How to Attend International Conferences at Low Cost?

When done correctly, academic conferences are two things – extraordinary and exhausting. But before you can take advantage of all the professional opportunities that international academic conferences have to offer, you’ll need to figure out how you can afford to attend international conferences without breaking the bank.

how to attend international conferences at low cost

Detailed below are all the tips to keep in mind and put into practice the next you want to take part in a high-level conference but can’t afford to spend heavily on registration, accommodation, food, and other miscellaneous costs.

Identify What You Wish To Accomplish Before Even Registering For An Event

If you wish to leave Upcoming International Conferences with –

  • A certain amount of knowledge on a brand new topic that you’re interested in
  • A certain number of new clients
  • A solid understanding of your industry
  • A slew of new job leads

set that goal ahead of time – if you hit it, it’s still easier to justify the amount you want to spend to attend. Being aware of your objectives will not only help you get the most out of the academic conference during your stay but also help you sort through the vast world of conferences you might attend. There are probably several events you could put on your ‘to-attend list’, but only a few of them will be suited to your specific objectives. These are the ones you should seriously plan for and make sure to be there this year. When you end the event having fulfilled all or at least most of your objectives, you’ll be glad you took the time to ascertain your priorities.

Consider All Possible Means Of Travel

You should take the time to think about what would be the most affordable way to get to a conference. If flying is your only option, you should check prices early and set up a fare alert to let you know when fares drop. Taking a train is another great option but can also be expensive at times, so you should make sure to make the most of your time on the train by bringing your laptop and getting some work done along the way. If you live within driving distance of the conference, it will probably be cheaper for you to drive. You should consider splitting the expenses by carpooling. If you don’t have a friend, find other attendees via the social media pages of the conference. It’s not only an easy way to save money, but also a chance to make a new friend. Consider all aspects of your trip, including the airport shuttle. It may be more cost-effective to ask a friend to drive you or take public transport.

Consider All Possible Economical Accommodation Options

If you’re staying at the very same hotel where the conference is being organized, be sure to book your room early enough to take advantage of the discounted rates before they run out. You could also –

  • Check out other hotels in the vicinity for better rates
  • Rent out an Airbnb
  • Room with friends who live close to the venue
  • Even drive in every day if you live close enough

If you’re contemplating booking a room at a hotel, sharing a room is a great way to save money (again, hit up social media if you don’t know anyone else who is staying there). A lot of veteran conference attendees who have tried all of these options at the conferences they have attended attest to the fact that they like staying at the hotel where the conference is being held as it gives them easy access to the hotel restaurant/bar where they can spend time with other attendees and presenters. Additionally, they don’t have to worry about travel time/costs to get to the conference every day and if they need a mid-day break, they can just sneak back into their rooms to decompress for a few minutes without missing much. Nevertheless, you can also have a great experience staying “off-campus,” especially if you are renting a house with friends or fellow conference participants.

If possible, you should find out about other attendees in your area and carpool or share hotel rooms with them. Nothing offers you the chance to get to know someone like sharing a car or a room.

If the conference is more than a one-day event, you should search the area for inexpensive restaurants or cafes. It may be cheaper to share a room or stay at a local hotel, not the one where the conference is being held. You can also take your snacks or drinks and keep them in your room.

The sooner you start researching and planning your accommodation (and, as stated earlier – also your travel), the cheaper it will be. Start checking hotel and flight prices immediately and keep an eye on them for a few weeks. Once you gain some familiarity with the usual prices, you’ll be in a better position to recognize a great deal when you see it.

Follow The Conference Social Media Pages Intently

You may be at a point in your life where you don’t have the budget or the time, to attend a conference, but it’s always worth starting to plan for your dream conference. Specifically, as soon as an event catches your eye, join their mailing list and start setting it up in advance (e.g., well in advance). Select conferences will open limited-time early bird offers the week after the conference ends. Sometimes even almost a year in advance.

Keeping an eye out for these early bird deals will help you cut costs significantly, whether the deals are closed a year in advance or a few months away from the conference. Sometimes you can even get bonuses by registering early, like attending exclusive conference events or early access to the exclusive Facebook group or Slack group for attendees.

Also, conferences usually turn to their mailing list to ask for volunteers first and volunteering is the best way to save on costs for your attendance if ticket prices are high. If you consider how expensive tickets can be for conferences, you’ll never be paid so well for a morning of conference badge distribution. As a bonus, you’ll make great connections with other volunteers while you’re at it.

Connect With Other Conference Attendees

Once you’ve committed to going, check out the event hashtag on Twitter or join the event group on Facebook or Slack. This will help you find and connect with other people who will go – some of whom you may already know.

Connecting with people ahead of time will give you two big benefits –

  • If they’ve been there before, they can give you advice on which costs are worth it and which ones you may have factored in when budgeting for the conference.
  • If they seem funky and normal, you might even find money-saving opportunities by sharing a hotel room or sharing a taxi to the airport after the conference. Use your best judgment here because it’s a big step, but in the right situation, you’ll save a ton of money and end up with a great new conference buddy.

Choose To Volunteer At A High-Profile Event

A lot of world-class academic conferences offer free registration and sometimes also provide hotel accommodations for volunteers. If you’re thinking of volunteering at a conference that you desperately wish to take part in but don’t have the budget to afford the entire experience, be sure to email the organizers of the event at least six months before the conference and let them know you’re interested. Be sure to include any qualifications you have and why you are interested in volunteering. Volunteering will not only save you money, but it’s also a great way to meet new people since you’ll be working as a team, and participants will often ask you questions.

When you arrive at the conference destination, one thing you want to assess is the food situation. If you can find a grocery store within walking distance, you’re pretty much set and you’ve just saved your food budget from day to day dining out.

Also, here’s a pro tip if you’re staying at a hotel – if there isn’t a mini-fridge in your room, you can call the front desk and ask for one. Since there are so many medical reasons you might need one (you may suffer from low blood sugar levels or you may be pregnant), they almost always provide one for free – and they won’t ask you why you need one.

Once it’s in your room, feel free to stock it with the same inexpensive groceries you would at home.

Attend Virtual Conferences

Partaking in virtual conferences is also another easy way to save money on travel, accommodation, food, etc. Whether the work costs you some or all of the attendance fee or you foot the bill yourself, a little planning goes a long way to keeping your academic conference attendance costs down.

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