Planning a conference ahead of time can be difficult, especially when the organization barely releases its information within the time constraints for your Student Senate to approve your budget and to get your paperwork processed through your college. Here are some questions you must ask yourself when planning a budget:
How are we getting there, and how much will it cost?
If we are flying, how do we plan to get from the airport to the conference center/Hotel?
If we are flying, did we plan enough time to get through security?
If we fly, did we plan enough time between arrival and when the shuttle leaves for our hotel?
If we are driving, what will be the cost of a rental/mileage?
If we are driving, how much in gas will we spend?
Are there parking fees at the hotel/conference center/airport?
Is food provided for all meals of the trip and through the conference?
Are there any meals we will need to plan for outside of the conference?
How much will our rooms cost? Is there a discount for the rooms?
How much are the conference fees? Is there a membership fee? Is there a conference scholarship we qualify for?
Are there late fees associated with the conference if we do not pay and register by a certain time and date?
How long does it take to approve funds through my Student Senate?
How long does it take for our college to get us our funds?
Is there a limit of how many students we can bring to the conference? is there a limit of students we can bring per advisor?
Some tips you should always consider:
Did you make a buffer on your budget in case of emergencies or unforeseen costs?
Did you think about possible snacks for the hotel rooms?
Did you check what eating options are available around the hotel/conference center?
Did you make your own itinerary specific to your senate for your travels to and from the conference?
Is there a process to ensure your senate takes full advantage of the conference? ie. require attending senate members to keep notes, write reports, and to turn them in/present them to the rest of their senate upon return.
Is there a process to ensure that the concepts learned from the conference will be integrated into the senate and be available to the rest of the senate. ie. mandatory reports, workshops held with the senate as whole, a debriefing of the conference, etc...
Did you account for and budget the cost of tips and gratuity you may experience on your travels i.e.... valet parking, curb side check in, dinning, etc...
Always check with your Advisor on your college policies and procedures for processing of money, when they send checks out, how your travel gets processed and the length.
Always check with the airlines about your air line tickets and ensure that the names of your students are printed correctly, if incorrectly printed this may take extra time at the airport.
Always confirm all reservations and carry your reservation reference numbers on you.