It’s that time of year again – which means it’s time to get into the swing of things for Nationals. Most people at this time are probably busy playtesting and trying to beat the metagame… But one thing you don’t want to forget is that Nationals, while fun, is extremely expensive. So expect to break open that piggy bank you’ve had since you were twelve, because you’ll need it. If you plan on playing in all of the grinders (hopefully you’ll just play in one, but you never know) then you need to expect to pay about $20 for the Sealed and about half that for the Constructed matches. All in all, you’re looking at roughly a hundred big ones, plus whatever you need to spend on food. Don’t forget to mention hotel accommodations, parking fees, and gas money. Some people even need to get transportation to and from the airport as well as pay for a plane ticket.
One thing I can suggest, though, is to do your homework on how to save money. For instance, don’t always get the hotel nearest to the event because these usually cost the most. After doing some homework of my own, I’ve found out that rooms in the Gas Lamp district are rather pricey. If you look elsewhere and are comfortable mastering the San Diego trolley system, you may want to choose to stay farther away. You will probably pay less than half of what most are paying per night – and with that extra cash you save, you can afford to drink away your sorrows should you lose. At the very least, you won’t feel so bad and might have enough money to play in the other events during the weekend. (Yes, there are other events during Nationals.)
Also, if at all possible, try to make your own bag lunches (think grade school), which can include such classics as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and also will give you an excuse to buy those Big Pouch Capri Suns I wish they had when I was a kid. This not only saves you money and from eating those greasy foods they serve at these events, but it will be healthier as well.
One last thing you might want to try is that if you are lucky enough to drive to the event (as I am), you could sleep in your car, or even sleep in the rental car for half of a night. This might possibly be plausible on Thursday night, due to the nature of the grinders and other tournaments going late into the night.
I hope these suggestions have been helpful and the best of luck to all those attending Nationals weekend in San Diego. Have fun!