NY Times Travel Show first timer: Overview & tips

Overly exhausted, but alive! NY Times Travel Show first timer here, just returned from NYC late Sunday night. For being my very first travel conference, I feel it was a resounding success! The sessions, the networking, and the organization of the event truly impressed me. Now I can give you first timers a little overview and guide in order for you to make the most out of the next NY Times Travel Show or any other big conference of its kind.

NY Times Travel Show first timer, 2012

didn’t forget my press pass–but forgot my notepad!

Preparation and what to bring

One thing I regret is being fully prepared. If it wasn’t for Expedia’s Coast to Coast event and the little goodie bag they gave us travel bloggers, I wouldn’t have had a notepad and working pen! Seems simple, but make sure you pack more than one pen (mine ran out of ink) and a sturdy notebook with you. Some presenters can run out of business cards (or have more to say than their card), so being able to dot down details is important. Also, make sure you have a tote bag, where you can place bigger brochures or even press trip applications.

Moreover, make sure you take a look at the full exhibitor’s list prior to arrival. If you apply for and are granted a press pass, this list is typically emailed to you a few days in advance. Write down which boards/companies you would love to speak to and create a plan of action. If possible, schedule it by the day. Being this organized means you can simply go down your list and get more done faster.

NY Times Travel Show first timer, Expedia event

I’m sure my big hair won’t be forgotten…! Here, with travel bloggers @CaptainandClark @MidlifeRoadTrip @live_for_travel at #ExpediaC2C event

On the show: Network confidently and stand out

As a NY Times Travel Show first timer, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and–let’s be honest here–feel small. My travel blogs have been live for a little over 6 months only, so I do not have the traffic and clout that many others have. Thus, I had to make sure that my pitch whilst networking at the show was one that stood out for its uniqueness.

While I’m a relatively-new travel blogger, I also work as a bilingual freelance travel writer and translator. Therefore, what I had to offer to all those tourism boards was coverage of a press trip in both English and Spanish. No press trips? I offered to help them reach the Spanish-speaking market by developing their company blog in Spanish and helping to translate/localize their entire website. I pitched this very confidently, and sure got lots of positive feedback from exhibitors. In fact, more than twice I was told “I can tell that you are hard-working and confident. I’m sure you’ll go very far in your career and in life–keep it up and keep in touch!” You have no idea how great that felt! So, make sure you find a unique niche that can be connected to travel blogging. This way, you will stand out from the pack.

NY Times Travel Show first timer, Samantha Brown presenting

Samantha Brown! Click for the short video

Post-show: Follow-up

This is as important as networking confidently is. As a NY Times Travel Show first timer (or veteran!), you must touch base with everyone you spoke to or else your pitch will be forgotten. I recommend you gather all the business cards/notes from the travel show and organize all the data on an Excel spreadsheet (with a notes section!). After you transfer all the business cards to that spreadsheet, go down the list to touch base within a week of the conference. Dot down when you sent every email and follow-up accordingly. This is the only way you’ll be successful at developing an important partnership and/or making a press trip happen.

NY Times Travel Show first timer, photos

Top: Lovely woman travel session (with legendary @JourneyWoman Evelyn!). Bottom: The Asia floor with lovely ladies from Sri Lanka (left) and Thai display (right)

Final thoughts of a NY Times Travel Show first timer

First off, I must emphasize how organized it was. It was a massive pavilion, but every section was well-marked and relatively easy to find. All sessions were helpful and organized as well, with schedules given ahead of time, which allowed for prioritizing. Next time I go, I’ll make sure I prepare better in order to speak to more people in less time. The exhibitors I spoke to were very helpful and I had the opportunity to meet very important executives in the industry, pitching directly to them without the gatekeepers (yay!). Some big names include the VP/GM of Expedia and the CEO of EscapeFromTheCity — amazing, I know!

NY Times Travel Show first timer bloggers

Successful event indeed! From left: Julia @EpicAdventurer_, me @latinAbroad, Gina @live_for_travel. Photo courtesy of Gina

NY Times Travel Show first timer or veteran w/ additional advice? Comment below!

FriFotos: Rome, Times Square in New Years & Gaga lights (photo compilation)

This week’s FriFotos theme is “LIGHTS” so today I present you a photo compilaton of some of my favorite “light” moments, all over the globe. Hope you like them pics! 😉

FriFotos Colosseum lights

I got to party with the locals by the Colosseum in Rome! =D

FriFotos Colosseum lights

View from our tram, where the Roman party was at

Times Square NYE - travel bucket list CHECK!

The Ball drop in Times Square from the VIP lane! Read the story here

travel bucket list check - Times Square NYE

New Year's in Times Square from the VIP lane - AMAZING!

Rome lights

Lights somewhere in Rome. I think it was the Pantheon?

Me at Fontana di Trevi, Rome

Lady Gaga concert

Lady Gaga stage lights, concert in Tampa, FL

You got any cool LIGHT photos? Post the links below!

Video: New Year’s Countdown from Times Square!

I said bye-bye to 2010 in Times Square, NYC and shot an awesome video of that moment! I went nuts (and said “minutes” instead of “seconds”); couldn’t believe I was finally crossing this off my bucket list! =D

To read more about how I basically “seduced” an NYPD officer in order to crash into Times Square and watch this countdown from the VIP lane, CLICK HERE

While I would probably not do all this all over again, it is an experience not to be missed in life, for sure!

Is NYE Times Square on your travel bucket list?