San Antonio March 11–15, 2017
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Saving Money at NASPA

Hello NASPA First-Time Attendees!

With #NASPA17 a month away, the reality of this conference - and the reality of the cost - might seem daunting. As a graduate student, I am constantly aware of my budget and monetary limits so attending a conference like NASPA is such a privilege! Whether your office offers professional development funds, you received a scholarship that supplements part of your cost, or you are paying this expense solely out-of-pocket or with student loans, we can all appreciate tips on how to save money. You might have already purchased your lodging and transportation, (if not, I highly recommend doing so ASAP!) but there can also be unanticipated costs that pop up during the conference. Below are some tips I’ve found helpful when planning for #NASPA17 and staying under budget!

Save on Travel

  • Is the conference driveable? Driving instead of flying can save huge amounts of money - especially if you carpool with colleagues. If you are open to other methods, there is also a Greyhound bus station half-a-mile from the Marriott Riverfront Hotel.
  • Ditch the rental car and avoid the hotel parking fee. The Marriott charges a daily fee of $37 USD which will add up to $148 USD for the entire length of the conference. (This price doubles if you include TPE).
  • Use public transportation. The VIA Metropolitan Transit, Lyft, or walking (we’re a 9 minute walk to downtown!) are all wonderful and cost effective options to navigating San Antonio.
  • Traveling from the airport? There is a Super Shuttle airport stop with a fee of $18 USD one way (reservation required). Also, many of us will be arriving on the same day/time so utilize the First-Time Attendee Facebook group to plan ahead and carpool!

Save on Lodging

  • Reduce lodging costs by staying with roommates, or selecting a nearby hotel which might offer a cheaper rate. If you are still looking for a roommate, check out the RoomSynce page on NASPAs “Plan your Trip” page.
  • Research other types of lodging such as hostels, bed and breakfast, Airbnb’s. These are often much less expensive than hotels even when you factor in travel costs to the conference.

Save on Food

  • Consider bringing your own food or stop at a local grocery store to get a few essentials like fruit, granola bars and cereal. If your lodging comes with a fridge, this opens up a whole new world of possibilities! (The amount of PB&J sandwiches I made during last year’s conference would shock you).
  • Bring a water bottle and utilize refill stations. Not only will this help you stay hydrated during long days but it’s also free!
  • If you’ve already booked your lodging, see if there is a complimentary continental breakfast.
  • Take advantage of free sponsored meals. NASPA often offers complimentary snacks and coffee throughout the conference so keep an eye out.

Save on Everything

  • If you are unable to attend this year’s annual conference but are still interested in being involved in some capacity, purchase the NASPA Virtual Ticket. This opportunity includes 3 distinct packages at a fraction of what you might pay by physically attending the conference. Not only will you be able to stream sessions and featured speakers (Anderson Cooper, anyone?), but you’ll get to experience the conference from the comfort of your home or office!

I hope this offers you some guidance for how to enjoy NASPA without breaking the bank! Please feel free to comment with additional suggestions you have of ways to be cost efficient. I hope that the excitement of attending the NASPA conference for the first-time is encouraging and not overwhelming. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact the First Time Attendees group or me at

I’m looking forward to meeting all of you next month!

Carolyn Brown, Lewis & Clark College – First Time Attendee Committee Member

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