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Hmmmm, so are travel blogging conferences worth it? I hate to say it, but determining whether or not travel blogging conferences are worth your energy highly depends on you and your blog.
I’m sorry for the complete and total non-answer. However, each travel blogger is different. Not only as far as their blogs are concerned either. We all have unique priorities concerning money and vacation time. Maybe travel blogging conferences don’t fit in your schedule.
So, at the end of the day, your own goals determine whether or not you should attend a travel blogging conference.
My blog is a little more than three years old (oh my god), and so far I have attended TBEX in Stockholm, Bloghouse Philadelphia, and Women’s Travel Fest in New York City. Which translates into roughly one travel blogging conference per year.
When I created Blond Wayfarer in May 2015, I knew I wanted my blog to eventually transform into a business which meant investing into some professional development. Sure, I could’ve created a business on my own, but I would have floundered big time. Knowledge is power in this industry. I love blogging but needed help.
In this post, my aim is to break down the pros and cons of going to travel blogging conferences to help you make an informed decision. If you decide to go for it, perhaps I’ll see you at a conference soon, haha.
Pros of Attending Travel Blogging Conferences
As someone who’s attended a few travel blogging conferences, I do think they’re worthy of both your time and energy (again, depending on what your goals are). Personally, I don’t regret spending money on any of the conferences I’ve attended so far. To be blunt, I probably would have given up travel blogging if I hadn’t bothered going to at least one event. So, yeah, over all I’d recommend going to a conference and seeing how you like the experience.
So what are the pros? Keep reading.
1. The Connections You Make are Priceless
Honestly, the in-person connections are the main reasons why travel blogging conferences are worth it. I love collaborating with other content creators as well as professionals in the industry. Meeting people face-to-face is wonderful. I have made some very good friends at these conferences.
And let’s face it: blogging is a lonely activity. You sit at your computer, edit photos, and write two thousand word posts. Travel blogging conferences allow you to break free from the internet and meet other people who have the same passions you do. It’s liberating.
2. You Learn How to Improve Your Business
If you’re serious about creating an online business, then you need to learn all the tips and tricks for achieving success. It’s super hard to build a thriving blog without the help of either online courses or conferences. I’m not saying that to demean you. I’m sure you’re a very intelligent person. But I would still be hopelessly lost if I didn’t invest in outside help. At blogging conferences, I have learned how to use SEO to my advantage, pitch travel brands and tourism boards, create an editorial calendar, and so much more!
3. You Also Transform into a Better Traveler
At the end of the day, we’re all drawn into this space, because we love to travel the world. It’s the mission (for lack of a better word) that binds us together. At travel blogging conferences, you don’t only learn how to build a business, but you’re also educated on ways to improve as a person. For example, you learn how to be a more sustainable traveler or ways to implement methods to make the travel industry (as a whole) a more welcoming place for people of all races, religions, and genders. I feel like I am far more open-minded thanks to travel blogging conferences.
Cons of Attending Travel Blogging Conferences
Now “all that glitters is not gold” and unfortunately there are some downsides to attending travel blogging conferences. I want to give a “fair” view in this post so you can make the best possible decision. So here are the cons.
1. Only Offered at Certain Times of the Year
Argh, probably the most frustrating aspects of going to a conference are the dates. If you can’t get off work a certain week, you are out of luck. Gotta wait til next year.
I will use myself as an example. I’m a full time school teacher so unfortunately I am in a very limited position when it comes to attending travel conferences. Most conferences don’t happen over school holidays unless they’re scheduled for July or August. Poor Rachel, right?
A lot of other travel bloggers are in similar situations, where they simply cannot get off work to attend a conference. It stinks, but it’s reality.
Honestly, I really love TravelCon’s idea of having virtual tickets available for people who can’t manage to fly across the country (or world) to attend a conference. The virtual ticket is also more affordable. Which leads me to my next point about travel blogging conferences …
2. The Price of a Ticket Can Be Expensive
Eeeek, time for your bank account to weep several times over. The ticket for a conference usually costs close to $300. You better be sure about attending too, because normally there are no refunds. And if the conference is based in a pricey destination? Get ready to fork over big bucks for accommodation.
If you’re lucky and know another attendee, then you can jointly lower costs and split a hotel room. I know some travel bloggers band together and rent apartments, which significantly helps.
Now you get lucky with tickets. For example, I know Women in Travel Summit allows volunteers to attend for free.
3. You May Be “Too Advanced” for Some Conferences
Honestly, if you’ve blogged for years and years, you might come across some conferences that have too many lectures aimed at beginners. For example, at this point, I know how to create a travel blog. So if a lot of speakers talk about the creation process, I feel a bit duped and left out.
How can you avoid this problem? Well some travel blogging conferences have a schedule posted in advance. Read it prior to booking a ticket.
Should I Attend Travel Blogging Conferences?
Again, it entirely depends on your personal goals! Ultimately here’s what I think about it.
If your blog is strictly a hobby, then it may not be worth the money to attend a travel blogging conference, which is perfectly okay! Hobby blogs are awesome. You might also not have the money to go to a conference, which is also just fine. You’re not any “less” of a travel blogger, because you can’t go to events.
However, if you want to transition your blog into a business, then going to a travel blogging conference is in your best interests. As I’ve said, I don’t think I would have been as successful as I am now without travel blogging conferences. I have met so many amazing people who I know are in my corner. They keep me going when I want to quit blogging. Also since I invested money into my site, I am more likely to keep working hard on it.
The choice to “go or not to go” is yours at the end of the day.
Read More: 8 Things I Wish I Knew About Travel Blogging
What Travel Blogging Conferences are Available?
Luckily, many travel blogging conferences are available to you. You ought to find one that perfectly fits your professional needs. I listed some of the most popular options here. However, many more exist! The world is your oyster!
TBEX is one of the biggest and oldest travel blogging conferences on the scene. These conferences are hosted in North America and Europe once a year with occasional conferences hosted in Asia.
2. Women in Travel Summit
Are you an adventurous woman who adores traveling? Then Women in Travel Summit, hosted by Wanderful, is created to fit all of your needs! A lot of my friends have raved about this event and claim it empowered them on a level that exceeded their blogs.
3. Women’s Travel Fest
What if you can’t attend Women in Travel Summit due to those pesky schedule conflicts? Then you might want to check the smaller and equally awesome Women’s Travel Fest. My experience at Women’s Travel Fest was invaluable. Not only did I learn a lot, but I felt stronger and more confident as a woman.
TravelCon is having it’s very first conference in Austin. The speakers are all incredible. There are sessions dedicated to bloggers of all levels. What I especially love about this conference is the option to buy a virtual ticket. Teachers love you for it, haha.
If you’re based in Europe, then Traverse is a good blogging conference to keep on your radar. Traverse organizes many social activities that allow you to connect with brands and other bloggers.
Finally intimate BlogHouse is a lot different from the crazy hustle inherent in busier and larger conferences. My own experience at BlogHouse Philadelphia was irreplaceable. BlogHouse is a small workshop where you “take your blog to the next level.” You’re assigned a mentor who helps you develop your vision and thus create a stronger website. Many of the top travel bloggers have attended BlogHouse.
Have you ever attended a travel blogging conference? Did you think it was worth the cost? Share your thoughts in the comments.