Last week I attended my 3rd TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange) conference, this time in Dublin, Ireland. What a great place for 600 travel bloggers to take over the city for a week. It was good to see a lot of my blogger buddies, but I also met a ton of new friends and made a lot of important connections. Here are a few of my thoughts from the week of TBEX Dublin.
1) It’s All About the Networking
The most important part of any conference for me is the networking aspect and this couldn’t be more true than at TBEX. My blog is beginning to get to the point where I’m able to make more quality connections and partnerships with brands that I want to work with. Sure the keynotes and breakout sessions are great, but for the most part they tend to be focused on newer bloggers. Even during the official networking events like blogger-brand Speed Dating, it seems very formal and rigid.
Where the magic happens is during the after-parties. After a few drinks, people are more outgoing, less formal, and generally more open to sharing ideas with each other. Bonds are formed, memories are made, and new ideas are created more in this way than anywhere else. This leads me to my next point.
2) We Like, We Like to Party!
The biggest thing travel bloggers enjoy is going out and having an awesome time. I think it’s impossible to attend TBEX and not leave with some ridiculous stories, a sore body, and one hell of a hangover. One of my favorite sayings, that sleep is overrated, definitely applies here. There wasn’t any night in Dublin that I went to bed before 5am!
The first big night was the night of Travel Massive. A few hundred people crowded into the upper level of O’Neills Bar. Afterwards, a bunch of us headed over to Copper Face Jack’s, one of the most well-known nightclubs in Ireland. We went in after walking through pouring rain for 20 minutes, only to realize that most people in the place barely looked like they could pass for 18. Imagine the surprise of our group, probably with an average age around 30. That was an experience.
The next night was one of the best. We started off with the incredible TBEX Opening Party at the Guinness Storehouse. The TBEX crew basically rented out the entire building for us. There was some amazing food, lots of Guinness as you can imagine, Irish dancing, live bands, and a whole lot of fun. This was followed by a legendary night at a nightclub called 37 Dawson. Mention that name to anyone who was there and most likely they’ll just shake their head and walk away. We took over the upper level for a night of extreme drunkenness, exquisite dancing (Kash and Dylan took the cake here), and who knows what else. Close to the end of the night, the owner came up and thanked us for spending so much money there by giving us 3 bottles of Jagermeister on the house, as if that was needed at that point.
3) Integrity in Blogging Has Never Been More Important
Something that was hammered on a lot throughout the conference was integrity in blogging. I won’t go on too much about this, but don’t jeopardize your credibility with your audience just to make a few bucks here and there. I agree that you need to make a living, but always be honest and upfront with your readers and the brands you work with. They will greatly appreciate it, and in turn, so will you.
Some of My New Favorite People
I made a lot of great new friends during TBEX. Don’t feel left out if I didn’t mention you here, but this list could have gone on for a very, very long time.
Stephen of A Backpacker’s Tale
Chris of Backpacker Banter
Emma of Backpacking Spirit
Kristin of Souvenir Finder
Jonathan of Vagabundus.org
Kash of Budget Traveller
Brendon of Nerd Travels
Kristin of Be My Travel Muse
Nienke of The Travel Tester
Valerie of Choosing Figs
Thanks to Failte Ireland and all of their partners for putting on a wonderful and memorable TBEX event in Dublin.
Happy and safe travels everyone!