#FBF: New Orleans Reveling & Revelations

A woman dressed as an ice cream cone handed me a makeshift ribbon dancer, so I waved it to the tuba beat and walked with strangers down Bourbon Street. It was Women’s Travel Fest. And it was someone’s birthday. And someone’s wedding. We joined every parade that passed.

Since I’m completely obsessed with Women’s Travel Fest, I’ll give you a little background.

I met Kelly Lewis in Halifax, Nova Scotia when I was assigned a work study position in the Communications Department for Semester at Sea. Kelly is one of those people I’m perpetually amazed by. She writes guidebooks for solo female travelers (Go! Girl Guides), finds the coolest jewelry (Roamery), and facilitates female-only trips to awesome destinations (Damesly). The 5th Women’s Travel Fest is slated for March 2018, location TBD.

Aside from meeting inspiring ladies like Susie, Mickela, and Gillian, there were constant discussions about our next destinations as well as expert travel tips and hacks.

Burning and Earning Points for Travel

For budget-restricted travelers like me, I especially appreciated Jackie’s advice on how to make your travel budget work for you. She has a bunch more tips on The Globetrotting Teacher, but here are a few things I wrote down.

  • Sign-up bonuses on credit cards can earn you thousands of points (or miles), making credit cards the most lucrative type of award travel.
  • Book deals when you see them, because you never know how fast they’ll be gone.
  • When you search for a flight, use an incognito window. When different airlines or 3rd party sites are tracking you (with cookies) and know you want to go somewhere specific, they may increase your ticket price.

From 1 to 1 Million

One of the only men at the Women’s Travel Fest – Scott Eddy – delved into how he got up to a million Twitter followers. Although this discussion was travel-focused, these tips apply to businesses and brands as well.

  • You never know what can come from the relationships you build, so meet as many people as you can. It’s all about relationships.
  • When figuring out how often and when to post, analyze your audience. You have to know them better than they know you.
  • Know your industry and utilize relevant hashtags to maximize exposure. Your posts should be a good mix of your own content and other people’s content. The type of content should vary as well to lessen to prevent boredom.

See More, Spend Less

Frommer’s guidebooks are a travel staple. Pauline had endless advice, and I had about 5 pages of notes when her talk was over.

  • The cheapest days to book flights are Saturdays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.
  • Although it’s less expensive to plan most trips by yourself, book cruises through travel agents, as they’ll likely find you great deals.
  • People are happiest when they’re anticipating a trip.

The biggest takeaway from Women’s Travel Fest was not to listen to people when they say you should be doing something. As Sarah Dodd explained, “Should destroys creativity.” So, venture away from what’s comfortable, find what you want, and go after it. There are no valid excuses not to create the life (and career) you always wanted.

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