So you’ve gone for the San Diego Comic Convention a.k.a Comic Con 2013 hotel lottery, and didn’t luck out at all. A hotel within walking distance of the convention centre is out of the question, and would probably cost you an Infinity Gem anyway, or maybe a pair of Nega Bands. Hotels in Mission Valley also seem to have been completely taken up, and every Google search turns up…not a whole lot?

To think the fight for SDCC badges was already bad enough. So what do you do for accommodation at Comic Con 2013 now?

Rest assured: there is still hope. You won’t have to do this.

SDCC, San Diego Comic Convention, Comic Con

The fanboys decided that sleeping outside the convention centre was the best option.

Well, not unless you’re planning on camping out for those awesome panels. On second thought, maybe you should do this.

All kidding aside, here are some options to consider, starting from the cheapest to the oh-my-god-I-can’t-believe-I’m-spending-this-much-on-SDCC variety. Note: just remember that even if you don’t land one of the coveted downtown SDCC hotels, there are alternatives. 

Bartering/sharing

Couchsurfing

Couchsurfing

For those who don’t know what Couchsurfing is, it basically involves bartering your own place for a place to stay. For example, I’m based in Singapore and looking for a place to stay in San Diego. So I go to the Couchsurfing.com forums and look for someone who’s willing to open up his/her home to me. In return, when that person comes to Singapore, I’ll have to open up my home as well. It’s a peer review-based system, so you can check out each host’s reviews. I know it all sounds very Craigslist-y, but my friend Rachel Minn Lee, a travel blogger from Singapore, tells me she has used the service several times with few problems. If you want to write to her, you can find her website here.

Friends of CCI

 Friends of CCI, SDCC

A one-stop resource for all things related to SDCC, the Friends of CCI forum currently has a post helping to pair up attendees who are looking for roommates. Woah, I hear you say, what if I wake up one morning to find myself naked in a pit and my roommate circling overhead and asking me to put the lotion in the basket? Well…that’s just a risk you’ll have to take. Jokes aside, as @SDCCnerdsattack points out, all you really need is a place to shower, sleep a few hours and store your stuff. You probably won’t even see your roommate all that often, so this option is definitely worth considering, especially since it will reduce your accommodation costs.

Home/room rental

Airbnb

Airbnb, San Francisco

With our Airbnb host in SF last year, Monica.

If you’re unfamiliar with Airbnb, this peer review-based website is essentially a paid version of Couchsurfing. It lets you rent accommodation from their members, ranging from a room to an apartment to an entire house, and it’s often (but not always) cheaper than a hotel. Rates vary depending on the kind of place you want to stay in, and you can suss out the respective owners based on the ratings guests have given them. But be warned: many of the places near the convention centre will have already been snapped up by now, so you’ll have to move fast.

If you’re still hesitant about staying in a stranger’s home, here’s my Airbnb experience in San Francisco and Los Angeles last year, complete with prices and photos of the respective homes. It was my first time using the service, but we had two very gracious and accommodating hosts.

Roomorama

Roomarama, travel

Co-founded by a Singaporean (huzzah!), Roomorama also provides short-term home rentals and the concept is very similar to Airbnb. I’ve never used the service myself, but you can check out a few Roomorama reviews here and here. And I’m biased, of course, but I tend to trust projects started by Singaporeans – namely cos we are the hardworking, anal-rententive, micromanaging sort who rarely cut corners.

VRBO

VRBO, travel

VRBO

Another option to consider for home rentals, though VRBO has gotten some  flak for its allegedly questionable review policy. 

One tip for all home or condo rentals: check the exact location on Google Maps, to ascertain where it is in relation to the Convention Centre. While we were searching for places to stay last year, a few were inaccurately listed on Airbnb as downtown, when in fact they were much further.

Hotels. The very expensive kind.

Yes, believe it or not, there are hotels that can be booked outside of CCI, though these will likely require the wealth of a Tony Stark or Maxwell Lord. For example, there’s Hotel Indigo in the Gaslamp Quarter, which comes at an eye-watering US$569 a night. Or how about the Marriott, also in the Quarter, where a five-day stay in a one-bedroom junior suite will set you back US$4,449.09?

A simple search on Expedia for stays in San Diego from July 22-26 also reveals a good number of hotels  that do still have rooms, though many are far (and by far, I mean as far as Coronado) from the Convention Centre. Bear in mind that if you do manage to get a place in Mission Valley, it’s a good five miles from the Convention Centre, though CCI started providing 24-7 shuttles there from last year. You’ll have to check the shuttle routes and schedules when they’re released later on.

To make your search for SDCC hotels easier, try websites such as Expedia and Hotels.com. Also, call them up rather than emailing. It’s like arranging any other holiday: you’d be surprised what kinds of results that can yield. Do bear in mind too that Comic Con International has said hotel registration re-opens on March 12, so you can still try your luck.

Watch this space for when I next blog about my own accommodation at SDCC this year, survival tips for Comic Con noobs and food options at SDCC!

What’re you doing for accommodation at SDCC 2013? Tell me!