When I realized that there was going to be a Star Trek convention in Chicago, I started making plans. Going to a con has been on my bucket list for ages – at least since the hubs and I visited Las Vegas in August 2007 and did Star Trek: The Experience (that’s a whole ‘ nother post!). Since this was our first convention and we were doing it on a budget, we opted to go for the Friday session only, general admission, to sort of get a feel for things and figure out the best way to do a con. If you enjoy Star Trek at all, I highly recommend going. Here are some tips to make the experience the best possible on a tight budget:
*Stay at a nearby hotel. The Westin in Chicago was expensive as all get out, and I felt a bit out of place. I paid $179 a night, for a hotel that featured $29 burgers and a broken pool. That said, it was nice to be able to just walk up to the room after the Star Trek Rat Pack.
*Bring your own food. There were no food vendors around, and the hotel restaurant was really expensive. When I asked the concierge for some suggestions for a reasonably priced restaurant, she directed me to a list of nearby steak houses. When I called to get prices for entrees, several happily told me their entrees ranged from $49 to $150. I went back and asked for directions to something cheaper, like an Outback or a Texas Roadhouse. The poor woman nearly broke her lips twisting them in disgust, but she did give us directions to an Outback. Only later did we find out there was a McDonald’s nearly adjacent to the hotel, and a Ruby Tuesday’s just around the corner.
*Bring cash – preferably $20 bills. Most of the stars will sign autographs, and most charge $20, $40 or $60.
*Bring a camera. Ask permission before you take photos, but you’ll want photos of the attendees as well as the stars!
*General admission seats are still decent. They’re much cheaper than the full package seats. Granted, you won’t get all the included autographs, but if you’re on a tight budget, you’ll be able to pick and choose the autographs you want to purchase.
*Have fun! Document your trip! Keep souvenirs like your hotel bill and your wristband. And if you need help with your album, let me know. I’d be glad to make one for you (and I won’t charge you an arm and a leg).