I serve on the board of the European Society of Environmental History, and we meet physically about once a year – either at the biannual conference or in the home town of one of the other board members. In 2010 we met in Salzburg in Austria, and in April we met in Szeged, about two hours by train south of Budapest, in the Carpathian Basin. While we also do online meetings to keep travel costs (and emissions) low, meeting physically does have its advantages – this is particularly true in international organizations, where we face significant cultural differences and ensuing organizational challenges. Of course, I also enjoy traveling and seeing new places – I wish I’d had time to visit Budapest as well.
Szeged was quite beautiful, and were able to stay in a very nice hotel at a ridiculously low price (this is certainly an advantage of meeting outside of the big travel hubs). I took the train down from Budapest (well, the Budapest Ferenc Liszt International Airport), in a shabby but comfortable first-class seat (also very cheap). In addition to a day and a half of meetings, I was able to take a day of sightseeing in Szeged.