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My ramblings on the stuff that holds it all together
VMworld can be expensive, especially if, like me you are self-employed and don’t have a generous employer to cover the cost (or, even if your employer is cheap but won’t send you because of the cost).
For the last couple of VMworlds I have tried to save money on the accommodation as it can be a significant cost.
San Francisco, and Barcelona aren’t cheap cities, especially when they get wind of a conference – all the hotel prices go up as demand escalates.
My top tips..
1) Book early, before registration opens – early bird catches the worm, there are no last minute deals, ever.
2) Distance – whilst it’s nice to be near the venue, this can be very expensive – consider going further away and using the excellent public transport options in each city.
3) Lower your expectations, the Hilton is nice, but consider you’ll likely only be sleeping there between the conference and post-event parties – do you really care about the (premium) on-site spa facilities? and most cheaper places (even the hovels) have free WiFi – in your face $14.99/day Hilton!
4) Skip breakfast (at the hotel) and either eat locally to Moscone/Fira or there is usually breakfast laid on at VMworld (granted, not always the best food – WTF is a breakfast burrito for example, but still…)
5) Share, VMworld hotels are EXPENSIVE; especially if they are close to the venue; consider using AirBnB or look for a shared apartment on Expedia (easier in Barcelona than SF in my experience) & use the power of social media and gather up some like minded geeks + split the cost, there are significant savings here – provided you can avoid sharing with any serial-killers. On the latter point you can sort of vet would-be sharers via Social Media before saying yes (if they frequently post pics of shrunken heads or selfies with corpses, maybe think twice :)).
As evidence of this, I’ve stayed in some hovels in the past, stayed the other side of SF +commuted & this year I’m staying on a boat in the harbour with a mate via AirBnB + it’s 1/2 the cost of even a hovel hotel.