Here's my take on the matter, having been one going for six years now.
One of the reasons I continue to go to Otakon is because of its location and hence, the convenience of "rooming for free" at my house.
This was my first year riding into Baltimore and taking about 6 friends with me. The ride to Downtown and surprisingly the parking wasn't all that bad. The downside, I had to get up at 5 AM to prepare myself in cosplay and then hopefully try to get a decent parking space in either the Conway parking lot or the Sheraton garage. My friends and I ended up staying inside the convention center/outside in line for about an hour after we parked, sacrificing our sleep time just to get a good spot.
As for next year, I'm still quite reluctant to carpool again for all 3-4 days, mainly due to the time issues (some friends wanted to leave early, etc.). But I am trying to convince some of my friends to get their licenses and go themselves. xD Overall, in my opinion, the location and the travel expenses (about 30$ for a full tank of gas, friends taking turns to pay about $25 for the parking fee each day) are easier to manage than paying for a hotel and rooming with others in a small space.
Another thing that keeps me going is the cosplay and socializing.
I have a lot of cosplay/anime/online friends that attend Otakon and they live too far for me to see them every once in a while. So, it's really one of the only chances I have of meeting them. I hate to say that it seems like I would need a lot of money just to catch up on our relationships, but it used to be worth the money to both meet old friends and meet new people. This past year at $70... well, I'm really on the fence for that.
I also do it to experience the Cosplay Contests and see more amazing talent than me. I get inspired to go for it the next year and the next year. Again, the downside is that cosplay making is extremely expensive and with the rising costs of conventions everywhere, it's becoming a Catch-22 type of thing. But with it, I have introduced many friends to cosplay and they have also been inspired to do the same, so I can at least share the experience with my friends at this unique and huge event.
I guess one thing that could potentially prevent me from going to Otakon again are the panels they show. As each year passes, I've been attending less and less and less panels, due to lack of interest, schedule conflicts, or even down to the attitude of the audience. It may be my problem to be picky about these things, but I was just reluctant to attend a Jason David Frank panel because it was just too popular to go to. It was sad that they left out the Detective Conan movies showings this year, because that really got me and my friends engaged. Maybe it's the fact that I am growing out of interest for recent anime and video games.
But in that way, I can focus on more cosplay things that really give me purpose year-round to craft them for this annual, special event. In terms of money and other misc. expenses, it's becoming something that I have to take more seriously to account for going next year or not.
It's frightening because since next year is their 20th Anniversary, I am quite certain that they will raise the price for the badge due to their planning of "big events" and whatnot. I can solely admit that it's my fault for not having a job (although I am trying my hardest to get one in these economic conditions) and for pleading parents to pay for my badge for the first years of going to Otakon. But the decision of going next year will most likely come down to the dollar signs.
Oh and as for the weather: we're not God or Kami-sama or whatever, so it's really no use complaining about it, hehe. I'm pretty sure we are given plenty of warning about these weather conditions during the summer in Baltimore, so it's really up to peoples own discretion to tread its heatwaves.
(Sorry for yet another wall o' text :c )
Katsucon 2013 Cosplay
Sheik - The Legend of Zelda
Mitsuru Kirijo - Persona 3
オタコン 2013 コスプレ || Otakon 2013 Cosplay:
Sheik - The Legend of Zelda (SSBB/Twilight Princess Concept Version)
~Arashi no Megami~