Conventions and Distance

You may have noticed I’ve been thinking about fan conventions lately. 🙂

It started after last year’s Comic-Con, when I decided I wanted to go to something a bit less…intense. 😯 Last year’s Wizard World LA was nice, but a bit sparse, so I went looking for more comic and general sci-fi/fantasy cons within driving distance of the LA/OC area. Surprisingly, I didn’t find much. Gaming conventions, costuming conventions, Anime Expo, sure, but sci-fi? Pretty much just Loscon, which we both gave up on after 2002 (and from what I’ve heard, hasn’t picked up again). I asked around a bit on some forums, and someone on either the Comic Bloc or Newsarama forums suggested WonderCon, and suggested considering the city as a vacation destination, not just a place to find a hotel for the con.

Since WonderCon worked out so well, I’m looking at what else might be fun. That’s part of why I did my price comparison last month, and Kevin Standlee’s comments got me looking at WorldCons and the like again. Not for this year, but maybe a few years out.

Looking at all these cons, I realized that beyond a certain threshold, distance doesn’t matter. Only the destination. If it’s far enough away that you have to fly, the only thing that distance impacts is the cost of your plane ticket. Whether your flight is 5 hours or 10 hours*, it’s still going to take up most of a day or night when you factor in dealing with the airports. Everything else, from hotel prices to whether you need a passport, a phrasebook, or currency exchange, is a factor of the destination.

WonderCon, I think, was at the boundary of driving distance from here. We could make the trip out in one day, but it was a lot more fun to break it into stages and make it a road trip. San Diego is at the boundary of commuting distance. We could drive out there in the morning and drive back at night (and I did that with my parents for over a decade), but it’s not practical to do for more than one day. Whereas if I wanted to, I could easily commute to Wizard World Los Angeles 2 or even 3 days. (As it was, we only went for Saturday.)

With two cons in Q1, and San Diego coming up in July, any traveling we do later this year is probably not going to be convention-related. As it is, we’ve talked seriously about three possible non-con vacation spots. But it might be worth casting a wider net for cons in 2009 or 2010.

*Katie and I were talking about this, and realized that it’s probably different if you have kids. In that case, a 5-hour flight probably would be significantly harder to manage than a 3-hour flight.

See Also: Convention Photos & Write-Ups

3 thoughts on “Conventions and Distance

  1. Starstuff

    Well, if “distance doesn’t matter”, you should consider FedCon in Germany 😉 It’s quite well-known among European SciFi Fans and not as huge as some conventions overseas (=US), with a great guest list every year.
    This years convention starts the upcoming weekend … *excited* 🙂

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  2. Brion

    We’re hitting Dragon*Con this year… Atlanta in the dead of August, but there’ll be air conditioning!

    Flying from California is only moderately more expensive than driving up from Florida would have been — you end up spending more on the hotel either way. From what I year it’s as much of a zoo as San Diego, though, so if you’re looking for cozier cons maybe look elsewhere. 😉

    Various WorldCons are being considered for future years… I believe next year is Montreal, which could be real fun.

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  3. Kelson Post author

    Hmm, I wonder whether Atlanta in August or Las Vegas in July would be worse?

    Now that I think about it, probably Atlanta. Humidity and all that.

    I forgot to link to it, but when I was working on a draft of this post earlier I found an interesting write-up on things to consider on choosing a Worldcon bid, which broke people’s concerns into 4 groups:

    1. Economically Strapped – pick the closest city.
    2. Vacation Location – pick a city where, even if the con sucks, you can have a good time on vacation.
    3. Let’s Not Get Ridiculous – pick a good city, but make sure the facilities & committee are up to the task.
    4. City outside? What city? – pick based on the committee and facilities, and don’t worry about where it is.

    Somewhere along the line, I seem to have moved from category 1 to category 2. Or maybe 3. I can’t quite bring myself to hop on a plane to attend an uninteresting con.

    Reply

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