Where should you check in first, your hotel or the convention? This depends on multiple factors. Did you come in from out of town? Will check in for the convention be open by the time you get there? Do you know the parking situation? Can you get shuttle to and from the hotel? Do you know how traffic is in the area you are going? I’ll tell you what we did and what we will do next time. Remember, life is a learning experience.
Having arrived on day 0 from out of town after a 6 hour drive, we chose to check in to our hotel first. We found our room and unpacked, so that we would not need to do so when we got back. We found that there was parking closer to us on our way to our room, so we made a plan to park THERE when we got back.
After checking in to the hotel & unpacking, we headed out to the convention center. Using google maps, we plotted our course. We got lost on our way to the convention center from our hotel, even WITH google maps. We arrived to the convention center after about 45 minutes and wound up parking in the loading dock. We couldn’t quite figure out what the parking situation was and gave up.
We are from Los Angeles, the city of free parking only in residential areas where a permit is not required and certain shopping areas. Picking up our badges took about 10 minutes. Getting back to the hotel took about 2 hours. Please note, our hotel was, technically, a 10 minute drive from the convention center. Having had this adventure on Day 0 & having found out that there was a shuttle available to and from our hotel (courtesy of the hotel), we used a shuttle to get to the convention on Day 1.
I got a lift back to the hotel with a fellow con attendee who I met in line for an autograph – he was also staying at the same hotel and was also going to go take a kip after getting his poster autographed. I drove back, in the night time, after a quick freshening up. Thanks to my fellow attendee, I found out about the free parking next to the convention center. It also helped that I now knew a direct rout to and from the hotel.
On day 2 I drove, boy was I grateful that I did. Getting shuttled would have been a madhouse. People were not being allowed to stop in front of the convention center, not even at the UPS parking section. I was just picking up a mystery bag I bout earlier in the day (it was huge). Having had a successful morning at the con & knowing check out was at noon, I headed back a bit early.
We checked out at 11 am on day 2, though check in was at 12. There was a misunderstanding about check out time, we had the correct time, the staff person who knocked on the door, however, thought otherwise. We made sure to let the front desk know about the lipstick on the mirror & the weird knock by the staff at our door.
Next time, because I hope there will be a next time, we will be better prepared. We will check in at the hotel, then we will ask to be shuttled to the convention center (on day 0) and ask to be picked up after getting our badges. We will drive ourselves on day 1 & hopefully be able to stay until day 3.
Before leaving Los Angels, we will map out where there are gas stations all along the way to and from our destination. We will be sure to always fill up at half tank, as we did this time. We will be sure our phones are never on silent (my bad). We will carry our charger with us(we thought we would be okay without this one time). We will check out by 11:45 and not a moment sooner. Also, if the hotel has apples and lemonade out for guests, as our hotel did, we will be sure to get some on each exit trip and not just on our way out of town.