While we have been in the middle of a series on alternative lodging, this post will take a step away from that series. After all, when travel happens it happens! And what happened this time?
The FaerieCon!! A family reunion of sorts, for all the east coast fairies.
A weekend of art, wings, and glitter- with a price tag of $95, before food, drink, lodging, and extras.
So how did this budget conscious fey manage to swing the whole weekend for under $100, instead of over $500? Lets take a look…
The convention was held at the Baltimore Marriott Hunt Valley Inn, outside of Baltimore, Maryland. The hotel offered room specials at $101 a night. The convention took over several ballroom and salons in the hotel- room for vendors to spread out their wares, panels to hold discussions on everything from visualizing the unseen realms to marketing your budding business, and stages for nightly balls and concerts. Oh and a great picture posing station!
So where does our budget max out?
Weekend Ticket- $95
Balls- $35 each, $70 for weekend
Rooms in the Hotel- $101 each, $202 for the weekend
Food- $10 – 35 a pop at the hotel grill, lets say $80 for the weekend
Drink- $7 a pop at the hotel bar, if you’re here to party this could add up quick! Lets say $75 for the weekend.
That adds up to $522 for the weekend. That’s way too much to spend on a weekend of dress-up and make-believe! And that’s without even getting a treat from all the fabulous art vendors there. Some of my favorite artists were Moresca, and Jenniveves Wings.
Since I’ve been preparing for my trip to Turkey (less than one week until take off!) I had an even smaller budget than normal for this weekend. I said $100 for the weekend was manageable. And I came in totally under budget at $84 for the weekend.
How did I do it? I started by doing my homework. I’ve known about this event for years, but never managed to make it out. This year, I did some research early, learned about the high price of the tickets, and came up with a plan to get there for less by GETTING INVOLVED! This is a great way to enhance your total trip experience, and shave off some expenses.
What did I do? I talked to some of the marketing team, who happened to be friends of mine, and joined their local street team. I wandered my town, putting up posters of the event, and recording their locations. In exchange for my legwork, I was given an all access pass to the day events and both balls. I also got to meet some great behind the scenes people who made the magic happen. That knocked $165 off my expense sheet before I even got to the event.
Next I tackled that $200 in hotel rooms. The first night I took the opportunity to visit with an old friend from high school, now living in Baltimore. He worked until just before the event was over for the night, so we showed up at his home at roughly the same time. Luckily my friends are used to seeing me in costumes and goofy makeup more often than not! The morning of the second night I was still unsure of my options. I knew that the worst case, I could sleep in my car. It wouldn’t be the first time, and it’s not the worst choice I’ve ever made. But the November nights were getting chilly and I really wasn’t looking forward to it.
Luckily, faeries flock together! Running around Saturday, I ran into some girls I knew from the Maryland Renaissance Festival. It just so happened they had an extra space in their room, which they were happy to share with me after hearing of my current option. While I wouldn’t recommend being so nonchalant about your sleeping arrangements on a regular basis, sometimes fate works in your favor. What I WOULD recommend is what these girls had done- flock together and split a room! Split between four, the weekend lodging would have cost $50 each- not a terrible price for the convenience of being in the same building as the event itself.
And when staying in a room with a refrigerator, stock up on food and drink from the outside to improve your budget. For $18 I snacked on granola bars and salads, rather than greasy burgers from the bar; and for $19 I partied with Sailor Jerry Rum for the weekend.
In the end I even had room in my budget to treat myself to an adorable wool hat with a pin from one of the vendors.
This is what my final budget looked like:
Weekend Ticket- $0
Rooms in the Hotel- $0
That comes out to, $79 for the weekend, plus about $15 gas for the round trip. At $94, I was able to come in under my budget of $100. Horray!
To wrap up, these are the three tips I recommend for partying at a weekend event on a budget:
1. Get involved ahead of time. Join a street team, sign up to volunteer, or check out other participation options that come along with a free pass to the event.
2. Team up. Find out if anyone you know is going to the same event, and split the cost of a room with them. With something so structured you’ll be doing little more than sleeping in the room anyway.
3. Stock-up. Get some healthy snack and meals from the store (and booze too!) so you don’t run up a massive tab at the hotel bar.
Now get out there and have some fun!