Travel writing conferences and tradeshows are one of the best ways to further your career as a travel writer. Not only can you get practical tips to improve your skills, but you’ll also make valuable connections with other writers and editors who may want to work with you in the future. While TBEX – or the Travel Blog Exchange – may be one of the events getting the most buzz from bloggers right now, it’s not the only option; there are several other conference to consider depending on what you want to gain and what type of travel writing you do.

If you’re a blogger looking to improve your writing skills, network with other bloggers and learn about the nitty-gritty of running a blog (things like SEO and monetization), TBEX is a great choice. If you’re more concerned with honing your writing skills and want to get some face time with the experts, attending the Book Passage Conference or Rolf Potts’ Paris Writing Workshop might be a better option. And if you’re more interested in covering the industry side of things or want to see what’s new in the world of travel, PhoCusWright or a tradeshow like the LA Times Travel Show might be ideal for you.

No matter which event you choose, make sure you get the most out of it by going in with a plan. Though these events have a largely social component, it’s important to remember this is a professional opportunity and treat it as such. You should go in with a list of people you want to meet and a brief “elevator pitch” that explains who you are and what you do. For example, if you’re interested in writing for BootsnAll, a quick intro about your writing experience is and what types of travel/destinations you can cover could land you an article assignment, or at least the invitation to talk more about the idea. This makes a much better impression than fumbling for your words as you try to come up with a concise statement on the spot.

For more, check out our article on how to make the most out of travel writing conferences to better prepare. And if you can’t attend the conference of your choice this year, take heart that there are more ways to reap the benefits even if you can’t be there in person. Follow the conference hashtag on twitter to get snippets of wisdom from the presentations, watch the event’s livestream if it has one, and stayed tuned for conference wrap-ups like our post on lessons from TBEX. After most conferences, the organizers and attendees will post their thoughts, ensuring that you can learn even if you can’t be there in person.

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