#Gigacon 2014 CMV from Morten Skoglund. #Norway #Oslo #cosplay
woo! first preview of my raven from AWA! this was a bunch of first for me. First time making a cape, fully lining something, first time resin casting and first time making a belt like that! I’m super proud of how it turned out!! :D
pic by BentPic5: https://www.facebook.com/Bentpic5
HOW TO TRAVEL
This week, I’m heading off on a 23-day trip through 5 cities in 4 countries starting off at New York then to Milan, Prague, Amsterdam, Tokyo and Honolulu. Sounds fabulous right ?
Well, all this wouldn’t be possible without David Ngo who had posted about a “mistake fare”. A mistake fare is what it sounds like. Sometimes the airline will cancel the mistake fare and other times, they will honor it.
Back in June, David let me know about this fare to fly from New York to Milan then from Prague to Tokyo for about $300. I booked the fare that night for October 2014 figuring this will be a nice vacation after finishing the book. Well, the Cosplay in America book isn’t finished yet but that’s another story I’ll cover later.
Since then I’ve been checking my email to see if the airline would cancel my flight and so far with less than 2 weeks to go, they hadn’t ! First thing first, I still had to pay for a flight from Los Angeles to New York - which wasn’t that big of a deal since I was heading to NYCC after all.
I figured I’ll just piggy back the European tour on that trip so I booked a one way fare for $165. The flight from New York to Milan and Prague to Japan was $305.30. To get from Milan to Prague, I booked EasyJet, a low-fare airline in Europe for $93.83. I chose to fly because while taking the train would be cheaper, it would take much more time.
Finally my flight from Tokyo back to Los Angeles was booked using American Airline mileage. There’s tax and carrier fee of $45.30 so my final cost of going around the world is $609.43. Yeah. That’s half of my apartment rent !
Amsterdam and Honolulu are technically layovers. When you start looking at flights, check to see if there is any layovers. I have at least 18 hours in Amsterdam and Honolulu so I have time to spend the night and see a bit of the town. For international flights, I always look for layovers. Domestically, I avoid layovers as much as I can.
HOW TO FIND FARES
I admit it, I got lucky with this one finding a flight to Europe for about $300 but there are other ways to doing this.
First of all, this was a mistake fare and once in a while this will happen. The best place I found to find out about these fares is to check Flyertalk, a forum dedicated to mileage collectors and their "Mileage Run" forum.
The forum is for people who want to travel the most miles for the cheapest price to get the most mileage. I’m not really a mileage collector but more interested in low fares. Most of the time the fares they post are usually just fares on sale but once in a while, they’ll post a mistake fare.
Now you have to check regularly because once a fare is posted, the fare might be done within hours.
You will have to learn some of the terminology. I mean, it is like the con world - there’s certain phrases people use that we all understand but an outsider may not get.
Another thing you can do is to start following all the airlines’ twitter feed. Sometimes they do sales that lasts only a day. I’ve started doing this but to be honest, I’m concern more with international travel so I haven’t kept track of domestic fares.
Another resource I use is Google Flights - a handy tool that let you see a month’s worth of prices at a time. As you can see, I put in Los Angeles and London. You can see it normally cost $960 to $1,035 but wait ! Nov. 19th the flight is actually $605 ! When you click on that date, it’ll show you the return flights. Find the corresponding $605 and you get yourself a deal !
In order to take advantage, you have to be flexible to fly at any time. This method isn’t good for con traveling since there is a set time and location but if you just wanna get a way - Google Flight is a great tool. Fair warning - if you find a price you are okay with, book it soon. I’ve come back hours later to find the low price gone. My personal rule is if the flight is $500 for below for a European country, I’ll go. The way I think about it is that fare is about 50% off anyways.
Another thing to remember is for international flights, check the bigger cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Orlando, Chicago, San Francisco and such - there might be deals just for specific cities so you may have to take an extra flight to make it worth your while.
I took the $300 fare because I already planned to be in New York already. Hell, who am I kidding, at that price, I would have flown out for that deal !
HOW TO GET MILEAGE
Last year I went to London to check out MCM Expo or London Comic Con. That fare was taken care of by mileage I’ve earn by opening credit cards.
The fastest way to get (almost) free air travel is to open airline credit cards. I say almost free because you still have to pay tax and carrier fees. Now most airlines have a credit card and they have offers such as open a new card and get 20,000 or 30,000 or 50,000 miles. I would wait for 40,000 miles or higher because once you open a card, I *believe* you can’t open another of the same card for 18 months.
To get the mileage you have to do something such as spend an amount of money in an amount of time. For example, I just opened a Chase Sapphire Card. Basically for 40,000 mileage (enough to fly round trip to Europe), I would need to spend $3,000 in 3 month’s time. Done. I’ll just move everything to that card - my Netflix, my gas bill, whatever.
Now, these airline cards have a yearly fee - usually something like $60 to $99 dollars a year. The first year is usually waived but do check. Once you pay off the amount you need to earn, you call the credit card company and down-grade the card to a no-fee card. Then I just leave the card in my desk and never use it again. So while I may have 8 credit cards, I really only use one. For the most part, I pay off the balance every month.
Credit cards do different offers so check all the offers. If you aren’t satisfied with it, wait a few months, then check again.
Many airlines are part of an alliance which means you can use your mileage on another airlines in the same alliance so you may want to check to see which alliance works best for where you want to go (this relates more to international travel)
I encourage you to read up on several of these blogs as well as others in the frequent flyer realm. I hope this helps some of y’all out.
I believe that life is about experiences and not material things so my dream is to have the mileage and time to travel. I mention this in another post but I try to live simple. My car is about 15 years old. My DVD player is almost 10 years old. I don’t have a Blu-Ray or a gaming console. My TV until recently was one from the 1990s. I say recently because my sister was sweet enough to buy me a new TV for my birthday. For entertainment I have Netflix streaming, the internet and the library down the street from me.
My photography equipment tends to be used. Both my 5D camera bodies are used - one refurbished from Canon, another my friend owned and later sold to me. One of my lens I bought used from a reputable local shop here in town and the other new. My power pack was bought used off Ebay and another used from a local camera shop. My phone is used off Ebay - a Samsung S3 - I think we’re up to S6 now ? My last few computers are bought refurbished from Apple.
Right now my only expense is my rent, insurance, and monthly bills like gas, electricity. My credit card is usually paid off every month. I don’t owe any car payments, any student loans, child support, nothing. Supposed the only thing I’m lacking is someone to share my life but I figured she’ll come into it sooner or later.
I try to keep my spending down, I don’t eat out a lot, I don’t buy a lot of unnecessary things. I know my life sounds boring but I use the money for experiences. I’m not saying my way is the best but it kinda works for me.
NEXT TIME : I’ll talk about how I managed where to stay when I’m traveling - usually using Airbnb or youth hostels. Also more on the book update as well.
Issue #1 – CCINO (Comic Con in name only)
Issue #2 – Conventions as a Social Event vs. Buying Event
Issue #3 – Are there too many conventions?
Issue #4 – What have you been doing lately?
Issue #5 – Table factors
Read "Breaking Down the Latest Convention Controversy" by Todd Allen
I’ve done Artist Alley at comic cons and anime cons around the years 2010-2012. I learn with my book in general, I do much better at anime cons than I have at a comic con.
With the new book coming out next year, I originally was gonna to avoid the hassle of comic cons but with the last few years a new generation of con goers have entered so perhaps there’s a chance for my book after all.
For the traditionalist, I can feel their pain - not everything will continue the way it has been before. You have to be more engaging and pro-active at the tables.
I’ve walked by many tables where the artist jus sits there working and never glances up. I’ve also seen artists chatting it up with people and just having conversations.
When I started in Artist Alley, I kinda just sat there. I didn’t know what to do but over the years I became better at just working the table - talking to people, giving nods and generally being open.
I became more laid back about it. So what if they didn’t buy the book, at least they now heard about it. Perhaps they’ll buy it online or at future cons (this has happen before).
I used to work as a camera salesman. I hated it. I never wanted to push anything to anyone so which is why today I don’t hard sell people who come by my table.
2015 will be an interesting year, indeed.
Ever since I gotten interested in cosplay, I became intrigued by the impersonators I would see on Hollywood Blvd. If you spend any time at Hollywood / Highland, you would see groups of costumed people posing for snap-happy tourists wandering. Many are either struggling actors or people down on their luck. Usually you would tip them $1 for a photo. Sometimes there would be problems.
One of the photographer I used to work before did a series called Super Heroes - portraits of costumed actors in Los Angeles.