Point #66: Conference Budgeting Part Two

Will Vondoome EckKimmy Vondoome EckBy Will and Kimmy Vondoome Eck

Editor’s Note: If it seems we have spent a lot of time talking about Conference (from attending, to budgeting, to post-Conference reviews) it is because we have. The importance of our annual Conference cannot be overstated and, as such, we are making every effort to allow piercers from across the country—and around the world—the ability to be able to attend. This article is the second in our recent series about budgeting for the big event.

The following points were put together by Will and Kimmy Vondoome Eck. Their tips for attending the Association of Professional Piercer’s Conference will allow you to enjoy conference on a tight budget. You will be saving money and still get to enjoy everything conference has to offer.

Before you arrive…

Conference fees

Register ahead of time to get a discount on a full Conference pass. A full Conference pass is the best deal out there—unlimited classes and expo entry—and only those with a full conference pass will be able to take the hands on workshops offered. There are also different scholarships available too!


Start checking the prices of flights (if applicable) early and watch for sales. If the price drops by $100 or more, it’s probably time to buy. If you are driving, arrange  to carpool.


Book a hotel room at Bally’s (where the conference is being held). Request the APP Conference room block when booking your room to get a discounted rate. Book early for a deeper discount. There might be cheaper hotels “nearby” but the distance between buildings in Vegas can be deceiving, and the hotels are huge. The time you would spend commuting isn’t worth the limited monetary savings. Staying at Bally’s will make it easier to make it to class on time (even after a late night out) and to network at the bar with your fellow piercers. Once you’ve booked your hotel room, find fellow piercers with whom to share the room. It should also be noted that the hotel won’t charge your credit card until you check-in.


If you are on a tight budget, pack snacks from home or make a grocery run to buy some. Granola bars, nuts, cereal, and other dry goods that you can eat on-the-go are great. Catch a ride to the local grocery store or walk to Walgreens and make the most of your food budget.

Once you’re here…

Ground Transportation

Shuttles and taxi cabs are abundant at the airport. The shuttles may save you a few dollars (if you are traveling alone) but will also take longer. If you can split a cab with a few other piercers that is probably your best bet. Look around baggage claim after you land; you are bound to find somebody heading your way. And if you drove, Bally’s (and other casinos) offer complimentary parking.

In previous years, Bally’s offered a complimentary continental breakfast. Unfortunately, after this writing, it was discovered that is no longer the case. I am currently working to find alternative options. Check back for updates!

Time to break out some of the snacks you brought from home or the continental breakfast. There are a few cheap eats nearby too.

If you are going to splurge, now is the time. Have a pre-dinner snack and cocktail in your room before heading out to dinner.

After you get home from Conference…

Tax Deductions for Conference

First and foremost: Collect all of your receipts from conference and stash them somewhere safe! (When next year’s tax return rolls around you will be thankful you did.) Below are some general guidelines and tips for getting the most money back from your Conference travel expenses, but be sure to consult a tax professional to gain insight into your particular situation.

You may be able to deduct your conference fees, flights, ground travel, and hotel expenses.

Food and entertainment expenses are trickier: Keep track of your food expenses for business tax purposes but don’t buy a round of shots and expect to be able to deduct that as a business expense. If you are traveling, you are able to deduct half of the U.S. General Services Administration Meals and Incidental Expenses Rate for Las Vegas ($71/day in 2013) or half of your actual expenses, so long as those expenses are not extravagant (hence why you need to save your receipts).

If you go out with an employee, client, or customer, you may deduct half of your business-related entertainment, such as meals, if (among other stipulations) the main purpose of the entertainment was the active conduct of business or followed a business meeting, you had more than a general expectation of getting income or some other specific business benefit, and the expenses are not extravagant.

Here is a sample budget for the attending the APP Conference:

Conference Fees

Early Full Conference Pass $400
Banquet $40


Bally’s (5 nights, 4 people per room) $120


Flight $300
Shuttle to and from airport $30
One additional roundtrip taxi ride (e.g. for off-site dinner) $30

Meals (5.5 Days)

Breakfast TBD
Lunch (cheap eats $10 x 2 days, supplemented by snacks) $20
Dinner and drinks (dining out $40 x 4 days) $160

Total:    $1,100

*Costs to travel to and from Las Vegas will vary based on your geographic location and mode of transportation

Saving approximately $90 per month for one year will get you to Conference!

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