How much does it cost to attend Google IO from the UK?

I attended Google I/O for the first time in May 2017 and had an absolute blast! It is by far the best conference I’ve attended. Google listened to the gripes of last year’s I/O at Shoreline and fixed all the niggles.  But what does it costs to attend? I’d estimated a total cost of around £2K after totalling up receipts, I’m reasonably happy to see that I was near in the estimate.

Of course this is highly individual based on my experiences this year and current USD to GBP ratio but I hope it serves as indicator for others. Here’s the rough and rounded the numbers.

  • Flights LHR to SFO:  ~£450  
  • Airport transfers UK: £50
  • Airport transfers US: £60
  • AirBnb (split between 4):  £350
  • Taxi/Uber to/from Shoreline: £55
  • Other food/beer (not at I/O): £150
  • I/O Ticket price £950*  

Total: ~£2065

*Disclaimer: As an GDE for Android I am fortunate to get a complementary I/O ticket. However I thought this article would be more useful if I included the ticket price in the main total.

Factors/Comments:

  • I was able to share uber a few times to cut down some of the travel costs.
  • Didn’t factor lost earnings for the 5 days not working (or the reduced efficiency the week after with jet lag)
  • Haven’t included some leisure activities at weekend like bike hire, Makers faire and travelling to/from San Francisco as I figured it’s purely what I got up to and not indicative of costs for others.

Tips and tricks to cut costs:

  • Remembers it’s near unlimited free food, drink, snacks and beer/wine at Google I/O so on a I/O day you shouldn’t need much else.
  • After researching flights, I discovered you can fly into San Francisco (SFO) or San Jose (SJC). SJC is closer but SFO is often cheaper. I did a fair bit of checking of different flight options to get the flights for £450. This is £200 cheaper than LHR to SJC
    • Also see if flying back on different day helps, I found that returning on the Sunday night saved £1000!!! Over flight on the Friday evening.
  • Book accommodation nearer to bus drop off locations i.e  Mountain view caltrain. This is so I could take advance of the free Google I/O buses.
  • Sharing AirBnb brought the accommodations costs down. Nearby hotels wanted $200 per night.
  • If you’re in a permanent role try to convince your employer to cover some of the costs in exchange for things like blog articles and knowledge transfer sessions.
  • If you’re independent contractors consider working the weekend to recover some lost earnings.
  • Monzo card for fee free payments in USD and ATM withdrawals (always pay in USD and don’t let the ATM/ePOS do the conversion)