TBEX Minnesota Tourism Preview

Minnesota

As some of you may have gathered from my calm and subdued stage presence in Fort Lauderdale, I have a considerable amount of pride in my home town and state. If my personal, anecdotal evidence means anything to you, after being nomadic for 4.5 years, visiting nearly 50 countries in that time, I could have settled anywhere, but I chose to return to Minnesota. It really is a special place.

For starters, Minneapolis/St Paul is literally the “Absolute Top City In the US to Live In,” according to Patch of Earth, based on our ranking on seven key livability lists, including Greenest Cities, Best Cities for Foodies and Best Cities for Walkability and Public Transpiration.

Minneapolis and St Paul are figuratively and literally green. In addition to being one of the top bike-friendly cities in the world, and scoring high on walkability and public transit, we have an incredible amount of green space. There are over 10 lakes in the inner metro area and no Minneapolis resident lives more than six blocks from a park. But the most remarkable feature is the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway, the only scenic byway in the U.S. that’s contained entirely within an urban area.

Minneapolis grew up and around St Anthony Falls, the only naturally occurring falls on the Mississippi River. Using this unlimited source of power, Minneapolis developed into the flour milling capital of the world, a title it held for some 50 years beginning in 1880. The Mill City Museum tracks Minneapolis’ history in a series of engrossing displays, including the film “Minneapolis in 19 Minutes Flat” and the Flour Tower, an eight-story, multimedia exhibit in a moving elevator.

One of the most unique aspects about the Twin Cities is our skyway systems, which connect innumerable buildings in both downtown Minneapolis and St Paul. Minneapolis’ skyway network is the largest of its kind in the world, connecting 72 blocks of businesses, stores, hotels, restaurants, government offices, sports stadiums and more. It’s an amazing self-enclosed space. I once spent two weeks straight without leaving the Minneapolis skyways.

St Paul’s Como Zoo and Conservatory is the most visited attraction in Minnesota after Mall of America. While its obvious selling point is a trip to see the animals, you’ll find some of the most stunning plants in the 100-year-old Marjorie McNeely Conservatory and the Japanese garden.

The Wabasha Street Caves are a great option for anyone who’s interested in Saint Paul’s notorious gangster history, as wanted gangsters (including John Dillinger) would openly hang out here as a kind of safe haven in the 1930s.

Also, in St Paul, Summit Avenue is American’s longest stretch of preserved Victorian housing, and it’s synonymous with wealth and fame in Saint Paul. Here’s where visitors can see the Governor’s Mansion, the James J. Hill House, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s house and more.

Why Minneapolis/St Paul are awesome – the lightning round

  • Minneapolis’ robust art scene is anchored by the venerable Minneapolis Institute of Art and Walker Art Center.
  • The world renowned Guthrie Theater has been at the forefront of Twin Cities’ theater since 1963. Fun Fact: The Twin Cities are second only to New York in theater seats per capita.
  • The cinematic Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins, is a memorable spectacle on a spring day, whether you’re a baseball fan or not.

The National Parks Centennial Celebration is in 2016, so it’s an optimum time to take in one of Minnesota’s six outstanding national parks.

Water is the primary form of transportation at Voyageurs National Park, a 218,000 acre expanse located in northern Minnesota on the Canadian border. There are no roads, so travelers navigate the four large freshwater lakes and 26 interior lakes that cover 40 percent of the park itself by boating, houseboating and paddling.

Minnesota’s beloved Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness is the biggest wilderness east of the Rockies, composed of 1.3 million acres and a network of 1,200 lakes and 1,500 miles of canoe routes connected by streams and portages. The BWCAW is one of National Geographic Traveler magazine’s “50 Places of a Lifetime.”

Closer to civilization, St. Croix National Scenic Riverway forms 164 miles of the border between Minnesota and Wisconsin. It was one of only eight waterways originally designated as a “National Wild and Scenic River” by the federal government and is widely considered one of the best canoeing rivers in the nation.

Not enough to time drive out of the metro area? The Mississippi National River & Recreation Area stretches for 72 miles, passing right through the heart of Minneapolis and St. Paul. Explore this photogenic section via your favorite form of locomotion.

Of course, this is only a taste of the activities and sights one can indulge in next May before or after TBEX North America 2016. Stay tuned for more Minnesota tourism tips as TBEX approaches.

A Cruise for Everyone – Ideas for Each Traveler

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Sure, everyone knows that cruise ships visit well-trafficked islands such as the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands. Maybe you’ve checked out an Alaska trip or your parents got off a cruise that visits the Mediterranean.

But what many people don’t know is that cruising encompasses a range of vessels in a variety of destinations – think high-masted sailing ships, or boats custom built to sail the river in China or Southeast Asia. At Cruise Critic, the world’s leading cruise reviews site and online cruise community, we cover them all – and we specialize in finding the right cruise for the right person.

Wondering what cruise fits your personality? Read on for ideas.

If You Love Castles and Culture….Take a Rhine or Danube river cruise through Germany or Austria. Seeing this part of Europe by waterway allows you to travel a lot of ground, while only unpacking once. Bonus: On most river cruise lines, some shore excursions are included.

If You Love Wildlife…..Take an expedition cruise to Norway’s far north. Svalbard is polar bear central, and Arctic cruises from companies such as Hurtigruten run year-round (including in winter, when you can see the Northern Lights).

If You Love Food and Wine….you’ll be spoiled for choice, no matter what your price point. Choose a river cruise in France, looking specifically at the Rhone River, which goes through Burgundy and Provence, or Bordeaux, which gives you access to some of the country’s most famous vineyards. Or take a food-themed ocean cruise on a line like Celebrity, which took Cruise Critic’s award for best dining at sea in this year’s Editors’ Picks Awards.

If You Want to Sail Barefoot……Take a sailing cruise in the Caribbean. With as few as 12 passengers on some boats in their fleet, Island Windjammers is as casual as you can get, with barefoot being the rule and stops at beach bars dominating the itinerary. If you need more amenities, Star Clippers and Windstar also offer sailing cruises, albeit at a higher price point.

If You Love Scenery…..There’s a reason that Alaska is such an iconic cruising destination. A ship is the only real way to get into the nooks and crannies of the Inside Passage (and to capture those fabulous breaching whale photos). Whether you choose a small ship outfitter such as Un-Cruise or Alaskan Dream Cruises or a large cruise line that knows how to do Alaska well such as Princess or Holland America, you’ll come away with a fresh appreciation for how vast our 49th State is – and hopefully a few bear sightings.

If You Just Want to Relax….Take a transatlantic. With a schedule full of sea days, a transatlantic cruise allows you the time to get away from it all, often at a much lower price point than a land-based trips. More cruise lines have been updating their Wi-Fi too, so it’s easier to stay in touch or get work done while you’re onboard.

Author Bio:  Chris Gray Faust is Senior Editor at Cruise Critic, where she oversees all of the website’s destination and port content, as well as news coverage and blog. Creator and publisher of Chris Around The World, Chris has won a Lowell Thomas Travel Writing award for blogging and has worked as a staff writer at the (New Orleans) Times-Picayune, the Philadelphia Inquirer and USA TODAY, where she served as travel editor. She has a journalism degree from Northwestern University and a master’s degree from Brown University. She lives in a renovated barn in Bucks County, Pa. with her husband, two cats and a dog.

Chris will be speaking at TBEX North America about How to Write a Review. Cruise Critic is a sponsor of TBEX at Sea.

To Be or Not to Be (An Affiliate)

 

IMG_4334Affiliate. It’s a polarizing word, and most bloggers fall into one of two camps:

  • Anti-Affiliate Bloggers refuse to sign up for any affiliate program. They believe it’s a foolish strategy that takes up valuable blog real estate, distracts readers, pays dismal rates, and makes the blogger look like an amateur.
  • Pro-Affiliate Bloggers see an affiliate program as an easy way to generate extra revenue while sharing great products with their readers.

Which one are you?

Stephanie Yoder of Twenty-SomethingTravel.com has used affiliate partnerships for years and found it as one of the easiest ways to monetize her blog when she started. She suggests that people who are getting into the world of affiliates pick just a few companies that they know and love. “I try to limit the amount of companies I represent to ones I truly believe in. My audience trusts me and I wouldn’t want to exploit that,” she writes.

And she’s right. Bloggers should feel a connection to the product they are endorsing – it makes the referral actually real. Would you tell your readers to visit a country you’ve never been to? Of course not. The same holds true for product referrals.

Your readers believe that your blog was created for their interests – not your own. They expect for you to look out for them, and any recommendations you make fall into that expectation. So when you’re promoting an affiliate, it’s important to keep your readers in mind. Ask yourself, “Is this truly of value to my audience? Or is it just an attempt to make more money for me?”

Regarding her own affiliate program, Stephanie says, “Nobody likes a sales pitch, so I don’t push. I just try to provide useful information.” Your blog isn’t a Ron Popeil-esque infomercial, and if you are tempted to add “But wait…there’s more!” to a blog post, you may need to redirect the post to a more reader-focused topic.

As a company with an affiliate program, RoamRight encourages travel bloggers to consider using affiliate links. And, in an effort to help you understand the benefits of RoamRight, we have a travel insurance plan available exclusively to our affiliate blogger partners. Again, how can you properly promote a product when you haven’t used it? (Want to learn more about this unique opportunity? Visit us at TBEX in Ft. Lauderdale!)

If you are in the anti-affiliate camp, we fully respect that decision. In fact, some of our favorite bloggers will never advertise for RoamRight on their website. We understand that. We’d still love to meet with you at TBEX. After all, we’re always looking for freelance writers to help out with our own blogging and social media platforms. Come visit us at Table 5!

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

4 Ways to Discover Ontario, Canada this Fall

Girls Glam Getaway

From a girls’ weekend in the city, to a farm inspired foodie adventure, there’s so many ways to make the most of your fall weekend in Canada. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Girls’ Glam Getaway

Head to Toronto, Canada for one-of-a-kind retail therapy, hip neighbourhoods and rhythmic nightlife.

Don’t Miss:  WEST QUEEN WEST.

Touted Toronto’s coolest neighbourhood by Lonely Planet, there are still some hidden gems to be found in this fashion hub. Find gender-neutral silhouettes at Parloqueand up-and-coming labels at Fawn

A Niagara Weekend

Niagara is adored by locals for its unique spirits and Instagram-worthy settings – see what all the toasting is about.

Niagara Weekend

Don’t Miss:  THE AWARD-WINNING WINE.

Begin your grape escape at local favourite wineries, including the limited production Thirty Bench Wine Makers for a vineyard tour that includes a Govino stemless wine glass; the organically farmed Redstone Winery with its seasonal and locally inspired restaurant menu; and Vineland Estates Wineryfor an ‘all access’ photo safari to capture historic buildings and an underground barrel cellar.

Hip Side of the Hill

Known for its national treasures, Canada’s capital – Ottawa – is a cool city demanding attention.

Hip Side of the Hill 1

Don’t Miss:  FOODIE FINDS.

Get a sweet start to your day with a gourmet treat from The Cupcake Lounge. Quench your thirst and experience the best in local ales with Brew Donkey’s craft brewery tour. Enjoy foodie fare at Sidedoor, famous for its Asian fusion tacos and mini donuts. Finish off the night at the city’s oldest tavern, The Laff, with a round of ByWash Bulleits.

Lakeside Get-Together

Don’t Miss:  THE FALL COLORS.

Lakeside Get-Together

Climb Tower Hill in Parry Sound and get a spectacular view of Georgian Bay. Drive north, then rent a canoe and paddle alongside the 100-metre (328-foot) high Stormy Lake Bluffs at Restoule Provincial Park.

Get the complete day-by-day itineraries for ideas for all 10 Ontario weekends at ontariotravel.net.

Disclosure:  Ontario Tourism is a TBEX Sponsor.

A Responsibility To Your Readers

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Warning: The activities in this post require travel insurance.

As a travel blogger, you have a duty of responsibility for your audience. Your readers have already come to rely on you for the latest destination information and travel advice, but are you keeping their welfare in mind as you’re writing?

Do you think about the situations your readers may face when you recommend:

While you are the expert on travel, you should also be the expert on protecting your readers. Or, at minimum, informing them of the risks that are inherent to the activities you recommend and how to manage those threats.

One of the easiest ways to help protect your readers on their travelers is by recommending travel insurance. While most global travelers know the importance of travel insurance, the majority of US citizens do not. In fact, according to the US Department of Commerce’s National Travel and Tourism Office, nearly 72% of US citizens who traveled overseas last year did so without travel insurance. That’s a lot of people who were exposing themselves to unnecessary risks.

Health Insurance Doesn’t Travel Well

Most US travelers assume their home health insurance will cover them abroad. This is not always the case. Often, US-based health insurance providers, including Medicare, will not pay to a foreign hospital or medical facility. This means that a traveler requiring emergency medical care will have to pay directly out-of-pocket. In our years of experience, we’ve seen travelers max out credit cards, and even mortgage their homes, in order to pay for medical care abroad. If there’s even a remote possibility that something you recommend on your blog could result in the need for medical care (we’re thinking skiing, snowboarding, surfing, etc.), you may want to alert your readers to the need for proper travel insurance coverage.

Violence Is Everywhere and Terrorism Is Real

As scary as it is, violent attacks and terrorism can happen in even the most unsuspecting locations. Just this past year, popular tourist destinations like Paris, Bangkok, and Copenhagen have seen bombings and mass shootings. Your travelers should know what to do – and who to call – to get the most up-to-date information and help if they need it. Most of the time, that’s their travel insurance company. (One great informational resource is the RoamRight mobile app. With a RoamRight policy, travelers get safety and security alerts with actionable advice sent directly to them.)

It Never Hurts To Have A Backup

Finally, do your readers know what to do if the airline loses their luggage? Are they at the mercy of the airline or do they have a support system in place to help them replace – and reimburse them for – their lost items? Having a back-up plan, for any kind of travel situation, is a great way to travel at ease and stress-free. Your travelers should know what you to do – and you can help by educating them!

If you haven’t yet talked to your readers about travel insurance, maybe it’s time you did. If you’d like more information about travel insurance in general – or about RoamRight specifically – come find us at TBEX North America. We’ll be there!

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.

The LGBT Travel Niche

 

Tanya ChurchmuchAdventure travel, budget travel, luxury travel, family travel, foodie travel, solo travel…. Whatever your interest, there’s generally a community out there for you. But there’s one travel niche that’s really come to the forefront in recent years: LGBT travel.

Public discussions about LGBT rights and recognition have exploded in the United States, especially with the June Supreme Court ruling that gave same-sex couples the ability to marry across the country. LGBT visibility has become not only mainstream, but also a bit of a bellwether in regards to niche marketing outreach. What’s a bit different about this niche though, is that it encompasses individuals who are into all kinds of travel. You can be a lesbian foodie or a queer hiker or a retired gay man who is traveling the world solo, or a questioning young person who is visiting a big city to experience Pride for the first time. We all travel for different reasons. So what makes the LGBT travel niche? For the LGB, it’s mainly the sexual orientation of the audience. If we’re being fully honest though, the “T” has been sorely underrepresented in the LGBT travel world (the Ft. Lauderdale CVB is an exception to this rule).

Since the niche in itself is vast and diverse, yet targeted, the main message used by destinations, hotels, airlines and other travel companies is generally, “you are welcome.” It’s an important message because it’s not always easy for LGBT travelers to be their authentic selves, which can be pretty stressful when you just want to have a fun holiday. Here’s a good explainer, and a good follow up, by Meg Ten Eyck from Dopes on the Road about why that is, and what kinds of questions queer travelers have to ask themselves. By marketing to the LGBT community, travel companies are telling us that we can be ourselves with them. It’s something most travelers take for granted, but is not always the case for those of us in the LGBT community.

That said, reaching out to the LGBT community is not only about being a socially responsible corporate entity. LGBT travelers are also a very lucrative market. Here’s just a few statistics from Community Marketing’s 19th annual LGBT Tourism Study (Dec. 2014)

  • The estimated annual economic impact of LGBT travelers is over US $100 billion per year in the U.S. alone.
  • 29% of LGBT survey participants are frequent leisure travelers, taking 5 or more leisure trips per year, with 10 or more leisure hotel room nights per year.
  • 14% of LGBT respondents are frequent business travelers, taking 5 or more business trips per year.
  • Hotel Selection Rankings: Location and value of price for quality of hotel are the two most motivating factors for hotel selection. Of note, LGBT-friendly reputation was more important than a hotel’s loyalty program.

When you consider that the majority of same-sex couples don’t have children (though more and more do!), and they can often travel during shoulder season when there are more rooms available, it’s a bit of dream demographic for the travel industry. Look at what Marriott is doing in the LGBT market.And American Airlines. And Houston, Texas. Yup, the Houston, Texas CVB even has its own LGBT microsite and social media handles. The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) is the longstanding global organization that supports all of these travel partners who are interested in working with the LGBT market (full disclosure – I’m the Immediate Past-Chair of IGLTA and also serve on the IGLTA Foundation Board. I think they’re both amazing organizations!)

While more and more travel companies are jumping into the LGBT market, there’s also been a great rise in the voices of LGBT travel in the online world. And what’s amazing about so many of these writers and influencers is that they really do address all of those travel interests that were mentioned at the top of this post. Some market themselves as LGBT blogs, others simply incorporate their queerness into the overall content of what they do. They’re diverse, the same way our community is. Here’s just a few for you to check out: Two Bad Tourists, Globetrotter Girls, Davey Wavey, Button and Bly, Travels of Adam, Dopes on the Road, Lez Backpack, Bounding Over Our Steps, Leave Your Daily Hell, and so many more. And their numbers keep growing each day, which is a good thing. Even though LGBT rights are evolving in many ways in many countries, there remains a definite need for the travel industry to understand what it means to be an LGBT traveler, and for LGBT travelers to find their community if they’re looking for it.

NOTE:  The IGLTA is a media partner of TBEX.

Author Bio:  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. She was also the founder of the (former) lesbian travel website www.girlports.com. In 2009 Tanya was elected to the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) Board of Directors and served as Chair of the IGLTA Board from May 2010- May 2013, and currently serves as Immediate Past Chair. Tanya is also on the Board of the IGLTA Foundation. An expert in lesbian and LGBT travel, she has spoken on the subject at numerous travel industry conferences and written travel articles for many LGBT and mainstream publications. Prior to working in the travel world, Tanya was a television journalist and news anchor in Montreal, including 9 years at Global Television. She is also a former Board member of Reporters Without Borders International, based in Paris, and Past President of Reporters Without Borders Canada.

The Story You Didn’t Know You Were Telling

 

 

Seattle skyline

Did you know you’re already an ambassador for peace? If you use your travel blog to spread insight and understanding about the places you’re visiting, that’s exactly the role you’ve taken.  Every time you write a post, you are enlightening others about a new culture and way of life, with the power to break down stereotypes, build tolerance, and promote a more peaceful world. Your goal might be to review an adventure activity or a 5-star resort, but in between the lines, your readers are finding so much more.

To help you maximize this important role, here are 5 tips:

  1. Put your guidebook away.  After you’ve hit all the checklist tourist stops, it’s time to create your own adventure.  By allowing yourself to veer off the carefully curated tourist path, you’re seeing an uncensored slice of life.  It’s these experiences that provide a deeper understanding of how people live, work, and play.
  2. Have candid conversations with locals.  Now that you’re on your own path, connect with the people who are the heart and soul of the community.  Find opportunities for conversation by taking a yoga or cooking class, striking up conversation with someone at a pub or café, or simply by getting lost and asking for directions or recommendations on where to go.  These casual conversations build your understanding for what life is like from a local perspective, and seeing life through someone else’s eyes is the foundation for spreading tolerance.
  3. Acknowledge your stereotypes and be open to proving them wrong.  As you venture out into the community, you may have some preconceived ideas of what people are like. It’s natural to have generalizations like New Yorkers are always in a rush or San Diegans are always laidback.  These aren’t necessarily bad, but they don’t describe every person and they only tell part of the story.  By acknowledging your own bias, you become more objective in your observations and you’re helping your readers break past cultural divides.
  4. Talk about your experience while you’re still having it.  Traveling can be inspirational, jarring, thought provoking, and everything in between.  Sharing what you saw and what you’re feeling with someone else can help you process your experience and find your angle.  When you stay at an HI USA hostel, you’ll be surrounded by a community of travelers who want to share and learn from you.  You’ll also benefit from other travelers’ recommendations and perspectives.
  5. Celebrate the United Nations International Day of Peace. Held each year on September 21, this important day is honored around the world as a day of peace and cease fire.  As an ambassador for peace, take pride in what your blog has the power to do by commemorating this important day.  For ideas on how to celebrate, or to get involved with other like-minded travelers, learn more about Sleep For Peace, an effort led by HI USA and celebrated by HI hostels around the world.

Millions of people are influenced by travel bloggers like you around the world.  As an ambassador for peace, we hope you embrace the important role you can play in creating a more tolerant world.

Note:  Hostelling International USA (HI USA) is a TBEX Sponsor

Author Bio:  Hostelling International USA (HI USA) is a nonprofit, member organization founded on an enduring belief in the power of travel to foster a deeper understanding of people, places, and the world around.  It’s our commitment to promote a dynamic community of global citizens who have the wisdom and humanity to actively make the world a better place.  As the nation’s leading hostel brand, HI USA hosts more than 1 million overnights annually, with guests from more than 100 countries.  For over 80 years, HI USA has provided a network of affordable hostels in converted mansions, reinvented lighthouses, and historic urban buildings all across the country. Visit www.hiusa.org for more information.

 

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] passportswithpurpose.org

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.

5 Tips to Winning That Freelance Contract

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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.

Share!

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.

 

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

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