Probably the biggest expense for anyone is lodging! ...at $150 and up per night the local hotels can take all your gem spending capital! What I have always done is rent a space in someone's home or rent a vacation rental...you can find links to vacation rental sites in the right hand column of this blog.
You are basically moving into someone's home and that is how it should be treated - no wild parties - but I know that none of my readers would ever!!! ;-D
To give a couple of examples - one year I rented a room from a local artist and it was a fabulous experience that I will not forget - not only did I get to meet the wonderful Kate McKinnon but I also was introduced to an entire group of artists from another segment of our industry!!! they were wild evenings even though I usually was tied to my computer!
This year I rented a three bedroom home with friends - boy did we luck out!!! I can't sing the praises of this place enough...you could roll in dead tired and it is so well set up that you could shower and have coffee in the morning BEFORE having to go to the store for supplies. With a Washer & Dryer - Cable TV and WIFI what more do you need?
Here is a brief glimpse of the Common Areas:
Backyard view from the Master Bedroom:
View into the Dining Room: