After truly catching up on email for the first time in over a year (omg), I've been corresponding with Dr. Evenbigger who is interested in one of my projects. He thinks I should go to a conference in [beautiful place]. I'm going to the big ecology meeting this summer, but I should go to at least one other conference since I'll be "on the market" this fall (OMG!). I don't know which one yet, but there are 3 on my radar. I've got to balance the networking potential and relevance to my career interests with the cost of getting there. I can cobble together a few hundred dollars here and there but attending meetings is expensive.
I'm also curious, how many people attend the BIG meetings that you go to? 1000? 4000? 10,000? I just have no idea what a really, really big academic conference is.