Are you a digital nomad looking for any chance to travel and write?
Or maybe you write travel guides about your hometown.
Or you run your own travel blog.
Whatever your niche and style, there’s one thing that can benefit all travel writers: Travel writing conferences.
First of all, what travel writer doesn’t want to fly to a far-off city to learn more about their craft? You’re killing two birds with one stone!
But there are countless other reasons to attend a travel writing conference. You can receive feedback from fellow writers. Listen to some of the top professionals in the industry. And make friends with fellow travel nerds.
Thinking about taking the leap? Here are some of the best conferences out there… and tips for how to choose which one to attend.
How to Choose the Best Travel Writing Conference for You
Before we identify some of the best travel writing conferences around the world, let’s be real for a second. You can find thousands of conferences with just one Google search.
These conferences could be about writing in general, only about travel or specifically about travel writing. They could focus on the international market, the area where you live or a specific region of the world. The options feel limitless.
How are you supposed to choose the one that’s right for you?
If this will be your first travel writing conference, one with a ton of people, lectures and events could be too overwhelming. But it depends on your personality!
If you want to blend in with the crowd, meet lots of fellow writers and pick and choose from a huge pool of talks, big conferences might be exactly what you’re looking for.
If you prefer to attend events that are more intimate, make friends in small groups, take advantage of every single lecture and even meet some speakers, then small conferences are the way to go.
Whichever option fits your personality, try to find a travel writing conference that makes sense for you and just put yourself out there.
The best way to start anything is just to try. You, as a traveler and travel writer, know that better than anyone!
Many travel writing conferences offer off-site events for people to interact, network and have some fun.
Not all of these events are officially organized through the conference, though. So it’s a good idea to join a Facebook group for attendees or to talk to people who’ve gone before.
Activities could range from dinner parties or happy hour exclusively for conference participants, unofficial lectures by interesting people in the travel industry or even side trips organized by companies that want to get closer to travel writers.
Sometimes these extra events can provide you with even better opportunities than the conference itself. Keep an eye out for them! Once you decide which activities appeal to you, you can narrow down your conference options.
People you know
If you already have friends in the travel industry, it’s time to hit them up and ask what they think about different conferences, if they know anyone going or if they’re personally attending.
The best way to get yourself out there is through a friend who’s already familiar with this environment and is able to show you around and introduce you to other people.
If you don’t have any friends in your niche, no worries! It’s time to activate your inner Sherlock Holmes and research previous attendees, what they’ve learned and whether they’re planning to go to the conference again.
In this case, use the internet to meet writers and network before the conference so you can find a few familiar faces while there.
Digital Nomads, Journalists, Freelancers: 5 Amazing Travel Writing Conferences
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Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX)
Since 2009, TBEX has been partnering up with incredible travel brands and destinations all over the globe, from North America to Europe to Asia. In 2018, the European conference was held in Ostrava, Czech Republic, and the North American event took place in Corning, New York.
Each year, TBEX transforms cities in Asia, Europe and North America into travel industry paradises for a few days while the events are being held.
The attendee profile is mainly focused on industry experts and influencers, making this conference a great place to make new friends from the travel niche, form partnerships and learn like never before.
The conference is sponsored by hundreds of brands, from British Airlines to WordPress. In conjunction with those partners, dozens of off-site activities are held before and after the conference. Make sure you attend to a few of them!
Conference dates: Any time between March and July (Europe) and around September (North America).
Ticket prices: Around 300 USD for travel bloggers and 900 USD for industry professionals. However, if you sign up early, your ticket could be cheaper.
Location: There’s a conference in a different European and North American city annually. TBEX occasionally occurs in Asia, but not every year.
Travel and Words Conference
Held by travel media and industry professionals, Travel and Words is a conference focused on the freelance travel writing world. That includes freelancers working for blogs, print media and marketing, among other fields.
Educating participants about using social media and online forums to market their travel brand is one of the conference’s main topics. So this event is a bit more geared toward the travel writer who works with editorial markets, from print to new media.
The Travel and Words Conference mostly looks at travel in Northwest America and Canada. There are plenty of opportunities for networking and professional development. You’ll gain advice from industry professionals and leave feeling inspired and empowered to share your stories.
Conference dates: April.
Ticket prices: Around 200 USD.
Location: Different cities around Washington.
Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference
The annual Book Passage Travel Writers & Photographers Conference focuses both on the craft and business of travel writing.
The organization is proud to say that their alumni have published books, articles and photos as direct results of the information and contacts from conferences. Intriguing, right?
Through workshops, panels and evening activities, Book Passage concentrates on providing practical instruction for both beginners and experienced members of the travel industry. When you aren’t learning formally, you’ll have plenty of time to interact with fellow attendees
This four-day conference attracts participants from all over the United States in an informal, fun environment that will help you improve your craft while making longtime friends and business partners.
Conference dates: Around August.
Ticket prices: Around 600 USD. It’s a little cheaper if you buy tickets for the upcoming August conference before January 1st.
Location: All over North America. The location changes yearly.
Society of American Travel Writers Convention
The Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) Convention is one of the most renowned travel writing conferences out there.
The association is made up of 1,100 writers, photographers, editors, video content producers, website and blog owners, public relations experts and representatives from the hospitality industry. Naturally, all these specialists are from the United States and Canada.
Since 1955, SATW has produced numerous professionals who work with print, digital and even broadcast platforms in the travel industry. Are you looking for a conference full of experts in the field? Here’s your place, my friend.
The 2018 SATW Convention took place in Barbados, a dream destination for travel aficionados. Who knows what the next amazing location will be!
The 2018 Convention held lectures about everything from going on press trips to using WordPress to marketing with Pinterest. It’s the perfect conference if you’re looking for ways to stretch yourself as a travel writer.
Conference dates: Around September.
Ticket prices: 2018 fees were 670 USD for active SATW members and 1,270 USD for associate members (people who work in public relations in the travel industry). If you weren’t a member but were a guest, the price was 1,570 USD.
Tickets include the hotel, meals, access to the conference and special meetings over the duration of the conference, which usually lasts four days.
Location: All over the world. The location changes every year.
NATJA – North American Travel Journalists Association Conference
The North American Travel Journalists Association was founded in 1991, and it’s one of the largest professional associations of travel experts out there.
Their annual conference targets travel writers covering North America, and it’s an ideal place to network with experts in this niche.
At this conference, you’ll learn extensively about developing as a professional writer, all while enjoying the exciting city they choose as the conference location.
The conference gathers over 100 travel writers and industry publicists. If this sounds like your cup of tea, go get your ticket! NATJA places a heavy emphasis on connecting people within the industry and focuses on networking above all else.
Conference dates: Around May.
Ticket prices: Around 500 USD.
Tickets include hotel accommodation, scheduled meals, afternoon tours and access to the conference.
Location: All over North America. The location changes annually.
Going to a travel writing conference is one of the best ways to dive deep into an industry you love and improve your craft. Besides concentrating on your personal growth, conferences can connect you with people who are doing the same things you are and expand your business as a travel writer.
Which of these conferences seems like your perfect match?
Debbie Corrano is a digital strategist and writer. She works remotely while traveling the world full-time with her two dogs. Over the past few years, Debbie has lived in more than 10 countries, learned a few languages and worked with dozens of agencies and brands.