Ways to Save on Travel to #FinCon12
This is republished with permission from the WiseBread 1000 team and Elizabeth Lang.
#FinCon12 is on track to be one of the most affordable blogging conferences in the world.
Conference fee, flight, hotel, and transportation all add up to less than the conference fee alone for many conferences.
That said, there are still ways to save on your conference costs. Saving money on travel is one thing I do best, so I’ve put together a few Denver specific tips below.
Flights to Denver
If you haven’t already booked your flight, start pricing flights now. With the conference just after Labor Day, there won’t be high demand for flights which means you should be able to get a good deal. Here’s my cheatsheet for getting a cheap flight to Denver for #FinCon12.
1. Know a baseline price and set a “buy now” price. The only way to know if you’re getting a cheap ticket is to know what the average price is to start. To get a baseline price I use Kayak.com’s fare charts feature.
To find this feature, do an airfare search on Kayak and when the results page shows up, click on “fare charts” in the upper left hand corner. This chart will give you an “average” price and a “best” price for your dates and location.
To help you out, I’ve put together a list of these prices from select U.S. airports flying to Denver 9/6- 9/9 (current as of 7/3):
- Atlanta: Avg: $260; Best: $180
- Chicago: Avg $200; Best: $150
- Dallas: Avg: 180; Best $125 (NOTE: If you are flying from Dallas, on 7/3 I priced tickets at $128 and would buy ASAP)
- DC: Avg: $325; Best: $250
- LA: Avg: $225; Best: $175
- Minneapolis: Avg $225, Best :$175
- NY: Avg: $280; Best: $150
- San Francisco: $260; Best: $175
- Seattle: Avg $250; Best $198 (NOTE: If you are flying from Seattle, on 7/3 I priced tickets at $198 and would buy ASAP)
Based on these numbers set your own “buy now” price. I’m typically content getting a price somewhere in between best and average as it’s not worth the stress of worrying that airline prices will go up at the cost of $25.
2. Set up a price alert. Once you know a price that you’re content with, set up a price alert. Yapta and Kayak are my two favorite price alert services. (Yapta uses Kayak’s search function but allows you to search based on specific flights and not just a general city/date search.) Set up the service to email you daily.
3. When the price is right, buy! No one can predict what will happen to prices tomorrow or in 3 weeks. But generally, 6-8 weeks out is a good time to book tickets for non-holiday trips. Because #FinCon12 is just around the corner, I recommend booking your airline ticket as soon as there’s a price that you’re comfortable paying. You can use Yapta’s price refund tracker to get a refund, if available for your airline.
Three More quick tips on booking your flight:
- Always book directly with the airline when possible.
- Be aware of the extra fees that your flight time may cost you. (For example, if you normally take the metro/subway/bus to the airport and have booked a 6am flight, the public transportation system may not be able to get you there at 4:45. And saving $25 on a flight at an earlier time isn’t worth a $40 cab ride)
- Check your airline’s baggage fees – if you get charged for checking, be sure to pack light with your carry-on.
Tips for Hotel Savings
Book your hotel now. The conference rate is an incredible rate and you don’t want to miss out if the room block fills up. The hotel rate is not guaranteed after 7/31!
Transportation in Denver
If you haven’t been to Denver before, know that the airport is insanely far from downtown and can cost a pretty penny in cab fees. (Trust me, I have a story about a business trip, cabs, and cash that didn’t end well.) Plan to book a shuttle bus – given that the conference is downtown you shouldn’t need a rental car.
Editor’s note: We have arranged for a group discount through SuperShuttle.com. More info coming soon.
Taxes and Receipts
Assuming you hold your blog out as a business, your expenses for #FinCon12 are tax deductible. Make sure you have a system to save your receipts during your trip, so you’re not scrambling to find receipts come tax time. You can write off your trip. (I’ve been using a site and app called Expensify for almost a year – it’s free for and it allows you to snap a picture of your receipt which it scans into an expense report. I highly recommend it.)
If you thought this cheatsheet for saving on travel to Denver was helpful, please consider voting for my presentation at Ignite FinCon on How and Why to Learn to Dictate. (I’ll share my secrets for shaving hours off of writing with awesome new dictation tools). It’s the very last entry here.
Elizabeth Lang runs Women’s Money Week. Besides an annual event bringing together Women Money Bloggers, we host weekly action tips that provide accountability on your path to a rich life. This month is Make More Money Month – “mmmm” for short since it’s also national ice cream month. Be sure to check it out at http://womensmoneyweek.com