Empowering Travel and Creativity Conferences All Women Should Attend in 2020

Empowering Travel and Creativity Conferences All Women Should Attend in 2020

Attending conferences is one of the best and easiest ways to shake yourself out of a professional development rut and gain fresh inspiration to up-level your business and your brand! Here are my top 10 picks for travel, professional development, and creativity conferences all women should attend this year.

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Rachel Off Duty: 2020 Travel, Professional Development, & Creativity Conferences

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Being a blogger, creative, solo entrepreneur, or ambitious 9-to-5er can sometimes feel incredibly isolating. With so much of the career-shaping and personal branding process taking place online, it’s easy to feel bogged down in the social media-saturated, information-overload digital ecospace. Amirite? 

With that said – attending conferences is one of the best and easiest ways to shake yourself out of a professional development rut and gain fresh inspiration to up-level your business and your brand! 

Thanks to the web, so many people all over the world can unite over shared experiences, interests, and pursuits. You can find a conference or networking event today covering pretty much any profession or purpose, from hyper-specific industry trade shows to massive workshops on universal topics everybody can benefit from. 


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When I look at my personal journey, attending conferences has been a massive step for my career. I’ve attended events on everything from personal branding and female empowerment to tourism industry challenges and actionable tips for travel bloggers. By attending conferences, I’ve been able to rub elbows with hundreds of inspirational and influential people I’d only ever previously known online, place my business card in the hands of brands and businesses that I see potential in getting to know better, learn tons of new skills, and get new business both for Rachel Off Duty and for my 9-to-5 job

But First, Why Attend?

Since every conference is different and offers a unique value proposition, it’s crucial to first ask yourself what you want to get out of attending one. Do you want to fine-tune your skills? Do you want to mingle with cool bloggers or colleagues in the same industry and find a new community? Do you want to focus on business connections and network in a professional setting? Do you want a workshop to put your skills to the test under the guidance of an expert? Having even just a general understanding of what you want and where you’re at in your career will help you narrow down the hundreds of conferences out there. This is crucial because conferences are expensive, and unless you’re able to get your employer to pay for your attendance or write off your conference ticket as a business expense, you’ll have to be selective. 

10 Travel, Professional Development, & Creativity Conferences You Won’t Want to Miss in 2020

Here are some conferences I’ve either personally attended or have heard rave reviews about – complete with information about each conference’s dates, rates, location. Because of my background working in travel as both a profession and a passion, I’ve included travel-specific conferences as well as conferences geared towards general professional development and community building for career-minded women.

If up-leveling your career in whatever field you’re in is on your agenda this year, these events should be on your radar! 

Note = an * next to the conference name means I’ve attended it personally!

Travel Conferences to Attend in 2020

Rachel Off Duty: Women Attending a Travel Conference

1. Women in Travel Summit*

  • WHAT IT IS: The Women in Travel Summit (WITS) is a 3-day conference organized by Wanderful. It’s equal parts focused on helping women in the travel industry develop new skills and techniques for blogging and brand collaboration, and on establishing a global sisterhood of travel lovers. WITS’ parent company, Wanderful, is an online platform designed to make travel easier by connecting women to one another all over the world, through accommodation sharing, resources, community pages, and more. 

    I personally love WITS and attended my first one in 2019 in Portland, Maine. It is a powerful, uplifting, and insightful conference for anyone who enjoys travel and wants to build a business or find a community around it. Plus, in addition to keynotes, there are workshops and sessions designed around individual ‘tracks,’ whether you want to learn more about creating, industry trends, or business tools. 

    As another fun bonus, I will be speaking at WITS in Kansas City this year! If you end up deciding to come, reach out and let me know so we can meet up 🙂 

  • WHO IT’S FOR: Female travel bloggers, writers, journalists, tourism boards, and travel brands (though anyone can participate. And, if you want to bring your spouse or significant other, they usually have a party specifically dedicated to partners of WITS attendees!) 

  • WHERE & WHEN: Kansas City, MO (May 1 – 3, 2020); Gdansk, Poland (October 16 – 18, 2020)

  • COST: $399 – $699

2. Women’s Travel Fest

  • WHAT IT IS: Women’s Travel Fest is a 3-day conference aimed at inspiring, empowering, and elevating travel. While the conference is geared towards blogging, it is open to any ticketed attendee looking to be inspired by and actively participate in a community of travel-loving women. 

  • WHO IT’S FOR: Female travel bloggers, writers, solo entrepreneurs, and general travel lovers

  • WHERE & WHEN: New York City, NY (March 6 – 8, 2020) 

  • COST: $199 – $397 

3. TravelCon*

  • WHAT IT IS: TravelCon is a 3-day conference aimed at connecting industry leaders, influencers, acclaimed writers, expert photographers, and more. With everything from intimate workshops, to panels, to tutorials, attendees will get a taste of what’s happening in today’s competitive travel industry and gain insight into the tools and tactics needed to succeed. This conference is focused on building an understanding of the business and future of travel media. 

    I attended TravelCon in Austin in 2018 and again in Boston in 2019. TravelCon was the very first travel-related conference I ever attended, and ended up being the push I needed to seek out other similar opportunities! There are sessions for beginners and experts alike, and the parties after each conference day are usually fantastic.

  • WHO IT’S FOR: Bloggers, writers, journalists, photographers, tourism boards, and travel brands 

  • WHERE & WHEN: New Orleans, LA (May 8 – 10, 2020)

  • COST: $399 – $999

4. TBEX*

  • WHAT IT IS: Travel Blogger’s Exchange (TBEX) is a conference and networking event geared towards educating attendees about the future of travel media and facilitating ‘speed dating’ with potential collaboration partners and business opportunities. It partners each year with host destinations both in North America and across the globe to bring the travel industry together in exciting and/or under-the-radar cities. 

    My first TBEX was in 2019 in Montana. Unlike some other conferences targeted specifically towards younger millennial and Gen Z digital creators, TBEX had the broadest age range, with both beginner bloggers in their early 20s and seasoned journalists in their 50s and 60s. This diverse crowd makes sense, as TBEX is one of the original travel blogging conferences that has been around the longest!

  • WHO IT’S FOR: Bloggers, journalists, content creators, media, travel brands, and industry professionals 

  • WHERE & WHEN: Catania, Italy (March 10 – 13, 2020); Lafayette, Louisiana (October 7 – 9, 2020)

  • COST: $367+ 

5. Travel & Adventure Show*

  • WHAT IT IS: The Travel & Adventure Show is a series of events around the country that brings hundreds of destinations and travel brands to you in a trade show setting. Here, you can shop for new dream destinations and travel deals, attend sessions from local travel experts, meet celebrity travel personalities, and learn about new cultures all at the same time. It’s more of a consumer-facing event, with a focus on facilitating face-to-face conversations with travelers and destinations, accommodations, and tour operators.

    I’ve approached the Travel & Adventure Show as both a travel writer and a general consumer, and I’ve gotten some great contacts and inspiration from the event in the past.

  • WHO IT’S FOR: General travel lovers, press, travel industry, travel brands, and content creators 

  • WHERE & WHEN: Atlanta, GA (February 29 – March 1, 2020); Chicago, IL (February 8 – 9, 2020); Dallas, TX (March 28 – 29, 2020); Denver, CO (February 22 – 23, 2020); Los Angeles, CA (February 15 – 16, 2020); Philadelphia, PA (March 14 – 15, 2020); San Francisco, CA (March 21 – 22, 2020); Washington DC (March 7 – 8, 2020)

  • COST: $10+ 


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Professional Development & Creativity Conferences to Attend in 2020

Rachel Off Duty: 2020 Travel Conference
 

6. Create & Cultivate*

  • WHAT IT IS: In addition to being an online community of female entrepreneurship tools and content, Create & Cultivate is a conference geared towards helping women cultivate and pursue the career of their dreams. Create & Cultivate usually has an annual summit and the occasional pop-up party and networking event throughout the year. 

    I attended a pop-up event in Palm Springs in 2018, and since it took place during Coachella weekend, it was part pool party, part gathering place for creatives and fellow women to come together and feel inspired. There were panels, gifting suites, cocktails, snacks, and even live music. It almost made me forget that I didn’t have a ticket to Coachella (almost).

  • WHO IT’S FOR: Influencers, bloggers, fashion lovers, Instagrammers, career-minded individuals, solo entrepreneurs

  • WHERE & WHEN: Los Angeles, CA (Feb 22, 2020)

  • COST: $350+

7. Yellow Conference

  • WHAT IT IS: The Yellow Conference is aimed at building a community of women looking to find purpose in their work. Yellow brings together female visionaries, activists, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and more to celebrate careers not as a means of getting a paycheck, but as a way of lighting your fire and adding value to the world. By attending Yellow, the goal is to help inspire attendees to better align their work, actions, and relationships with their values, beliefs, skills, and identity. 

  • WHO IT’S FOR: Women (and friends of women) in any career field who might be looking for new inspiration, purpose, or meaning in their professional pursuits 

  • WHERE & WHEN: TBD (2020 not yet announced!) 

  • COST: $215+ 

8. Alt Summit

  • WHAT IT IS: Alt Summit is a 6-day conference filled with tailored courses, networking, and inspiration for creatives. In addition to learning and networking opportunities, attendees also get to enjoy offsite activities, meetups, parties, fashion shows, and other events to socialize and explore. 

  • WHO IT’S FOR: Female entrepreneurs, creatives, Instagrammers, fashion bloggers

  • WHERE & WHEN: Palm Springs, CA (March 1 – 6, 2020)

  • COST: $999+ 

9. Sisterhood Summit 

  • WHAT IT IS: The Sisterhood Summit is geared specifically towards female entrepreneurs from around the world, with an emphasis on learning from, supporting, and engaging with one another in a celebratory space. Attendees can enjoy both keynotes and workshops touching on topics like branding, storytelling, personal development, mental health, and other behind-the-scenes facets of entrepreneurial life that often don’t get the spotlight they deserve. 

  • In addition to the session format, this summit also raffles off business grants and critical supplies (like laptops and cameras) to help get female entrepreneurs’ dreams and projects off the ground. 

  • WHO IT’S FOR: Female entrepreneurs, creators, community-seekers 

  • WHERE & WHEN: San Juan, Puerto Rico (December 10, 2020)

  • COST: $349+ 

10. #WeAllGrow Latina Network 

  • WHAT IT IS: #WeAllGrow Summit is a sisterhood-focused summit bringing together some of the most influential Latina creators, entrepreneurs, creatives, and more. It’s a 3-day conference featuring both personal and professional training sessions, as well as explorations of wellness and mindfulness. And, even though the conference has its roots in amplifying the Latina community, the #WeAllGrow Summit is open to anyone regardless of gender, ethnicity, or cultural background. 

  • WHO IT’S FOR: Creators, entrepreneurs, influencers, business leaders, funders, media, brands, and more. It’s open to everyone – not just Latinas! 

  • WHERE & WHEN: Palm Springs, CA (May 28 – 30, 2020)

  • COST: $440+ 

At first, conferences may seem daunting and intimidating. But if kicking your career growth into high gear, learning new business skills, and finding a community that shares your profession or your passion is your priority, there’s no better time to get going than right now! Invest in yourself, take the plunge, and put yourself out there. You’ll thank yourself for it in no time.

Are you attending any conferences this year? Let me know below and maybe I’ll see you there!

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Rachel Off Duty: All The Travel, Professional Development, & Creativity Conferences You Won’t Want to Miss in 2020
Rachel Off Duty: All The Travel, Professional Development, & Creativity Conferences You Won’t Want to Miss in 2020

Hey there! I’m Rachel, a travel writer and a full-time advertising / marketing expert. In 2019, I traveled more than 25 times while working 9 to 5, and since then I’ve committed myself to living a more adventurous life, even if it means bringing my laptop along for the ride.

Are you hungry to travel more, but overwhelmed with how to juggle work and play? You’ve come to the right place!

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2 Responses

    1. I’m so bummed TravelCon (and every other conference I was planning to attend) had to get pushed back. Hope it happens in September (and if so, see you there!)

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Empowering Travel and Creativity Conferences All Women Should Attend in 2020