I've been wondering what to do about getting to the qepHom in Saarbrücken in November, and what kind of room to stay in.
The accommodation choices are four-bed room (€53), two-bed room (€63), and having a two-bed room for yourself (€81). Having a room for myself would be nicer because I know from experience that I retire considerably earlier than most other participants, and it would be nice (a) not to have to work out what to do with the key (since there's only one per room, and you'd have to find whoever has it if you want to go to bed at night) and (b) not to be disturbed at an unholy hour in the morning by customed Klingons coming in, undressing, and retiring.
That being said, I wasn't really disturbed last year, so maybe it's not that bad. Perhaps I'll take the two-bed room for only €10 more and hope that I have a quiet roommate.
As for travel, the cheap option (disregarding taking only local trains, which would be especially cheap on Sunday, but which would entail lots of changing and would take forever—well, 11 to 12 hours depending on the connection) would be taking and InterCity or EuroCity train for most of the stretch, which will cost €170 for a full-fare ticket and €85 if I take a half-price ticket (which would mean I could only take one particular connection) and take about eight hours.
The fastest rail option would be by ICE, which costs about €205/€102 and takes 6:30, but I see that Lufthansa has direct flights Hamburg–Saarbrücken which only take 1:30. The cheapest fare that Travel Overland has is €88 including fees, but that's not available on that weekend, which would give next cheapest options of €210 (needs Saturday stay, which I have), €220, or €290. These would, of course, also limit me to a specific flight, but the larger problem is that if something should happen and I can't go, I can't get my money back. (I'd have to pay at least €530 for a refundable ticket.)
The flight there is at 8:30–10:00 on Friday, which is fairly early but acceptable, since I'd have had to leave around that time anyway; I'd spend the day in Saarbrücken, probably. The return flight on Sunday is 17:30–19:00, which is really good. (On the other hand, getting to the airport with public transport at that time on a Sunday seems impossible [the first bus on Sunday gets the airport at 18:03!], which I find confusing; wouldn't you think that they'd plan the bus services around the times that planes actually fly?) So the alternative would seem to be a taxi, which would cost about €25 according to the airport's website. On top of the already fairly pricey flight. Hmm.
So it basically comes down to: do I want it cheaper, or more convenient?