Yes, going to a con is going to cost you a pretty penny, just like any good vacation. Hotel, travel fees, and food are all unavoidable expenses, but there are ways you can cut down the amount you’re spending, but still have a great time. We’ve already discussed food[link] and travel[link] tips in previous posts, but there are other ways you can save once you get there.
Just because you’re away from home doesn’t mean you have to eat out for every meal. There are plenty of cost-saving options that you can do that will easily cut your food budget in half. Once you arrive in San Diego, go find the closest grocery store. Depending on how much you want to spend, you could grab pre-made sandwiches or you could pick up lunch meat and make your own. This will also serve double duty allowing you to eat on the go, and saving you time as well. You can do the same thing for breakfast foods, too. You can grab fruit, muffins, breakfast bars, or other breakfast foods as a quick easy breakfast to eat in the hotel room, or to grab and go.
While you’re at the store, pick up something to drink! Water and sports drinks are always a solid option, and will save you from spending upwards of $3 for a tiny bottle of water later. If you’re bringing a backpack into the convention, you can throw a couple pre-chilled bottles into your backpack with your lunch and you’ll be set for the day.
Even if you are a die-hard coffee fan, you don’t have to drop $5 a pop at a Starbucks every time you need your caffeine fix. Most modern hotels offer a small coffee maker in the hotel room. While it’s not the highest quality coffee, it still works in a pinch and it’s free. If you want a little higher quality brew, you can pick up a variety of different options around town. Many grocery stores (and even drug stores) will carry canned or bottled coffee from a variety of different brewers. If you’re a cold brew fan or you enjoy iced lattes, this is a great option that will save you time and money.
If you have to have fresh coffee, you have a few choices. If it’s Starbucks you’re looking for, you can always take advantage of the Star Rewards leading up to the con and build up free rewards. Be aware, a Starbucks inside a hotel or the convention center may not accept the rewards program, so make sure to ask first. Located nearby the convention center, there’s a Dunkin Donuts, too. This is great because you can pop in and pick up a donut with your coffee. They also offer a rewards system there, so if Dunkin Donuts is your jam, make the extra walk over there. Major coffee chains like these will typically offer a mobile order option, too. I highly recommend using it, as lines can be exceptionally long before the convention opens. Other local coffee shops are also located throughout downtown and offer some fantastic coffee options, as well. Your rating website of choice can give you insights into what shop may be your best match.