Hello boys and girls it’s T-Time. So you’re tired of locals and you want to take your game to the next level. Maybe you already have attended said events and you are looking for a more efficient and cost effective way to attend said tournaments. Well since nobody really likes to talk about these things, I suppose I will pass on some in game as well as some not-so-Yu-Gi-Oh based advice about going to these events.
If you haven’t noticed, gas prices are getting quite high and they don’t seem to be stopping any time soon. Clearly this means that driving to an event (be it 4-5 hours or 12-13 hours) is much more expensive. So what are ways to cut costs? The obvious answer is to bring friends. There is a lot of power in being the driver because they determine price and are generally in charge of setting the trip up in general. This usually means they pay less (and rightfully should) since it is miles going on their car for the trip. However, sometimes finding friends (or a driver) isn’t always easy. Some people cannot get the day off of work or school to make it to the event and that is very understandable.
Make sure that the other people coming on your trip are reliable. It is more important than anything to make sure that they are reliable. If they back out with 3 days until the event, you can be stuck looking for a replacement and it could hike the price up. When the price goes up, other members of the group may not be able to make it and drop out on their own. It becomes a recurring cycle, so be sure to find reliable people. If you assume anyone on the trip will be flakey, make sure you get a “down payment”, even if it is only $20 on a $100 trip. Obviously try picking people you are friends with for events, but don’t overlook other local players. It is a good chance to bond with people you may not know very well. A lot of the fun in major tournaments comes from the trip itself. Be sure to consider other costs such as toll and parking. If you take turnpikes, expect to pay a sizeable toll for longer interstate trips. If you will be downtown of a major city, expect anywhere from $10-$25 parking per day. Not Fun.
So where are you going to stay? I strongly advise that you book a hotel well in advance. Locations next to the venue can often overbook the night before and that can be a nightmare, especially if there is another event in town outside of the ever important Yu-Gi-Oh tournament. Online sites are good for booking such as hotels.com and expedia. They give special deals (especially to those who book early) and have long running promotions based on loyalty. Though they seem to offer good deals, use them more as a general estimate for what you are expecting to pay, as well as the quality of hotel based on ratings, and distance from the venue and relative location in comparison to landmarks. I advise you then proceed to call the hotel itself and get an estimate on a room. Ask them if they have any promotions going on and if you have AAA, use that discount. You can easily bargain for a significantly lower price if you give it a try. Also, make sure that you have a confirmation number and the name of the person who you just talked to. If anything goes wrong (ex. double bed/single bed issues, breakfast problems), you know who to say told you otherwise. If you choose to exceed the recommended capacity of occupants in a room, make sure to do so gingerly. Try not to make a spectacle out of the fact that you are cramming 6 gentlemen into a supposedly 2 person room. Of course, if you have relatives or friends in the area where you are staying, congratulations! That is incredibly convenient, but make sure you take them to dinner or something. It is a nice gesture, even if not required or requested.
So you are planning to fly into town? You just ran into a whole new set of costs. For booking a good flight, expedia is your friend. You won’t need to check luggage, since one carry-on suitcase and one personal bag (ex. backpack) is generally permitted. Even if you have the ability to do so free of charge, I don’t recommend it due to time and convenience. When booking, don’t only look for thrift. It can be a complete pain to have 3 connecting flights wasting 10 hours of your time to save $20. Also look out for gaps and layovers. Major connecting airports such as Minneapolis/St. Paul can mean a 20-30 minute trip to the next gate, so make sure you have more than 30 minutes to get there. Allow time for delays, since if it happens and you miss your flight, you are not necessarily insured to get on the next one free of charge. Even if you do, you may be missing a huge amount of time and paying for unnecessary hotel charges. Booking with other people can actually reduce the price if you use an online booking service or a trip tick with your local AAA. Having the extra people will make the trip more enjoyable and help lower your hotel cost, but it will most importantly lower the cost of the (shudders) cab ride.
That’s right; since you flew into town you do not own a vehicle in that city. If you have somebody who is willing to pick you up from the airport, then consider yourself lucky. If you can rent a car, that may also be a good idea. If public transportation is available and reasonable, I advise you take it. If you do, I advise you go in a group but if you cannot try to not act like a complete tourist. Sketchy people on public transportation are known to do sketchy things, and even if they don’t know it, your backpack is a goldmine. Now let us assume you have to take a cab to your hotel, which is the most likely situation. In rush hour or major city traffic, you could be looking at upwards of a $50 cab ride. Having friends will exponentially lower the cost and it also makes it more reasonable around the city in a cab once you arrive at your hotel. It is not fun paying $25 to go anywhere in the city, trust me. It is much worse than parking as hard as that is to believe.
Food costs can also be a major cost during trips. I strongly advise you do not eat fast food the entire time. The fact that it is bad for you will not only make you out of shape and feel gross throughout the trip, but it will actually hinder in-tournament performance. You will gas out much faster with the lower nutritional value of fast food than you will with real foodstuffs. I advise that you buy protein bars, granola bars, and waters to drink during the tournament and during your trip as snacks. They will fill you up and keep you focused during the trip, plus they are cheap. I always advise you splurge a little and have a good meal the night before your tournament. You will need the energy in the morning, I can assure you that. If you find a local grocery store or 7/11, make sure you all pitch in on water for the group. It is worth it, trust me. $1 for soda and water every time you are thirsty can really add up. Plus, you don’t want to get dehydrated during the tournament. Dehydration is one of the most common causes of hunger.
Finally, when you are there make sure you are weighing your opportunity costs. You paid good money to be at that event so don’t waste your time sleeping the whole time or enjoying the hotel room television. Spend as much time at the event as possible even if you are eliminated to try to have fun and make some money in side events or through trading. I also strongly advise you take a little time to see the city you paid so much to visit. It makes the trip worth it and will add to your stories when you return. Yu-Gi-Oh is serious business but there is no reason to not have some good old fashioned vacationing fun. On that note, I have a word of advice to my fellow partiers. I strongly discourage going to bars and night clubs the night before a tournament. It can be awkward for other members of your group who are not used to that and it is going to cost you more money. What is most important is that you may botch up your chance at doing well at the tournament the next day. That is the reason you came, not to party. You can party at home, but you have business to take care of on this trip. Do not lie to yourself and try to justify it by saying it isn’t that important to you. If it wasn’t, you wouldn’t have come on this trip in the first place. Then again, do try and enjoy yourself while you are there. It is a vacation after all, just a vacation with a purpose. Hopefully this was helpful to those of you who do go to major events, or are planning to in the future. For any questions, comments, and concerns, just leave a comment and I will be happy to reply or elaborate on anything you want. Until then, deuces gooses.