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BEA: Budget Tricks and Tips

If you are a book blogger on twitter you can't help but witness the excitement for the upcoming BookExpo America, being held this May in New York City. If you are wondering what BookExpo America exactly is, you can check out this post: Intro to BEA & if you have questions about BEA, check out BEA: Q&A.

If you thinking about going to BEA or if you are planning on going I thought I would share some of the budgeting tips that I picked up last year. If you're thinking about going, there is still time to save and attend!



Your biggest expenses are going to be transportation and hotel.

Transportation

  • By Car. I for one would never drive in NYC. You couldn't pay me to drive there, in fact. CRAZY DRIVERS! But this may be your cheapest alternative if you have the means. Depending on your distance driving, you'll have to calculate gas milage and cost and possibly an extra hotel stay or two, if you are driving a long distance. In that instance it may be cheaper to choose another mode of arrival. Don't forget to calculate cost to park your car!
  • By Plane. The price of your flight is also going to depend on where you are flying from. Book your flights early! Or... take a chance at a cheap last minute flight. Take advantage of BEA's Affordable Hotel and Travel options. As a BEA attendant you can receive discounts on flights from American Airlines and Continental Airlines. Also remember about baggage! You don't want to have to pay that overage charge to send home your suitcase full of books!
  • By Train. The train is a great method of travel if you are able to utilize it! Sometimes a long train rides can be exhausting so plan accordingly. The good thing about the train is that you can check up to three 50 lbs bags without a charge... and any additional bag is only $10. There is also a BEA discount for Amtrak on the Affordable Hotel and Travel page.
Other ways to save money getting to BEA
  • If you are going to drive... carpool! If it's possible find two or three other bloggers who'd be willing to split the travel expenses with you.
  • If you're going by plane, try to get in the same time as a few other bloggers. That way you can share a taxi into the city and cut the cost in half or possibly in third. ($20-30 from LaGardia to Manhattan, $45 from JFK, $45-55 from Newark)
  • The AirTrains are another cheaper alternative to a taxi. ($15-25)



Where to stay

  • Hotels. Hotels are probably the most popular choice of accommodations. You can a discount on a hotel room through the BEA Hotel Reservation Page. Always be sure to price check on other sites to make sure you are getting the best deal, but in my experience the prices on the BEA site are very competitive.
  • Hostels. There are several Hostels in NYC. Although some of them do require a membership in order to stay. The cheapest option is a shared room. Most hostels do provide you with a locker to keep your valuables stored. This is a great option for those really watching their budget. I know several bloggers that stayed at a hostel last year. Prices range anywhere from $20 a night to $150 a night.
Other ways to save money on accommodations
  • Roommates. Share a room with two or three other bloggers! Split the costs!



Getting around

Forget about taxi's the cost of a few cab rides can really add up. Get a week Metro Pass for $29. It's worth it. And don't be afraid of the subway. Take from little ole' me from podunk Indiana that's never been on any public transportation in her life. You can do it! I rode the subway all by myself! And I have the gold star to prove it... j/k! But seriously don't be afraid of the subway.

Another great option... Walk. Walk. Walk. I did A LOT of walking. And it's free. Word of advice don't do what the locals do... follow the traffic signs. If is say don't walk... don't walk!



Food

You gotta eat. One thing that saved me... I brought snacks from home and a water bottle. When you are at Javits, you won't want to buy the food there... tis very expensive. I had some granola bars for a filling snack throughout the day, mini muffins I'd brought for a quick and easy breakfast and a bottle of water (which is even better if you get those little flavor packets you can stick in there. I find I can stand drinking room temperature flavored water a little more.)

When you're not at Javits, your food options aren't quite as limited. Research places that have affordable dinners. I don't know about you, but I can never eat my entire meal. Split it with someone, or save the leftovers and ask about the option of getting a refrigerator in your room. If it's not to expensive it might be well worth it.



Things to do for free

Hopefully you'll have a little time to explore the city. Walking down 5th Avenue... free. Central Park... free. Walk around Greenwich Village. Visit the New York Public Library... they have the original Winnie the Pooh! Ride the Staten Island Ferry... and get some awesome views of the city and the Statue of Liberty.



If you have any tips or tricks to save money when attending BEA, I'd love to hear them! Please do share them in the comments section!

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BEA: Budget Tricks and Tips + TIME