By: Revanche

Prepping for Business Travel and Conferences: Watch that spending!

October 4, 2006

My greatest weakness when preparing for a business trip is watching my “special circumstances” spending. It becomes a tug-of-war between my usual budgeting mentality of: “Do you NEED this? Noo .. no you don’t” versus “Do you NEED this? Uh, yes, I do have to be dressed well/look good/professional/better than the new kids on the block! DUH!”

It’s critical to closely evaluate the existing items in the closet and decide what pieces can double as businessy clothes, what absolutely must be purchased, and as far in advance as possible. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m cursed with the twin disabilities of lacking fashion sense and being too d@rned small to fit into most off-the-rack clothing. [Hey, at least I admit to needing a second, third or fourth opinion!] Oh, and does being a total budgetary miser count as a disability? It does when it comes to actually getting stuff, doesn’t it?

Either of these would be sad enough, but together I’m a double whammy of potential-disaster-walking. Soooo … I combat this by recruiting more savvy friends, or getting ideas for what to look out for and shopping as far in advance as possible.

Now that the clothes shopping for Chicago has been completed, I just have to chart out the itinerary so that I can pack exactly what I need.

**If you’re travelling on your own, this could be a huge time and money saver. You save time not having to dig through your suitcase during the trip, packing time before you leave and return, you’re not lugging six pieces of luggage from car to airport to hotel to airport to car. You save money not buying a load of crap you might not need, you’re not paying for extra weight if you go over AND you save your back!**

At the same time, I don’t want to run short, even though I think All-Expenses-Paid includes emergency clothing … HMM!! Just kidding, I’m not sure that would be a valid reason: “Oh, I underpacked cause y’know, I figured I could shop Michigan Ave. Cool? Cool!”

Soooo … the next battle? Is the digital camera battle. I’ve been fighting with myself for the past two years because I bought a perfectly good point-and-shoot 35 mm camera four years ago. Unfortunately, it developed this awkward tendency to “pull” the lower left or right hand corner of the photo giving everyone a maimed, fat-cheek sort of look. The repair shop wants over a hundred dollars to try to fix it, and I’m torn between just paying almost half the price of the camera again or just buying a new digital camera. Over a hundred dollars could buy about a half a low-end or decent dig cam, right?

80% of the year, I don’t have a camera and I don’t miss it. 20% of the year, I still don’t have a camera but I really want one. See? Want. Do I need it? Well, probably not, but when these trips roll around we’re told to take pictures like the paparazzi and I find myself twiddling my thumbs and wishing that I’d just picked something up. Cause you know, I have a few hundred bucks lying around with which to “pick up” that camera. In the meantime, I drool over things like the Canon Powershot SD800 IS. Or the SD630 would be fine.

I still can’t justify the cost when it’s still considered a *luxury* given my other bills to pay, even if I did get a raise. Man, I’m no fun at ALL. I rationalize that I’m saving myself the set-up costs of the camera, the accessories of cabling and casing etc., the photo printing and all that, but am I really gypping myself of photographic evidence of all I’ve gone and done? Am I going to regret this when I’m older and have, at best, a hazy recollection that I was once in Chicago for some thing with those folks whose faces I can’t quit visualize anymore? Or more importantly, what about when I travel for FUN?

Two days before I fly out, I’m not going to go camera shopping. But I’m going to have this same conversation with myself come April if I have to go to D.C.! Or maybe sometime in December. Like that iPod conversation I had for months when I promised myself an iPod for the train ride when I started that new job: “when things get better, you can have *****” I’m such a liar.

4 Responses to “Prepping for Business Travel and Conferences: Watch that spending!”

  1. sabrina says:

    As for the camera, why not buy a disposable Kodak camera (the kind available at any supermarket or drugstore)? There are several different types, and they cost only–what? maybe $10 or $11. For that price, you can get a free CD of your photos, as well as a double set of prints. I imagine you could also get one of the cheaper cameras (without prepaid CD) and then just pay extra for the CD, but I’m not sure that would save you anything.

    Anyway, once you have your CD, you can upload the photos to your computer, edit them (for example with Google’s Picasa program, which is free), share them, etc. Maybe it’s not quite as good as having a real digital camera, but it’s so much cheaper, if you don’t take many pix and don’t need to do anything fancy. The photo quality is excellent, in my experience.

    Have fun in Chicago! And give everyone a hug from me (well, at least send them my regards).

  2. Then Things says:

    Do you have H&M where you live? If not you should definitely go in chicago, their sizes run small and a 0 or 2 there should fit you. I do the “I’ll reward myself when I . . ” thing to and never do.

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