Hi everyone! My regularly scheduled September budget review will go live on Thursday, but for now, I figured I would break down the costs of our trip to FinCon. I know a lot of you are thinking of going next year, and if I have any advice, it’s to start saving now. Our last-minute trip went pretty well, but I’m planning on trying to travel hack my way there next year, so I don’t have to drive or pay for parking!
Before I go on, I’d really appreciate it if you stopped over to Young Adult Money after reading this post. I’m guest posting there today on 4 ways to avoid being pressured to spend at work. Please go ahead and leave a comment or share if you liked it! Thanks!
We were able to keep food costs pretty low since FinCon provided us with breakfast and lunch. We stopped a few times in the car as well, and then R had to eat while I was at the conference. I have to admit, our dining out budget was totally a bust this month. I did not expect food in NOLA to be so expensive!
Gas was pretty much what I expected it to be. I love my Civic! We came under budget overall on gas this month, which I’m really happy about.
Parking was steep, but I had to weigh this against the cost of a plane ticket, and subsequent transportation. We still came out ahead with gas and parking combined. Plane tickets were around $400!
The parking fee includes two nights at the hotel ($70) and then a “private” lot ($20) where we parked the car on Saturday, since we checked out of the hotel at noon.
We chose to stop at a hotel overnight after leaving NOLA as we were both tired. After scouring Trip Advisor, I found a Wingate at Wyndham nearby. The clerk was nice and gave us a discount! The hotel was actually very nice too – a welcome surprise after our stay in NOLA. I had wanted to book it with my credit card points, but as we were on the road going there, I wasn’t sure if it would register in time. I can still redeem my points if I want to. They at least had free breakfast and wifi there, so I think it was worth the stop.
I purchased my FinCon ticket for $263 from someone that couldn’t attend. It was originally an early bird ticket.
What do I plan on doing differently next time?
I had told you guys I would give you my perspective on the conference. I’d like to preface this by saying it was awesome, and well worth the money! I have to admit, when I first saw the ticket prices, I thought they were super expensive. So if you have any hesitations next year, just know that you’ll come away from the experience not even thinking about the price.
That sounds crazy coming from me, considering I don’t like paying full price for anything, but I think it’s appropriate to say you really get out of the conference what you’re willing to put in.
First of all, I’m planning on staying in the conference hotel next year. As some of you might recall, I got a free stay elsewhere courtesy of a friend, and it worked out really well since the Marriott special for FinCon had expired. Regardless, I believe it was $130/night, and free beats that price! However, I was less than impressed with the hotel we stayed at. R absolutely hated it. I don’t want to complain because it was free, so let’s leave it at that.
I do feel as though I missed out on some impromptu get-togethers in the lobby and the bar as I wasn’t staying there. I felt a little out of the loop. It also would have been easier to check up with R. Instead, our hotel was about a 15 minute walk away, so it made it a little difficult to coordinate.
Driving or flying?
I feel like driving worked out for us. The drive there went by much faster than the drive back home. I have no clue how that happened! We got to see some states we’ve never been in, and that was pretty neat. I can see us driving again next year if there is a better parking situation, and if it’s within a 5 hour drive.
I would still like to try and travel hack my way there with the flight, though. It would probably be more convenient!
I know there were a few of you asking about bringing your family along, or your spouse. For the most part, R was happy to walk around the city and take in the sights. He’s very easy going that way! He’s not into blogging whatsoever, so the conference would have had zero value for him. If your spouse is interested in the blogging scene, it might make sense for them to attend the conference with you. Be sure to took at the sessions ahead of time!
As for making a family trip out of it, I don’t see why not, as long as the destination caters to it, and your spouse is okay staying with the kids.
Would I bring R with me next time? As much as we hate being apart (yeah, we’re that couple), probably not, unless we elect to drive. It’s ultimately up to him, and I’m very thankful he’s been so supportive, but sad he wasn’t able to take part in the fun.
All in all, I don’t have many regrets. It was the first conference that I’ve invested in, and it was a learning opportunity. I’ll be preparing in advance for next year by using Cat’s awesome advice: to hustle like crazy while you’re there to make back your FinCon investment. That is definitely my plan for next year! I’ve already purchased my ticket. And hey, if you’d like to help me make back my investment, feel free to check out my freelance writing and virtual assistant services.
How are you planning on doing FinCon15? If you attended FinCon14, what’s one thing you wish you did differently, or one thing you got right?