Now that you’re convinced that you need to attend ATA58, you’re probably asking yourself how much it’s going to cost. What do you need to budget for? What are some ways you can save money? Here’s the basic layout of an attendee’s budget for the ATA conference – be sure to also take into account the fact that you may lose out on some income since you won’t be working during these business days. Based on numbers from this blog post, you are potentially missing out on an average of $185/day for four business days, for a sum of $740. Let’s examine some of the other expenses involved and consider how the ATA conference just may be an investment that pays for itself!
Item #1: Conference registration
Be sure to do your math… The early registration fee (which ends 9/15) is $540 for ATA members, versus $715 for non-members. ATA membership dues for one year cost $285, so if you’re considering joining the Association, make sure you do so before the conference in order to receive the discounted rate! Rates for all attendees increase starting 9/16 and then again starting 10/6, so the earlier the register, the bigger the discount.
Item #2: Transportation
Depending on where you’re traveling from, travel could be a big expense. Coming from the East Coast, you may consider driving (in which case you’ll need to pay for parking) or taking a bus or train. From anywhere else in the country or world, you will probably want to fly into either DCA (Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport), IAD (Washington Dulles International Airport), or BWI (Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport). Regardless of your origin, remember that you will most likely need to factor in the cost of an Uber, taxi, or bus from the airport or train station to your hotel.
Item #3: Accommodations
The Washington Hilton is the host hotel of ATA58 and offers special rates for conference attendees. However, these rooms fill up quickly and you may need to search elsewhere for a place to stay. You can look for a roommate or roommates to split the cost of accommodations by visiting the ATA Roommate Finder. Some conference attendees opt to stay at other hotels or even Airbnb in order to save on money and experience more time outside the conference hotel.
Item #4: Food
Depending on your food preferences and schedule, you can choose to take advantage of the low-cost options that will be available through the conference, from free continental breakfast at the conference hotel to evening receptions that include hors d’oeuvres. On the other hand, if you want to truly experience the city of D.C. and enjoy spending time with new and old contacts at local restaurants, your budget needs may be a little different. Some ATA divisions offer dinner receptions at an additional cost to conference attendees, so be sure to sign up for any you may be interested in and calculate these expenses into your budget as well.
Item #5: Miscellaneous expenses
Remember that while you may have travelled a long way to attend the conference, you’re also in a beautiful city with a deep and rich history. It’s a great idea to get out of the conference hotel and take in some of the sights of D.C.; the Smithsonian Zoo, White House, and George Washington University are a quick mile and a half walk or taxi ride from the Hilton and you’ll be glad to get a breath of fresh air.
I’m sure you’ve been adding up these costs as you read and you’re asking yourself if it’s all worth it. I can tell you unequivocally that for every year I’ve attended an ATA conference, it has paid off not only in terms of meeting new clients but also making great contacts, learning invaluable skills and lessons, and getting the intangible yet invaluable sense that I am part of a larger professional community of translators and interpreters. Don’t be afraid to invest in your career by going to the ATA conference; you’ll be glad you did!
What are some ways you’ve thought of to save on conference expenses? We’d love to hear them!