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Pardalis

Planning for Otakon 2013 'Alone'

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This was my first Otakon and as much as I loved it, I missed the only signing I wanted to go to plus half a dozen photo shoots, panels and the final day of the con due to the overly sexual Mr. and Mrs. Derp my other half, my friend and I traveled with. Though the were a friend of a friend and we were lucky they had the space and car but... I don't want to take this trip again with them. I know it's insanely early but this is trip planning I have never done before and I like to have details before hand. We have only gone to a local SciFi con and NYCC, one year a family member actually booked us a room and took PT I take to visit the, second we took PT back and forth each day the shedualling was quite annoying as the later trains were an hour at least apart.

Obviously the first would be hotel, none of us are of age to rent a car or have one big enough so we want to get a place close to the center, which is the best for those with a budget BUT within walking distance? At most there would be 6 of us but at least 4. My main cosplay is a bulky partial fursuit that is a bother to have to carry and I get nervous taking public transport in an area I don't know.

Next transportation. We are coming from Long Island and most would require us to go to NYC first which is fine, but my question is about the Bolt Bus, I know for Anthrocon there is a 1$ ride option, does that ever become available for Otakon? Does it require a large group? And where is the Marc Penn Station in relation to the center? would there be a way to get there once we arrive? What are other alternatives that have been used?

Thanks for any and all info guys! If this isn't the right place to put this let me know!

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Obviously the first would be hotel, none of us are of age to rent a car or have one big enough so we want to get a place close to the center, which is the best for those with a budget BUT within walking distance? At most there would be 6 of us but at least 4. My main cosplay is a bulky partial fursuit that is a bother to have to carry and I get nervous taking public transport in an area I don't know.

Next transportation. We are coming from Long Island and most would require us to go to NYC first which is fine, but my question is about the Bolt Bus, I know for Anthrocon there is a 1$ ride option, does that ever become available for Otakon? Does it require a large group? And where is the Marc Penn Station in relation to the center? would there be a way to get there once we arrive? What are other alternatives that have been used?

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Mandolin you are over thinking this

Get your Hotel Room Reservations or whatever housing arangements.

Take the Bolt bus from NYC to Penn Station Baltimore Walk half a block from the bolt bus to the purple line bus stop

Free Purple line bus stop to Convention Center. Right down St Paul Street/Light street.

profit.

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Best Western is 10 minutes away, but you can sign up for their free shuttle that drops you up and picks you up directly in front of the convention hall.

I only paid $175 for the whole weekend there this year because I shared it with a hotelmate.

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Mandolin you are over thinking this

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If you need to save money on the hotel you can always get an airport hotel and have their shuttle take you to the light rail. Warning! This method takes patience! Most airport hotels have free parking so the light rail can save you lost of money. Down side is that service cuts out at midnight and the earliest train on Sunday is at 10:40 AM but all day Sunday is Dealers Room day for me! So it works out. Sucks I have to miss some of the good later panels but when it comes to saving money you have to make sacrifices! Please note: if anyone tells you to get off at Candem Yards don't listen cause thats BS! Get off at the Convention Center stop, it's right across the street from it. Also the trains for BWI are between 15-30 minuets apart so you won't be waiting long. The Light rail is safe, never seen any hobos or mofos around and the frontmost car is rarely crowded so plenty of space. Sports games are the exception to this though.

As far as walking distance on a budget the Days Inn is the way to go since it's not only the cheapest at $150 but it's also just across the street too! Good luck getting a room there though they sell out faster than hotcakes!

As far as getting there you say you're coming from NYC right? You can always ride Amtrak. Since Amtrak owns most of their NE Corridor line delays are rare and you can be confident you'll be there on time. Also the sooner you get tickets the cheaper they will be. Should be cheaper than renting a car.

BTW, BWI Country Inn FTW! I love the place an wouldn't stay anywhere else! Price is great too, I stayed 5 nights for $480, in a two room Suite! The secret is to check their site (not the travel sites they don't give the nice rates) often and play around with the dates and stuff. It was actually cheaper for us to stay 5 nights in a suite than 4 in a regular guest room. Please note you must be 21 to check in here.

Edit:

Oh I almost forgot to mention the fee Charm City Circular buses. Be sure to look into those too.

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I can't help with hotels, but I'm pretty sure Bolt Bus is only $10-$25 each way from NYC to DC, depending on what day of the week you take it, so that's not a bad option I think. I've never taken it, but I know people who have and they like it.

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Obviously the first would be hotel, none of us are of age to rent a car or have one big enough so we want to get a place close to the center, which is the best for those with a budget BUT within walking distance? At most there would be 6 of us but at least 4. My main cosplay is a bulky partial fursuit that is a bother to have to carry and I get nervous taking public transport in an area I don't know.

Next transportation. We are coming from Long Island and most would require us to go to NYC first which is fine, but my question is about the Bolt Bus, I know for Anthrocon there is a 1$ ride option, does that ever become available for Otakon? Does it require a large group? And where is the Marc Penn Station in relation to the center? would there be a way to get there once we arrive? What are other alternatives that have been used?

Hotel: I think other attendees can give you better info than me since I didn't start booking a hotel room until 2008, but I've heard that the Days Inn or the Holiday Inn near the convention center are your best bet for not-insanely-expensive-but-close. To get into one of those, however, you're going to want to book a room the same day Passkey opens up. They fill up faster than the Hilton, in my experience.

Marc Penn Station: It's not convenient to the convention center - BUT if you're patient you can take the Light Rail from Penn Station to Camden Yards. Once there you have two options: 1) walk the couple blocks from Camden Yards to the convention center or 2) wait for the main Light Rail northbound train to ride it up to the convention center stop. (The few times I've taken the Penn Station light rail to Camden Yards, I usually walk, but then, I'm not usually lugging a ton of suitcases and cosplay stuff in 90+ degree heat when I do.)

You might be waiting a bit with this option since the Penn Station light rail route is separate from the main route, but it'll still get you where you need to be and it's $1.60 for one-way and $3.50 for a day pass - definitely cheaper than a cab.

Hope this helps!

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I will keep note of those but last time we had to take something with the last bus running a bit after midnight we missed it. :/ The night didn't go too well so I will have it as an option but hope I don't have to use it. There is also the worry of having to still carry around, and in heat I have little to no patience since I feel like I'll pass out at any moment. XD I was going to look into Amtrak as well as long as it could beat BoltBus prices and we could easily get to our room and/or the center from where ever it stops. Right now bolt I can only check up to 2-3 months before, so travel might have to be something done a bit more last minute. :/

I'll be waiting for the Pass to come up but until then or even after I will check both for rates, I never knew you could play around like that and get randoms savings. >3 Awesome.

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I'd stick to the BBS until we get a date on when we can reserve rooms with Passkey. I just slap in the address to Google Maps when I'm considering a room near the BCC and hit the "walking" button to make sure it's close enough. Worked every time...

I can't help with Transportation since I only live 90 minutes so I always take my car... but I heard the bus is probably the cheapest option available.

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Next transportation. We are coming from Long Island and most would require us to go to NYC first which is fine,

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Next transportation. We are coming from Long Island and most would require us to go to NYC first which is fine,

As a fellow Long Islander I must say every option with the exception of driving ( The Verrazono, Goethals or Outerbridge crossings avoid the city entirely ( that also knocks about a half hour to an hour off travel times ) ) require you to go through New York City, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. That said I would also recommend Amtrak, it's affordable and runs 24/7, but my opinion is a bit biased as I work near a railroad station and the staff parking garage for my workplace is located next to that station ( free parking sure beats the $7.00 for the municipal lot ). The transportation options around Baltimore Penn Station are far better than that of Greyhound Station from what I've heard, and the light rail stop at Penn can take you right to the Convention Center.

Personally I'd think about spending more on transportation rather than skimping and taking the bus. You would avoid that New York City traffic, which is a big plus. Or you could just drive down with your friends, you would be surprised just how much you can put into a so called "small" car. You would also be able to avoid the city entirely as I just said above, just be warned that the route is a toll road ( as is much of I-95 ). Tolls of course are by far cheaper than any train or bus if traveling with multiple people.

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After hearing a few different words I am leaning more towards Amtrak sadly I can't check their prices till maybe 2 months before hand. :/ Plus from their to the center seems easy so it's at 90% right now.

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Amtrack lets you but tickets up to a little under a year in advance on their web site. Right now they're only selling through mid July so you won't be able to check till September. For the cheapest tickets you want to board the NE Regional. The Californian costs $20 more and the Acela Express costs almost 3x as much.

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Yeah I checked again today and noticed that, not sure what was going on when I checked about a week ago. I was also looking at deals and noticed that if you also order at least 14days in advance they give you a 25% discount, and I think I could use the AAA discount as well since my mother I belive still has it. Thanks on the note about the NE regional, that was something I didn't catch.

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The AAA discount does take a fair amount off but if you want to go by Amtrak you want to buy the tickets when they become available. The reason being that they are at their cheapest now but the more you wait the more expensive they get. Make sure you select to pick your tickets at the station. While they can mail you them to you now they're irreplaceable if you lose them. This is because unlike airline tickets which are worthless; Amtrack Tickets have "value". This means that the ticket itself is worth it's face value which is printed on the ticket. Just be aware that they charge you for the Ticket at the time you reserve them. Don't worry though, if you ever have to cancel they'll issue a refund unless you've already got the tickets which you'd have to take to an Amtrack Station for a refund. (because of that value thing)

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Okay, i know this too well, since i'm from Long Island and i went to Otakon by myself. First thing to do is get a hotel reservation. Second thing to do is to order amtrak tickets asap. I waited a week before Otakon to buy tickets and they were $100 one way. Buy them earlier and they should be around $30 each way. After that, you should be set to head out. I'm from suffolk county and this is how i do it. I took the LIRR to NYC Penn station, then i take amtrak from NY Penn station to the Baltimore Penn station. From there, you can take a bus or cab from Penn to your hotel. I walked, but it was a 2 mile walk. The amtrak did not check my bags, so you don't have to worry about that. To go back, you pretty much do the same. You go to the Baltimore Penn Station to take amtrak to NY Penn Station, and you take the LIRR to your hometown.

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Okay, i know this too well, since i'm from Long Island and i went to Otakon by myself. First thing to do is get a hotel reservation. Second thing to do is to order amtrak tickets asap. I waited a week before Otakon to buy tickets and they were $100 one way. Buy them earlier and they should be around $30 each way. After that, you should be set to head out. I'm from suffolk county and this is how i do it. I took the LIRR to NYC Penn station, then i take amtrak from NY Penn station to the Baltimore Penn station. From there, you can take a bus or cab from Penn to your hotel. I walked, but it was a 2 mile walk. The amtrak did not check my bags, so you don't have to worry about that. To go back, you pretty much do the same. You go to the Baltimore Penn Station to take amtrak to NY Penn Station, and you take the LIRR to your hometown.

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Yep, plus amtrak is pretty nice. I've took it twice back and forth to go to cities like Baltimore and Boston. Each seat comes with a tray so you can set up a laptop or stuff to put on, it has electrical outlets so you can charge your stuff, and it has free wifi. The ride is smooth and pretty quiet. Travel time is around 2 hours and 30 min. I plan to take amtrak again in the future because i find it better than any other form of transportation.

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Yea sounds a lot better than the bolt bus which was basically the second in line option for us.

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Now that I have to give a big thanks because I have ordered tickets before and had them delivered, much without problem but this previous year our downstairs neighbors stole my NYCC tickets but I was easily able to get them at the con with ID. Wouldn't have been happy to find things aren't the same with Amtrak, so I'll be picking them up. So if I am picking them up I'll have no need to worry if something happens and we can't go. If such does happen are they easy to deal with?

And do you know how exactly the checked bag and carry on bag thing works? I noticed a number don't offer it and I was planning to bring a LARGE(Think 2 carry-ons stacked on their sides) suitcase rather than my smaller carry-on sized and two or three other small bags. Is multiple smaller bags a better option or should I try to find a train that offers checked bags since it's free until the forth bag anyways? I'd rather not risk having it on another train since I would have all but wallet and snacks for both me AND my boyfriend.

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I was also looking at deals and noticed that if you also order at least 14days in advance they give you a 25% discount, and I think I could use the AAA discount as well since my mother I belive still has it. Thanks on the note about the NE regional, that was something I didn't catch.

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i'm from long island too, me and my friend take the lirr out to new york penn station, then take the amtrak to baltimore's penn station, then take a cab to the convention, works out pretty good every time

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If you are truly adventurous ,there is a hostel http://hiusa.org/baltimore/hostel-news/hi_baltimore_front_desk_now_open_24_hours

This hostel is about a mile from the BCC and costs about $ 20 a night per person. Breakfast is provided. however you ll be in a room with others and the beds are not overly comfy.

Mary Van Dyke

Registration

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