I've gotten questions directly relating to this quite frequently in the past few months, so I think it's time for me to make a post on the subject.
I will attend any convention, or go to do a signing, anywhere that either:
- Is within commute distance of my house, or
- Will pay me to come there -- sufficiently to allow at least a significant part of my family to come along, or
- Is somewhere I'm visiting anyway (may be, e.g., Cape Cod this year but I'm not sure), or
- Happens to be somewhere I'm going anyway for my Real Job's purposes. The latter is most LIKELY to be somewhere in the Washington, DC or Patuxent River, MD, but has been known to be the Chicago area, Albuquerque, or San Diego.
Now, left to myself, I'd be a lot more flexible, but I am 47, married, intend to stay that way, and have 4 kids. The "intend to stay that way" means that I would be terribly unwise to dump my wife with all the kids on the weekends and run off to have fun at a convention for the entire weekend; with a commutable distance, I can be there in the mornings through, say, noon, at least and take some burden off her, and I'm available in case of emergencies. Exceptions COULD be made for really important things (for instance, if by hysterically funny chance I was one of the shortlisted nominees for the Hugo award I would feel it was important for me to attend that Worldcon, if possible).
The "47" bit means that I am well past the age where it is comfortable to "crash" on someone's couch or floor. Add to that a fairly wide range of allergies, especially to cats, dogs (unless they're of particular breeds AND washed with special soap/treatments every other day or so), dust, and mold, and it becomes very unlikely that I can stay over at anyone's house even if they have a nice guest bed -- and I've also eliminated the low-cost hotels, which often have dust, mold, etc.,problems. So it'll also be fairly expensive for me to go anywhere for a weekend.
Obviously, if I become much more well-off than I currently am, that could all change; my family would be unlikely to object to flying out to some other city for a weekend vacation, if we could afford to do so. However, these are my current constraints.