I remember the thrill and my immediate, all-encompassing delight when, at the end of BlogHer ’12 in New York City, it was announced that BlogHer ’13 would be held in Chicago. I was just wrapping up an amazing weekend – my first experience at a BlogHer conference – and was desperately wishing that I could sign up to attend again the following year. For budgetary reasons, though, I doubted I’d be able to swing it if it was too far from home – and I was expecting it to be far from home, since I figured it was probably time for the west to have their turn at hosting the conference.
I prepared myself for disappointment.
Yet the moment I heard it would be in Chicago, I knew that it was totally possible for me to be there. Chicago is just a short and inexpensive train ride from home – it takes around five hours each way, and a round trip Amtrak ticket costs less than $70 total.
So I bought my ticket to BlogHer ’13 the day they first went on sale, coordinated with my roommate and booked the hotel room as soon as the block was made available, and attended the conference this past summer. I had another amazing experience, both at the conference itself and during the extra couple of days I took to see a bit of Chicago, and was so very grateful that I’d been able to make it happen.
And, of course, I wished I could attend the conference again the following year!
Rather to my surprise, though, BlogHer ’13 came and went with no announcement of the date and location of the next year’s conference. I was dealing with the same issues as the previous year, preparing myself that it would be held at a far-off location, so the weeks – no, months! – that passed without an announcement only served to add to my sense of anxious anticipation.
Finally, this past week, we were all put out of (or into, as the case may be) our misery when the details of the next conference were revealed at BlogHer Pro ’13.
Although I was pretty well prepared for it, my heart still sank when I heard the news. San Jose! So very, very far away. And, though I’m sure it’s a wonderful city, it’s not even a place I’m particularly drawn to visit… so treating it as a vacation destination didn’t hold any real appeal. (Hey, don’t shoot me – I’m from British Columbia, and have already visited various parts of California several times. Nothing wrong with it, but personally, I’d rather see someplace new!)
Still, I did a quick (and naively hopeful) check of airfares – and found that the standard round trip price seemed to be – at the very MINIMUM – around $600. Realistically, that’s just not in my budget.
As much as I wanted to go, I just didn’t see how it would be possible.
I was working on getting past my disappointment, then I saw this tweet from one of BlogHer’s founders…
Hey everyone registering for #BlogHer14, PSA: We will have room blocks with special rates at 4 hotels. Rate at $139-159! -Elisa
— Elisa Camahort (@ElisaC) October 24, 2013
…and my brain started to whir.
While I’d been moaning about not being able to attend the conference, several friends had reminded me that airline seat sales happen often – you just have to keep an eye out for them. That was an encouraging bit of wisdom. Plus, I reasoned, the fact that I wasn’t really all that interested in spending any extra time in the city meant that my accommodation costs would be restricted to just the duration of the actual conference itself. The revelation that room rates would be quite a bit less expensive than the rates we paid in either New York or Chicago was the tipping point, and… I changed my mind.
At least, I SORT OF changed it.
I decided to purchase a ticket and plan to attend BlogHer ’14, with the caveat that I would sell it if I wasn’t able to find an affordable plane ticket between now and then. Knowing that conference attendance will be capped at 2,500 this year, I imagine it will sell out – so if need be, I don’t see having any problem getting rid of my ticket, if I have to.
Though I truly hope I don’t have to.
So as it stands at this moment, and much to my surprise, I have my ticket in hand and am planning on going to BlogHer ’14 in San Jose.
We’ll have to see what happens in the months to come!
Are you planning to attend BlogHer ’14?