Tips from the 2009 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago Wiki—
-Do you have relatives or college friends in the conference city? Invite yourself to stay with them. It’s a great way to get to know a distant relative … or just visit Mom.
- -Consider staying in a Youth Hostel — a search of < chicago hostels > brings up a list-including one right in the thick of things in the Loop.
- -Plan your stay around walking and public transportation. A cheap place that requires cab rides can eat up a lot of your savings. Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) service to the conference hotels along Michigan Avenue is good. Use it to get to a hotel with shuttle service, then use that to get to McCormick, where the exhibits and many meetings will be.
- -See if your college alumni association or another organization has a bed-and-breakfast program.
Share a room. Having a roommate gives you a chance to discuss what you’re learning. Or, to reconnect with a colleague who has moved to a new city.
- Eat only a couple of restaurant meals, if any. Find the closest grocery store and buy supplies to have a picnic in your hotel room. Also, know that the south Loop/Printer’s Row area is really a college town, with lots of little places to get cheap eats … watch the locals!
- Unless you’re a big eater, you probably don’t want a huge breakfast anyway while you’re on the go. Bring granola bars, dried fruit, coffee fixin’s, and a travel mug.
- Stay in a hotel that provides free breakfast.
- Plan ahead so you take advantage of the lowest possible registration fee.
- Take your spouse/significant other/kids and consider it your summer vacation trip. Sure, they get to play while you’re in meetings, but you won’t be in meetings every moment. If it’s your nickel, it’s an unreimbursed business expense.
- Cash in frequent flyer miles to pay for the airline ticket.
- Consider flying from an airport farther from your home.
- Take advantage of vendor receptions and meals. Find out who in your library is most likely to receive these invitations and be sure they get circulated to all attendees from your library.
You can do ALA if you *want* to make it a priority. Maybe not every conference, every year, but perhaps every other. Perhaps your divisional conference. Put all those money-saving tips you see in the newspaper into practice (don’t buy coffee at <insert name of coffee shop chain>, drink tap water instead of bottled, cut off the pantyhose leg with the run and double up, have a garage sale….”The Tightwad Gazette” is a decade old but the principles are valid.
Another good book: “How to Get What You Want in Life With the Money You Already Have,” by Carol Keeffe. . . . . Both in 332.024.)