Girona, Travel Massive & TBEX Post-Conference Party



We’re very excited to partner with Travel Massive and the city of Girona for what we believe is the first organized post-TBEX party.

You already know about Girona and all the wonderful things they are doing to welcome TBEX attendees.  And we tip our hats to them and extend them a very big THANK YOU for their help in staging this fabulous send off.

Do you know about Travel Massive?  It’s a global initiative to connect people in the travel industry locally, bringing together travel brands, travel startups, and travel bloggers and travel professionals.  They have a team of global organizers who run events in their respective cities around the world.  And they’ll be at TBEX.  And they want to meet up and keep the travel enthusiasm going.

The Girona, Travel Massive & TBEX Post-Conference Party will be held following the official close of the conference on Saturday.   Shuttles will be available to take attendees to the gardens behind the Girona Cathedral for some local beer tasting, appetizers, and a theatrical performance of Napolean’s French battle.

After the performance, take a quick walking tour of the area with a local guide pointing out and suggested restaurant and bar choices in the area.  Pick your spot – or spots – for the evening and continue into the wee hours.  The fun doesn’t stop when the conference ends!

Photo credit:  Girona Tourism

Girona Offers Free City Tours to TBEX Attendees


Jewish Quarter Girona Spain

The city of Girona has an illustrious history.  It’s undergone 25 sieges, been captured 7 times, and been devastated by disease and famine.  The defensive walls of the city were taken down to allow for expansion, although recently some of the walls have been reconstructed.  The city of Girona wants to share this fascinating history with TBEX attendees with a FREE city tour that will familiarize visitors with the city’s Old Town and Jewish Quarter (in photo), the colored houses along the river, and the surroundings of the Cathedral, among other hidden spots.

The FREE city tours start at Punt de Benvinguda.  The tours will be offered on Thursday, September 20th, at 4 pm and 5 pm.  The tours last about an hour and a half, and will give participants a brief glimpse at the history and architecture of Girona’s past  as well as a look at the Girona of today.  And they’ll get participants finished in plenty of time to catch the shuttles to the opening night party at St. Gregori’s Castle.

Participation in the tours require an RSVP.  Feel free to bring a guest, but please sign them up so the city of Girona can get an accurate head count.  The tours will be launched in groups of 30 people, and everyone who is interested will be accommodated.

Photo credit:  Naevus via wikimedia commons

Context Tours Offer FREE Barcelona Walks for TBEX Attendees

Context walking tour City of Chocolate Barcelona

Since Barcelona will be an arrival or departure hub for many TBEX Europe attendees, we are excited about this fabulous invitation from our friends and partners at Context Travel:  Context Travel invites TBEX attendees to participate in its series of Barcelona walking tours for FREE.

Context is a critically acclaimed network of scholars and experts who organize small group walking seminars in the world’s cultural capitals. The Barcelona tours were launched last year and they are thrilled to take visitors under the skin of the city to discover the true Barcelona, from understanding the mind of Gaudi to discovering the city’s links to the history of chocolate. Context is organizing several walks on Wednesday, September 19th and Thursday, September 20th before the conference, and then additional walks on Sunday, September 23rd. Spaces are limited, so contact them quickly to reserve your spot.

Take a look at the walking tours offered:

Wednesday September 19th

9:30 a.m. – Gothic Quarter: Accompanied by an urban specialist or archeologist, discover Barcelona’s Barri Gótic, or “Gothic Quarter,” from ancient Roman outpost, to capital of the Crown Aragon in the Middle Ages, to the making of a modern metropolis in the 19th century.

10:00 a.m. – City of Chocolate: A delicious exploration of the history of chocolate through the narrow streets of the old city and out onto the Ramblas, from 19th century bomboneries famous for dark truffles to the adventurous palates of 21st century chocolate masters.  (Take a look at the photo up top and I know this one will be high on your list.)

Thursday September 20th

10:00 a.m. – Made in Barcelona design walk: Led by a design journalist, see first hand how the city’s vibrant design culture has developed from the whimsical fantasies of Gaudí and his fellow modernistas, to the cutting edge show pieces of the world’s starchitects in the new neighbourhoods, to astounding design hotels and restaurant interiors and beautifully crafted pieces of industrial and decorative design that make up the city’s everyday landscape.

10:00 a.m. – Farm to Fork the Boqueria and Beyond: This culinary walk goes to and around the reigning queen of Barcelona’s vibrant market network, La Boqueria. As the center of the city food scene and epicenter of Catalan gastronomy, La Boqueria offers an unparalleled opportunity to experience the sites, smells, and tastes of culinary Barcelona.

Sunday September 23rd

9:30 a.m. – Homage to Catalonia, the Spanish Civil War in Barcelona: A foremost expert of Barcelona and the Civil War leads this three hour walk in Orwell’s footsteps during the 1937 May Revolution, described in the author’s “Homage to Catalonia.”

4:00 p.m. – Gaudi in Context: In the company of an architect or urban specialist, enter the fantastic architecture of Antoni Gaudí, Barcelona’s most important architect, and situate his work within the context of Catalan society at the time, while also looking broadly at how Barcelona expanded in the late 19th and early 20th century and became a breeding ground for the modernist movement and, eventually, such luminaries as Miro and Picasso.

How to Schedule Your Spot: 

Space is limited, so act quickly to reserve your tour.  Contact Context Travel with your dates and preferred walk and they’ll work with you to make it happen.

Oh – if you’re arriving earlier or staying later? Let Context know and they’ll try to schedule you on another available walk.

A very big TBEX thank you to Context Travel (follow them on Twitter) for providing this terrific value-added for our attendees.

Haven’t registered yet?  There’s still time.

Photo credit:  Courtesy of Context Travel

NEWS: FREE Accommodations Offered to 50 Next Bloggers Registering For TBEX Costa Brava


We have another way to entice you to TBEX Europe in Costa Brava.  Well, 50 more ways actually.

The Costa Brava Tourism Board, along with dozens of partner properties, will be offering post-TBEX accommodations free of charge to our attendees.  We have 50 additional  rooms that have been made available, some for as long as a week, that will allow you to add on to your stay in the Costa Brava area.  The selection of accommodations is amazing – ranging from bungalows at beach camp sites to 4 star luxury hotels – something to appeal to everyone, regardless of your personal travel interests and style.

These rooms are available on a first-come, first-serve basis to the next 50 people who register for TBEX Costa Brava. There are limited units available, held open for a limited time, so it is important to act quickly.

Here’s how it works:

  • Register to attend TBEX Europe
  • Review the selection of properties and make your reservation.  We’ll check your reservation against the attendee list to make sure you’re registered.  The system works like most reservations systems, select the date(s) you wish to stay and what is available will be brought up.  There are tabs for Hotels, Apartments, Rural Tourism, and Camp Site, so toggle between them to find what will be a good fit.  Not all properties for all dates, so be sure to click on the DETAILS button to see the exact availability before you book.
  • The properties are located all over the Costa Brava area, so be sure to check the location closely.  Ground transportation is not included and will need to be independently arranged.
  • Your information is forwarded to TBEX and we will collect your reservation request and deliver the information to the appropriate lodging property.
  • The verification and finalization of these reservations will be handled by the individual properties, and you will receive a confirmation from them.
  • Any changes or questions specific to the property should be directed to them.

To show our appreciation of the tremendous amount of work that was put into this program by the independent companies and properties, we ask that you do the following:

  • Include a mention and link to the property in a blog post (if you stay long enough to provide a full review, that would be even better). Be sure to disclose that this was a sponsored stay in accordance with FTC Guidelines and best blogging practices.
  • Share your experience at the property and in the surrounding area with your social media network as appropriate.
  • Provide links to the Costa Brava Girona Tourism Board of all blog posts published as a result of your stay

So who wants to go TBEX in Costa Brava now?

Photo credit:  Courtesy of Costa Brava Girona Tourism Board.

TBEX Pre & Post Day Trip Excursions Now Available


We’re very excited to announce that the Costa Brava Tourism Board has arranged for some pre and post TBEX day trip excursions.

Dali Theter Museum in Costa BravaThere are two options for Thursday, September 20th:  A visit to the Dali Museum (in photo) followed by a visit to a wine cellar, and a trip along the coastal path from Calella de Palafrugell to Llafranc, a boat trip from Llafranc to Palamós, and a cooking demonstration and lunch in Palamós.

There are two options for Sunday, September 23rd:  A excursion in the Nuria Valley up in the Pyrenees, and a visit to the botanical gardens of Marimurtra in Blanes, a boat trip to Lloret de Mar, a typical Catalan lunch in Lloret de Mar and a visit to Cala Banys.

These day trip excursions are FREE to registered TBEX attendees.  (If you aren’t registered, go take care of that and then come back here to make your choice.)  Because we know many of our attendees will be traveling to Spain with family members or other traveling companions, the Tourism Board has agreed to allow a registered blogger to bring a non-blogger guest. Travel bloggers must register for themselves and may not list another travel blogger as their companion.  These structured tour are suitable for adults only, no children.

These free trips are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, but can only accommodate a limited number of participants.  We will create a waiting list in case of cancellations.

Head on over to learn more about these trips and to sign up for them.

Photo credit:  public domain via wikimedia

Announcing TBEX Europe Blog Trips in Costa Brava


Remember yesterday when we told you that registering for TBEX Europe in Girona would open the door to exploring the rest of the region? I bet you looked at your calendar, thought about how much time you could spent in the Costa Brava region, and kept your fingers crossed that we’d have some exciting plans that you could take advantage of. Some of you may have started thinking that maybe, just maybe, you could swing a trip to Spain if there were additional reasons to go and stay in the area.

Go ahead, go back and look at the schedule overview, and think about what you’d want to do if you could stay in the regions for an extended bit of time. We’ll wait right here until you’re ready – because we’re pretty excited to announce the first of several opportunities that you’ll have to stay in the Costa Brava area at very little additional cost.

TBEX blog trips in GironaThe Costa Brava Tourism Board is offering 6 post-TBEX blog trips that will give travel bloggers a chance to see, taste, and experience the wonderful things to be found in the region. The trips focus on a variety of interests and activity levels and are for the purpose of allowing bloggers to discover editorial content to be published on a blog, website, or print publication.

Participation in the blog trips are by invitation only. To apply for one of these trips, you will need to fill out the application and include the standard information required for most blog trips. You may select up to 3 trips that interest you. Information will be reviewed by the Costa Brava Tourism Board and invitations extended by them.

Are you excited yet? Here are the trips that you can choose from, along with the links to find out all the specific details about the trip.

What are you waiting for? Go check out these great blog trips that will allow you to explore the Costa Brava area.

The fine print: 8 bloggers will be invited for each of the trips. Only registered travel blogger attendees can apply for these blog trips (no guests). As with all blog trips, you should plan to engage on social media to the extent possible (every effort will be made to make sure you have wi-fi access) and to provide the Tourism Board with links to all published works resulting from the trip.

How to Plan Your Time in Costa Brava for TBEX Europe


We’ve been talking about TBEX Europe in Girona for so long that it’s hard to imagine that it’s almost here. Yesterday we shared some of the bloggers who will be speaking at TBEX Girona, and we have more to confirm in the coming days.

Now, to get you enthusiastic for your time in Spain, we have an infographic to share with you.  Use the dates and events on the infographic to help you plan your time in the Costa Brava area.

TBEX Europe Costa Brava

Let’s take a look:

  • Thursday, September 20th – A couple of tours during the day and the kick off Costa Brava dinner.
  • Friday & Saturday, September 21st-22nd – TBEX Europe Conference at Girona Conference Center
  • Sunday, September 23rd – A choice of tours.
  • Monday, September 24th – A number of additional tours are schedule to depart.
  • Thursday, September 27th – Monday, October 1st – Free time.

That’s a lot of dates, a lot of events, and a lot of time you can spend in Spain.

But what exactly does it mean?

We can’t give you the full scoop. . . yet. . . but we’ll be announcing these events in detail starting tomorrow. We have options that will allow you to spend nearly two weeks in Spain, networking and learning at TBEX, and then discovering the great stories to be found both in Girona and in the Costa Brava area. We know you’ll love the area and will find plenty of stories to share with your readers; we know your readers will love your stories as well. And it’s all brought to you courtesy of the Costa Brava Tourism Board and its partners.

BUT – these events are only available to registered travel bloggers. If you’ve put off registering for TBEX Europe, don’t put it off any longer. Registration is still available for $100 (for bloggers) and will give you the opportunity to take advantage of all the special offers that are available.

What do YOU want to see in Costa Brava?

Fueled by Cupcakes, Funded by YOU

Today’s guest post is from Pam Mandel, one of the founders of the charitable travel blogger initiative, Passports with Purpose.

The Passports with Purpose founders crew genuinely enjoys a good cupcake. Our work — bringing together travel bloggers, travel companies, and sponsors, is fueled by cake and frosting, caffeine and friendship. We convert all those calories, with your help, into some pretty amazing results: A school in Cambodia, a village in India, libraries in Zambia.

Towards the end of the year when we buckle down to focus on our Passports with Purpose annual initiative, we feel a great sense of connection with the people that contribute to our success. Since so many of us — so many of you — will be at TBEX, we’d like to meet you in 3D. We’d like to say thank you for your incredible support you’ve given us throughout the past four years. We want to know more about you. And we want to share cupcakes with you, it’s become something of a Passports with Purpose tradition.

The generous folks of Keystone Resorts have commissioned Chef Ned to bake special “Passports with Purpose” cupcakes. We’ll be in the Expo Hall at the Keystone Conference Center, 10:15 am – 12:15 pm, during the speed dating sessions. Stop in. Get a treat. Introduce yourself. If you’re new to Passports with Purpose, come find out about the work we do. If you’ve helped out in the past, we’re so grateful, and we want to tell you so. We’re successful because of this community, and we’d like to share our treats with you as a small token of our gratitude.

Thank you, TBEX 2012, for the generous donation of space for us to meet. Thank you, Keystone Resorts (and Chef Ned) for providing all those cupcakes to fuel another year of doing good. And thank you, bloggers, for making the world a significantly better place through supporting Passports with Purpose.

The Passports with Purpose founders crew includes Pam Mandel, Debbie Dubrow, Beth Whitman, Meg Paynor, and Michelle Duffy.  Learn more about Passports with Purpose.

Photo credit:  SXC

Three Events You Will Not Want to Miss at Keystone Resort This Summer

Outdoor events and activities are what make summertime in the high-country an experience not to be missed. Summit County,Coloradorolls out the red carpet for visitors and locals alike with everything from Rubber Ducky and Mountain Biking Races, to half-marathons. Keystone Resort adds to the list with entertaining and family-friendly festivals that cater to vacationers looking for a daily activity or a week long getaway. From Bacon, to Jazz, toBluegrass, Keystone has something for everyone.

1. Blue Ribbon Bacon Tour, June 23-24

For the second year in a row Keystone Resort will play host to the Blue Ribbon Bacon Tour that will feature, well, lots and lots of bacon! Whether you are a connoisseur of everything bacon, a foodie looking for something new or just a regular bacon lover who enjoys live music and a festive atmosphere, then this is an event for you. With thousands of pounds of bacon filling River Run Village with the aroma of salted, dried, smoked, and fried varieties, families and friends can gobble, taste, drink, wander and jam while enjoying the high altitude Colorado sunshine. And nothing goes better with bacon than beer, or a Bloody Mary, flavored of course with more bacon, so plan on plenty of cold refreshments to wash down the bacon creations. The youngest members of the family will not only have a chance to nibble away on bacon , but they will be able to participate in kids craft activities, which will be available throughout the weekend. So if you and your family are looking for something to do the weekend of June 23-24, head to Keystone Resort for everything and anything bacon!

2. Keystone Wine and Jazz Festival, July 14-15

What better way to celebrate the fine delicacies of life than sipping on a marvelous glass of wine while grooving to jazz in the picturesque landscape of Keystone, Colorado? The Keystone Wine and Jazz Festival caters to every palette with a weekend-long event featuring offerings such as a VIP mountaintop wine tasting, educational wine seminars, live jazz performances, remarkable food, sampling of over 300 wines and a KidZone to keep the little ones occupied. Performances include artists such as Salsa Con Jazz, Elan Trotman & Lin Rountree, Dotsero,intermixed with the opportunity to explore the flavors of everything from champagne to an array of white and reds from around the country, and world. Whether you wish to enrich your knowledge by attending wine seminars, or harmonize food with excellent wine pairings, the Keystone Wine and Jazz Festival will provide the perfect setting for a weekend away in the Rocky Mountains. Check out all the fun, July 14-15 in River Run Village at Keystone Resort.

3. Keystone’s 16th Annual Bluegrass & Beer Festival, August 4-5

The spirit of Colorado and summertime come together during Keystone’s Bluegrass and Beer Festival. With over 40 breweries offering a multitude of frothy brews,ranging from wheats to lagers, complemented by down-home cooking, this festival will please any food and beer lover. Plus, with live musical performances from Head for the Hills, Henhouse Prowlers, Town Mountain, the Grinz and many more, Keystone’s River Run Village will be rocking across three stages all weekend long. Also, the Keystone Bluegrass and Beer Festival will provide the unique offering of instructional music seminars that will take place both Saturday and Sunday. Seminars will allow festival attendees to learn the secrets of bluegrass through exploration of songwriting, fiddle, mandolin, banjo and guitar. Warren Station, located in River Run Village, will continue the party with music into the night both Friday and Saturday. Kid’s crafts will be offered throughout the event supplying entertainment for the youngest members of families. So come out to Keystone Resort and let the microbreweries from Colorado and beyond showcase their unique flavors in an atmosphere representative of the local mountain culture: fun and relaxed.

For more information about these events and more check-out:

Photos courtesy of Keystone Resort; Blue Ribbon Bacon by Dan Davis; Bluegrass and Beer Fest by Dan Davis; Wine and Jazz Fest by Dan Davis

Special Children’s Day Camps at Keystone Science School


Keystone Science School (KSS) is a pivotal part of making Keystone Resort the perfect destination for a unique family getaway. The day-camp oriented programming at the School provides children with the opportunity to enjoy outdoor fun and recreation in an experiential learning setting. From discovering information about the geological history of the Rocky Mountains to the scientific method, identifying native animals to understanding the water cycle, Keystone Science School has something interesting to offer every child. As they are tutored through fun activities such as swimming, hiking and exploring, Campers learn in a way that children find both engaging and entertaining.

The Camp programming utilizes the outdoor laboratory of the resort area to promote scientific inquiry and cultivate sensitivity to the natural surrounding landscape. During Camp children can transform into a pirate, superhero, astronaut, or botanist while actively participating in creative activities, teambuilding exercises and investigative learning each and every day.

KSS Camp provides specialized, age-appropriate programming for children age five to twelve. Upon registration children will be enrolled in an age-specific group—Wonder Camp or Mighty Camp—each featuring activities and adventures suitable for kids at their specific developmental stage.

Camp programming is offered through the Keystone Science School for children on a daily, weekly and seasonal basis. So if you are a parent looking for a unique opportunity that will not only satisfy your desire to see your child excel in the field of science, but also an incredible chance for your child to have a blast in the great outdoors, check out the Keystone Science School!