Upcoming travel blogger conferences for 2012

If the word “conference” immediately conjures images of tipsy, poly-suit clad conventioneers, comic book geeks, or coma-inducing workshops, you obviously haven’t attended a travel blogger gathering.

‘Tis the season for some of the year’s biggest travel industry blowouts. Each has a different focus–some are for accredited travel writers, others hone in on the burgeoning travel blogging industry or events tailored for the public. What they all share is an emphasis on networking with industry professionals, travel trends, and continuing education in the form of field trips, workshops, seminars, panel discussions, and yes, a fair bit of partying.

Below, our picks for the best in travel industry camaraderie and information exchange:

Travel Blog Exchange (TBEX)

The year’s most anticipated travel scribe gathering will be held June 15-17 in Keystone, Colorado. Expect a mix of over 350 fledgling and veteran writers, PR and travel industry experts, guest speakers, and workshops. In your downtime, take advantage of Keystone resort and environs by hiking, mountain biking, paddling, fly-fishing, or riding. Psst. Europe TBEX will be held in Lausanne, Switzerland, October 11-13.

New York Times Travel Show (NYT)
Held March 2-4 at Manhattan’s Jacob C. Javits Convention Center, this is a great event if you’re an accredited writer with a specific niche (Industry Professional Sessions include topics like “Focus on Africa,” and “Focus on Travel Media”); there’s also a “trade-only” day. The public and and newbie writers can explore the Exhibition Hall, check out a variety of cultural events to be held on five stages, and let the kids run amok in the Family Fun Pavilion. Bonus: Accredited travel professionals can attend the Friday Exhibition Hall and travel industry welcome reception, and Saturday and Sunday seminars and Exhibition Hall free of charge.

Travel Bloggers Unite (TBU)
Feel like a tax write-off trip to Umbria, Italy (did I just say that)? From April 20-22, this UK-organized conference unites travel writers and bloggers with travel PR experts, tourism boards, and travel companies. Seminars include photo walks and workshops, and using social media. Best of all, delegates will be able take free post-conference tours of Umbria.

Book Passage Travel Writers and Photographers Conference

Lonely Planet guru/Gadling editor Don George co-founded this renown industry event with Book Passage owner Elaine Petrocelli in 1991. Held annually at Petrocelli’s Marin County bookstore (located 15 minutes north of San Franciso; the other Book Passage is a tiny shop in San Francisco’s Ferry Building). The event has attracted in the past luminaries such as Tim Cahill, Larry Habegger, and Gadling’s David Farley. This year, esteemed writer Susan Orlean will be in attendance, and the schedule includes four days of seminars, workshops, panel discussions, and optional evening field trips. If you’re serious about travel writing–and few places provide as much topical diversity as the Bay Area–sign up, stat.

Be sure to check out Don’s article on “Top tips for TBEX and other writers’ conferences” before you sign up or get on a plane (they say advice doesn’t come cheap, but this is free, baby).

[Photo credit: Flickr user Dia™]

Presenting Xtranormal’s “I want to be a travel writer

Famous tourist destinations made more famous by literature

I’ve always felt that movies have a much larger impact on a location than a book ever does, attracting tourists by the tour busload to see for themselves the wonderful images portrayed in a particular film.

But books have their draw as well. Earlier today, for example, we shared with you the Tolkien Trail in Birmingham, England where fans of Lord of the Rings can explore the landscape which inspired Middle Earth.

Condé Nast Traveler seems to have books on their mind as well. The recent September issue highlights a list of places where literature has had a dramatic impact on tourism–the most famous example being the annual increase of 800,000 visitors to the Louvre since The Da Vinci Code was published.

Condé Nast Traveler dives into eight other examples–such as Kefalonia, Greece where Corelli’s Mandolin takes place–that makes me want to read and travel much, much more. I hope their list inspires you to do the same–although you can easily cheat since most of these books have also been made into movies.

Conde Nast Traveler Rates Books for (Armchair) Adventurers

The September issue of Conde Nast Traveler offers a list of literature that will hopefully whet your adventure appetite. The magazine is touting the list of books due out this fall as “new classics,” although it includes Jack Kerouac’s re-released On the Road (original scroll in book form).

You don’t have to get seasick to follow Marco Polo’s explorations or tales of a Viking woman who “sailed the seas 500 years before Columbus.”

For more great travel literature, check out Gadling blogger Kelly Amabile’s One for the Road series. Grab a blanket, make a cup of tea, and travel away in your mind.

[via USA Today]