This time I was really inclined to take the leap and head to my first national conference. But as usual I wavered. Finally with the deadline looming I had to gather all the information I needed to make an informed decision.
I guess I have been living with rose-tinted glasses when it comes to conferences. After pricing out the conference, the cost to me would be $1,000 minimum just for registration, airfare and hotel. After that I would need to budget for food and incidentals (yes, shopping!). I was easily looking at $1,500 for the trip.
I admit I was caught off guard by the total cost. Perhaps I shouldn't have been. I reeled from sticker shock! I considered all the other things I could do with that money and all the other ways I could spend four days of my time.
I posed this question to my Facebook friends:
How Do You all Manage to go to Conferences All the Time?!
There was quite a lively discussion on facebook with over 65 comments. Several people asked me to take the question to my blog and address it with a wider audience.
So I pose it to you here. How do you feel about the cost of national conferences? Is it worth your time and money?
I would love to attend but I question the return on investment.
Here are some loose anonymous paraphrases of comments shared:
- Several of the commenters mentioned about using speaking at the conference as a way to cut down on costs. (of course, this has to be planned well in advance when the call for proposals come out.)
- Others countered that the cost of creating a lecture is never really realized, regardless of the venue never mind throwing in travel costs.
- Some people felt the networking was the driving force.
- Others said just accept that your going as fun or vacation and don't try to justify it.
- Others talked about getting roommates and volunteering as a way to cut down costs.
- A few people felt that genealogy institutes were a better investment.
- Some felt that the cost wasn't worth it and it was better to focus on local or regional conferences.
Let's hear what you have to say!