15 sure-fire sources for stellar press trips
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 opportunities to participate in 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. And yes, they are also often responsible for inviting journalists on press trips or arranging media visits, both group and individual.
Where can you find the best press trips 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 participate in a travel media press trip. This list has been updated as of June 2017.
15 (or more) Resources for Press Trips and Conferences for Travel Writers
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 2018, the NATJA Conference & Marketplace will be held in Branson, Missouri from April 24 – 27, 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 Killarney, Ireland October 3-5, 2017 and in Zimbabwe, Africa July 25-27, 2018
3. Travel Media Association of Canada: Canada’s national trade association representing qualified members of the travel media held their 2017 conference in Quebec City. 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.
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 2017, the convention will be held in Portland, Oregon from October 29- November 3, 2017. 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 opportunities for press to participate in 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).
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 will be held 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 tours. Past year’s shindigs have been in Edmonton, Toronto and Winnipeg to name a few. In 2017 GoMedia Canada will be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia from Oct 1-5, 2017. 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.
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 Cabarras County, North Carolina between August 22-25, 2017.
13. Adventure Travel World Summit: Strap on your mountaineering gear for this conference focused on outdoor adventure, extreme sports and professional development. The 2017 Adventure Travel World Summit will be held in Argentina October 16-19, 2017 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. Central America Travel Market: This annual conference profiles the countries of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador, Panama and Honduras with a conference, business exhibition and several pre and post trips. In 2015, CATM was held in Guatemala.
16. 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.
17. Georgia Travel Media Marketplace: Do you have Georgia on the mind? If you’re interested in exploring the beautiful state of Georgia ( home to the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Atlanta Steeplechase and Vidalia onions) the annual Travel Media Marketplace is for you. Conducted by the Georgia Department of Economic Development this spring event features opportunities to meet with tourism industry representatives and participate in statewide regional familiarization tours and press trips. Past events have been held in Clayton County, Savannah, Macon, Atlanta, Hiawassee, Augusta, Blue Ridge and Vidalia. Attendance is by application.
18. 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 2017 will be held in Winchester Virginia between September 12-14, 2017. Apply early if you’re interested in attending.
Do you know of other sources for finding press trips or contacts for media visits? Do you have other favourite conferences? Let me know and I’ll add them to the list.
Notes: Most 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.