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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Last Minute Money Saving Ideas for National

Okay, so you've already paid the biggies - registration, hotel, transportation, wardrobe. But your expenses aren't over! There are still meals, books, drinks, and all that can add up. (Please forgive me if I am stating too much of the obvious here!)

1) Budget. Give yourself a certain amount you can spend each day. Figure out when RWA is feeding you and when you have to feed yourself and allot yourself money accordingly. If you underspend, well, add that money to the next day!

Don't forget Wednesday's booksigning. I allow myself only a certain number of books, and I can imagine more of you will be doing this because of the luggage restrictions. I know ahead of time who I'll be buying from, and allow for a couple of impulse purchases. Remember, you'll also be getting free books at the luncheons and publisher signings, too.

2) Get a FedEx account set up ahead of time. That way you can send your books back through the hotel and not have to pay the extra luggage fee. My SIL did this with her dirty laundry when she went to Boston this summer, and it was way cheaper.

3) Share. Share a cab from the airport, to a sightseeing destination, split the cost and the tip. Share a meal...San Fran has a ton of good food, why deny yourself, since you're there? But if you share a meal with a friend, you save money AND calories. (Ask me if I've done this. As IF!)

4) Instead of hitting the gift shop or vending machines, hit the Walgreens or grocery store. Buy your bottled water or Diet Coke and keep it in the ice bucket. Same with emergency snacks. Even better, on the mornings when RWA gives breakfast, snag a water or juice to take with you.

5) Instead of sitting in the noisy, crowded bar (gosh, the one in Atlanta was the size of a dinner plate, seriously!) meet with some friends in a room and bring your own wine. I know, I know, they say you can meet people in the bar, which is true, I suppose...I've seen Nora and Rose Hilliard, but I wouldn't be able to hear them even if I was brave enough to talk to them! Plus, WAYYYY too many distractions. If you want to hang with your friends and save money, the room is the way to go. The Wet Noodle Posse has done this the past two years after the ceremony - a couple of drinks at the party, then we have our own party! Way fun, and you don't have to worry about looking like an idiot in front of the wrong person!

Anyone have any other tips to share?


At 8:48 AM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

Great tips, Mary. Also, since snacks on your selected mode of travel (planes, trains) can be expensive, bring your own. I picked up some little bags of chips and cookies from the 50-cent bin at the grocery, and they're tucked in the end pocket of my carry-on bag.

Okay, this might seem weird, but don't have your room cleaned every day. I do this for two reasons -- saves on maid tips, and I have plenty of towels to last a couple of days.

At 9:43 AM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

Good tips, Mary!

If you have special diet needs and want to keep food in your room (soy milk, etc), you can share a cab to a grocery store to pick up your stuff, but also check with stores to see if they'll deliver, and what that costs.

A stash of Luna or other energy bars can work as a quick meal. They don't weigh much, and are cheaper than eating out. I usually lose a pound at Conference.

At 11:16 AM, Anonymous Lisa Hendrix said...

Cab from the airport?!? On a budget?!?

Try BART. Round trip from SFO to Powell St. Station is $10.70. Oakland is the same including the AirBART shuttle. Compare this to the $60-80 (or even $100 for SFO) for a taxi--ONE WAY. It's only a block from Powell St. Station to the hotel if you leave the station by the 4th St. exit--I'll walk, thanks.

Besides, you're going to want to take BART back out to the airport Sunday anyway. The SF Marathon takes place Sunday morning and the road tie-ups downtown will likely be hellacious. You may as well take BART into town so you'll have it all figured out.

Here's the BART page that will link you to the airport info:

As for the bar vs hotel room -- hanging in your room with friends is great for after the Awards ceremony. You're not going to meet anyone new by then anyway. But you can't beat the bar for earlier in the conference. You can keep costs down by paying drink by drink instead of running a tab, and by ordering an iced tea or a club soda and nursing it forever.

At 11:47 AM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

Thanks for posting the BART details, Lisa! The only thing that gets tricky is when you have a lot of luggage, but again, shipping stuff is probably as cheap, now that airports are charging extra.

At 12:18 PM, Blogger MaryF said...

I was thinking about luggage, too, Esri. Add to that, I come from a city with crummy public trans....

Trish, not having the maid every day also keeps you green ;) But if you have roomies, you may need those towels.

I do the snack thing, too, though I'm usually not in my room enough to eat them.

At 12:32 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

Lisa, I've heard others mention BART, and it's nice that there's a stop close to the hotel. The only problems I can see are the luggage issue and the times if a person is arriving late and uncomfortable riding it late at night.

Mary, yes, there's my greenie side too. :) I have a private room this time, but you're right. If there are roomies involved, it's a different story.

At 12:43 PM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

I have three roomies (a first for me). The maid is going to have her work cut out for her. :D

At 1:52 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

Regarding transportation, there is a $5 discount on SuperShuttle from the airport.

Go to the RWA conference website and click on Hotel and Travel.

I've always found SuperShuttle the easiest way to go. Of course, if you had 3 people, you might be able to share a cab for even less.

At 3:26 PM, Blogger janegeorge said...

The BART is super easy and takes you almost right to the doorstep of the hotel. It's a great cost saver. I took public transit from the airport to the hotel in Atlanta because I wanted see what the South and its people were like.

I second the Power Bars, etc. That and a Smartwater is a meal on the go.

There is a fantastic food court in the Westfield Shopping Center right near the hotel. You can get a huge noodle bowl for $6. And just about any other kind of food.

I also would like to go out for a pint and fish n chips at Edinburgh Castle. It's a famous Scots bar and IIRC was used in Mike Myers' film So I Married an Axe Murderer. It's on Geary near Polk. Definitely cab it in a group as Geary is not upscale, but worth the adventure! My sister also says that two of the best "in-the-know" cheap middle-eastern restaurants are there. A la Turkea(sp?) on Geary and Larkin, and Shalimar on Jones at Geary.

For people looking for alternative watering holes there's the famous Top of the Mark:

And the Pied Piper at the Palace Hotel:

Neither are budget bars. :-)
Hmmm, thinking of that, I may just cart ina couple decent bottles of wine from home. Can't hurt to be prepared!

At 4:31 PM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

Jane, you know all the cool places to go! (We own So I Married an Axe Murderer.)

You have my phone number already. I love Middle Eastern food. :D

At 5:39 PM, Blogger janegeorge said...

Nah, I don't know any of the trendy nightclub spots anymore, cuz I'm an old fogey.

But I know where to get Guinness!
It's not beer unless you can stand a spoon up in it...

Historical author and president of the Beau Monde, Kalen Hughes is also a local and knows lots about restaurants and stuff. Ask her if you see her. Our SF area RWA chapter will be wearing buttons with the Golden Gate Bridge on it. Stop us and ask, we'll help if we can!

At 5:44 PM, Blogger Terry Odell said...

I know there are some meals included, but when I travel, I always bring 'add hot water' stuff and use the room's coffee maker. I'd prefer to dress leisurely and have no objections to eating instant oatmeal, so I rarely go out for breakfast. No waits at the restaurants. And I can sleep a whole lot later in the morning.

And even though the hotel room coffee is usually barely tolerable, I've learned that if you cut the water back to between 2 and 3 cups on the little pots, it's tolerable for that 'first cup' until you get downstairs.

Depending on your 'social needs', you can do instant soups and things for lunches or snacks. (I got into this habit when I tagged along on DH's trips. If I came up with airfare, sharing his hotel room would be free, and I could usually avoid paying for any meals other than the ones we pre-paid for the events.

At 9:47 PM, Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

Wow! Great tips,ladies! I am sharing a room with my bookseller buddy so it shouldn't be too bad.

Good to know on the airport transportation. I don't mind schlepping luggage, but I don't like doing it at night.

At 4:04 PM, Blogger Kalen Hughes said...

Well, since Jane called me out . . . I'm all about The Tonga Room (how can you not love a restaurant where it rains inside? It's the ultimate tiki bar IMO. It's in the Fairmont Hotel and has a great happy hour from 5-7PM Mon-Fri! It's on Mason @ California.

The Pied Piper (aka Maxfield's) is at Market and New Montgomery and has a great spread for happy hour on Fridays (I'm not sure about the other days of the week).

And I’ll gladly second The Edinburgh Castle. Order the fish and chips. It’s almost like being in Scotland.

At 7:48 PM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

Thanks, Kalen! (I love Tiki bars!). Now I wish I'd asked Angel Joe to come with me and booked some extra days. There's not going to be enough time!

Must copy this stuff into a file and print it to take.


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