PHPBenelux 2016 is just around the corner, have you started making plans yet?

tl;dr: Going to PHPBenelux, leaving at Jan 27th, returning on Jan 31st.

Stay calm! This is not a glitch in the matrix, it is time to post update from last year.

PHPBenelux is by far my favourite PHP related conference. Went there in 2014 with Matej and in 2015 with Srdjan, Robert, Nikola and Boni. Who will join me in 2016?

Again, my preparations start with a CFP tweet.

I strongly suggest that you submit a talk. Even if you are not selected, come prepared as they have an excellent unconf track, so you will have an opportunity to share your passion. This tweet should also trigger your preparations (trip planning and saving some money aside) so you can grab early bird tickets, good air fares and hotels.

Apart from Croatia airlines having a direct flight from Zagreb, two times a day, Brussels airlines started flying same route six times a week. You can pick what time of day works for you best or look for cheapest fare. Croatia airlines goes for €200 per seat (with baggage) and Brussels airlines can be found for €80 (carry on baggage only). Sweet right?

I will be staying at Tryp by Wyndham Antwerp from Jan 27th. 4 days stay without breakfast is €250. This is price for double room, so team up with someone and save. Breakfast in hotel is unnecessary (and overpriced) as there are supermarkets nearby.

Regarding conference tickets, do not wait until last day. Chances are you will either miss out (as they get sold out) or buy them at premium rates. Early bird can save you up to €50. Last year’s prices were around €325 for workshop + conference and €190 for conference alone. If you have not decided if workshop is worth it, I’ll tell you right away to do id. This applies to every conference I went to. Cost of workshop does not increase total budget by that 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.

You will also need some pocket money for trains and buses. Train ride from airport to Antwerp center at around €12 and bus from Antwerp to Edegem (location of conference venue) is €2. Although many Belgians complain about their public transportation they clearly have not used Croatian so ignore them, it works like a charm.

All in all, I estimate it will set you back €750 (including beer money).

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?