Simple Money Cheat Sheets

Saving money when going to a conference is possible, but there are hidden costs you have to stay away from. Failing to plan can be costly. When attending a conference, travel preparation is one of the biggest tips for saving money. It can help you avoid overspending unnecessarily. Here are some basic tips to avoid spending more than you have to when heading to a conference.

1. Listen to your mom

Remember your mom’s packing advice? As a child, my mom would always mention bringing a light jacket or a sweater whenever I went on a trip. Nine times out of ten, she was right. Keep that advice in mind when packing clothing. The forecast will let you know what it will be like outside. That gives you some idea of how to pack appropriate clothing for your trip when you’re outdoors.

If you’re attending a conference, you might spend most of your time inside. Sometimes the temperature inside a building is very different than outside. If the air conditioning is going full blast in a conference room, you might need to throw on another article of clothing. Temperatures can drop at night too so it can’t hurt to dress in layers. This way, you won’t have to run out and purchase anything new.

2. Deliver yourself from high prices

There are many tips for saving money on food costs. Stop at a grocery store during your stay or get items delivered. Drinks and snacks tend to get marked up at a hotel. If you don’t want to fall on the floor from sticker shock for that bottle of H20 or some crackers and hummus, take some time to look for a more cost-effective option while away.

A grocery store like Whole Foods will bring items to you. Google “Whole Foods delivery.” The website promises to get your order to you in one hour. Usually, the first delivery is entirely gratis. Just make sure this is the case when you order. The prices and availability of offers are subject to change at any time and may expire so make sure you check.

Also, scope out the website in advance to see if there is a Whole Foods store in the area where you are going. No matter if you’re headed to Dallas, TX or Denver, CO, you can look up the area ahead of time. The site also lists the address and phone number of each store in case you need to call.

If you’re lucky, you can even find promo codes to reap additional savings off of your order. See if this option is available where you’re staying.

ways to save money

3. Pickup to the rescue

I once paid $14 for an order of mac and cheese at a swanky hotel restaurant. Regular restaurants seem so cheap after that experience. Avoid ordering at this type of place because it’s in the hotel. Whether you have a big block of time to eat or little time in between conference sessions, see if there’s a nearby Panera restaurant. Panera makes it easy to order and pay in advance. You can slip out quickly from the hotel, grab your order and leave.

If you have a rental car, you can make a quick trip to get your food. Pickup is also useful for miscellaneous items you might have forgotten to pack. If you didn’t bring personal care items such as toothpaste, deodorant or a bottle of Advil, see if there’s a CVS in town. They offer curbside pickup and will bring your order out to you. Use their app or check out CVS.com/express.

No need to sit in the parking lot twiddling your thumbs waiting for your purchase. They will text you when your order is ready. Be sure to have your phone handy. You’ll have to show the text to verify the order.

4. Make charging your phone a priority

Outside of ordering from your phone, also keep it in good working order if you need to stay in communication with clients or colleagues. If you have to carve out time to work while away, be sure to bring something you can do offline. While I want to hop online to answer emails, write an article or even e-invoice my clients, I try not to abuse my phone battery.

I always fear not being able to charge my phone and then not having it when I need it. This has happened to me several times before. When most people are running to get their luggage and go to the restroom, I’m secretly racing to the nearest outlet to charge my phone.

The Bottom Line

Fortunately, the days of waiting in line are coming to an end. Convenience is king and it doesn’t have to come with an inflated price tag. This can maximize your time when attending a conference. And hopefully, these tips for saving money will allow you to attend many more conferences. Don’t forget these travel tips before attending a conference.

Karen is a Nationally Syndicated Personal Finance Writer who sharpens her skills at US News Money. You can also find her placing clients on podcasts and reading about home office organization, productivity and habits.

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