Just wanted to follow-up on my Tech-Ed on the cheap experience.
I purchased an Expo floor only pass ($100), which did not offer meals. So, I purchased a late breakfast/lunch/brunch every day at e.g. Denny's ($15/day * 5 days = $75), which was large enough to hold me over till 3pm (which = free snack time on the expo floor). Grab a couple free snacks, and I'm good. Enough hanging out on the expo floor, and you hear where all the good parties are (free food, free drinks & best networking opportunities). I drove and, since I drive a Prius, it was only 2 tanks of gas, roundtrip. $40. But, then I had to pay for parking $150. (Boo on big city parking!) And I was able to snag a couch to crash on from a friend in town. (free!)
Just wanted to reiterate: For $400 total (cheapest vacation ever!), I hit up one of the most important Microsoft conferences of the year, and networked the heck out of it. Seriously: that's accessible for everyone (employed or not) right?
Why weren't you there?