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Riviera dev work hard, travel hard

Riviera dev work hard, travel hard

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Want to make the most out of your vacations? Us too! The first time we went on holidays with my wife, we miserably failed to organize it. We lacked information, plans and plan B. We wasted so much time, we almost missed some reservations, we never ever wanted to live through the same experience again.

Since then we developed and fine-tuned our techniques not just to find great quality/price accommodations, but to find cheap and at the same time great local excursions, to avoid tourist traps and to plan our days so that we can make the most out of them always keeping some options open just in case something goes wrong or we just simply finish a bit quicker than expected.

This might sound exaggerated, but even according to those friends and colleagues who visited the same places as we did, planning vacations as we do works pretty well!

Come to my presentation if you never thought that you can enjoy a Michelin starred lunch in Tokyo just for about 10 Euros!

Want to make the most out of your vacations? Us too! The first time we went on holidays with my wife, we miserably failed to organize it. We lacked information, plans and plan B. We wasted so much time, we almost missed some reservations, we never ever wanted to live through the same experience again.

Since then we developed and fine-tuned our techniques not just to find great quality/price accommodations, but to find cheap and at the same time great local excursions, to avoid tourist traps and to plan our days so that we can make the most out of them always keeping some options open just in case something goes wrong or we just simply finish a bit quicker than expected.

This might sound exaggerated, but even according to those friends and colleagues who visited the same places as we did, planning vacations as we do works pretty well!

Come to my presentation if you never thought that you can enjoy a Michelin starred lunch in Tokyo just for about 10 Euros!

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Riviera dev work hard, travel hard

  1. 1. Work hard, travel hard Gain everlasting experiences each time you travel @SandorDargo 17th May 2018, RivieraDEV
  2. 2. Agenda Who am I? How we used to travel How we progressed Showcase(s)
  3. 3. Who am I Sándor DARGÓ Software developer in Amadeus Obsessed clean coder Enthusiastic blogger http://sandordargo.com Passionate traveller Happy father of two
  4. 4. How I used to travel Beach holidays with some organized day tours as a kid The same open university every summer with friends Alone? Never, but I planned to...
  5. 5. How my wife used to travel Same beach every year in Bulgaria Cheapest organised travel in Turkey Became a budget traveller at university
  6. 6. London - Our first common trip Organisational nightmare Unprepared Starved Budget inferno
  7. 7. Paris - The other extreme Overprepared Well-fed Reasonable budget Extremely tired
  8. 8. Which style do you prefer? Wandering around in London vs Purposeful Week in Paris? Ignore the time it takes to organize it
  9. 9. Which style was better for us? Paris! - More tiring - Less frustrating - Seen so much - Feeling accomplished Still not ideal, had to find the golden mean
  10. 10. How to organise your holidays without losing up all your time, yet leaving almost no (bad) surprises
  11. 11. Decide where you want to go Have a few places in mind Check dates, routes, fares, hotel rooms, but not in detail Pick one, 3-6 months in advance
  12. 12. Get familiar with your destination Search & read without too much detail Articles Guides Free itineraries Create a map on MyMaps
  13. 13. Look for a place to stay at Check some hotel booking sites Make a map based search too Look for free cancellation & feel free to book many Set alarms to cancel extra rooms Check Mummy Sherpa’s blog for more info
  14. 14. Fill your calendar Review What you find interesting What is in your budget What is too long What is too far Don’t mind if it’s too much - for the moment Know you needs and habits
  15. 15. Deep planning - When? How? How much? Enrich your calendar with relevant information Have alternatives Learn to skim sources quickly Contact places for information in advance Check for local extremes
  16. 16. Cancel the excess and book the rest Cancel the unnecessary hotels Book your car Off season -> at the end. Price goes down.. High season -> in the beginning. Price goes up.
  17. 17. Pack your stuff Choose your suitcases wisely Pack wisely, pay attention to differences in hand luggage sizes. Think about how your luggage will change on the go Don’t overcommit. It’s not that important who you’ll look like at the hotel. Have checklists!
  18. 18. Some useful tips Have a data pack! Prepare your mobile with apps! But print a few docs! Don’t assume, read! Learn a few words! Be flexible when you think! Your time is expensive! Ask. KISS! Use alternative communication.
  19. 19. Showcase 1 - Japan
  20. 20. Japan - Decide where to go Wanted to go to the Far-East Looked for multi-destination trips: HKK + Philippines; Japan; Vietnam Possibly to include another city Booked route: NCE - IST - KIX - NRT - IST - NCE Searched for hotels, seen that won’t make Kyoto as a base. Too expensive….
  21. 21. Japan - Get familiar with your destination Read some articles, talked to knowledgeable friends Confirmed how to book the transportation Learnt to use their timetable
  22. 22. Japan - Look for a place to stay at Booked the hotels, multiples ones Sometimes at different parts of the city
  23. 23. Japan - First problem to solve Cancelled route by airline -> Cancelled ticket Rebooked with another airline with a break in Dubai Swapped the order of visit in Japan
  24. 24. Japan - Fill your calendar and deep planning Slowly but iteratively updated the calendar with info… Identified the Local extreme: cheap but high quality food Michelin star restaurants Green tea making Tea ceremony Beer factory visit
  25. 25. Japan - Second problem Our room in Osaka cancelled No proper replacement offered Booked a studio on AirBnb - partly free cancellation
  26. 26. Japan - Cancel the excess and book the rest Cancelled everything we had to Ordered the JR passes Just-In-Time Decided what to suitcases, backpacks we could carry Get enough cash Installed some useful apps Enjoyed it
  27. 27. Work hard, travel hard Gain everlasting experiences each time you travel @SandorDargo 17th May 2018, RivieraDEV
  28. 28. Showcase 2 - Portugal / Hungary
  29. 29. Portugal / Hungary - The decision Checked what we would be interested in before the second baby Portugal - Lisbon Portugal - Faro Napoli Sicily
  30. 30. Portugal / Hungary - Flight tickets Buy tickets with miles, miles and cash Checking car rentals
  31. 31. Portugal / Hungary - Explore your destination Populating the map Checking which city to use as a base Book hotels
  32. 32. Portugal / Hungary - Get a car and fill the calendar Book the car Decided which city to take each day Getting some information for some stays
  33. 33. Portugal / Hungary - Deep planning Found a good deal, non-refundable Cancel all the rest just on time Expand each day, clean up agendas
  34. 34. Portugal / Hungary - Hardcore packing How to pack? More difficult - as low cost Car seat needed Take into account each kilos and the pockets +2 kilos before next flight (diapers and child food)
  35. 35. Conclusion Know what you want (everything is OK) Pay for the planning? Be flexible Prepare One thing at a time Be agile, do it iteratively it’s less overwhelming
  36. 36. Work hard, travel hard Gain everlasting experiences each time you travel @SandorDargo 17th May 2018, RivieraDEV

Editor's Notes

  • Aim of the presentation for the audience:
    Get affirmed that you are not alone “overplanning” your vacations
    Provide some good pieces of advice
    Show how you do not want to travel

    My aim:
    Learn from the audience some of their best practices
  • The Stoics on passion:
    The disposition to make a judgment disobedient to reason is the psychic disturbance the Stoics called passion (pathos). Since passion is an impulse (a movement of the soul) which is excessive and contrary to reason, it is irrational and contrary to nature.
  • Beach holidays with parents. Usually “last minute ones”.
    Physical workers and they wanted to rest.

    The family of a friend went on organized tours. They rather wanted to be active. That costs more money.

    Question:
    Which one do you prefer? Sitting in the bus and get out for a couple of hours without freedom or sitting on the beach?
    I prefer to organize my own ones.

    No vacation alone, I planned to go Tuscany, but I met my wife and went to London with her. She already had some arrangements, I only had plans.
  • My father-in-law is an author and got the same apartment from the writer’s association through application

    Internships and Erasmus. Coming from the former Eastern block meant less scolarship than the Westerns got -> had to keep on budget.
  • Organisational nightmare:
    Had a list what we wanted to see, but it was poorly scheduled, if it was at all.
    We had detailed visits in some district, like in Notting Hill, where we skipped nothing. But missed some important items, like Tate Modern completely.
    Unpreparedness
    Getting to the city the first night (from Luton): Question? How do you go from Luton to the city? (don’t use to bus all the way to Victoria…)
    Waking up late
    Left home around 11AM
    Museums closed early
    Starvation
    No food what we wanted when we wanted. Didn’t check places in advance (no cheap roaming back in 2011)
    Budget inferno:
    Buying tickets one by one instead of London Card (this also meant longer queueing as card holders usually have fast lanes)
    Question: Anyone here who recognises him- or herself?
  • Lot of planning (timings, geographic planning)
    Left home by 8AM (Bd Peripherique…)
    Knew areas and places to look for food, had some coupons and had the Paris Card, made an “Navigo”/“Oyster” card - we had the ID photos for it
    At the end, met a friend who had been living in Paris for 7 years: surprised and horrified by what we saw.
  • QUESTION to the audience? Which one you like more? London, Paris, Both, Neither?

    I’m a developer. A clean coder. I like ORDER. Obviously Paris is my answer.
  • Anthony Bourdain says that overplanning kills vacations. I disagree. Overcommitment might be a problem. No planning -> surprised that you actually found anything. Overplanning -> surprised by the people who you met
    Hosted friends who didn’t even leave the apartment for the day because they were unprepared and indecisive. Be prepared -> fewer decisions needed
    Paris was still not ideal, needed a balance. (I complained a lot about being tired)
  • I don’t give rules. I give a framework, I give some timelines, I share my experiences

    This is practical for holidays from of a few days up to 2-3 weeks.

    Beyond that, probably would do something else, plan from week-to-week

  • How to book a cheap:: http://mummysherpa.com/blog/2018/03/09/book-cheap-with-a-toddler

    You should know what you want, so you don’t have to discover the whole map each time! You know where you want to go!
    Know your budget too!
  • Why MyMaps?
    You can share it
    Customize it
    App and browser version too
    Add notes...

    MyMaps with a systematic approach (use icons, colours, layers)
  • Best room booking sites: Hotels.com, Booking.com, Airbnb if necessary (AirBnb doesn’t provide FULL free cancellation, you don’t get back some transaction fees)

    Use map based search on Hotels.com

    Worth to check some aggregating sites like Trivago

    Comments for free cancellation:
    - Check again later on the same place
    - Why not cancelling it and go prepaid
    - Book multiple ones if you are not sure yet at different places either

    Take into account your budget, the prices and the map you created

    Already seen people selling rooms that they forgot to cancel - easy to avoid it if you are organized

  • Why to use a calendar
    Can be shared with your travel partner
    Can be synched to your phone
    Can be enriched with links, desciptions
    Easy to write a diary afterwards, tag your pics, etc

    What is in your budget - if a personal tea ceremony is too expensive (look for a cheaper option) just don’t include it. You don’t want to mourne, you want to feel good
    What is too long - standing hours at Wimbledon hoping for a free ticket is too long, just don’t go. You might have some luck, but more probably you’ll waste a couple of hours
    What is too far & risky - Fuji if there is any chance of clouds…

    You cannot have it all but a too dense calendar is fine for the moment. It’s okay to have multiple entries at the same time, but it’s not okay to assign too short time slots.

    Know you needs and habits!
    How much time you need for lunch...
    How much time you need in a museum...
  • Look for relevant information:
    Links for description
    Summary on most important details
    How you will get there, have some bus numbers if needed
    Have some notes translated (Especially when travel to countries with completely different languages/alphabets)

    Have alternatives in case of:
    Bad weather
    Reconstruction
    Closed
    Food needed

    To grab lunch is not enough:
    Where to grab it?
    For how much?
    If you know that it’s a foody neighbourhood, it’s okay to have a shallow plan. If not, check in advance, especially if the program is packed.
    E.g. Lisbon, Belem. We knew which supermarket to go to. In the end, we chose on another, that was more on the way and.. But we didn’t have to spend extra time. Which time is more precious the one you have tonight or the one you spend in another city?

    Have multiple sources
    Journalism: One source means you have no information.
    Recent problems I encountered was due to one source of info - (Checked Google search result, without opening links)

    There are people who just share their experiences on their blogs. It’s fine. But it’s about themselves. It’s for them. It’s a public diary, not so useful for you.
    There are other people who in the meanwhile want to help their fellow travellers. Look for them:
    Good source of info for timings, alternatives, real life experiences (Sintra, 10 mins by bus every 20 mins, one blog says to walk, 300 metres)
    Thailand, based on blog we knew how to get to floating market cheap
    Contact places for info (how to get there, opening hours) in advance (Thailand, tiger place - that tiger place didn’t add drugs to tigers, so they were dangerous - mention it!)
    Check for local extremes. If you read enough, you’ll know what to look for:
    Food in Japan (michelin star for ~10 Euros per person).
    Experiences in Thailand (tour guides for example)
    BMW in Portugal, sandwiches :P
    Counter example: don’t eat sea fish in Hungary, but you can get good alcohol for low price :) Mid/high quality restos are comparatively cheap.
  • If you go in high-season, book it before. As we are frugal and prefer to go off-season, we keep car bookings at the end.
    Have your own GPS, don’t pay for it. Bring your childseat. Read and search!

    Check the insurance. You can lose a lot of money there - cheaper companies sometimes end up being more expensive.

  • Choose wisely your suitcases. City-hopping with public transport, or just taxi from/to airport?

    Weigh everything!

    Pack wisely, pay attention to differences in hand luggage sizes.

    Show an example how to pack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LIk8v__Osm8

    Think about what you can buy, what you can buy cheaper what is that you need definitely from home.

    Don’t overcommit. It’s not that important who you’ll look like at the hotel.

    Have clothes that are light, but warm, if needed. Otherwise if summer, weight is not that important.

    Have a checklist - it can be country specific (adapters, etc)

  • Necessary apps. Google map, google translate, picture translate, gps…
    Which is more expensive? Hotel in city center or a cheaper place in the outskirts + public transportation?
    Fast-track tickets for museums!
    Don’t rely on technology, have some printed stuff
    Ask. Everywhere. Keep is stupid simple. Alternative communication. Show pics.
  • Insert some pics
  • Swapped order of visit in Japan, meant that we didn’t have to rebook all the hotels.
  • Used gourmet blogs in different languages
    Used the Michelin guide
    Important to prepare in advance, because there are tons of places everywhere and by sheer luck, you won’t find the hidden gems
  • Decided to go to a combined one South + Lisbon + Hungary to save a ticket and some time
  • This meant having separate PNRs. You might not seat next to each other in EU (US it is a must with babies). So you pay…

    Car rentals, really cheap as out of season in a not so expensive country
  • Lot of options in the South to use as a base, but Faro is suboptimal as it is in quite in the east.
    Time vs city niceness when we chose.
    Booked multiple ones in the first turn, so decision can be made later based on additional data - free cancellation!

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