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Get to GenCon Indy and the Star Trek Worlds Championships For Free!

by Tony Gammell, Lead Market Developer

2nd August 2008

Traveling to GenCon Indy back in 2006 was one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had. It’s hard to fathom how huge GenCon is until you step into the main hall on Thursday morning. You are greeted by hundreds of colourful stands, selling everything at incredible prices. It was an experience that I am looking forward to again!

Probably the best thing about my trip to GenCon was it was free! Yep, that’s right, I didn’t have to pay a cent of my savings to go. All it took was a little effort and a little time and I had an incredible weekend! So I bet you are wondering how I did it? Well here is how! With two weeks to go to Worlds, it’s quite possible to get there with very little expenditure.

So first, let's break up how much my travels cost me.

Traveling from Ireland, I knew that my flights were going to be the most expensive part of my journey. In order to compare the price of tickets for my journey, I used travel comparison websites such as www.expedia.co.uk and www.cheapflights.co.uk, which gave me great options. Once I found the best three deals, I checked the airlines' websites to see if they were cheaper. In the end, I chose Continental Airlines, who charged 700 euro for the flights. That was pretty reasonable, so with a month to go before GenCon, I had my tickets booked!

The other main expense was my hotel. When I travel to major events, I always make sure that I share my hotel room with one to two others. I was able to share a room with two great people, and even though we chose to stay in the upmarket Hilton Hotel, it still only cost us $60 per night. I’m sure you can find much cheaper accommodations if you wish! Also, by sharing the room, I was able to share other travel costs, such as taxis when needed, and I was also able to get some great playtesting done.

So the million-dollar question is...how did I pay for this without touching my savings?

First, I decided that one of the four days would be spent “working.” Prior to GenCon, I checked online to see which major companies had a stand. I also chatted with other people online to see if any stalls were giving away some exclusive GenCon gear. After planning a hit list of booths to visit, I spent about three hours traversing the GenCon floors and collecting the valuable booty. After sorting it all out that evening in the hotel, I realised I was well on my way to getting my costs paid for! Some notable finds were 6 “D-X” promo cards from the WWE Raw Deal card game, a massive figure from a table-top game, exclusive BattleTech dice, lots of exclusive smaller figures from different games, 17 Wonder Woman promos from Marvel TCG and lots more. I then visited the business centre in the hotel and put them on eBay!

Seven days later, I had sold almost 800 euro in transactions from eBay and other sites, including over 300 euro for the Raw Deal promos alone! Some of the stuff, such as the Wonder Woman promos, were not worth a whole lot, but I was able to trade with others for some really good Star Trek cards I needed when I returned home. At that stage, I had paid for almost 90% of my travel costs. I was then able to save about 100 Euro by buying Star Trek cards directly from the retailers at GenCon instead of buying the cards online!

So with two weeks left to go before Worlds, why not do something spontaneous...get your flights booked, find some friends to stay with, and join us for what will be an incredible World Championships. Remember when I said there were plenty of cool things to find and sell at GenCon...just wait and see what Charlie has in store for you!!!

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