Like most authors, I have to budget my time and money when deciding which conferences to attend. ThrillerFest is near and dear to my heart so I’d never miss it unless the world was coming to an end. . .and even then it would be a tough decision. However, TF has been held in New York, arguably one of the most expensive cities in America, for the past three years. Once the registration fees, airfare, and hotel stay are tabulated, the cost can quickly skyrocket into the hundreds or thousands of dollars, depending on where you’re traveling from. (I won’t argue the point of whether TF is worth the expense here. That’s for a later post, but for now, all you need to know is my opinion is a resounding “YES!”)
I attended the past two ThrillerFests (both held in NYC) and have a few tips for the traveler on how to cut costs, especially in the food department. But, let’s start with getting to and from the airport/hotel.
ThrillerFest Tip #1: Getting from Point A to Point B
Regardless of whether your flight arrives at LaGuardia or JFK, you’re going to be faced with the decision of how to get from Point A to Point B. Taking a taxi is always an option, but it can be expensive. Last year I was offered a cab ride from LaGuardia to the front door of the Grand Hyatt (TF’s host hotel) for a mere $45. It may not sound like much, but that’s a one-way ticket. It would cost another $45 or so to return, making for a total travel expense of $90-$100. That’s money I’d rather keep and use later. . .at the TF book shop.
My suggestion for getting from Point A to Point B is to utilize NYC’s mass transit system, namely the New York Airport Service. Yes, riding the bus isn’t as glamorous as taking a cab, but it’s a lot less expensive. Remember that $45 one-way cab ride I was offered last year? I took the bus and purchased a round-trip ticket for only $21. (I checked the NYAS website and the same round-trip ticket from JFK is listed as $27.) Granted the bus doesn’t deliver you to the hotel’s front door, but it does stop across the street from Grand Central Terminal. The Hyatt is next door to GCT, so it’s a quick hop across the street and a short stroll away. The round-trip bus tickets are also good for thirty days so if you’re planning to extend your visit for a few days prior to or after TF, you’re covered.
ThrillerFest Tip #2: If The Shoe Fits. . .Or Not
You’re running late. Your agent/editor calls and informs you of a last minute meeting. Add one more outfit to an already overflowing bag. You board the plane only to be parked on a runway for seven hours. Finally you make it to your hotel room and open your suitcase. You realize you forget to pack your shoes, and the ratty sneakers you wore through airport security won’t work for that morning meeting with bookstore sales reps.
It happens. While there are plenty of shops in Grand Central Terminal that offer fabulous footwear solutions to your dilemma, you’re on a budget and have only $20-$30 bucks to spare. Never fear, weary and shoeless traveler. Head down to the Hyatt lobby and ride the escalator down to the street level. Turn right and walk past GCT. Cross the street and keep going for about a block to 60 E 42nd St. and you’ll find a conveniently placed Payless Shoe Source store. Happy feet are here again.
Thus ends my list of tips for today. I have more on other subjects, especially where to find cheap but good food, and will continue to post them in the coming weeks. May these serve to fill most of your needs and help to keep your budget from spiraling out of control. (After all, that’s what the TF book room is for, right?)
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