Attending industry conferences and events can be quite expensive. From the price of the ticket, to the travel and your accommodation…it all adds up!
Not only that, taking time out from your work or your family has to be considered as part of the total cost too.
In most cases, planning in advance is the best way to save money when attending conferences. Also, by planning in advance you can choose the best conferences that you feel you will get the largest ROI from.
That being said, there are so many benefits for you and your business from attending conferences – from gaining knowledge, getting inspiration and motivation and expanding your network and making stronger connections.
Your decision won’t be just about about the cost, but why spend lots of money when attending conferences if you don’t have to?
In order to help you avoid the fear of missing out (FOMO) on the conference you want to be at, here are our top tips on how to save money when attending a conference.
15 ways to save money when attending conferences
1 – Look out for competitions
Many conference organisers will run competitions in the run up to their events, be sure to be on the look out and make full use of the opportunity, you never know if you will be the lucky winner.
2 – Register early
As well as competitions there may be early bird ticket discounts, seasonal promotions or payment plans. Make sure to check up regularly so you don’t miss out.
Bonus tip: Make sure you’re on the conference email list to ensure you get notified of any discounts or promotions.
3 – Buy hotel tickets early
Don’t leave booking your hotel until the last minute as prices can skyrocket at the last minute, especially in cities. Also, in some cases you can book your hotel in advance but not pay until you arrive or depart.
4 – Budget hotels & group accommodation
If you are only staying for one or two nights you might be comfortable staying in the local budget hotels, which are typically of a very good standard.
If you know a few other people attending the same conference you could offer to rent an apartment and split the costs amongst a larger group.
An added bonus of renting an apartment is you can save money on food and drink by shopping locally and cooking your own meals in the apartment.
5 – Stay with friends or family
It might not be the most glamorous of options, but you can save some money by crashing on a friends couch or staying with a family member who lives nearby to the conference venue.
6 – Sort out your travel arrangements early
Everyone knows by now that the earlier you book your travel, the cheaper it will be. This is especially true for flights and trains.
Take the time early on and get your travel sorted. It might still be expensive, but at least you know you will be getting the best prices.
7 – Consider other forms of transport
If flights are expensive, why not see if the cost of petrol would be cheaper to drive there or look for trains and buses. It will probably take you longer to get there, but you could save a lot of money in the process.
Of course, if you live locally perhaps the best option is to drive to the event each day.
8 – Avoid unnecessary costs
Take time to think about anything you might have to spend money on when travelling and attending a conference.
For example, take food and drinks with you and anything else you think you might spend money on that you otherwise could prevent if you took it with you from home.
Search for budget restaurants and meeting places in advance of attending the conference so you can avoid any unnecessary costs.
9 – Find opportunities to make money
You may be able to justify the total cost of the conference by finding opportunities for paid work in the area before and after the conference.
10 – Volunteer to work for free
Contact the conference organiser to see if there’s an opportunity to volunteer at the event. It won’t be the same experience as being a delegate, but at least you will be able to attend the event and save the cost of a ticket.
11- Speak at the event
Submit a proposal for speaking at the conference and you may be able to get a free pass and your expenses covered at the same time. If you are an accomplished speaker then you could likely command a speaking fee.
12 – Attend the online version of the conference
It’s quite common for conferences to live stream the event, and the online tickets are significantly cheaper than attending the event. Of course, if you can attend the event from the comfort of your office, you save on all the added on-costs too.
However, it really isn’t the same as being in the room with the hustle and bustle.
13 – Have a family holiday
Justify the trip to the conference as a family holiday. This would work well if the conference is in a city or country that you never visited before.
Bring your family with you and take time out before and/or after the event for a family vacation.
14 – Don’t drink alcohol
The alcohol bill can add up quickly at conference social events and in order to save some cash don’t drink, or at least keep it to a minimum.
Alternatively, perhaps you could hold a social event at your rented accommodation and buy your drinks from the local off-licence.
15 – Save your money and go next year instead
If it’s simply going to cost you too much and you don’t have the cash/budget for this year, perhaps the best thing for you to do is wait until the next years conference is announced and pick up the earliest discount that’s available.
The fear of missing out this time might feel like it’s killing you, but you’ll get over it and the next event will come round quick enough.
Be lean, save money, and enjoy yourself
At the end of the day, if your taking a few days or a week out to attend one of your favourite conference, you want to enjoy yourself and maximise your time. This doesn’t mean that you have to watch every single penny you spend, but you can be lean, save money and still have a great time.
These are just 15 ideas to help you save some cash, and there are many other ways too.
What tips do you have for saving money when attending conferences?
Let us know in the comments section below.