PHPBenelux 2015 is just around the corner, have you started making plans yet?

2015? Are you mad? We are not done with 2014!

True. There is still a big part of 2014 left. And yes, there are many great conferences to attend in the following months. But there are great conferences scheduled for early 2015 that can be potentially missed, with PHPBenelux being one of them.

Recently, this tweet caught my attention.

https://twitter.com/phpbenelux/status/507166619156877312

While you might not be in “going around conferences giving talks” mindset, these tweets indicate that there are people already working on organizing a best possible conference and if you want to grab the best deals in terms of tickets, air fares and hotels you should start planning right away.

Matej and I attended PHPBenelux last year and we honestly think that it gives you biggest bang for the buck possible. Impressive topics, motivating speakers and top notch organization while still being affordable.

Top excuse that I hear quite often when talking to people about going to conferences is money. At first it seems that you need a shitload of it but if you plan carefully and pick conference that is near you won’t end up selling your kidney. Let me demonstrate that with a short Q&A on PHPBenelux.

How is Belgium even considered near?

Good thing about Croatia being a member of European Union is that a lot of our politicians need to visit Brussels all the time. To make it easier for them, Croatia airlines has a direct flight from Zagreb, two times a day. Yes. You can be in Brussels at 9am, stock up on chocolate and beer and be back in Zagreb in time for evening movie.

But airplane tickets are very expensive?

They are not El freeo, but they can be El cheepo. Turns out, January is not a very popular month to visit both Brussels and Zagreb. If you buy them well in advance, you are looking at 200€ per seat. Also, this line is serviced by Dash 8, turboprop, so you will be flying oldschool style.

But hotels are very expensive?

Double room in a nice hotel is around 60€ per night. Share and save. Also, skip meals in hotel and go straight into supermarket. Decent breakfast will set you back 3€ as prices are same as ours.

But conference tickets are expensive?

If you wait until last day, chances are you will either miss out (as they can sold out) or buy them at premium rates. Early bird can save you up to 50€. Not bad, so start putting money aside now and buy early. Last year’s prices were around 320€ for workshop + conference and 160€ for conference alone and should not increase by more than 15€ this year.

Workshop or no workshop?

Workshop. This applies to every conference. Cost of workshop does not increase total budget by much and benefits of hands on experience with a new technology pays that money back in less then a month. Workshops on PHPBenelux are scheduled in the morning of the first day so you are not missing out on any talks.

Hey, you said Brussels but conference is in Antwerp?

True. Looks far away on map but thanks to good train lines you are looking at 45 minute ride from airport to Antwerp center at around 12€. Easy.

Hey, you said Antwerp but conference is outside of it?

True. Looks far away on map but thanks to good bus lines you are looking at 20 minute ride from Antwerp center to conference venue in Edegem at 2€. Easy.

Why not just locate your ass on conference venue hotel?

It is expensive, probably already booked and there is not much to see around. If you are located in Antwerp, you can arrive day or two earlier and go sightseeing. There are lots of places to see.

Interested?

Hopefully this has sparked enough interest and took away misconceptions about attending conferences as entertainment for the rich. Let’s talk about it a little bit more on upcoming ZgPHP meetups?

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