I am not sure what “too far” is, but I drive 14 hours from Dallas. I guess if I was in California or the Pacific Northwest, I would consider flying.
This. The last three years I have attended GenCon, I have stayed by the airport and Uber/Cab/Lyft-ed in daily. My choice. I still had a great time. The only reason I am staying downtown this year is because I was able to pay for my hotel with points with a reservation outside the block- otherwise, there is no way that I think the added cost of paying all that money (even with the in-block rates, taxes, fees, and parking add up real quick) will add to my enjoyment of the convention that much. I could be spending that money on lots of other things!
I was considering Motel 6, it's dirt cheap and I was not going to be doing anything there but sleeping and sorting swag. That would free up a pile of cash for rental and parking spot. I also looked into getting a hotel that was near a Blue-Indy station. Grab one of those to get to the convention center, park and forget. Grab another for the drive home. There is always the bus system, it is slow and ends way before you want to leave but the last time we went it was bus in the morning and uber to get back to the hotel.
I would just keep checking the housing portal whenever you can. I decided to go to the con around June last year and was able to snag a room at Crowne Plaza around the deadline for people to cancel and still only get charged $50. I've been checking every couple hours since the block opened and managed to snag a hotel 2 miles away that someone must have just dropped. It happens but you just have to be patient. You're also not locked to the hotel you pick in the block until the res gets sent to the hotel. That means you can keep checking for a closer hotel even after you've booked.
I was able to get a room in the hotel block every year that I tried. Check the housing portal a few times a day and you'll get a room downtown before too long.
I second the "Just keep checking" strategy.
This will be my third year that I did not get anything in the lottery closer than the airport. Previous two years I managed to snag a downtown room anyway by just randomly checking 1-2 times a day.
I haven't been that lucky so far this year (It's still early in the process. There tends to be more movement May/June), but I did just move up my reservation from one 13 miles away to 8 miles away for only $4 more a night. It happens if you're persistent about checking and willing to wait.
(To be fair I did also book a backup out of block downtown, but its a difference of $145 a night vs $400 and I would much rather get downtown in block for the ~$250 they are listed on the housing faqs page for).
Sleep Inn 2.3 miles from Con is available on housing portal, others at 7 miles as well.
Once again got Keystone Crossing. Going to put it back in the mix since I got an out of block room half the distance. Does turning in a room allow you to check for other rooms again or was that it?
You can check for other in-block rooms even while you have one selected. Just go in and Modify your selection, and you can find other rooms that are available. Nothing is changed until you save the new selection, and there is no charge for switching within the housing portal.
The in-block prices for downtown rooms are not insane ($200+/night), but out-of-block are going for well above $400/night. Don't get too discouraged, rooms open up all the time, and there is a large blip in May-June, after events come out, and right before the refund date, when some people have to change their plans & not go to the Con. The problem is you have to be checking the portal fairly often. By the time people post here, someone has usually snapped up the room.
Not sure what your point is. If you are paying $300 for an out-of-block room that is downtown, then you have a great deal. But, since you are renting a car, seems like you're not downtown, and you are way overpaying. Nice rooms 12 miles away are about $150-$175 in-block; why pay almost double that?