17 sure-fire sources for travel writing press trips and conferences
Want to travel the world and get paid for it? Wondering how to get invited on exciting international press trips or curious about how to find press trip opportunities for an individual media trip? You’re not alone. These are some of the most popular questions I get asked about in my How to Break into Travel Writing Online Course and Workshop.
But before moving right into the best ways for travel writers and bloggers to find press trips, it’s worth mentioning that there are many other reasons to attend conferences, join professional associations and maintain relationships with public relations firms, destination marketing organizations (DMOs) as well as hotel, restaurant and attractions companies.
Not only are the people you meet at these events, experts about their destinations or products, they have insider access to interview sources, fact-checking resources, image banks, unique story ideas and the latest news about upcoming developments — all of which can help you write better travel stories. If you’re just starting out, you might want to learn more about how to start a travel blog.
PR people are also often responsible for inviting journalists on press trips or arranging media visits, both group and individual.Where can you find the best travel writing conferences and meet PR professionals? Here are some of the best conferences and resources for travel writers or bloggers who want to network with travel industry pros and discover the best press trip opportunities in 2018 (updated January 2018).
17 Resources for Conferences and Press Trip Opportunities 2018
1. North America Travel Journalists Association: The annual NATJA conference offers its members the opportunity to meet with US, Canadian and international tourism representatives, attend personal development sessions, network with other travel writers/editors and participate in destination tours as well as pre and post press tours. In 2019, the NATJA Conference & Marketplace will be held in Syracuse, New York from May 15-May 18, 2018. A wide selection of Pre and Post Press trips will be available for attendees. NATJA membership is by qualification and there is a fee to attend the conference.
2.TBEX: If you’re a travel blogger, podcaster, videographer or writer, TBEX offers an opportunity to network with fellow new media creators and industry professionals such as PR representatives, major brands and destination marketing organizations. The fee to attend is relatively low and there are generally attractively discounted accommodation options and a wealth of pre and post trips. TBEX Europe will be held in Zimbabwe, Africa July 25-27, 2018 and TBEX North America between September 11-13, 2018 at the Corning Museum of Glass in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State. For bloggers, this is one of the best sources for press trip opportunities 2018.
3. Travel Media Association of Canada: Canada’s national trade association representing qualified members of the travel media held their 2018 conference in Victoria BC from May 30, 2018 to June 2, 2018. Monthly Munch n’ Mingle events and directory listings offer the opportunity to meet with industry pros. Membership in TMAC is by qualification and there is a fee to attend the conference. If you’re headed to Victoria and have to pass through Vancouver, check out these ideas for great day trips from Vancouver.
4. IPW: The 3-day U.S. Travel Association’s IPW is the travel industry’s top international marketplace and brings together 6,000 attendees including more than 1,000 U.S. travel organizations as well as international media. During the event, travel journalists also have the opportunity to participate in specialized press tours and can also sign-up for official post-FAMs offered by the state. IPW 2018 will be held May 19, 2018 through Wednesday, May 23, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. In 2019, it will take place in Anaheim, California, June 1-5 and in 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada from May 30-June 3, 2020.
5. Society of American Travel Writers: Qualify to join this prestigious organization and you’ll be attending conferences ( and pre/post trips) in exciting locations. In 2018, the SATW convention will be held in Barbados from September 23-27, 2018. Plus, you’ll be listed in a Directory that’s a go-to spot for PR and travel industry pros.
6.World Travel Market: The World Travel Market is the grand-daddy of travel industry events, drawing almost 48,000 industry professionals across four days. Score an invitation to this conference and you’ll meet with reps from over 150 countries – Angola to Uzbekistan.
7. International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association: This network of journalists covering the hospitality industry offers an annual conference as well as ongoing press trip opportunities for Taste & Tour events in foodie destinations such as Missouri, Switzerland and California.
8. Travel Classics Writers Conference: This event offers pre/ post conference trips and includes presentations & workshops with top magazine editors, one-on-one consultations with 6-8 guest editors (not for the tongue-tied). This conference is focused more on the craft of writing and building contacts with editors than press trip opportunities.
9. VEMEX: Presented by the European Travel Commission, the Visit Europe Media Exchange (VEMEX) is a one day forum in late October for industry professionals and invited travel media. Held in two locations in North America, it’s a whirlwind series of one-on-one appointments much like speed dating. Be ready to pitch your best story ideas to industry representatives at break-neck speed. If there’s a match, you may be invited on a press visit. If not, at least you’ll have a suitcase full of swag and plenty of story ideas. VEMEX was held on October 11, 2017 in Los Angeles and on October 13, 2017 in New York City. There is no charge for invited media.
10. GoMedia Canada Marketplace: Sponsored by the Canadian Tourism Commission, this is where Canada’s provinces, territories and industry suppliers strut their stuff in a selection of first rate pre/post conference press trip opportunities. Past year’s shindigs have been in Edmonton, Toronto and Winnipeg to name a few. In 2018 GoMedia Canada will be held in Calgary, Alberta. Prospective attendees must register at the beginning of each year to be considered. There is no fee to attend and airfare/transportation is usually provided for qualified and invited attendees.
11. Travel South Showcase: Held in Atlanta in February 2011 and Louisville Kentucky in 2012, this conference is focused mostly on tour operators and suppliers but still offers plenty of networking and city FAM tours for travel trade journalists looking for an excuse to visit Waffle House or enjoy some southern hospitality in the winter. The 7th annual Travel South USA International Showcase will be in Music City Nashville, Tennessee from Monday, November 26 – Thursday, November 29, 2018. The Domestic Travel South Showcase will be held in Mississippi March 18-21, 2018.
12. Travel Media Showcase:This annual 2-day event, held in different U.S. cities each year, offers an opportunity for travel journalists and travel industry professionals to meet one-on-one, at a single location. A wide range of often unique Pre/Post tours can make it worth braving the intense appointment schedule. TMS will be held in Niagara Falls USA September 11-14, 2018.
13. Adventure Travel World Summit: Strap on your mountaineering gear for this conference focused on outdoor adventure, extreme sports and professional development. The 2018 Adventure Travel World Summit will be held in Tuscany Italy October 15-18, 2018 features top notch speakers, networking, marketplace appointments with suppliers and plenty of opportunity to explore the host destination. Membership is by qualification
14. Media Kitty: Sign up for a free membership to this chatty online information exchange that unites working travel journalists and PR professionals worldwide. Get story ideas, submit requests or browse the popular media trips board. Then get ready to compete for space on one of the many press trips listed.
15. Travel Massive: This worldwide network of welcoming travel professionals, bloggers, new media creators and industry pros meets regularly in a social setting ( think drinks and munchies) to share information, learn about online writing craft, technology and destinations. With chapters everywhere from Amsterdam to Washington, you might be able to find ‘one in your home city. If not, it’s worth checking out the online event calendar and joining an event on one of your travels. You’ll need to qualify, but new bloggers are welcome to join so Travel Massive is a good place to begin if you’re new to the industry.
16. Mid-Atlantic Media Marketplace: Hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Tourism Public Relations Alliance ( MATRA) this fall event includes opportunities to meet with PR professionals representing Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The MATPRA Media Marketplace 2018 will be held in Laurel Highlands Pennsylvania between September 25-27, 2018. Apply early if you’re interested in attending.
17. Adventure Travel Mexico: Hosted by the Mexico Tourism Board, the ATMEX conference showcases what Mexico in terms of adventure, nature and cultural travel. It’s an opportunity to network with the people responsible for organizing immersive experiences and Mexico’s wealth of outdoor adventure destinations. ATMEX will be taking place in Colima, Mexico between September 19-21, 2018. FAM trips and press trip opportunities will be taking place from Sept 14-18. Hosted Media have airfare and accommodation paid – you can apply as official media here.
Other Press Trip Opportunities in 2018 and 2019
Do you know of other sources for finding travel writing press trip opportunities or PR contacts for media visits? Do you have other favourite conferences for travel writers? Let me know and I’ll add them to the list.
Note: Most travel writing conferences require qualification by way of clips, significant publication circulation and readership stats and more. Competition for invitations can be fierce and press trip disclosure rules apply.
Dates, costs, fees and other details of conferences can change without notice so readers should double-check for accuracy.
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Other Resources for Press Trip Opportunities and Resources for Travel Writers:
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