It’s Memorial Day Weekend and I’m sure most people are thinking that it’s summer. Meanwhile, I’m thinking it’s blog conference season. Last year, I attended Reviewer’s Retreat, Type A Conference, and Mixed Conference. I’m excitedly looking forward to and planning to attend at least three conferences this year. I’ve already purchased my ticket for Mixed Con with my alumni special. I mean I’ve got to support one that close to me. Then, I’m also going to Reviewer’s Retreat again this year and I’m uber-excited about attending BlogHer for the first time this year. All of that being said, I think I can offer you a few tips on how to attend a blog conference on a budget.
Blog Conference on a Budget
I thought I’d break this down based on the area of expenses:
- Conference Ticket – You have to have one. So, it’s been my experience that the earlier you know you’re going, the better. By this I mean you should take advantage of the early bird ticket or advanced special tickets if you get the chance. Another way you can cut this down (or out completely) is by volunteering at a conference. Granted, you have to apply to volunteer, months ahead of time. It took me years to get approved to volunteer at a conference. So, keep applying and attending conferences anyways.
- Rooming – I have always and will probably always have a roommate or a few roommates at a blog conference. I’ll have 3 at Reviewer’s Retreat and 2 at BlogHer. It’s simple math here, the more people per room, the cheaper it becomes because you divide the total cost per person. The cheapest I have done for rooming is definitely Reviewer’s Retreat. This year’s price is pretty cheap and we are dividing it by four. Last year, we had 6 of us in our extra large suite. Sidenote: I know it’s scary trying to find another person to room with. Virtually all of my experiences with blogger roomies have been positive ones. My advice to is to be open but cautious. when looking for a roommate. Without a roommate, it’s really hard to go to a blog conference on a budget
- Travel – The cheapest option is usually to drive/ride to a conference. You can even make it more fun and cheap by carpooling. I’m riding down to Reviewer’s Retreat with 2 of my roommates from last year. We are meeting up in North Carolina and it will take us 7 hours (without stops) to get there. So, it will be an adventure.
- Flying – For BlogHer, I am flying. This one can totally blow the whole attending a blog conference on a budget thing. However, I chose to go with Southwest Airlines for their prices. Granted, I have to actually get to an airport that they fly out of (the closest is 2.5 hours away), but I think it’s worth it to drive those few extra hours to save hundreds of dollars. Also, I didn’t book a round-trip flight. I am flying out of one airport for just $102 and then flying back into a different one. That way, I was able to get the best possible price each way. I don’t know why 2 airports that are about 30 minutes apart have such different prices with the same airline, but they do. Also, Southwest Airlines allows two free checked bags. I knew that I wanted at least 1 checked bag for swag. So, I’m happy to be able to avoid that fee.
- Clothing – Now I’m not the type of woman who needs a whole new wardrobe just for a conference. I also don’t ever look perfectly put together. So, this one isn’t a big deal for me. I did just get a great dress for $10 at the mall for a conference though. I save on this one by getting stuff on sale/clearance and shopping around. Then again, that’s not really any different than my usual shopping habits.
I think that about covers how I attend a blog conference on a budget. What do you think of my tips? Do you have others to provide?