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In a three day conference, is it rude to only attend 2/3 days, especially if the day you're missing is the first day, when registration is scheduled but there are far less presenters? I'm trying to save some cash on hotels, but I really don't want to make a bad impression. I was going to email the conference and ask them if missing the first day is acceptable, but I figured I'd ask here first. 

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Hi - it shouldn't be a problem at all. I never stayed the full length of any of the 5 conferences I attended. 

Conferences are very much "get out what you put in," in that no one is taking attendance and you're not required to do anything but give your paper. 

Although, if there are panels that could be relevant to your work, it would behoove you to attend them (it's also nice to have an audience as a presenter - I've seen some morning panels with 1-2 people aside from the participants which can be a bit of a bummer.)

It is also nice to network if you're able (there's usually a big reception at the end or the beginning and smaller ones throughout that can be fun.)

That being said, it's fine to structure the conference around your time/financial constraints - I had to arrive and leave the same day for one conference, so I was only able to give my paper and then listen to one other talk, and no one cared. 

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Not at all! That's understandable. I've, er, definitely done the opposite of this, ahaha, and only went the day I presented and spent the rest of the conference sightseeing and visiting friends who lived in the area. So, don't feel bad :)

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Lol, not a problem at all, and you definitely don't need to tell anyone. Grad students are strapped for cash (and even when you get departmental funding it's usually not a whole lot), so it's perfectly acceptable to not stay the whole time. Even now as faculty I don't stay the entire time. My department allocates only a certain amount of money, and oftentimes it's enough to do three nights at a hotel but definitely not four. (Bigger conferences tend to run four or five days.)

I mean, technically you should try to attend the conference as much as you can (networking opportunities and all) but ... if this conference is in a cool area, pick out a few relevant panels and attend those, and then definitely do some sightseeing. (Or, if you're jetlagged, take some time to rest. No one will notice you aren't there, seriously.)

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