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PyCon US diary - Accommodations

by Abdur-Rahmaan Janhangeer

PyCon US is held at the David L. Convention Centre, located in ‘downtown’ Pittsburg. The PSF got an agreement with nearby hotels to be booked during the conference at reduced prices.

When registering for PyCon, you have access to an accommodation dashboard. Not everyone found how to book through it though as it redirects to a booking site with a token lowering the prices (I guess).

You are encouraged to book through that as if not enough PyCon attendees arrive, the hotel might not consider striking a deal with the organizers again. People do book Airbnbs also.

We booked a suite for 3 / 4 persons for the price of one person. Since I am remaining for sprints (OpenSource stuff), I was looking into alternative accommodations for that time period, since the accommodation dashboard was closed by that time.

I tried going directly with Google Maps. Google automatically displays hotels and prices. I found 3 nights for MUR4k. A scam as when you go to the website no such price exists. Also, not all accommodations are shown on Maps. To avoid.

AirBnBs nearby were full. I needed something nearby as when you book within walking distance, it saves you … taxi costs. I looked at AirBnB alternatives to no avail. Finally one day I found one on AirBnB which was very cheap for 3 nights as maybe someone had canceled. Got the 3 nights for USD210. There are super cheap ones but they are far away from the convention center.

I also made the most stupid financial decision in my life. I previously booked an AirBnB for the 02nd of April instead of May. Around MU20K wasted. I related that to a friend who told me he once did that for a whole week when booking for a conference in Holland. I was notified of it when the host asked if I slept well …

The hosts had a strict cancellation policy and AirBnB leaves it on the host. Nothing to do as it was in the middle of the booking period. Lesson learned: verify what you are paying for.

Suites normally provide a kitchen, which is nice if you want to save costs buying outside food. Normally pictures are included, so you can verify where you’ll be sleeping.

You can save costs drastically by sleeping on couches when you are in a group but we decided to prioritise comfort and looked for apartments with beds as far as possible.

Note: Penning my US conf experience, hoping to help others!