About five years ago, I was watching a morning news segment broadcast at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Being the technology enthusiast that I am, I vowed to attend the CES the following year. The 2014 CES (January 7-10) will make my fifth consecutive year of attendance.
The International CES is magical experience for tech geeks, in my opinion. Check out www.cesweb.org for the official low down.
While some people who attend CES are traveling on a company’s dime with access to expense accounts, I get to pay my own way and have looked for ways to economize. Here are some of my tips:
If you register before August 31, registration is free! Registration is now open, so get on it! Visit www.cesweb.org for details
Consider Renting a Car
The CES website states: “We strongly encourage CES attendees to take advantage of the complimentary CES shuttle bus from official hotels.” My first three years of attending I got around with a mix of the shuttle, taxis and the monorail. In 2013 I stayed at a hotel that was not on the CES shuttle route and miles away from the Las Vegas Convention Center, so I decided to rent a car. I scored a deal on a compact car for about $120 for the week, inclusive of taxes and fees.
All of the hotel/casinos I parked at were free, with the exception of a hotel near the Las Vegas Convention Center ($30 a day, I think not!). If you are feeling fancy, you can valet for free, just be sure to tip a couple of bucks. To avoid paying to park near the convention center, I parked for free at one of the official CES hotels and took the free CES convention shuttle.
As a bonus, I enjoyed the flexibility to be able to jump in a car to get to a grocery store, shopping center and other sites with ease and on my own schedule.
Keep in mind that the CES Shuttle only runs during convention hours. You will need to use alternative modes of transportation outside of those hours.
Search Travel Websites and Book Early
I booked my hotel for the 2014 CES in March 2013. While the dates of the 2014 CES were available at that time, the official CES hotel list was not. I’m staying for six nights at a non-gaming, all suite hotel with a kitchen, free parking and wi-fi for $702, including taxes and fees. There are less expensive hotels, but I like the additional amenities.
Prices range from under $50 a night to over $350 a night for the official CES hotels. You can find hotels in and around Las Vegas for under $30 a night and up at a variety of places online. A number of the properties are within walking distance of official CES hotels where you can catch the free shuttle to the Las Vegas Convention Center.
I also like to periodically search for new, lower hotel pricing as the months pass. As long as you are mindful of hotel cancellation policies, you may be able to snag a better deal at a hotel that suits your needs.
Consider a Room with a Kitchen
Eating every meal out can put a serious dent in a budget. Not only does being able to prepare food at your hotel save you cash, it is convenient not to have to go out in search of food if you want to have a day to sleep in and lounge. There are a variety of grocery stores in and around Las Vegas and a number of hotels that have kitchens offer shuttle services to grocery stores for guests.
Save Money when Dining Out
This works out better when you are dining with at least one other person. I usually travel to CES with my husband, but he was not able to join my this year. Restaurant.com has great deals for dining in Las Vegas. I’ve taken advantage of both casual and fine dining deals during my trips. Be sure to read the fine print for restrictions on each certificate to avoid any inconvenience.
Attend Parties and Receptions
There are plenty of official and unofficial parties/receptions/mixers where you can network while you get your fill of beverages and hors d’oeuvres for free.
Room for a Splurge…
With the money I save I usually treat myself to a nice meal or two and a trip to the spa. After walking the show floor for a few days, a massage is a welcomed treat!
Have you attended the International CES in the past? How have you saved money during the trip?
*This post was originally published at www.snadgets.com
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