Ornament-Dollar-Bill-HeartGood morning and Happy Friday! Hope you have some fun things planned for this weekend. We will be doing a bit of unpacking, family coming into town AND I’m going to be sneaking in some time to pack a little for Nationals next week! AH! It’s coming quickly! If you haven’t tuned in already, I’ve written a couple posts in preparation for the conference (links below), and today I’m going to talk about the your budget — cash to have on hand.

Your Agenda

What to Bring and What NOT to Bring

  • Taxi/Public Transit — Make sure you have cash on hand for your ride to/from the airport (plus tip if needed). I’ve heard from some it can be as little as $5 for the public transit (each way) and $35 or so for the taxi each way. If you can, try to double/triple up on the taxi ride! When you get to the airport, you’re bound to run into other romance authors, its odd, how we recognize faces from Facebook even if we’ve never met. Offer to ride together to the hotel.
  • Food — there are some meals provided, but not EVERY meal is provided. I always bring granola bars, nuts, and things like that to snack on for breakfast or during the day when I’m hungry. But be sure to have cash on hand for morning coffee (unless you use the coffee provided in your room), lunch, dinner. Breakfast will be served on Thursday/Friday. Lunch on Thursday/Friday will be served. Coffee on Saturday. Looks like no lunch. Dinners will be on your own (used to be a dinner during the RITA awards, but its not looking that way this year). Sunday you are on your own for all meals. Try to go offsite to eat — not only will it be less expensive, but you’ll get a chance to see some of the town.
  • Drinks — It may seem odd to include this in your budget, but even if you drink tea at the bar, you will most likely find yourself there. The bar is an area where everyone seems to converge and hang out. You can meet up with old friends, meet new friends and network.
  • Sight-seeing — If you plan to do any, look ahead at costs. Make sure to figure in transportation, tickets, etc…
  • Books — Not only do I always buy books at the literacy signing, but I also make my way into the bookstore that is set up. They always have a great selection of craft/research books.
  • Hotel incidentals — you will no doubt have your budget already set aside for your hotel, but make sure to save a bit for incidentals, ie, internet, room service (if you end up getting it), hotel taxes and fees.
  • Gift shop — I also tend to find myself in here for small gifts for those at home, but late night chocolate too 🙂
  • Chapter events — a lot of chapters hold parties that you have to pay for to attend. Check on these prices/parties now so you can either pre-pay or have the cash to pay when/if you go.
  • This item is a luxery… I forgot to check-in to my flight and got like the last spot on the plane. I had enough to upgrade to business class at the airport that morning. Not something I do every time, but something I will keep in mind.

That’s about it for what I usually run into. Remember there are always ways to save — splitting meals, bringing snacks, sharing your room, buying only a certain number of books, banning yourself from the gift shop, having only one/no drinks in the evening.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a post on pitching.