So, it's just a few days before TBEX Athens, and most of my packing is done. I can't wait to get over there, and I've been looking forwards to it for quite a few months now. With this in mind, this brief blog update is going to leave the bicycle touring theme to one side for a while. Instead, I will tell you what TBEX is and what I hope to achieve in Athens. I might also have a little Ryanair rant as well!
TBEX Athens 2014
TBEX is a travel bloggers conference which is held twice a year, with one event usually in North America, and one in Europe. This year, the European event is being hosted by Athens in Greece. It serves a number of purposes. The host city sees hundred of travel bloggers arrive, all of whom will be blogging bout the city, posting photos, and generally raising its profile as a tourist destination. It gives local businesses a chance to raise their own profile with the same bloggers. It gives travel bloggers a chance to meet and network with their peers as well as travel related brands. It also gives those same brands access to bloggers whom they may want to work with in order to increase their own products line. If there was ever a win-win situation, then TBEX would be it.
I hope to get a number of things out of TBEX Athens this year. In particular, I am very pleased that I am attending a video workshop. This is one area I really want to develop with Daves Travel Pages, and so I hope to pick up some useful snippets of information and advice. I also have several one on one meetings with prominent travel related brands, and am looking forwards to the chance of networking with other bloggers. Perhaps most of all though, I want to come away from TBEX Athens motivated and enthused in order to take my bicycle touring blog to the next level. It also coincides quite nicely with the beginning of the six month countdown to when my next cycling trip around the world begins.
Packing for TBEX Athens
I am flying with Ryanair, and so although I am visiting Athens for 9 days, I need to fit everything into my hand luggage (That's carry-on for my colonial friends :p)! Although some people might have difficulty in doing this, I find it pretty easy. The biggest hassle I have, is how much tech gear I want to take/ need to take / and can actually take! I'm not going to list the tech gear I am taking in full here, as to be quite honest, I don't want to set myself up as a target to be robbed! You can expect the normal phone, camera, tablet pc etc though. I will give a full list after the event, and also evaluate how much of it I used. This might be quite beneficial when it comes to working out how much tech gear to take on my around the world cycling trip that leaves in May 2015. All in all though, I will still probably be a few kgs short of the max weight I can take on the Ryanair flight. Which leads me neatly onto…
A Ryanair Rant
I have written about my love hate relationship with Ryanair before. Basically, I love the cheap prices of their flights, but hate the ways in which they try to add on extras in order to milk some more money. It seems every time I fly with them, they have a new clause or policy which doesn't sit quite right with me, and this time, is no exception. The new clause that I have not encountered before is that their seats on the planes are now allocated. In theory, this should not be a bad thing. In the past, queues for flights have often resembled a rugby scrum as people vied for the best position in order to get better seats on the plane. Allocated seating though of course removes this scrum behaviour. Why am I having a Ryanair rant then?
Well, its because you can only get your free allocated seating 7 days before or less. You can get it at any time if you want to pay an additional fee, but if you want to keep it free, you will need to wait 7 days before the flight departs. On the outward journey, this is normally not an issue, as it is easy to print off a boarding card from the comfort of your own home. The issue is, that if you are away for more than 7 days, you can not print off the return boarding pass for free in advance. You would either need to pay a fee to print it off early, or hope that you can find somewhere to print it off whilst you are away. I suspect that many people will just pay the extra fee to avoid the hassle. I'm not going to debate whether or not this is great marketing, customer service, or using human behaviour to make more money. I will just say that it doesn't sit right with me. Ryanair rant over.
Anyhow, back to the point. I'm off to Athens soon on holibobs! If you are attending the TBEX Athens event, I hope to see you there. if you aren't, rest assured you will be reading quite a few articles and tweets from myself over the next week or so! BTW – I am warming up for TBEX Athens by a weekend away in Liverpool – Here's a photo from night one!!