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How to survive your first group press trip

 

Ready for the opening party of #MustSeeMenorca with @traverseevents @spain @turismomenorca @portbluehotels ☀️⛴

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Press trips. The holy grail of the blogging world, and they’re so sought after that bloggers literally compete with each other in a bid to get picked by brands and companies. I’ve never had the opportunity to attend one before, but if you’ve followed my blog lately you’ll know that I was recently invited on my first EVER group press trip, and what a trip it was! Along with 59 other bloggers, Instagrammers and Youtubers, I was invited to explore the beautiful Spanish island of Menorca as part of  the #MustSeeMenorca campaign with Jet2, Traverse, Turismo Menorca and Spain. As this was my first ever group press trip I was totally unaware of what to expect, and was a little nervous to begin with, but once I embraced everything and felt more confident, I found myself having one of the best week’s of travel I’ve ever had! If you’re about to jet off on your first group press trip and aren’t sure what to expect, these top tips might help you get through it…

 

Understand the brief before you go

 

 

This is single-handedly the most important thing you should do before accepting an invitation to attend a press trip. Check the brief that the company have sent you, go through it with a fine toothed comb and make sure you can deliver what they have asked of you before you go on the trip, and before you start to create content. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, or to tell them that you can’t deliver on a certain aspect of the brief, as they may be able to work around you so that you can come up with a compromise together. If a company have asked for daily Instagram posts whilst you’re away but all you’ve done is one tweet every other day, it’ll just reflect badly on you and look as if you haven’t checked the brief at all. Also, check that you know the right brand accounts to tag if you’re posting on social, and know what relevant links you need to include in your content. It’s something so simple, but it’ll really help to make sure you don’t miss anything and that you stick to creating the content that both you and the brand want and need.

 

Interact with fellow attendees online 

 

 

This is something I swear by, and I do it every time I’m going on a group trip or event, not just a press trip or a work related activity. I think there’s something about making friends with people online that helps you to feel less nervous about meeting them face to face, as it takes away that feeling of being total strangers and meeting for the first time. I always search the hashtag of the event/trip before attending so that I can see who else is, and say hi that way.

 

 

Before attending Traverse16 for the first time I searched the hashtag on Twitter, found a lovely girl called Lucy who was also going for the first time, chatted online with her for a bit and she then invited me to stay at hers so we could attend the conference together. Fast forward a year and Lucy and I have attended many other blogger events at the same time, become firm friends and have even taken a little holiday together! That’s the power of social media, it brings people together who have similar interests and opens up new opportunities – and sometimes it’s definitely who you know, not what you know, that can make all the difference.

 

Don’t be afraid to be a little nervous

 

Cave parties in #menorca are my favourite🍾 #MustSeeMenorca #igersmenorca

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Press trips are naturally very daunting, and often a little scary. Most of the time you’ll be going on trips with bloggers who have been doing this for YEARS and are total pro’s at the whole networking thing. At the other end of the scale though, there are always people like me who will be on their first ever press trip and that’s totally OK – we’ve all gotta start somewhere! Don’t be afraid to show that you’re a little nervous, it makes you human, and your fellow bloggers will admire you for being so honest.

 

 

Before the #MustSeeMenorca trip I posted in the Facebook group just to introduce myself and said that I was feeling nervous as my blog is so small compared to some of the other big bloggers that were attending, but I received lovely comments and messages from other attendees saying that there was no need for me to nervous, or that they were feeling the same too, and that they were really looking forward to meeting me. Little things like that make the world of difference and my nerves soon turned into excitement as my confidence was increased in no time!

 

Document everything as you go along

 

 

Make notes, take photos, record videos. Do everything you can to capture as much content as possible whilst you’re on the move. Even if you’re not required to post anything whilst you’re away, keep things for yourself so that you have a database of notes and images to work from when the time comes for your content to be created. If the deadline is a week or two after the trip has ended, chances are you’ll have forgotten some of the most important aspects that you wanted to write about, so by keeping that database you can keep your memory fresh, and your content will be as accurate as possible. Don’t forget to keep your phone location switched to ON so that you can record destinations as you go along without even realizing it – super handy when you come to post a photo on Instagram two weeks later and can’t remember the name of the location!

 

 

Be honest and open with your group at all times

 

 

Luckily, I’m a terrible liar and am pretty transparent. I’m always open and honest with people, and I know they find it easy to tell when I’m upset, or when I’m not well. On one of the days of the #MustSeeMenorca trip I felt really poorly, had a banging headache and could barely open my eyes. One of the girls quickly noticed I wasn’t quite right and nodded to one of our group leaders for help. I was taken out of the sun and offered a bit of respite for half an hour where I had something to eat and had a sugary drink to make myself feel better. Within half an hour I was fine and was able to re-join the group, but it made the world of difference knowing that I could take that time out without feeling bad about letting anyone down, and could focus on getting myself better for the rest of the day.

Coincidentally, I think some people from our group thought that I might just have been drunk/hungover on that day as we had just left the gin distillery, which probably didn’t help! When I re-joined the group for dinner a couple of people had asked why I had been poorly, and I mentioned that I suffer with headaches on a daily basis, although some days are worse than others. It was at this point that I decided to open up to a small number of my new friends in the group and I started talking to them about my medical condition, and how it affects me in day to day life, as well as when I’m travelling. After a few minutes they were really supportive and I think they really respected that I had opened up to them. It made them understand why I had taken time out of the trip that day, not that I needed to have a reason to justify myself, but I’m a very honest person and I think they appreciated that too, just like I would have done if someone else had been in my position that day! If you’re feeling down, you’re feeling poorly or you’re just feeling not quite right – TELL someone, and don’t suffer in silence. You are not alone.

 

 

Special thanks to the lovely Nicola, Pete, Pedro, Nienke, Steve, Eileen and Georgie who listened to me rambling on that lunch time 😉 It really meant the world to know I could open up to you about something so personal to me. <3

 

Most importantly… just be yourself

 

 

This goes without saying. You do you. Just be yourself. Don’t try to act like someone else to fit in with the crowd – this isn’t high school! Get to know as many people on the trip as possible, say YES to as many activities as you can, embrace new experiences, make new friends and push yourself out of your comfort zone. If you can do all of these things whilst staying true to yourself then you’re on to a winner and will get the best possible experience from your first group press trip.

 

 

These steps really helped me to have the best time away during my first group press trip, although I know people work in different ways and no two press trips are ever the same. I feel very fortunate that #MustSeeMenorca actually felt more like a holiday than a press trip, and it allowed me to make new friends, grow in confidence and enjoy exploring the island. It didn’t feel like work one bit, but I know many trips have strict itineraries, deadlines and a set amount of required content, so by following the steps above you can prepare yourself to get as much out of the trip as you possibly can.

 

 

I hope these tips have been helpful! Have you ever been on a group press trip before, or are you planning on attending one in the near future? Let me know your thoughts as I’d love to hear from you! My next group press trip will be to the gorgeous Swiss resort of Nendaz in July and I’ll be working with the Travelopo team and 4 other fabulous bloggers to bring you some exciting content – watch this space!

Love Jess x

NB. All photos are my own, unless the embedded Twitter posts say otherwise. Thanks also to Spain for the featured image! A big thank you again to the wonderful teams at Spain, Turismo Menorca, Jet2 and Traverse for hosting my first group press trip, and for making it so special!

 

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Highlights from #MustSeeMenorca: My Favourite Spanish Island

So #Menorca's harbours look pretty special in the sunshine ⛴⛴ #mustseemenorca #spain #visitspain #igersmenorca

A post shared by Jess Buck|JourneyswithJessica (@jessica16_x) on

 

Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to be selected to go on my first ever group press trip and I had the most amazing time! Along with the brilliant teams at Jet2, Traverse Events, Turismo Menorca and Spain I headed off with 59 other bloggers, Youtubers and Instagrammers to explore the beautiful island of Menorca. Although this place is the smallest of the Balearic islands (excluding Formentera), it’s right up there with its sisters Majorca and Ibiza and is brimming with gorgeous white sand beaches, crystal clear turquoise waters and so many things to see and do. This was my fourth visit to the island but my first as an adult and it made me appreciate it’s beauty, culture and charm so much more! Here are my highlights from my trip and why I think you #MustSeeMenorca too…

Watching the sunset from Illa Lazareto

 

 

On our first night in Menorca we took a short boat ride from the pretty port of Es Castell over to Illa Lazaretto, an old quarantined island which has remained largely untouched since it was used to house terminally ill patients of various diseases. We wandered around the former grounds of the hospital wings, the communal gardens and the old chapel and the whole island felt very eerie, almost haunted, and I could just sense the history that was there. We had the privilege of watching the most glorious sunset over the harbour and across Es Castell, but it was a sight in itself to see 60 bloggers snapping away furiously with their Go-Pro’s, iPhone’s and DSLR cameras all trying to get the perfect Instagram shot!

 

Partying in Cova D’en Xoroi

 

 

This was probably my favourite part of the entire trip; partying in a bar in a cave on the sea – could it get any better than that?! Our closing party took us to the amazing Cova D’en Xoroi, a place I went to when I was 7 years old but could barely remember, so I was super excited to be attending again, and this time I could have a drink or three 😉 We had a wonderful time dancing to music, drinking cava, and watching the most glorious sunset over the Mediterranean sea. This place is an absolute MUST when visiting Menorca and it’s not hard to see why!

 

Exploring the white washed village of Binibeca

 

 

Another part of Menorca I had visited when I was a little girl, but didn’t realise until I got home and showed my mum this photo! Binibeca was a real hidden gem, and probably the most beautiful village I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. With its black lampposts, tall trees and white washed buildings, Binibeca makes the most picture perfect shots. You’ll also find a couple of small shops, restaurants and a doctors surgery on site whilst it’s location at the edge of the sea offers the most stunning views of the turquoise waters below.

 

Walking around the old capital, Ciutadella

 

 

The capital of the island  until 1722, the gothic city of Ciutadella is definitely worth a visit during your time in Menorca. The city is home to cobbled streets, local markets, a pretty harbour and the most stunning cathedral. Ciutadella is considered the most religious capital of the island, compared to Mahon, the new capital, and is visited by large numbers of tourists year after year. Why not taste some of the Spanish delicacies at one of the many food markets before wandering around the harbour or people watching along the side streets? There’s so much to see in Ciutadella – we spent our last day there and it was the perfect ending to a wonderful week!

 

And exploring the new capital, Mahon

 

 

Known for it’s striking architecture, it’s bustling streets and it’s busy port, Mahon is the proud capital of Menorca and boasts that it’s the birthplace of Mayonnaise, or ‘Ma-hon-aise’ as it’s supposedly pronounced! Mahon also has the one of the largest natural harbours in the world, stretching 900m wide with gorgeous clear waters. Getting around on foot is definitely the best way to see the city, and exploring the little side streets, with their wonderful array of restaurants, bars, cafes and shops, makes for the most delightful afternoon. My favourite part was walking along the harbour and taking a boat trip from the port, but don’t miss the stunning Church of Santa Maria too, with history dating back to the 1200s!

 

Kayaking in Cala Galdana

 

 

I was super nervous about kayaking for the first time… water sports are not my strong point despite having jet-skied, boat-tripped and para-sailed in the past! Let me tell you now though that kayaking was one of the hardest physical things I have ever done, but definitely one of the most rewarding. Luckily, I partnered up with the lovely Paco from the Spanish Tourist Board and he was amazing, doing most of the work whilst my poor arms couldn’t cope with the tremendous amount of rowing that was required. Sorry Paco – I’m useless and have no upper body strength! Our time on the water saw us speeding across the open sea, entering dark caves, cruising into little coves and we even stopped for a swim and a snorkel whilst enjoying crisps and drinks on the rocks. Kayaking definitely isn’t for the faint-hearted, but it was hands down one of the best things I’ve ever done and I’m so glad I got to do it with all of my wonderful Menorca buddies!

 

Visiting the highest point of the island, El Toro

 

 

El Toro is an absolute must see when visiting Menorca, and for very good reason. Drive (or hike, if you’re feeling brave enough) up to the top of the highest point of the island for the most spectacular panoramic views below. You’ll get to see the rest of the island from every angle, and you’ll also get to visit the Sanctuary of the Virgin of El Toro, a stunning 15th century baroque-style church. To the front of the site you’ll see the iconic statue of Jesus of the Sacred Heart with his arms stretched wide, said to be blessing the Menorcans who died in the Spanish Moroccan wars of the 20th century. This place felt truly special, and the views were completely stunning.

 

Tapas eating in every kind of Menorcan restaurant

 

 

We all know that food is a big part of any trip abroad, but even more so when you’re visiting Spain; the home of Tapas, Paella, Gazpacho and many more iconic dishes. As you’d expect, meal times were one of the focus points of our press trip and I think we were all desperate to enjoy a true taste of Spain during our time in Menorca. My favourite restaurant was La Minerva in Mahon, a floating restaurant in the middle of the harbour that served up the most amazing Tapas, seafood and more. I’m not the most adventurous person when it comes to food, I try as many new things as I can, but I’m happy just to stick to plain foods as 9 times out of 10 I get sick when I start eating things that are rich, or that my stomach isn’t used to! Luckily I pushed myself a little on this trip and managed to try new things that I never would have picked if I was travelling alone – cuttlefish and squid being two of my new feats, although Tapas will always remain a firm favourite of mine!

 

Other important parts of our trip

During our time in Menorca we stayed in the stunning Hotel San Luis PortBlue in the peaceful resort of S’Algar, just a few minutes walk from the waterfront where you’ll find a small selection of restaurants and shops. The resort itself was super quiet and I normally prefer staying somewhere more lively with more places to go and more things to see and do, but as we had jam packed itineraries for the entire week, it made a nice change to have a sleepy resort to be based from! We each had spacious and modern double rooms with en-suites, desks, LCD TVs and the most amazing sea views across S’Algar… I’m definitely missing waking up to those every morning!

 

 

Obviously, the main reason we were all visiting Menorca in the first place was to attend the two day conference held at the luxurious Barcelo Hamilton Hotel in Mahon. Our hosts put on a fantastic event with inspiring talks from speakers, enjoyable group challenges and plenty of time for everyone to get to know each other a little better. We were also treated to a fantastic display of foodie treats throughout the two days and admired the gorgeous sea views from our central location. My favourite part was our mini closing party on site, where we spent time drinking cava from the rooftop terrace complete with bar, hot tubs and the most amazing views across the harbour below!

 

Rooftop views and cava to end day 2 of the #mustseemenorca conference at the beautiful @barcelohamilton 🍾🍾 #menorca #Spain

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So there we are, the highlights from my #MustSeeMenorca trip – an unforgettable week with so many memories, and there were so many more I could have picked! I posted tonnes of photos on my Instagram  whilst I was away and received so many comments from lots of you saying that you wanted to hop on a plane and join me out in Menorca! I hope you all get to visit one day, and I just want to say a huge thank you again to the fantastic teams at Jet2, Traverse, Turismo Menorca and Spain for hosting our trip and making it so wonderful – our week in the sun definitely felt like a holiday and not a press trip! Have you ever been to Menorca? What were your favourite parts? I’d love to hear your Spanish stories!

Love Jess x