dinsdag 10 april 2012

Err, how do I get there?

Today we'll be talking about transportation! Planes, trains and automobiles are there to get us where we want to go, but it takes a bit of planning to use them right. I know I already used this one, but it quite appropriate:

In this post we will be talking about travel and the preparations you need to make. We'll be doing a abridged version (sorry, no funny voices) as the hardcover will treat this subject more extensively.

Now, let's start with our favorite four-wheeled friend the automobile (or car, if you prefer). This mode of transport gives you a great amount of flexibility, more control over your route and (hopefully) less stops. However, this may be the second most expensive method of travel if using it alone: fuel cost and parking fees. 

At some conventions the parking is free (for example, at Abunaicon). Other conventions offer the service of a parking garage. Here you need to pay attention to the fee for a day ard. Pay on the third day and refrain from getting the car out of the parking garage as much as possible in that case. Fuel costs you can reduce by carpooling. If everyone chips in the cost per person soon drops. Parking fees work the same way.

A car will also offer more flexibility with luggage. No lugging it around on platforms and bus stops. Station cars will change your life in that retrospect, but a big sedan will do too. Packing can be a challenge, but with some smart puzzling you can get it done. If you look for flexibility, the car is your Swiss army knife.

I think planes aren't used that much in the European convention scene, but it is in the American. When flying, try to book your flight with an airline that has good cost-to-service ratio. Cheap flights don't immediately bad service, but you pay for what you get and the other way around (which is by no means the same thing). Also, choose your method of transport to the airport wisely. If a Taxi can get you there, use one. Otherwise trains can be a better way to go. Most airports have a train station. Make it a point to be there at least two hours before your plain leaves. Tax free shopping is time consuming work ;). Check to see what gate you're leaving at and write it down in your agenda or phone. Also, have your I.D. at the ready for custom and border control checks. If you done all these thing, you'll be peachy.

With the first two out of the way we've come to our final (two) mode(s) of transport: coaches and trains. They are a cost effective way to travel long hauls. However, choosing the first one may result in a long uncomfortable ride. Coaches can be cramped but are also dirt cheap. My experiences are with European ones, I don't know about greyhound and there competitors. Trains are much more comfortable on really long hauls and get you pretty close where you want to go. Most of the time you can grab a bus or even walk to the convention. Prepare for a long day (or even a set of days) of travelling, use a portable gaming device or a good book to pass the time on your trip. Also take an extra battery (if possible, otherwise a battery-pack) for your (smart)phone with you and have all documentation handy for checks. Doing that, you'll be just fine.

Chapter one of the hardcover (in progress) will treat this subject more in depth. Keep an eye on the facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/ConventionSurvivalGuide) for progress and updates.

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