Attending an education conference like SXSW EDU brings tremendous value, both personally and professionally. Conferences offer you opportunities for continued learning, a fresh perspective, insights into new techniques and tools, new connections and so much more!
There’s no reason attending a conference should break the bank. SXSW EDU has worked hard to reduce financial barriers for teachers and professionals wishing to attend. With a little strategic planning and research you can attend SXSW EDU on a budget.
1. Begin Planning Early
It goes with out saying but advanced planning is key for anyone looking to attend on a budget. The largest expenses associated with attending any conference are to registration fees, food, transportation and lodging. Thinking ahead about these expenses will allow you ample time to research and explore your options before travel prices increase.
2. Take Advantage of Registration Deals and Discounts
SXSW EDU offers generous discounts to attendees who purchase their badge early. Purchase your registration on August 1, when badges for SXSW EDU 2018 go on sale, for the early-bird rate of $295 (that saves you $250!). The earl-bird discount expires at 11:59pm PT on Friday, September 8, giving you a full six weeks to finalize your travel arrangements.
Another option is to share your expertise by participating on the SXSW EDU program. Speakers, competition finalists and exhibitors will receive a free registration badge.
Students can register at a discounted student rate of $195 by emailing email@example.com.
3. Book Your Stay in the Conference Hotels
SXSW Housing & Travel offers a wide selection of downtown Austin hotels at the best available rates during SXSW EDU. Visit the hotel availability page to browse rooms, rates and availability.
4. Convince Your Boss to Help Fund Your Attendance
70% of last year’s SXSW EDU attendees had the costs of their registration badge paid for by an employer.* Convince your boss, school, district or institution leader to approve/fund your trip.
Download the SXSW EDU letter to help make your case if a formal request is required (or helpful).
5. Skip the Rental Car, Use Public Transportation
When it comes to getting around Austin during SXSW EDU, save big by passing on the rental car. All of the official SXSW EDU programming and events are within a reasonable walking distance of one another. And, the majority of the hotels available through SXSW Housing & Travel are within a comfortable walking distance as well.
In addition to walking, Austin offers an array of reliable and safe alternative transportation options including ride sharing, bike sharing and public transit.
6. Travel With a Team
Traveling with a group of colleagues and/or friends is not only fun, it helps to significantly reduce the cost of travel. Traveling with a group allows you to split the cost of hotel rooms and transportation.
Attending a conference with a group also allows you to divide and conquer resulting in more tangible takeaways and insights.
SXSW EDU offers special group registration rates for qualifying schools, institutions and education nonprofits.
7. Get Creative to Cut Meal Costs
There are more than a few ways to be frugal when it comes to reducing meal costs on your trip.
- Request a fridge in your room, some hotels are able to accommodate this at no additional cost. Call ahead to ask and bring a travel cooler if not.
- Swing by the grocery store, there are several in downtown Austin, and pick up some basic staples.
- Pack a water bottle, there are water coolers through out the programming venues.
- Keep an ear out for free food during the event. There are tons of networking events during SXSW EDU with beverages and snacks provided.
8. Start Researching Travel Now
Let’s face it, the cost of travel prices are something you have little control over. What you do have control over, is when you book that travel. Check early, set up fare alerts and lock down your plans as soon as possible.
9. Explore Alternative Funding Options
If all of the cost cutting tips above are not enough, consider alternative options such as fundraising.
DonorsChoose.org, for example, helps teachers request resources for their professional development. By creating a professional development project teachers have the ability to request resources for experiences, such as SXSW EDU, that will allow them to learn new skills.
Register and book your hotel before Friday, September 8 to take advantage of the early-bird discount.
*Data is based on the SXSW EDU 2017 pre-conference survey.
Photo by Nicky Hernandez.