Apply for travel grants: your academic department, your college, the graduate college, your grad student senate usually have grants for you. Follow directions, meet deadlines, and actually know what you’re talking about in your research, but be able to present it to people who are not specialists. Most of the time, committees are not from your field and simply want to be able to understand whether your research is clear. Be concise.
Ask for your registration fee to be waived. Some organizations are willing to let you go for free. They want you to learn, not to starve.
Volunteer at the conference: you might get a free lunch, network, or even your registration fee waived.
Do not stay at the conference hotels (unless your advisor tells you to): they’re way too expensive. Instead, look for a room or an apartment to share with AirBnB.
If you do not know anyone going to the conference, contact the organizers to know if they can give your contact info to share a room.
Network! This is a golden opportunity to meet people in your field and potential future employers or colleagues.
Tidy up, but get comfy shoes (avoid heels if you can): you’ll likely spend the day walking in the venue or standing by your poster.
Avoid heavy bags. You don’t need what’s in your satchel.