Comic-Con hotel free-for-all begins in two hours

The 93-minute melee for badges was only the first hurdle on the road to Comic-Con International. The next trial is this morning at 9 PT, when the mad dash begins for discounted hotel rooms in San Diego. Obviously, attendees don't have to go through this process to find accommodations, but they're likely to end up paying two to three times the Comic-Con rate.

Nearly 60 hotels, from Downtown San Diego to the airport to Mission Valley, are part of the convention block, offering room rates ranging from $149 to to $357 per night during the July 18-21 event. All but three offer shuttle service to the San Diego Convention Center, so even if you end up in the hinterlands, you'll likely be no more than a 45-minute ride away. Unless you're in Mission Bay, then ... sorry.

If you haven't already, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the list of hotels. Participants in the Travel Planners booking process this year are required to provide six hotel choices -- no more, no less -- a significant change in procedure. Previously, you could select as many as 20. Once confirmed, all reservations will require a deposit of two night's room and tax for each room booked. Deposits are fully refundable until April 30.

Rooms are typically gone within an hour, but there's a wait list for when some inevitably become available once the deposit deadline passes. Good luck.

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