Advertising
Advertising

6 Ways to Attend Awesome Conferences for Free

6 Ways to Attend Awesome Conferences for Free

    Everyday, I see an awesome conference or convention I want to attend. While some, like the various PodCamps are free or fairly inexpensive, big conferences like CTIA can cost well over $1,000 to attend.

    Paying for every conference you want to attend is a fast way to go broke, even if you manage to grab early bird rates and other discounts. But there are a few ways to arrange for free tickets — not for every conference, unfortunately, but for enough to make the effort worthwhile. I’ve found that each conference and convention is different — not every method will work at every event. But for just about every conference, there really is some way to attend for free.

    Advertising

    1. Cover it for the press

    As a freelance writer, I’ve managed to get some free conference tickets because a magazine or website wanted someone in attendance to write up the event. If you’re covering a conference for a publication, you’ll want to take great notes, at least a couple of photographs and generally pay attention. You’ll be writing a pretty in-depth report for your editor when you get back. Covering a conference is definitely work. If an editor shells out big bucks for your ticket, he or she probably expects a great article for the money.

    In general, editors tend to choose writers or photographers they’ve worked with before to cover conferences. But, if there is a certain conference you really want to attend, start querying publications that share an audience with that conference. You’ll need a sample of your writing to show editors — it doesn’t have to be published, but it does need to show your skills.

    2. Look for contests

    A lot of conferences and conventions give away tickets as part of their marketing. It’s never a sure thing that you’ll get a ticket through a conference. For conference you don’t absolutely have to go to, though, trying to win tickets isn’t a bad plan.

    Advertising

    Usually, I just set up a Google Alert for the name of the conference and the phrase, “free ticket.” I seem to get most of the contests and giveaways that way.

    3. Volunteer your services

    Many conferences and conventions depend on volunteers to handle a lot of the work of putting together and running the event. Especially if you’re a member of the organization putting on the conference, you can often get a free ticket just by volunteering your time. The trade-off is that you won’t have the full convention free. If there are only a few speakers you really want to hear, that isn’t necessarily a problem.

    The earlier you can get in on the set up process, the more likely you are to get a free ticket out of it. If you’re on the organizing committee of a conference, no one’s going to ask you to buy a ticket. You may also be able to trade certain services — like setting up a website or designing a brochure — for a ticket.

    Advertising

    4. Ask your boss to send you

    One of the good things about having a job is that many companies set aside money for marketing as well as developing employees’ skills. Both budgets often have money that can be used to send employees to conferences — and that employee can be you.

    It’s often a matter of asking your supervisor and seeing what funds are available. If you can clearly explain why a specific conference will make it easier to do your job, you’ll be better prepared to convince your boss why he or she should pay your way.

    5. Present at the conference

    In my opinion, this is the hardest way to get a free ticket. In order to present at a conference (and hopefully get free admission as at least part of your payment), you either have to be invited or submit some sort of proposal to the conference organizer. Either way, you’ll need credentials that will convince a committee that you’re worth having around. You have to be an expert or have done something pretty cool in the field. Volunteering is generally less work.

    Advertising

    But if you have good credentials in your field — and a great idea for a presentation — you can often attend the rest of the conference for free. It may even be one of the better ways to attend a conference. Other attendees may seek you out just to talk more about your great ideas and experiences.

    6. Ask for a scholarship

    Many conferences maintain a small scholarship fund for people who can’t afford to attend. Most of those funds seem to go to students, and I’ve seen a few conventions ask for some sort of proof of financial need. If you need to attend a particular conference but you just aren’t able to pay for a ticket, ask the organizers if they’re offering any sort of scholarship.

    Just remember…

    Even if you can arrange for free tickets to a conference or convention, you may still need to consider travel arrangements as well as a place to stay. Traveling doesn’t have to be expensive, but it does add a little legwork to your conference plans. I’m pretty fond of asking to stay on friends’ couches and carpooling to keep costs down, but I’ve been known to pay for the occasional airplane ticket if I managed to get free conference tickets.

    Hopefully, I’ll see you around the convention circuit.

    More by this author

    50 Businesses You Can Start In Your Spare Time 8 Replacements for Google Notebook 5 Sites Where You Can Sell Your Photos 7 Tools to Find Someone Online 19 Entrepreneurship Websites Worth Checking Out

    Trending in Communication

    1 20 Things People Regret the Most Before They Die 2 How to Deal with Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide) 3 10 Websites To Learn Something New In 30 Minutes A Day 4 7 Most Difficult Languages In The World to Learn For English Speakers 5 6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on June 23, 2019

    20 Things People Regret the Most Before They Die

    20 Things People Regret the Most Before They Die

    Close your eyes and imagine that you’re at your own funeral—a bit morbid I know, but there’s a reason for it. Now think about what you’d like people to say about you. What kind of a life do you want to lead? People die with all kinds of regrets. Don’t be one of them.

    1. I wish I’d cared less about what other people think.

    It’s only when you realise how little other people are really thinking of you (in a negative sense) that you realise how much time you spent caring and wasting energy worrying about this.

    2. I wish I had accomplished more.

    You don’t have to have won an Oscar, built up a business or run a marathon, but having small personal accomplishments is important.

    3. I wish I had told __ how I truly felt.

    Even if the “one” doesn’t exist, telling someone how you truly feel will always save you from that gut wrenching”but what if…” feeling that could linger for life if you stay quiet.

    Advertising

    4. I wish I had stood up for myself more.

    Sometimes, it’s too easy to think that if you go all out to please everyone you’ll be liked more or your partner won’t run off with anyone else. I think age probably teaches us to be nice but not at the expense of our own happiness.

    5. I wish I had followed my passion in life.

    It’s so easy to be seduced by a stable salary, a solid routine and a comfortable life, but at what expense?

    6. I wish our last conversation hadn’t been an argument.

    Life is short, and you never really know when the last time you speak to someone you love will be. It’s these moments that really stay clear in peoples’ minds.

    7. I wish I had let my children grow up to be who they wanted to be.

    The realisation that love, compassion and empathy are so much more important than clashes in values or belief systems can hit home hard.

    Advertising

    8. I wish I had lived more in the moment.

    Watching children grow up makes you realise how short-lived and precious time really is, and as we age, many of us live less and less in the present.

    9. I wish I had worked less.

    There’s always a desire to have loosened up a bit more with this one and the realisation that financial success or career accomplishment doesn’t necessarily equal a fulfilled life.

    10. I wish I had traveled more.

    It can be done at any age, with kids or not but many talk themselves out of it for all kinds of reasons such as lack of money, mortgage, children, etc. When there’s a regret, you know it could have been possible at some stage.

    11. I wish I had trusted my gut rather than listening to everyone else.

    Making your own decisions and feeling confident in the decisions you make gives us fulfilment and joy from life. Going against your gut only breeds resentment and bitterness.

    Advertising

    12. I wish I’d taken better care of myself.

    Premature health problems or ageing always makes you wonder if you’d eaten healthier, exercised more and been less stressed, would you be where you are today?

    13. I wish I’d taken more risks.

    Everyone has their own idea of what’s risky, but you know when you’re living too much in your comfort zone. In hindsight, some people feel they missed out on a lot of adventure life has to offer.

    14. I wish I’d had more time.

    Many people say time speeds up as we age. The six weeks of summer holidays we had as kids certainly seemed to last a lifetime. If time speeds up, then it’s even more important to make the most of every moment.

    15. I wish I hadn’t worried so much.

    If you’ve ever kept a diary and looked back, you’ll probably wonder why you ever got so worked up over X.

    Advertising

    16. I wish I’d appreciated ___ more.

    The consequences of taking people for granted are always hard to deal with.

    17. I wish I’d spent more time with my family.

    Some people get caught up with work, move to other parts of the world, grow old with grudges against family members only to realise their priorities were in the wrong place.

    18. I wish I hadn’t taken myself so seriously.

    Life is just more fun when you can laugh at yourself.

    19. I wish I’d done more for other people.

    Doing things for others just makes life more meaningful.

    20. I wish I could have felt happier.

    The realisation that happiness is a state of mind that you can control sometimes doesn’t occur to people until it’s too late.

    Read Next