Tips for attending a Travel Blogger conference

(Photo above taken by John O’Nolan at the TBU11 Conference)

In no way am I a veteran of travel blogger conferences or even blogger conferences in general however I have attended a couple so I think these tips might be very useful for the first timer but also may be good as a refresher for others.

On June 11th I will be attending my second TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada as will 550 or so other travel bloggers, vloggers, joggers, podcasters, PR reps etc. (Jogger I learned at TBU is the new word for a journalist that blogs.) The most important tip is to have fun which won’t be hard to do at all and here are a few more:

1) NETWORK – An obvious tip, this is probably the main reason you are going to the conference aside from finally meeting IRL twitter friends and putting names to faces.

  • If you have yet to get a business card with your name, website and email (at minimum) listed on it, run to your local office supply store now and get some printed up or at least buy business card paper and print your own, its better to have dodgy cards then no cards at all.
  • Go to the parties, even if you aren’t a drinker or partier at least show up for the first part of the party and you won’t miss out. Work the crowd, mingle and move around – if you stay in a little clique of people you risk the danger of not meeting that one PR rep with a trip that has your name all over it.

2) Be on time and don’t waste time – Definitely show up early on the first day of the conference, this is a great time to mingle but also hear important information that you might need to know later on. Fashionably late is acceptable to the parties however.

  • I also suggest you try not to waste people’s time. I am all for people asking questions and getting a discussion going during a presentation but think about your question before you ask it and think if it might be something better saved for later when you can ask the presenter in person. That way it saves us all from having a talk go to long causing the next presentation to be rushed and us missing important info, like the SEO topic at TBEX last year that was unfortunately rushed. At the same time I say this though please ask questions because I bet we all want to ask them as well and hear the answers.
  • Another good way to get a question answered about a presentation that you are attending is to tweet out the question with the conference hashtag and you are sure to have your answer in minutes.

3) Don’t forget to use the conference hashtag – For TBEX as you all know (or now you know) it is both #TBEX and #TBEX11 .

  • Using the hashtag # can help you get questions answered about things happening at the conference quicker. It allows you see the interesting things people have to say about the conference but also allows you to connect with other people that you might not know yet that are at the conference. Also it lets people who were unable to attend join in or follow along.
  • If you are wondering what a hashtag is then that means you probably aren’t on twitter yet and I suggest you sign up before the conference otherwise you could get left in the dust or miss out on something extremely important like where the after after after party is.

4) Introduce yourself to people – Some of us have our faces plastered over everything we do online (like me in my videos) but others use their logos for their gravatars.

  • Even though you might exchange tweets or comment on someones blog often when you walk up to them and say “Hey!!” please add your name or give your card right away to avoid being met with a blank stare or a fake “Oh Hey!!” right back at you.
  • Also don’t be afraid to go up and talk to people. If you catch the eye of someone you think you know and they just give you a blank stare its because they just don’t recognize you, don’t think its because they are rude. Trust me everyone is there to meet everyone else.

5) Take notes – but also know that often if a presenter has a slide show / power point presentation included in their talk that most likely they will have this available online after the presentation for your benefit. So don’t stress out about missing info. There will also be dozens of  conference ( TBEX ) re-cap articles on everyone’s blogs for weeks afterwards.

6) The scheduled event parties will not be the only parties taking place. Recently while attending the TBU conference (Travel Bloggers Unite) in Manchester, England there was many an after party in a presenters apartment which is now affectionately known as Club 91. At TBEX this year Chris Christensen and Gary Arndt are hosting their own get together Friday afternoon for their podcast and Jeannie Mark aka Nomadic Chick is arranging one for Thursday called the Pre-TBEX Mashup 6pm to 10pm at the Dockside Restaurant and there is also talk of a  Mexican restaurant meet up arranged by Vagabond3 possibly on the Sunday June 12th. Those are just a few of many that will pop up at this years TBEX.

Those are the most important tips that stick out in my mind, please let me know if you think I missed something or you would like to add to the list. Don’t forget to have fun and I hope to see you all there! :)

~Cailin

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    Kristin
    June 7, 2011 at 12:40 am

    Great post! Great advice! I hope to see you at #TBEX :)

  • Reply
    Ric Garrido
    May 31, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    Good post. Seriously, get the business cards printed up. Napkins get drink rings and blown noses or emergency after-party toilet paper in the bushes.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      June 6, 2011 at 2:59 am

      hahaha so true Ric!
      Glad you enjoyed it :)

  • Reply
    Annie
    May 27, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    I’m nervous too but really excited to finally meet people, these are great tips for a first-timer! See you there!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      June 6, 2011 at 2:59 am

      Thanks Annie, excited to see you there, glad I could help! :)

  • Reply
    suki
    May 27, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    hope i’m not too shy to meet people. :) hope to meet you at TBEX.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      June 6, 2011 at 2:59 am

      I hope you won’t be too shy either! See you there! :)

  • Reply
    RenegadePilgrim
    May 27, 2011 at 1:08 am

    There is also going to be a gathering on Saturday evening for LGBT bloggers. Details to follow soon!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      June 6, 2011 at 2:58 am

      good to know! thanks! :)

  • Reply
    Don Faust
    May 26, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    I guess Chris and I will see you there then! I’m sure I will remember your face from your videos, but #4 is a big tip so you don’t get left in that “Oh hey!” moment. Chris is driving from Seattle – not sure if I am hopping the party train from Seattle – apparently, there is a group doing that.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 27, 2011 at 1:20 am

      Excited to see you and Chris there! :)
      I heard there was a Seattle party bus maybe, I’m kind of jealous! haha

  • Reply
    Alouise
    May 26, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Great tips. I’m a little nervous, but mostly exciting for my first travel blgo conference. Never really thought about business cards. Ha can you tell networking isn’t a regular thing for me? Anyways I’m looking forward to meeting everyone in Vancouver. Should be a good time.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 27, 2011 at 1:19 am

      No need to be nervous but get yourself some business cards made right now!! :)

  • Reply
    Abby
    May 25, 2011 at 3:00 pm

    It won’t be the same without meeeeee!! Just kidding. Kind of. LOVE this photo of all of us! So wish I were going to Vancouver!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 26, 2011 at 1:36 am

      It won’t be the same without you Abby! :(
      I am in love with that photo too, I made it the background image on my computer and ipad hahaha
      I will see you in Vegas soon enough :)

  • Reply
    jade
    May 25, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    Great tips- I can’t describe how excited I am for TBEX! Organizing the Mexican Food meet-up now!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 26, 2011 at 1:35 am

      I’m so excited to meet you and Bob! and of course to eat delicious mexican food. You must come to the East Coast of Canada sometime and I can take you to have the best nachos of my life! :)

  • Reply
    Lori Henry
    May 25, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Fun advice! See you in Vancouver!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 26, 2011 at 1:34 am

      thanks Lori! Checking out your site now, jealous of your trip to Jordan! See you in Vancouver :)

  • Reply
    Christy @ Ordinary Traveler
    May 25, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Great tips! We won’t be there this year, but maybe we can make it to TBEX Prague!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 26, 2011 at 1:30 am

      Maybe I’ll see you two there Christy! :)

  • Reply
    Seattle Dredge
    May 24, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    ohh how I wish I was going! haha great tips, sounds like lots of fun :D

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 26, 2011 at 1:29 am

      @Seattle you should so come! Why won’t you be there? School? :(

  • Reply
    Ayngelina
    May 24, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Thank you for reminding people of #4, my nightmare is someone coming up to me that I talk to all the time but cannot place their name to their blog.

    I will be wearing a pig or bacon shirt so people know who I am.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 26, 2011 at 1:29 am

      hahaha thats a good way to be recognized Ayngelina, I doubt you will have any problems though :)

  • Reply
    Pete | Hecktic Travels
    May 24, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Great tips! So bummed that we will be missing TBEX Van and TBU Innsbruck… Hopefully we can catch the video feeds. We are definitely planning to make TBEX Prague. Hope to maybe meet you there!

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 24, 2011 at 11:29 am

      Bummer you guys won’t make it! But hopefully we will meet up somewhere, you never know I might just be at TBEX Prague :)

  • Reply
    Erick
    May 24, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Oh, dear. Is it that time again. I’m going to need a new liver.

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 24, 2011 at 11:28 am

      Candice and I just spent the past weekend (all three nights) priming our livers for TBEX hahaha

  • Reply
    Colleen Setchell
    May 24, 2011 at 2:57 am

    Cool tips, thanks Cailin. Sounds like a hoot! I will be travelling in US this year so will miss it but will definitely keep tuned to Twitter and hope to make the next one…

    • Reply
      Cailin
      May 24, 2011 at 11:28 am

      Safe travels Colleen! :) There are more and more of these confernces popping up every day it seems. There is a TBU conference in Austria at the end of August and there is another TBEX conference in Prague soon at some point too :)

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