Get To The Show!
Learn the quick and easy way to go to a bird show
By Katy Secor
So you want to go to a bird show and you want to be cheap in doing so. That may or may not be a tall order, depending on your point of view. First, congratulations for wanting to attend a bird show, especially if it is your first time. I guarantee you will learn something new and enjoy yourself at the same time. Plus, you can often find hard-to-locate bird items and speak one-on-one with vendors and experts alike — not to mention the opportunity to see plenty of “bird people.”
High Road Or Low?
Now you have checked out the event — and verified the dates with the event’s organizers — and it is just what you had in mind. The next item on the agenda is to decide whether or not you can drive to and from the show in one day. It may be the deciding factor in determining if you drive or fly there.
The Benefits Of Driving
- It is usually cheaper to drive, but not always. If you plan to attend a show but not exhibit birds, crunch some numbers regarding auto versus air. After the gas, road tolls, food stops and hotel stays along the way, you may find that flying is more cost effective.
- If you plan to exhibit your birds, it is often cheaper to drive; airlines typically charge $100 to $200 round-trip to carry your birds in flight. Many airlines have luggage size restrictions, so it may cost extra to bring show cages. (Always verify with the airline the exact costs and regulations for your type of bird, including type of travel carrier allowed.) Keep in mind, some airlines no longer allow birds in the cabin.
- Driving with a companion is the “cheapest” and often most fun way. A carpool buddy cuts gas and lodging expenses in half. Plus, if you are determined and prepare well in advance, you can partner up on the driving and drive straight through without shelling out money for an overnight hotel stay.
- Driving to a show also allows you to bring as many birds that will safely (and sanely) fit in the car or van. The birds can travel in their show cages, which is a big plus for the birds in my opinion. Also, you will have a vehicle at your disposal for getting around once you reach your destination.
- Watch the parking fees, because they can be high. If there are parking fees, ask if the event provides any discounts or passes.
- What if both you and your travel companion own compact cars and you have more stuff than you can possibly fit? Rent a van! I have even heard of exhibitors hiring a bus and splitting the costs.
- Having your own vehicle at the show allows you to take advantage of show specials on bird food, cages and other items of interest. Leave room in your vehicle for these great deals.
Once You Get There
- Ask the show point person if there is a special room rate or a specific hotel for exhibitors, vendors, workers, etc. Many times there is, and if you want to stay close to the venue, the special rate may be the best deal.
- A stay at the host hotel makes it easy to come and go from the show — it’s just a matter of hopping on the elevator or walking down a hall. Event organizers often reserve a block of rooms for attendees, so you’re literally surrounded by fellow bird enthusiasts.
- Dining in the hotel restaurant becomes an opportunity to pull up a chair to a table full of bird aficionados.
- Another reason to stay at the event hotel is to support the organization hosting the show. Often, the host must guarantee a specified amount of booked rooms to give show attendees a discounted rate and is charged a fee for every room below that number.
- If you’re attending the show on your own, why not look for someone to share a room with? Let the host club or organization know you’re looking for a roomie. Sometimes the matches know each other and sometimes the matches are perfect strangers who turn out to be an author and well-known avian behavior consultant! Just ask Rena Fox of New Hampshire. She was matched up with Mattie Sue Athan at last year’s American Federation of Aviculture (AFA) convention, had a great time and learned a lot as well.
More Cost Savings
- If the event is a show and you plan to exhibit, ask about purchasing your show cage tags in advance because you may receive a discount. If the event includes a banquet, ask if there is a discount for purchasing those tickets early as well. When it comes to shows, the early bird often gets the discount.
- If you’re showing birds, bring your own seed or other food for the bottoms of the show cages. I once arrived at a show a day early and had forgotten my seed. I had to go to a local pet store and pay a lot of money for a few small bags. Needless to say I have not forgotten since.
- Ask the hotel concierge for recommendations on places to eat that are good and cheap. When traveling locally, stop at a familiar restaurant before you get to the show. Better yet, brown bag it and, pack your own food and drinks from home.
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Get To The Show!
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