Attending a placement exchange event can be very expensive. Unlike typical events where you may be able to receive funding from your department as a professional development experience, most TPE Onsite candidates have found that their institutions are unable to assist them financially. On the other hand, there are some great ways to save some money and to really work within a budget when planning ahead to attend TPE Onsite.
First, you need to start thinking of what expenses you anticipate: lodging, travel, food, exploring the area, and miscellaneous expenses. You may find that you have connections either through your current institution’s recruitment team (which may have an extra space in a hotel room or room in a van or cab for you to join the team) or through friends you may already have in the area (which may take care of lodging, exploring the area, and even some food).
If you’re looking to save money with lodging, you certainly have options. If you do not have your institution helping you out, stay with friends who are local or stay at a less expensive hotel nearby (with a friend or two or even three). Sometimes, you may have a friend who has his or her institution covering the cost of a single room (which happens to have an extra bed). You also can choose to go with couch surfing (couchsurfing.com), airbnb.com, hotel reward points (you can use for free nights or a discounted price), or local hostels for discounted lodging.
Another large expense is traveling to TPE Onsite. If you are flying, you may want to consider using frequent flier miles or using websites like airfarewatchdog.com, or regularly searching on airline websites for specials. Some airlines even have companion flights available that your friends might not know what to do with. Ground transportation options include shuttles (for one individual traveling, though do not forget to search for promo codes), taxis (for multiple people traveling together), or even Uber, an app-based cash-less rideshare program (where you can sign up and use my code “corys135” for a FREE $30 credit including tax and tip). Again, if your institution has a selection team, perhaps they will welcome you to travel with them as it rarely will increase the cost to add one more person to their vehicle.
Dining & Entertainment
Remaining costs typically include food and drinks, exploring the area, entertainment, and souvenirs. Know where there is a local grocery store or pharmacy and speak with the Local Arrangements area about reasonably priced local restaurants in the area. TPE Onsite Local Arrangements will also share some opportunities in the area that are inexpensive or free. There is also no cost for simply going for a walk around the area or having a local friend or colleague show you around. In New Orleans, you will find that you can get some great souvenirs for very little though you need to be careful that you do not get taken in by the more expensive stores, restaurants, and locals who are trying to make a buck.
Ultimately, a TPE Onsite experience can be pricey when you take all costs into consideration. However, if you put some intentionality into your budget, you can save quite a bit of money. Definitely, stop by the TPE Onsite Local Arrangements area to learn more about ways to save, and you will even have access to a free coupon book, compliments of the New Orleans Visitors Bureau. Happy Saving!!