When your attendees are traveling on a budget and paying to attend a conference out-of-pocket, transportation can be one of the biggest worries. How will I get there without giving up an arm and a leg?
Brainstorm all of your options & then keep thinking!
- Trains – don’t out rule good ole Amtrak. And, think beyond the main stations. For instance, smaller less popular stations can be closer to your conference venue making it more convenient and possibly cheaper to arrive and depart.
- Coordinate, carpool with other attendees & rent a car – If you’re within driving distance to your venue, coordinate with others to rent a car. Today, Priceline’s Name Your Own Price can bring you deals as low as $25 a day based on the city. Renting a car can also be cheaper than paying a taxi.
- Shuttles & Taxis- whether they’re offered from a venue complimentary or at a competitive price or if it’s a commercial shuttle, shuttles from an airport or train station are one option. However, keep in mind – they’re usually a per person rate, typically around $25+ a person which is still cheaper than most taxis if you’re traveling solo. Taxis are best when they’re shared in a group – opt for a taxi van and negotiate a deal before you start traveling.
- Bus – a new trend of inexpensive one-way fees while still traveling in class has emerged from a series of bus companies running continuous trips with Free WiFi and comfortable seats with lots of leg-room. On the east coast, companies like MegaBus, BoltBus and Greyhound have continuous bus schedules from NYC, Baltimore, DC, Philadelphia and so forth with a one-way ticket as low as $1, but usually around $19.
- The convenience of your own car – If you have a car, don’t forget it’s an option. You’ll have the leisure of coming and going when you please. Read our post about the Small Cost of Driving to Conferences in a car to find out how to save money on gas with tech tools when it’s time to fill the tank.
- Planes – As we always recommend, book on a Tuesday night – Wednesday afternoon when flights are the cheapest. Subscribe to sites like airfarewatchdog to receive alerts on the lowest rates. When you think a rate is good (or possibly going up), go to bing.com/travel and see if it’s predicted to go up, the likelihood and how much based on previous flights of the same route.
As a conference organizer, be sure to post transportation and directions to the venue easily accessible on the website, especially for those who might be viewing from a mobile device last minute. Start a discussion in a LinkedIn group or on a Facebook page to help attendees coordinate their needs with each other and suggest other transportation options.
What’s your preference of transportation? Do you enjoy coordinating with other attendees prior to arrival?