Spend Less Money at Conferences – and Still Have Fun!

Money can often be the deal-maker in deciding which conferences to attend. I’ve learned to spend less and still get the full value of the conference. Here are some ways that I’ve saved money.

1. Meet the “early-bird” registration deadline. Savings are often worth the effort. Another advantage is that you can register for pre-conference workshops—often no fee but with limited space. I’ve found these sessions are well worthwhile. If you are a first-time attendee, this serves as a warm-up to the entire conference. You’ll also be able to sign up for banquet tickets or other special events.

2. Unless you are particularly interested in the area near the conference, I’d avoid the cost of tours of the town and/or local historic spots. I rarely find time to leave the hotel during a conference. These tours are great for an accompanying friend or non-writer spouse to enjoy while you are attending sessions.

2. Carpooling with other writers to out-of-town conferences not only saves money, but the camaraderie there and back are fun and valuable. If you arrange to sign up for separate workshops or overlapping ones everyone wants to attend, you can later share your notes/insight with each other.

3. Share a hotel room. Many conferences offer double rooms plus a pull-out couch or hide-away bed. Each person will need to register and give typical information. If room service or other costs are incurred, that individual person can cover his/her own expenditures.

4. Save on food costs. Most rooms have a refrigerator. Bring your own snacks and drinks as prices in the hotel shop will be higher. But do take advantage of discounts offered by the hotel—perhaps free breakfast, cocktail hour often offers heavy hors d’oeuvres and discount drinks, and light snacks/drinks may be available between workshops. Banquets usually charge a separate fee. In my experience, the keynote speakers are worth the cost—and offer another opportunity to network with others at your table.

5. Of course buy books and support other writers! Very hard not to. But try to buy books you can’t live without—and refrain from buying books that will go unread and stored under your bed. My best defense is to avoid the “impulse-buy.” Better to look over what is in the bookstore or on exhibitor tables and purchase later after a little thought. Not a fail-proof method.

Click on Part 1 for more tips on Making the Most of Writers' Conferences:
Part 1: Select the Conference Best Suited to You

Marilyn H. Collins—author, workshop leader, publisher, writing coach, editorial services www.marilynhcollins.com. Contact: www.marilynhcollins.com/contact  
Copyright © CHS Publishing, Marilyn H. Collins, 2017.