The following tips are borrowed heavily from a LED (Lindy Enlightenment Dialogue) talk given by Andrew Thigpen, a fantastic lindy hopper, MC, extensive traveler, all-around great guy and sort of Minnesotan, at the 2010 International Lindy Hop Championship. I did my best to summarize his main points and add some of my own, but here is the link to his power point for as long as ILHC cares to have it on their website.
Know what you have
- Be aware of what you spend money on while you’re home, and how much.
- Keep track of when you spend the most money, and when you spend the least. If money is really tight, you can plan your travel according to your spending “seasons.”
- Know how much you would spend traveling vs. how much you would spend otherwise; staying at home is not necessarily free.
- Most bank websites have some kind of function available to track your spending, but if for some reason this is not a viable option for you, Mint.com is free and easy to use.
- Consider dedicating portion of your income for dance spending.
Know your priorities
- This falls under the heading of “getting the most for your money.” If your resources are limited, you want to make sure that you attend events that have what you’re looking for.
- The main components of events are location, cost, instructors, and music (bands and/or djs).
- Ask yourself:
- Do you ever regret not going to something? If so, why?
- Where are your friends going?
- What do you want to learn? Who do you want to learn from?
- Do you prefer longer workshop days or more social dancing?
- Is live music important to you?
- Do you prefer larger or smaller events?
- Don’t ignore event advertisements.
- Know what you’d be willing to put up with: food, hotel sharing, early flights, etc.
- Register early for events. Virtually ALL events are cheaper the earlier you register.
- If you’re looking to save more money and have social time more than instruction, see if the event offers a dance pass.
- Buy groceries instead of going out every meal. This is often a good scheduling strategy as well, especially if there is only a small break in classes during the day or between daytime and evening events.
- Monitor flights in advance, and be willing to be flexible on airports, dates, and times.
- Sign up for rewards programs.
- Don’t compete at events when it’s expensive.
- Attend smaller, cheaper, regional events
- Don’t spend a ton of money on “dance only” clothes, and take it easy on the shoes.
- If you have an interesting/nerdy/design skill, see if you can find a way to make it useful for dance events and try pitching it to organizers.
- Volunteer/work at events. Every organizer is particular in the way that they select volunteers, but it’s always worth an email to see if you can work a few shifts at a registration table or setting/cleaning up for a discount.
- Develop a skill. If you become a good DJ, instructor, or performer, you could eventually get paid to go to events. This doesn’t happen overnight, but once it does it’s a great way to save money on travel.