In October, I was able to attend my first blogging conference, thanks to sponsorship that paid for my hotel at the conference, gas, and conference ticket. While I was very excited and pleased that I received sponsorship, I still needed to pay for my hotel and dining on the way to and from the conference.
Here are some strategies we employed to cut costs:
Ways to Save on Restaurant Costs:
Map out the route and join e-mail clubs for the restaurants on the way. We knew that we would be traveling on a toll road the whole way, so we checked online to see which restaurants were available. About a week before we were to leave, I joined the e-mail club of several restaurants. Many times restaurants will send out one time discount offers when you join their e-mail club. We received a coupon for a “buy one, get one free” meal that we were able to use on our trip. We also received another coupon for a “free sandwich with the purchase of a drink” that we were able to use.
Use Yelp and Restaurant.com. On Yelp, go to the area you will be traveling and ask about good restaurants in the area. (It helps if you can post the type of restaurant where you want to eat, i.e. Chinese, Japanese, etc.). We got several good tips this way. Then, we went on Restaurant.com and bought certificates when they were on sale for $2. This gave us $25 worth of free food on a $35 purchase. One of the restaurants was so good, we still miss it!
Ways to Save on Hotels & Tolls:
When you enter into a new state, stop at the first rest area. Pick up those little coupon books they have and save them for the hotel coupons. The first night we were able to use one of these coupons to save $20 off of our room.
Negotiate with the hotel management. On our way back home, we stopped in an area that was very pricey. We didn’t intend to, but it was 3 a.m. and we were both too exhausted to drive. We had a coupon for $15 off our hotel stay, but even with the coupon, the room would have run $99. (And we were only going to sleep there for a few hours!) I asked the clerk if they offered any other discounts; they did, but we didn’t qualify for any of them. I asked if there was anything else she could do, and she agreed to give me a manager’s special for $79. I don’t know if all hotels offer this or if it was just something she made up on the spot, but it is always worth asking if there is anything more a clerk can do for you.
If you know you will be taking a toll way, sign up for I-Pass (it may be called something different in the state you are traveling in). This allows you to not only drive through the tolls without stopping to pay an attendant, but also to pay a reduced rate. These must be purchased several weeks in advance because they take awhile to ship to your house.
Attending a conference is exciting and there is much information to be learned. Be smart about your travel costs and you will pay less out of pocket.
Blog Conference Newbie Guide note: For more tips & thoughts on how to save money at blog conferences, check out the “Be Frugal” section. Have tips to share? We’d love you to guest post!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Melissa blogs at Mom’s Plans about her desire to learn to live a fulfilling life on less. She also documents her weight loss journey at Reformed Chocoholic. She is a mom to three and can’t wait to attend her next blog conference.