I’m going to try and set the scene a little that led to me booking a ticket, flight and airbnb to my first travel conference. I’d heard of Traverse before, I mean I don’t live under a rock, but I’d not really considered going as I never knew any travel bloggers in real life. There are people I chat to on Twitter and Instagram a lot, but having never actually met up with anyone, I didn’t feel I could just rock up somewhere at an event.
I happened to be on a trip to Dubrovnik at the time and had just been chatting with my friend when I saw that the last day for cheaper tickets was closing soon. If you didn’t want to pay extra, you had to buy your ticket at the end of that weekend. I got chatting on Twitter to some people who all seemed really genuine and ended up buying the ticket and flight, and airbnb. It’s a strange one because I didn’t feel nervous I just didn’t want to be the odd one out and feel like everyone else already knew each other.
Fast forward to last week when I got on my flight to Verona and saw that Ellie from The Wandering Quinn would be in Verona at the same time. We ended up getting dinner the first night and then I met some more people, then some more and then I was on my way to Trento with a few familiar faces. The week was really fun and I learnt a lot, so thought it would be a great way to share as I know that some people reading this might be interested in knowing what to expect from their first travel conference.
Whether that is new to the industry, new to the group of people, new to blogging, new to instagram or whatever else you are new to. It’s ok, because everyone else, at some point, was new too. Not everyone starts as an expert with 50,000 followers and 100 press trips to their name. In fact I don’t think anyone starts out as an expert. These people who are doing incredible things within their line of work are doing them because they worked bloody hard for years, and now it’s paying off. So after I realised that, I didn’t mind being new so much. It just got me excited thinking about what kind of position I could be in, at my second Traverse event, or my fifth or my tenth.
I signed up for whatever I could but basically the midweek events are a schedule of events that run before the main conference. A lot of people arrive in town before the conference for some mingling, events and catching up with friends so it’s a great way to meet people. The events that I went to were also so much fun as it meant I got to explore Trento and experience the city in a way that I wouldn’t have done, if I’d been backpacking on my own.
I definitely turned up at my first talk on the Saturday morning, a little apprehensive about what to expect. It was a packed out room for a talk by the Make Traffic Happen team about all things SEO, (it was incredible and I’ve got so much to do now!). I think this one was so busy so I didn’t ask any questions or anything but other talks that I went to weren’t as full so you got more of a chance to ask questions about what they were teaching you.
I was also surprised that the speakers stuck around for the rest of the weekend and went to other talks as well as the evening events. For some reason, I found that really surprising as I expected them to fly in, talk, and then leave but this just wasn’t the case. I loved chatting to the speakers at the different events and felt like I could ask them questions. Also a lot of people who spoke, left their email addresses so you could email them with anything you weren’t sure on, which I thought was a really lovely way to do it.
I only did a week in Italy but some people arrived a week before the midweek events and then some stayed after to do post events so ended up being in Trento for a few weeks. Those people deserve a medal, because honestly, I came back exhausted. The days are full especially the actual travel conference at the weekend but I think having midweek drinks and different experiences everyday are what made the week I had, so much fun.
It was tiring but if I wanted to, I could have not done as many midweek experiences or not gone to every talk. Obviously you know how much rest you need to function, but it can be tempting to stay out until 4am every night because you just get carried away chatting to new people. I feel for the people who had to fly home and go straight back to work, after an early night I was fine so think I managed ok and wouldn’t change any of my 4am bedtimes.
The thing that I really enjoyed about my first Traverse conference was that no one seemed in any way snobby about who they were and what they did. There were some insanely talented people there for have been travel blogging, vlogging or instagramming for years and are what I would consider to be experts. It was nice to be surrounded by such a talented group of people. Traverse also had a Creator awards event on the Saturday night which was amazing! It was held at MART which is a huge museum outside of Trento.
During my time in Trento I felt like everyone I met was really genuine and I was so happy to meet some of the people who I’d been speaking to on Twitter for a long time. I was happy that my first travel conference was Traverse as they had so much going on and really took care of everything. All the events were organised down to the last detail, everything from the lunches at restaurants to the open bars for the evening drinks! The midweek events were really exciting and from what I’ve seen of the post event trips, they had some incredible experiences to offer. Trento had a whole lot of people arrive for this conference and it was such a beautiful city to explore. My experience in Trento meant that I’ve already booked on to my next Traverse event for when I come back from America, it’s called Borderless Live and will be in London in September.
If you’re thinking of going to your first travel conference but feeling a little unsure, let me know because I’d happily chat more about my experience. I spent two days in Verona before heading to Trento so if you want to read about that, click here!
I post once a week covering topics such as solo travel, working and living abroad and also creating Gabriella’s Guides to places I have been. I cover topics under the following categories such as Planning and Packing, The Travel Diary, Travel Inspiration, Photo Diaries, Gabriella’s Guides and Working Abroad.