Hotel reservations. Check.
Plane tickets. Check.
Festival tickets. Check.
Guess I'm as caught up as I can be.
This will be my eighth year going to the festival (out of nine). So I think I've gotten about as experienced as I can in planning ahead. Beyond getting lucky and finding someone to go with me (helps split the hotel cost), I look for the bargains that I can find.
Hotels - After hitting the Bed & Breakfast scene the past two years, I'm back at a hotel on Yonge St. The key is to keep searching the various travel sites (Yahoo Travel, hotels.com, orbitz, etc.) at least twice a month to check on your dates. This year I found a room at the Days Inn (where I've stayed before) that was on special in Nov. 06. The room was $75 CAD per night. This is what I was paying at the B&B, but now I have my own restroom, a TV, perfect. Plus the room normally goes for $126 CAD. You have to start early when searching for bargains, and when you find one, pounce.
Airfare - Typically, it's actually better to wait. You can getter better deals, the closer you get. But I'm not patient. Basically, I come up with a price that I'm willing to pay and once I find a flight that meets it, I dive in. I don't do Priceline.com, once was enough. Eight hour trip from Dallas with a three hour layover was enough. I look for any roundtrip under $300.
Festival tickets - It's the festival pass all the way for me. If you are going with others, the 30 coupon book (no longer available) was good b/c you could get multiple tickets for shows. But since I'm alone, book the Festival. I tried the Gala passes one year and that was a waste. Yes, you can see the stars enter, but....there are no Q&A afterward, ever. I can see any of the Gala shows I want to see, the next morning (usually at the Ryerson). And not only that, there are occasionally Q&A's then.
I'm excited to start seeing the lineup start to grow.