What to Pack for Travel Blogging Conferences (Like TBEX, WITS, or IMM)

I’m fresh off my trip to the Women in Travel Summit in Milwaukee, WI last weekend – during which I missed the Travel & Words Conference in Salem, OR. I’ve been seeing photos from the Traverse event in London last weekend. This week is the next Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX) conference in Huntsville, AL, which I’m sad to miss because I’ll be cruising in Alaska…

If you haven’t guessed, it’s travel blog conference season!

I still remember my first travel blogging conference. In September of 2014, I boarded a plane to Cancun to attend my first TBEX North America as a guest of a company called Trippy. I had no idea what the conference was about. I had never heard of ‘speed networking,’ hadn’t looked at the schedule, and didn’t even know about the controversy that happened earlier that year when the Moon Palace resort was announced as the host.

Since that first blogging conference, I’ve attended three TBEX events, and just attended my first WITS. There are many more conferences I hope to attend someday, but I’m definitely familiar with how the events generally work.

If you’re anything like me, you might feel a bit lost heading into your first travel blogging conference, and that’s okay. To be honest, here’s the reality:

  1. The conference is going to fly by. You’ll meet amazing people, hear inspiring talks, and before you know it, your blogging to-do list will be a mile long and the weekend will be over!
  2. It’s still a conference, even if it’s a cool destination. For many bloggers, the perk of conferences in the pre- or post-conference tours. If you attend those and slack on the networking opportunities, you won’t get the full, valuable experience of the conference.
  3. You’re not the top blogger there – but you’re also not on the bottom. Unless you haven’t started a blog yet, in which case you should read this article I wrote about blogging tools, and wait until next year to attend a conference!

If you are attending TBEX or another blogging conference, you might wonder what to pack too. It’s travel – which is great – but it’s also definitely work. Here’s a quick packing list to get you through the weekend.

What to Pack for TBEX – and Other Travel Blog Conferences:

For a travel blogging conference, you need the right mix of comfortable travel clothes, business casual clothes for making a good impression, and party clothes. Because there are always parties!

Breaking it down:

  • My standard recommendations for travel: trouser leggings and tank tops. They mix and match and go with everything and are perfect for the plane. Assume these will be on every packing list ever!
  • blazer or suit jacket. You need a nice jacket you can throw over a casual outfit to make it more professional, and a statement blazer always does the trick.
  • scarf and sunglasses. I never travel without these two items, and don’t advise anyone else too. You can even opt for a multi-function item like the Chrysalis Cardigan by Encircled which can be a scarf or hood or cardigan or dress!
  • A proper dress for networking happy hours or going out on the town in the host city. Most host cities like to throw a little party to welcome travel bloggers, and you need something which transitions well from meeting potential blog partners to enjoying the local fare and nightlife.
  • chic jacket that you can travel in, which also gives you layers for chilly evenings but still looks great. You should have one of these in your wardrobe anyway!
  • cute swimsuit because every conference is hosted near a hotel with a pool!
  • A classic, professional black tote to carry your computer or notebook in (for taking notes) and where you can stash business cards to give out or collect.
  • Casual, comfortable flats (like Tieks!) for the daytime, and casual heels for the nighttime. No need for stilettos – you’re still technically here for ‘work,’ even if it’s only on your blog!

A Note on Color and Personal Branding

You may notice my packing list pin had a lot of teal in it. Funny that’s pretty similar to the primary color on my blog, right? I regularly wear my primary blog color to conferences, because it’s a color I love and which associates me and my blog in people’s minds.

Speaking at WITS

Speaking at WITS last weekend – notice my ‘valise green’ skirt? Photo by @GlobalETA.

I have two ‘valise green’ dresses, a skirt, and my business cards have the color in them too. I’d highly recommend finding some way to ‘brand’ yourself during a travel blogging conference, to help yourself stand out in other people’s minds. (A less bright option might be getting a t-shirt made with your blog logo on them!)

And that’s it! Have a great time, and good luck making connections for your blog and business.

P.S. Don’t forget your business cards – I always seem to!

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