, feel free to cough up $65 over the course of the weekend. Or, just give Boingo $10. Tough choice? Hardly.

I wrote enthusiastically about Boingo last fall, if you're curious to read more:

Thanks once again to [ profile] ubiquitous_a for this tip last year. If you want to buy someone a cup of coffee or a beer out of gratitude for the heads-up, it should be her. :-)

(Disclaimer: I don't get anything out of you using and enjoying Boingo, other than the satisfaction of sharing the love.)

Hotspots and Free Wifi

Hey everyone. This is the first year that my friends and I will be staying on site for the convention instead of commuting from my sister's house in Roswell. I know that the hotels we're in charge for their wireless access, but I was wondering if there were some hot spot alternatives around the con?

I saw the post about Boingo from the 15th of July, but I am not trying to sign up for a service. (Though if it's a cheaper might be worth it)

Some of us have smart phones and date plans so that won't be an issue, however I was hoping that some site-vets might know of some good places to snag some quick wifi access during a quiet hour or two.

Any suggestions or alternatives to paying 20+ dollars for 10 minutes of email checking are appreciated.
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Shared taxi to Publix

Would anybody be interested in sharing a taxi (and the fare) to Publix sometime on Thursday? I would like to get my badge first before I mess with a grocery run, so I'm guessing sometime in the mid- to late-afternoon would work out fine.
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Bargain Hunting Again!

Just found another bargain while sorting out my transport down to London to catch my plane (just over two months now, woohoo!).

National Express are offering £9 coach fares pretty much everywhere over the summer. When I initially looked, my trip was going to cost abour £50 for a return ticket. You need to book more than 14 days in advance and I'm not sure when the offer expires:

Thought it would be pretty useful if anyone is travelling from outside of London.

Oh, and don't forget your US entry visa! I spent over an hour getting mine approved and paid for today on the Esta site today so make sure to get it done with plenty of time to spare.

Coming from NJ

So this is my first time going to Dragoncon. Its me and my boyfriend and we live in central NJ. We were wondering if anyone else around our area is driving down and if so, want to carpool?

Or, if anyone knows would it be cheaper to fly or drive there? I can get round trip plane tickets for about 250 each, but I feel that I probably wouldn't spend that much on gas.

Hotel Advice

I have a couple of friends coming this year, their first time. They are trying to find somewhere to stay. They don't mind travelling in to the con, but are looking for somewhere cheap and cheerful. Could anyone give me any ideas to pass onto them.

Many thanks!

Parking garage issues

Does anyone remember which garages hike their prices up for D*C? Last year I parked in the open lot beside the Marriott, which was a HUGE mistake. They went from $10 a day to $20 for 'event parking'. What other lots do this? I was thinking of parking at the covered one at 60 John Wesley Dobbs Avenue. It seems to have the best rate and it's not immediately at a hotel. Has anyone parked here before? It's about 2 blocks from the Westin (where I'm staying) and three from the Marriott.

To make it easier I guess I should ask where I shouldn't park instead of where I should. lol! Thanks!

AirTran sale on flights to Atlanta!

 If you haven't booked your flight to D*C yet, check out AirTran - their Mother's Day sale is going on from now until May 10.  

I've had good experiences with AirTran; the only issue I've had is that they often change the arrival and departure times on you, but not by much (we're talking minutes, not hours) and with lots of advance notice.  

Good luck!
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Cooking in your room

 As the con gets closer everyone will start posting tips on how to make the con cheaper. Today I got a link to a video for some hotel room cooking of bacon and eggs.  I have not done this and to be honest I always have the hotel breakfast so I can't swear to any of the tips in the video.
But I figured a few people on here would get a giggle out of it. 

cheaper flights

In case anyone is interested, Airtran is having some good deals for Dragoncon week.  I'm flying in on Thursday and booked my flight this morning for $179.00 including taxes.

Dragoncon Tips, part two :) (edited for liquor and tobacco info and additional info)

The first set of my D*C tips is here:

Here's the second set, taken from all the great tips that I asked for, under the cut.

Thanks so much for all the tips, folks, and keep 'em coming! :)

One major rule that should assist you in most any situation is the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
In other words, politeness and common sense will go a long way to making your con experience more enjoyable, not just for you, but for everyone else. :)

Please do not STOP in the breezeways/skywalks, except for an emergency! If you see a friend heading in the other direction, do not STOP to chat! Turn and walk w/ them, or say something like, "Call me!". Do not STOP for photo opps! Go w/ the person you want to photograph, leave and get clear of the skywalk and THEN take the photo. Of course this applies in reverse, if you are the costumer. :) Above all, do not impede the traffic flow in the skywalks! At best, you will have dirty looks aimed in yr direction or get cussed out. At worst, someone may walk into you. And, don't run in the skywalks, or any time in a crowd, unless it is an emergency.

Note for 2013: the Walk of Fame is being moved to the Marquis Ballroom in the Marriott Marquis.

Also, the Dealers' Rooms are now at the Atlanta Convention Center at AmericasMart, Building 2, floors 1 and 2. This is located two blocks west of the Hyatt Regency Atlanta and one block north of the Westin Peachtree Plaza. Street level approach is to enter at the corner doors, walk toward the back, take the escalator up one floor and enter.

Read more... )

Again, please feel free to add tips! :)

First Time DC'er

Next weekend will be my first Dragon*Con ever and I could NOT be more excited! I have a few questions that I haven’t been able to easily locate in other posts:


1.       Do you have to have a badge for the parties? If you don’t have a badge will there be other parties you can get into?

2.       Should I buy a badge before or after the parade Saturday morning? I probably can’t get one before that…

3.       I’d like to do this as cheaply as possible (I know some things are unavoidable, though). Any tips on how to navigate this weekend on the cheap?

4.       I’m starting to get to understand the tracks, etc. I want all things Whedonverse this weekend. Any recommendations? Also, it will only be myself and another friend of mine going. Any Whedon peeps who want to meet up and bev up, holler!

Airtran is having a two day sale

If your flying from BWI (Baltimore/Washington Intl) to get to Atlanta for DragonCon, You can get a flight for a $100 plus Tax through Friday on Airtran. The best fares are flying out Thursday and coming back Tuesday. If you are willing to do an extra day in Atlanta, you can basically get a flight to Atlanta for $120 with tax. These fares won't last long. I am amazed they aren't gone already.
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Slow Cooker Question

I know I've seen several 'how to save money' posts about bringing a crock pot to the con. I decided that if I did this I would need 2-3 things to make, but I really don't want to bring half my kitchen. Does anyone have suggestions for recipes with a low ingredient count or can be frozen/reheated?

This is a perfect example. I've made it before, and could pre-make and freeze the chicken portion ahead of time if I wanted to.

Also, I'm serving around 6-7 people at any given time, so something that makes LOTS is appreciated. :)
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D*Con on a Budget

I know this is posted elsewhere on the net, in other forms.  I know this is probably not news for some people.  So just forgive me if you're one of those people.  Also, the things I'm going to say may not apply or be possible for everyone. So, appy polly loggies for that as well.

DragonCon doesn't *have* to cost a crapload of money.  Here are a few suggestions:

1)Volunteer for staff.  Sacrificing about 25 hours of your time over the con is a 'barter economy' way of saving the cost of a membership.  It's also fun, a way of seeing the con from a different perspective, and a way to give back to something that helps give YOU a good time every year.  The con almost always can use help.

2)Find people to share a room.  Yes, the main hotel rates are pricey.  But the con rate (about $175 nightly) can be whittled down considerably by being split among several people.

3)Make a budget--fun on a budget isn't so much fun for a lot of people, but I've always been more willing to tighten my belt a little and still go than stay home from D*Con entirely.

4) Pack snacks and utilize the Con Suite for food--You probably won't get every meal taken care of this way, but it'll help.

5)Park at a MARTA station--the valet parking prices at the host hotels are freaking insane, and some of the other parking options around downtown ATL are hazardous to your health.  I suggest parking at, say, Dunwoody station, and riding the train up to Peachtree Station, which puts you right at the mall underneath the Hyatt and Marriott. I said, this isn't really news.  I just know *i* don't have a lot of money, and I hate seeing people think they can't go to D*Con just because of cash.  I know it's sometimes just not possible, I know.  But sometimes it is, even if it doesn't seem to be.
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WiFi options?

Hey everyone! I seem to recall a few months ago that someone posted about a decently priced WiFi monthly plan that had service in Atlanta (but I can't seem to find the post). I need reliable internet for my netbook in all the hotels while I'm there, but don't want to have to go under a year contract for it. Any suggestions?

Airline Fare Sales

FYI: Both American and Delta recently put up a fare sale for Labor Day weekend flights. No idea how long it will last or if more carriers have jumped on too.
But the flights I was looking at dropped about $20 for Fri-Mon and $35 for Fri-Tues.