a rather big portion can go for food if you have to rely on restaurants. There are usually no supermarkets in easy distance. So a little pre-planning and taking food along can go a long to defraying the cost there.
Food is definitely something that you can save on by planning ahead of time. However, sometimes a lunch or dinner with a certain group of individuals, during or after a conference, can be well worth the money spent. While it is great to learn a thing or two at a conference, the networking is equally, if not more important.
I’d still say you can save by having one meal out with other professionals at a conference. A very simple way to save is to make sure you register on time. Many conferences increase their prices after a certain date.
I almost never stay at the hotel in which the conference is at. I look for a lot cheaper one close to the location where the event takes place and this way I save a lot of $$. Even if you have to rent a car (sometimes you can just use the local public transportation system), you can still save money. Another way is to make smarter choices when it comes to where you eat. If you have a small kitchen at your room, you can buy and prepare the food you will need on your own. Also there might be times where you know someone who will be attending the same event as you and this way you can split the cost of the room and transportation.
I hope this gives you some extra ideas.
(This is a nearly the length of a book I know – I apologize)
See if the program offers an assistant or volunteer program. I attended IDEA West in Seattle and did this. I worked registration/ops so had to be there a day prior and help set up. I was not able to register for any classes ahead of time – I had to wait to in line and make sure they did not fill up. Not one of my classes was full that I wanted to attend. By doing this I did not have to pay for the conference itself. I am doing this at IDEA World in August. I also spoke with the Operation Director for the Empower Fitness Conferences and it is an option at their larger ones. I know canfitpro does this as well. I believe SCW Fitness does as well.
At Empower Fusion I was able to find a great deal on the hotel the conference was at – and it was great being able to be in the same location. Typically I do not do this as the hotels are sometimes double the price as others near. I look up hotels online near the conference location and always call to see if they are physically in walking distance. At IDEA West I got a room directly across the street from the conference hotel for less than half the price. My room had a fridge and microwave but wasnt as nice as the conference hotel this didnt bug me – after all I was just sleeping there. This way I do not have to pay for a rental, parking or a taxi. I try to make sure the hotel has a shuttle to and from the airport/local transportation.
I always pack snacks – because I have to eat gluten free I find this saves me a lot of money & time.
Depending on how far you have to travel I have found that booking flights on a Tuesday is cheapest and I never check items – I only carry on.
I also have met people at conferences and find out we are going to another one at the same time so we room together. For example at IDEA World we found a hotel that is a 10 minute walk from the convention center for 67.00/night. (That is 34.00 each a night) about a 4th of what the recommended hotel costs. If you are comfortable rooming with others posting so on sites like this is a great option to find a roommate.
But the biggest thing is the volunteer option. I highly recommend it.
I will be flying from Bismarck, North Dakota to Los Angeles, attending the entire conference, staying in a hotel from the 5th until the 12th and with flight, conference cost, and hotel I will be spending less than 650.00 to do so. I will have a fridge and microwave in my room so will be able to save money on food. This leaves me all the more money to spend on expo items!
I hope this helps. I do every thing I can to save money because I want to be able to attend about 3 more big conferences this year.