Register for TBEX Travel Writing Workshop at TBEX Asia 2015

Don George headshot

Don George wrote the book on travel writing. Literally. And as the co-founder and chairman of the acclaimed Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference, he knows a thing or two about teaching travel writing.

Don is returning to TBEX to teach this small group travel writing workshop, and we open registration for it today.

During the workshop, Don  will focus on the art and craft of travel writing: how to find, shape and build a successful travel story. You’ll learn what can make your travel story stand out from the crowd.  He’ll cover some of the practicalities of being a travel writer in the field – what to do when you land in a place, how to move through it, how to process what are you looking for.

The workshop will be a mix of lectures and in-the-field writing exercises and discussion.

Don’s goal – and ours – is for you to come away from this workshop with a clear sense of your options for travel publishing, how to construct a compelling travel story, what it takes to break into different media and how to move from one level to the next, and how to apprehend and evoke a place most effectively as a travel writer.

This small group session is limited to a maximum of 10 participants, and is open to registered TBEX Asia 2015 attendees only. Add on workshop fee is $200.

Register for the Travel Writing Workshop at TBEX Asia 2015 here.


Calling Travel Bloggers: Let’s Bring E-Readers to Kenya

Worldreader in KenyaIf you’re a travel blogger, there’s one thing we know about you: You like to read and write about travel. We can alsoguess that you care about bringing books to those parts of the world where they may be few and far between.

That’s why we’re sure you’ll be excited to learn that the 2015 Passports with Purpose fundraiser will work in partnership with the nonprofit organization Worldreader to bring digital readers to five libraries in Kenya. The e-readers will provide about 6,250 children, teachers and parents with access to more than 50,000 books.

The readers will provide fiction and nonfiction books in both English and Swahili for readers of all ages as well as Kenyan textbooks. In addition to the e-books, Worldreader provides training to librarians and a solar solution that helps keep the readers charged when electricity is scarce.

This year Passports with Purpose will take place from November 8 until November 18, 2015 – these are very fitting dates, given that we are celebrating our eighth year.

How Does the PwP Team Do It?

Short answer: We do it with a lot of help from the travel blogging community.

Passports with Purpose is about as much fun as you can have online while raising money for a good cause. Travel bloggers use their network of PR experts and brands to help them find donated travel-related prizes – everything from luxury hotel stays to luggage. The PwP team creates and hosts an online catalogue and during the fundraiser donors can bid on the prizes – one bid per ten-dollar donation.

That’s right – we raise thousands of dollars, ten bucks at a time.

During the fundraiser bloggers post about their prizes on their own sites and we all hang out on social media – Twitter, Facebook, you name it – and drum up excitement. There’s nothing like watching that needle move and knowing that every dollar helps bring another book to a Kenyan library. That’s right – since many of the books are free and Worldreader has special agreements with publishers no book costs more than a dollar.

One hundred percent of the money that we raise with your help will go to Worldreader.

Sign Up Now

As we’re sure you can imagine, it takes some time to pull all of this together. November 8 is just over three months away and we’d love to know if you’re going to join us.

So if you are a travel blogger looking for a way to make a difference, please head over to the blogger sign-up page on the Passports with Purpose website. Whether you procure a prize or simply help by hosting a widget on your blog and spreading the word, we need you to sign up so we can keep you informed about how to participate. And if you’re a returning blogger, we still need you to sign up so we know that you’ll be coming back this year.

The PwP team also could use some volunteers to help with social media, communications, and website maintenance and design. If any of those things sound cool to you, please let us know at info [at]

And if you represent a travel brand that might be interested in sponsoring PwP, we’ve got lots of details about the kind of exposure you’ll get at our sponsorship page.

A Huge Thank You to TBEX

It takes a lot of work to pull off our annual fundraiser – and since we are a small team here at Passports with Purpose, we need help. That’s why we’re thrilled that TBEX has once again stepped up to sponsor PwP.

We wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the travel blogging community, which is why the team at TBEX – who do more than anyone else to bring bloggers together – is such a great fit for our work. We will have tables at both the upcoming Asia and North American TBEX conferences, so we hope to meet you there.

But in the meantime, be sure to sign up now.

Photo credit:  Courtesy of Worldreader

MGormanAuthor bio:  Mara Gorman has been a PwP blogger since 2008 and joined the board in 2013.  You’ll also find her writing about family travel at The Mother of all Trips.

Speaker Announcements for TBEX North America 2015 in Ft. Lauderdale

FLL Speakers

Exciting news today as we start rolling out speaker announcements for TBEX North America 2015 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

This is the start of an all-star line up, including some a few returning favorites among a lot of new favorites. We think you’ll discover some superstars that you didn’t know about.

Emma Sparks

Emma Sparks has worked at Lonely Planet since 2012; as online content producer, social media coordinator, and most recently, deputy editor. She writes a (much neglected) travel blog and gets herself abroad as often as a full-time job will allow.

Emma will be speaking on topic of self editing skills.

Evelyn Kanter

After a first career as a producer and on-air reporter for radio and TV stations including CBS and ABC in New York, Evelyn Kanter switched to freelance writing and photography. She has written for numerous prestigious print publications, and has written or edited more than a dozen travel guidebooks. She also writes and publishes two blogs, NYC on the Cheap and Eco Explorer.

Evelyn will be speaking on how to land media interviews and use them to enhance your expertise and grow your brand.

Frederic Gonzalo

Frederic Gonzalo is passionate about marketing and communications, with over 19 years of experience in the travel and tourism sphere. Early 2012, he launched Gonzo Marketing and works as a strategic marketing consultant, professional speaker and trainer in the use of new technologies. He writes a regular column on etourism for TourismExpress and PAX News magazine, and collaborates with influential sites such as Social Media Today, Business2Community, Skift, Tnooz and ehotelier. He has extensive experiences at various levels of the hospitality and travel sector.

Frederic Gonzalo will be speaking in the industry track about visual storytelling.

Julie Deily

Julie Deily was a software engineer for ten years before making the transition to full-time blogger at The Little Kitchen as well as freelance recipe developer, food photographer and social media consultant. A self-professed nerd, she’s a food lover but not a food snob and a firm believer that you do not have to have a huge kitchen to make amazing food. Julie has helped organized Food Blog Forum Orlando events, and has spoken at Florida Blogger and Social Media Conference and and BlogHer Food.

Julie will be speaking on food photography.

Lauren & Kenin Bassart

Lauren and Kenin Bassart are the team behind the road trip and travel blog, The Constant Rambler. Their blog was founded in 2012 as part of a career break, and has since evolved into a life of full-time, nomadic travel and operating a successful blogging business. Before blogging, Lauren had a successful career in retail banking and finance based on the core concepts of relationship selling, and Kenin had a 15-year retail sales leadership career where he specialized in opening new markets, hiring, and training sales consultants and manager candidates.

Lauren and Kenin will be teaching bloggers how to approach their business with a sales focused mind, and how to develop successful relationships.

Leif Pettersen

Leif Pettersen is a freelance writer, humorist, world traveler, and tourism communications professional from Minneapolis, Minn. He has traveled through 54 countries and lived in Spain, Romania and Italy. He was a silver medalist at the 2014 International Jugglers’ Association championships, loves chocolate, hates pickles, types with exactly four fingers, and can escape from a straitjacket. Leif’s upcoming book, “Backpacking with Dracula,” explores fact, legend and fiction surrounding Vlad “The Impaler” Dracula and the vampire monster he inspired.

Leif will be speaking in the industry track about how what he learned as a freelancer has shaped his perspective for his current job on the industry side.

Max Hartshorne

Max Hartshorne began working in travel publishing in 2000, as managing editor of Transitions Abroad magazine. He bought GoNOMAD in 2002 and a few years later it became his full time job. His background is in advertising sales, working for a daily newspaper and several weeklies but after discovering web publishing he left all of the print behind. Max travels every month and has published his daily blog, Readuponit, since 2004.

Max will be speaking on working with interns, assistants and salespeople.

Tammilee Tillison

Tammilee Tillison is a professional blogger who uses her M.B.A. to create a thriving blog and business in the competitive world of travel blogging. Moving from the corporate world to the blogging world, she has grown her blog, Tammilee Tips, to over a half million page views a month and has readers in over 170 countries. Tammilee has a passion for food, travel and helping others.

Tammilee will be speaking about productivity tools.

Tanya Churchmuch

Based in New York City, Tanya Churchmuch is the founder of MuchPR, a public relations firm specializing in tourism, lifestyle and LGBT markets. Prior to launching MuchPR, Tanya lived in Montreal, Canada and was Tourisme Montreal’s Assistant Director of International Media Relations and Leisure Markets, while also overseeing their LGBT outreach. Prior to working in the travel world, Tanya was a television journalist and news anchor in Montreal, including 9 years at Global Television.

Tanya will be on a panel about Trends, Successes and Challenges in LGBT travel.

We’ll be rolling out another speaker announcement next week. Stay tuned! Better yet, go register for TBEX North America 2015.

5 Tips to Winning That Freelance Contract


Money. It’s hard to travel without it, but it can be difficult to find a steady income while you’re traveling. One way for travel bloggers to earn extra income is to become a contracted freelancer.

When you freelance, you create content for other websites. It may be through articles and blog posts, images, videos, podcasts= virtually any form of new media is needed in today’s market. But how do you turn a one-time freelance gig into a regular contract? As a company that publishes a daily travel blog, we have a few tips.

Use proper language, grammar, and punctuation.

This can’t be stressed enough. When we receive a blog post, it should need minimal editing. Have someone review your posts before you submit them – a critical step especially if English is not your first language. Find out if the company follows a specific style guide and use it.

Keep the company’s tone and voice.

Unless otherwise instructed, keep to the tone and voice already used on the website. We like to work with bloggers who can provide their unique insights into travel without straying too far from the style already established on our blog. Whether you are ghost-writing or posting as yourself, it’s important for the company’s blog to seem reasonably constant from day to day.

Be consistent. 

As managers of a corporate travel blog, we like reliable bloggers: The ones who use standard writing styles, are regularly available, and – most importantly – are constantly on time. If you have a deadline, stick to it. If for some reason you can’t meet the deadline or are going to be unavailable for a while (you’re traveling and don’t have good internet access), find a way to let the company know or submit the post before you leave.

Be aware of your reputation.

If your name is associated with a blog post on our company’s blog, you’re a representative of our company – even, to some extent, on your personal travel blog. If we refer traffic to your website or your social media accounts, it becomes a reflection upon us. We want to maintain a professional image and hope that our bloggers will too.


We ask our bloggers to share their RoamRight posts on their social media channels. Our favorite bloggers will share on multiple different platforms and even link from their blog to one of their posts on our blog. Likewise, we make an effort to share our blogger’s content on our channels, when possible and when appropriate.

So how do you develop a relationship with a company?

If you already have an existing relationship with a company and would like to turn it into a contracted position, ask! They may not have considered it yet. Or, ask about extending your existing relationship. Have you only been writing for them but also have great images they could use? Or, do you create videos? Let them know your skill set and ask if there’s room for you to grow in your partnership.

If you’re trying to get that initial project with a company, take a step and develop a relationship first. Before you try to pitch them using the “contact us” form on their website, take the time to interact with them on social media, show that you understand their business and their audience, and even meet with them at events like TBEX!

TBEX sponsor RoamRight offers travel insurance plans for leisure, business, student, and group travelers traveling within the U.S. or internationally. Their insurance is underwritten by Arch Insurance Company, a market-leading specialty insurer with an A.M. Best financial strength rating of A+ (superior). Their staff and customer service representatives are travel insurance specialists who offer customers expert information about trip cancellation and travel medical insurance coverage options.


Jodi Ettenberg to Keynote at TBEX Asia 2015

JJE Press Photo 2 - lower res

We are excited to announce that Jodi Ettenberg will be the closing keynote at TBEX Asia 2015.

Jodi is a writer, photographer, and food-obsessed traveler who has been exploring the world since she quit her job as a lawyer in April 2008. Jodi founded Legal Nomads to tell the stories of the places she visits, often through food. She is also the author of The Food Traveler’s Handbook, and runs small-group food walks in Saigon, Vietnam, during the winter months. She has been featured in the New York Times, National Geographic, BBC Travel, Singapore Airlines, CNN Travel and more. She gets the shakes if she goes too long without sticky rice.

Jodi is a consummate story teller, and her closing keynote will focus on the power of story to build better businesses and more human connections with the communities behind them.

We know  you’ll want to be in the audience to hear Jodi’s story. Register here for TBEX Asia today. See you there!

One Year Until TBEX Europe 2016 in Stockholm

summer stockholm

Today is no ordinary day. Today it’s exactly one year until TBEX in Stockholm starts! One year until hopefully all of you are sitting at the Stockholm Waterfront waiting for the first keynote to start.

A little TBEX-birdie told us that never before has there been as many pre-registrations to a TBEX as for the event in Stockholm! We therefore highly recommend you to register here in order to secure your place for what will surely be the best blog happening next year.

Summer is in full bloom in Stockholm and last week we enjoyed a few days with temperatures in the 30C’s. As always in the summertime we’re spending most of our days outside, in parks, on beaches and in outdoor bars like the one in the photo. We really hope to be able to share our hometown with you next year.

With love from the team at Stockholm Visitors Board

Let connect:


More Speakers Announced for TBEX Asia 2015

Speakers TBEX Asia 2015

Please join with us in welcoming the following speakers to TBEX Asia 2015. We know you’ll be excited to hear what they have to share:

Amber Hoffman

After 10 years as an attorney, Amber left her job at the largest law firm in the world and decided to start living her life. She is now a recovering tax lawyer, travel writer, photographer, speaker, and eater, traveling the world With Husband In Tow. Amber’s passion lies in understanding the link between food and travel.

Amber will be leading as session designed for first time TBEX attendees, helping them learn how to get the most out of the experience.

Chris Christensen

Chris is the host of the Amateur Traveler, a popular online travel website that focuses primarily on travel destinations. It includes a weekly audio podcast, a video podcast, and a blog. In 2014 Chris won a Lowell Thomas Award from the SATW (Society of American Travel Writers) and a SMITTY (Social Media in Travel and Tourism) award as the Best Independent Travel Journalist from Travel + Leisure. Chris now owns and runs, a startup connecting bloggers and industry contacts.

Chris will be leading a session about how to maximize the use of Blogger Bridge.

Ciaran Blumenfeld

Ciaran Blumenfeld is a full time marketer and co-founder of, a popular hashtag analytics service widely used in the travel industry. She is also the creator of, a popular family lifestyle blog offering travel advice. Ciaran’s talents like in digital storytelling and helping brands, bloggers and individuals make powerful, authentic connections. When she’s not working on new technology and innovative client marketing campaigns, her passions are family travel and photograpy.

Ciaran will be speaking in the Industry Track on how to grow engaged communities.

 Engin Kaban

Engin is currently full-time traveler and travel writer who has traveled to 57 countries. He is the author of the book Practical Travel Guide of A Traveler, and writes for newspapers, magazines and websites. He is a former mechanical engineer with master’s degree in Innovation Studies.

Engin will be speaking on creating a travel community.

Evo Terra

Evo and his wife travel full time and are known as The Opportunistic Travelers, telling stories through podcasting, videos, and photography. He was one of the first dozen podcasters, a field now exceeding a million, and remains a vocal advocate of building businesses with “free” at their core, has authored 2.5 books in the “for Dummies” series, and continues to pen various non-fiction titles. Evo is a parallel entrepreneur, proud early adopter, and a staunch supporter of science and critical thinking.

Evo will be speaking on how to be a create a distinctive voice.

Lee Abbamonte

Lee Abbamonte is the youngest American to visit every country in the world, and is one of the world’s most-traveled people. Lee is a successful entrepreneur, travel television personality, speaker, travel writer, travel expert and global adventurer. He appears regularly on air on Fox News, Bloomberg, HLN, Travel Channel, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, and others. Lee has also been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, Conde Nast Traveler, Huffington Post, Yahoo, Today and more.

Lee will be speaking about the importance of sales skills in building a business.

Lola Akinmade Akerstrom

As a Stockholm-based writer and photographer, Lola’s work has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, BBC, CNN, The Guardian, Travel + Leisure, Slate, Lonely Planet, Fodor’s, several in-flight magazines, and many more. She was also in South Africa on a photography assignment for National Geographic Channel and was featured in a vignette called “Through The Lens” which airs on Nat Geo channel across the globe. Her photography is represented by National Geographic Creative.

Lola will be speaking on photography.

Ralph Velasco

Ralph Velasco is a professional travel photographer and the President/Founder/Lead Instructor of PhotoEnrichment Programs, Inc. (PEP). He’s organized and led more than 50 cultural photo tours around the world, including to Cambodia, Vietnam, Morocco, Egypt, Iceland, Bhutan, Nepal, Mexico, the Adriatic, Cuba (14 times), Tuscany, Spain, Central Europe and others. Ralph is the creator of the My Shot Lists for Travel app for iOS devices, which is available for free on iTunes. …thHe is also the author of two books on photography.

Ralph will be speaking about developing a shot list.

Sara Meaney

In her role as Managing Director of BVK, a Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based independent advertising agency with deep experience in the travel and tourism industry, Sara oversees the earned media service offerings, which include the agency’s public relations, social media, experiential marketing and promotions teams. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison and has completed executive education programs at Harvard Business School and Kellogg School of Management.

Sara will be speaking in the Industry Track on how travel consumers make buying decisions.