Over the weekend, I attended my first ever travel blogging conference, the Women in Travel Summit (WITS)! It was so inspiring to be surrounded by so many talented women who loved the same things I did. I got to hear two amazing keynotes, went to a bunch of super useful sessions, and met some fellow bloggers that I know I’ll be friends with for a long time.
I also learned a lot, and will definitely do a few things differently next year! I’m sharing those lessons I learned here, in case anyone else is thinking of attending a travel and/or blogging conference.
1. Print business cards
Even if your blog is brand new, when you meet people at a conference, they’re going to want to trade business cards. I recommend including your blog link, your email, and all your social handles. A picture is also really helpful, so that they can remember your face along with your name!
2. Go to the sessions that interest you
Its easy to stick by the friends you’ve either just made or knew before, but attending the sessions you find most interesting/ the ones that are most likely to be useful will give you a chance to learn even more and meet some more people! Plus, if you split up, you can compare notes with your friends after! On that note, be sure to bring a pen and paper to take notes, electronics die people (especially if they’re being used all day!) and sometimes there isn’t anywhere to charge up your devices.
3. Dress to (comfortably) impress
Depending on the vibe of your conference, a casual business casual is probably a good fit. Think start up chic. I wore jeans the first day, and although I loved having the pockets, they also started to dig in after a day of sitting. I went with a dress on the second day and was infinitely more comfortable.
4. Prepare for the over-stimulation
What do I mean by this? Conferences tend to pack a lot into a short amount of time. everything from the networking to the swag bag. If you can give yourself a day after to unpack, sort, and follow up with all the people you’ve met, do it. Going straight back to work means that my room looks like a storm went through it, and I’m only just starting to email the people I met.
5. Get social!
What I mean here, get on the hashtag that the conference has, and start talking to people! This is important both before the conference as well as during the conference. I used snapchat A LOT (you can follow me there too, my username is ‘hellomegano’) and also was all over Twitter. Social media allows you to build those relationships before you arrive, and then expand them in person!
6. Have fun!
Whether you’re a part time blogger like me, or if you’re a full-time blogger, these conference should still be fun. Realize the privilege you have to attend a gathering of like minded souls, and enjoy the ride! Use what you learn, because as Hey Nadine says, ‘if you don’t use what you learn within a week of being here, it will be a waste.’
What would you want to learn about if you attended a blogging or travel conference?