27 April 2019

Within minutes of knowing I would be attending WWDC19, I found myself on AirBnB. Excitement of going and fear of not finding somewhere to stay, my hunt for accommodation quickly turned into a mild frenzy.

One thing to start off with is a piece of advice for anyone else considering attending WWDC in the future, or anyone wishing to visit Silicon Valley for that matter: San Jose is insanely expensive. Like REALLY expensive.

Now it’s known that I like the nicer things in life, however when it comes to spending money for money’s sake: I’m not a fan: especially when it is often so hard to earn. And when looking for somewhere to stay I quickly came to the impression that this would be somewhere I could crash after a long day exploring out and about. As a result, I wanted to spend as little as possible, yet feel comfortable and safe enough to rest up without worry.

Like many US cities, San Jose is divided up into multiple ‘districts’ each with their own vibe and community. My advice is to do a little research before booking anywhere – because as a non-local, it is difficult to tell if the surrounding area is safe, within close proximity to amenities and has good transport links. A quick Google however will reveal the hot spots, the tourist areas and neighbourhoods to avoid.

After hours of trawling the web for accommodation I felt like I had exhausted most options: from AirBnB to Expedia I had searched high and low for the best deal. And so the results were in. Firstly, starting with Apple’s own discounted event rates at several hotels close to the expo: the cost of a double room ranged from £300 to £400 per night (ouch!).

Next up was Expedia, and to my surprise, even after only a few hours since WWDC tickets were issued, over half of Expedia’s nearby hotels had zero availability, leaving behind the super costly and exclusive rooms. As a result, these costed even more and were seriously out of my budget.

At this point, mild panic turned into fear as it dawned on me that I would either need to settle on accommodation way out of town or pay an arm and a leg whilst remortgaging my home just to attend WWDC (ok a little over dramatic but you get the picture).

My saviour however was AirBnB. Having used the platform only once before (a trip to Budapest, Hungary a few week prior to this), I was hesitant at first. However seeing as the whole trip to WWDC was about ‘taking the plunge’ (and that my options were limited) I decided to select a self contained condo located 20 minutes walking distance from the San Jose exhibition centre where the event would be held. The typical cost of an AirBnB ranged from £120 all the way up to £300-£500 (or more) per night, however I was lucky to secure the flat for £149. I also decided to extend my stay by an extra week to explore the surrounding area (more on that later).

Staying in the charming residential area of Willow Glen, my condo is located just steps away from Lincoln Avenue: a vibrant dining and shopping area complete with a StarBucks (yes I’m that kinda guy). My thoughts were this: if there’s a StarBucks, then the neighbourhood must be semi-decent… right?

Great: my WWDC ticket was confirmed, I had found, booked and received confirmation of my accommodation booking. All that was left was the small task of travelling 5,400 miles across the Atlantic to get to California. It was time to book flights to San Jose.

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