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July Newsletter

 

 

Hey everyone,

We’re at the end of yet another busy month which means it’s NEWSLETTER TIME! July has been a bit crazy for me, and I’ve fitted so much in to the past few weeks that I’m feeling slightly frazzled, but in a really good way. I’ve been on a couple of press trips, I’ve been working my bum off at my part time job and I’ve been spending time with people who mean the most to me. I’ve also thrown my heart and soul into my blog this month; it’s had a complete revamp and is now totally self hosted, and I’ve also landed a couple of new freelance writing jobs – yay!! It’s been a busy few weeks, so here’s how my July went…

 

I spent a week in Switzerland

 

 

Let’s kick this off with the most exciting news from this month… I’ve just got back from spending a week in Switzerland and it was honestly one of the most incredible places I’ve ever visited! I, along with four other bloggers, (Hannah, Hayley, Elaisha and Allison) flew to Geneva to explore for a day before hopping on a train to Sion and then ending up in the ski resort of Nendaz where our accommodation was waiting for us. We stayed in a luxurious chalet with gorgeous mountain views and spent seven days mountain hiking, spa indulging and cheese making whilst discovering everything else that Nendaz had to offer. I would never have thought to go to a ski resort for a summer holiday, but this trip changed all my perceptions and I genuinely had the most wonderful time exploring a brand new country with four brand new friends. I’ll be posting content of my trip over the coming weeks, but, in the meantime, you can catch up with my photos by checking out my Instagram page. A big thank you to Travelopo and Nendaz Tourisme for sponsoring our fantastic trip!

 

My blog has had a makeover

 

My blog has had a makeover – come check it out!

 

I’m sooo pleased to be able to tell you that my blog is now totally self hosted! I have wanted to make the transition for so long, but have never really known where to start or how to go about it. Luckily, one of my old school friends (thanks George!!) was able to help me so I’ve finally made that move and am really happy with the results! The site looks virtually the same, there’s just been a few menu/theme/layout changes and I’ve neatened the footers and sidebars up a little. I’ve still got a few changes I want to make, but I have so much new content I want to share with you and I want to get that live first before I focus on niggly site things. I’m super pleased with the new site and hope you like it – please do let me know what you think as I would LOVE to hear your feedback!

 

I wrote a little life update

 

 

Given that we are now more than halfway through 2017 (how did THAT happen?!) I thought I’d use July as a midway point for my personal life and start reflecting on how my year has gone so far. You might remember that I wrote my New Years Resolutions post back in January, and in my newest update I discussed how I was getting on with those resolutions… Most of them are going really well, but some of them aren’t and I realised that that’s okay. It’s okay that I’m not smashing every goal I’ve set myself because it’s normal not to achieve every expectation, and it’s good to have more goals to aim for, and other things to tick off in future. How are you getting on with your 2017 resolutions, if you even made them in the first place? Would love to know how you’re doing!

 

I went speed-boating across the Thames

 

 

At the start of the month I was invited by the wonderful team at Thames Rockets to hop on a speedboat across the Thames for a whirlwind tour of London. I was lucky enough to choose one of the hottest days of the month and took my sister with me along for the ride. We both had a brilliant time seeing the sights and hitting top speeds as we jetted across the river, so I’d recommend the Thames Rockets speed boating tours to anyone looking for a fun filled day out in our gorgeous capital city. I’m also running a giveaway and am offering you the chance to WINย 2x ticketsย to hop on board with the Thames Rockets team – all you have to do is follow me and Thames Rockets on Twitter, and RT my pinned tweet, it couldn’t be simpler… Good luck!

 

I explored the best of London on foot

 

 

After jetting across the Thames, my sister and I fancied a stroll along the river to see all the London landmarks from a different angle, and so we decided to walk from Westminster to Tower Bridge. It took us a good few hours to complete the walk, and we saw so many famous landmarks including the London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard to name but a few. I’ve walked this route many times before, but it was so lovely in the sunshine and we really took our time, marvelling at the sights and taking hundreds photos along the way!

I think that’s everything for July, I feel as if I don’t know whether I’m coming or going lately, but its because I have so much on over the next few weeks and have already had a busy month! August looks set to be just as crazy, with some new collabs lined up as well as another press trip, this time to Germany with the wonderful team at Visit Hamburg – I fly on Friday morning from Heathrow and I am SO excited! Have you got any Hamburg tips for me? Send them over!

Love Jess x

 

 

June Newsletter

 

I think I'm a little bit in love with #Tenerife ๐Ÿ˜๐ŸŒŠ

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Hi everyone,

How did your month go? Mine was super crazy busy with a big holiday and little days out but I’ve had a brilliant few weeks and don’t have long to go until my next big trip! I got back from Tenerife mid way through the month and just before that I had back to back trips to Sofia and Menorca. Since my return I’ve been working non-stop, both at my part time job, and for my freelance clients, so have barely had a minute to myself. I feel as if I have neglected my blog a little lately as I’ve been away so much, but normal service will resume shortly and I’ve got SO MUCH new content planned for you! Here’s how my June went…

 

I went on holiday to Tenerife

 

Just one more ๐Ÿ“ธ of the amazing mount teide cos I just love it ๐Ÿ—ป #teide #teidelover #tenerife #canaries #traveltuesday

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Literally the highlight of my entire month… my first proper beach holiday/package holiday/relax and chill holiday for THREE WHOLE YEARS! Yep, it’s been a long time since I’ve actually been away and laid by the pool, or fell asleep on a sunlounger on the beach, without being on a crazy busy trip and feeling like my feet haven’t touched the ground. This holiday was so needed, and I enjoyed every second! I went with my sisters and we spent the whole week in the gorgeous Spanish sunshine devouring Tapas, drinking cocktails and taking day trips too. Tenerife totally stole my heart, the island was absolutely gorgeous with tonnes of exciting things on offer to see and do; my favourite day trips were to Mount Teide, where we climbed an active volcano, and to Puerto Colon where we saw whales and dolphins swimming freely out in the sea whilst on a boat trip from the port. I had the most amazing time and will definitely be returning soon… full blog post to follow!

 

It’s been a whole year since my America trip

 

 

I can’t believe it’s been an ENTIRE YEAR since I quit my job to go on the trip of a lifetime across the States. The time has gone by so so quickly, yet at the same time it feels like ages ago since I boarded that flight to LA to start my new adventure. I’ve been reminiscing and posting a few photos on my Instagram page, whilst trying not to get too emosh about everything too :'( This trip totally changed my life, and I just wish I could go back and do it all over again!

 

I was featured by Mail Travel

 

 

So this was totally unexpected but I came home from a shift at my part time job to find that my recent Bratislava blog post had been shared by the wonderful team at Mail Travel – yay! I don’t very often get my posts re-shared, other than from some of my lovely blogger friends lending support, so it felt amazing to have this one recognized from such a well established travel site, and one I’m an avid reader of myself!

 

I popped into London to reunite with my #MustSeeMenorca buddies

 

 

Last week I had the pleasure of being reunited with all my #MustSeeMenorca buddies, but this time in rainy London instead! We headed to super trendy pop up bar Neverland over in Fulham, complete with its very own beach and cocktails served in giant gold swans. It was so lovely to catch up with all my friends, discussing what we had been up to since Menorca, and finding out everyone’s plans for the summer ahead. Can’t wait to see everyone again at the next one! Thank you to Michael and Paul at Traverse for putting on such a fantastic night for us all <3

 

One of my tweets got a lot of attention

 

 

So I casually sent this tweet one afternoon not really thinking about what I was saying, and after checking back shortly after, I’d had an overwhelming response and it had been liked, re-tweeted and replied to countless times. I think there’s been a lot of negative energy surrounding the blogosphere lately, particularly with the rise of bots, fake followers and sponsored ads, so I’m really passionate about making sure smaller bloggers like me get the same opportunities out there as established bloggers too. I know I can’t compete with the bloggers that have been doing this for the past 8 years, or those with 100,000 followers and a DA of 50, but what I CAN offer is quality content, an engaged readership and an authentic, genuine following. I’d love to see more brands working with smaller scale bloggers to allow them the same opportunities as all the rest, so hopefully we start seeing some changes to this industry soon! Thank you to all of those who responded to this tweet, I know so many of you feel the same as me on this one too.

 

May & June were the best 2 months on Twitter to date!

 

So I've just had a look at my Twitter stats for May and June and I'm delighted to say that I've had the best two months…

Posted by Journeys with Jessica on Thursday, June 29, 2017

 

I’ll end this month’s newsletter on a positive note, and something I’m really proud of! I’m a huge Twitter advocate and absolutely love using it for my blog – it’s my favourite platform and I’m constantly updating my profile. I monitor my stats regularly, and was completely taken aback when I saw my analytics for the past two months were the best they’ve ever been! Despite having only 3500 followers, my tweets reached over 212,000 people in May and over 185,000 in June, and I’ve seen a massive increase in profile visitors and followers too. If you’re looking to get your tweets seen by more people, and would like help increasing your following, get in touch for some bespoke social media help – I have capacity to take on TWO new freelance clients over the next couple of months, and am also helping fellow bloggers by offering 1-2-1 advice too. Visit my Work With Me page for more info, or just contact me with any queries at all as I would LOVE to help!

Another busy month for me, and I think July will be much the same, although I now have a full month at home before my next adventure – a press trip to Switzerland! I’m super excited about this one and can’t wait to share all my photos with you when I’m over there – I’ve got an action packed itinerary with so much to see and do! How did your June go?

Love Jess x

 

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Travel Guide to Vienna, the musical Austrian capital

 

As part of my mini Europe trip taken in March I visited the pretty city of Vienna, somewhere I have wanted to explore for AGES! If you read one of my previous posts you’ll know that I travelled with my friend and fellow blogger Lucy to Bratislava for two nights before catching a train over to the Austrian capital for a further two nights. We stayed in the quirky Musuemsquartier, located in the cities seventh district, and found it to be the perfect base for exploring the rest of the city. We only had two full days there so barely scratched the surface, but here’s a round up of my short time in the city and my top tips on what to see and do there…

 

Climb St Stephen’s Cathedral

 

 

Climbing towers is probably one of my favourite things to do when I’m on a city break – there’s just something about racing to the top to discover breathtaking views of the city below you and viewing it from every angle possible. I didn’t get chance to climb the 343 steps of St Stephen’s South Tower during my visit to Vienna, but I saved my little legs and instead was able to take an express elevator up to the top of the North Tower to capture the most stunning views of the Old Town below. Although the South Tower is the highest point of Vienna’s inner city skyline, and the views are supposedly slightly better, I really enjoyed my visit to the North Tower and even caught a glimpse of the largest bell in Austria, The Boomer Bell, which has resided in the tower since 1957.

 

Visit Hundertwasser village

 

 

This was somewhere completely off the beaten track and really unexpected but I am so glad I got chance to visit this pretty place whilst I was in Vienna. Lucy had seen photos of Hundertwasser all over Instagram, but I was yet to lay my eyes on it so had no clue what to expect when we set off on our wander through the city to try and find it. After a few wrong turns we came across our desired location and we soon fell in love with this place – I’ve never seen anything like it! Essentially it’s just a residential block of flats with a small shopping centre directly opposite, but the design, style and architecture is incredible and made for the most amazing Insta shots. Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser founded the site, which has now been turned into a museum and is visited by thousands of tourists annually. I think the building was really reminiscent of iconic Spanish architect Gaudi, and Hundertwasser looked a little like Park Guell. I just feel a little sorry for all the residents who have to go about their normal everyday lives whilst the cameras are constantly clicking, but if you get chance I’d 100% recommend stopping off here for a few minutes!

 

Wander around Stadt Park

 

 

After a busy day of exploring it was nice for us to sit down, rest our feet for a short while and just enjoy the ambiance of Stadt Park, a gorgeous green space right in the heart of the city. With flowers, trees, ponds, streams and local wildlife to look at, this place offered some respite from the hustle and bustle of the city centre and was well worth a visit. We cut through Stadt Park to reach Hundertwasser Village and the walk was gorgeous.

 

Tick off all three of the big palaces

 

Pretty sure this is one of the most beautiful palaces I've ever seen ๐Ÿ˜ #Vienna #belvedere @viennatouristboard

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Make sure you visit Belvedere Palace with it’s elegant architecture and perfectly manicured flower gardens…

 

Ohhhhhh Viennaaaaaaa ๐ŸŽผ๐ŸŽผ

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… don’t miss out on Schonnbrunn either, one of the most recognized landmarks in the whole of Vienna, and the biggest palace complex in the city…

 

 

… and finally, no trip to Vienna would be complete without visiting all of the big three palaces, so ticking the stunning Hofburg complex off your list is an absolute must! With so much history and culture to discover, taking a trip to all of these palaces will help you to fall in love with Vienna even more.

 

Eat like a local

 

 

I always try to indulge in some local cuisine when I’m visiting a new city, and as it was my first time in Austria, I couldn’t wait to see what would be on the menu! I have to admit, I wasn’t as adventurous as I normally am when travelling, mainly because I was a bit limited on funds and short on time, so mostly just wanted to eat quickly before getting on with exploring! I did however get chance to eat chicken schnitzel for dinner and traditional Viennese sausages for breakfast which were a particular highlight. Sadly I didn’t get chance to sample any of their world famous apple strudel.. but there’s always next time!

 

Stay in the Museumsquartier area

 

The edgy, quirky district of #Museumsquartier made the perfect base to explore #Vienna ๐Ÿ˜ @viennatouristboard

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I’m slightly biased as I stayed in this area during my time in Vienna – you can check out my hotel review of the amazing 25 Hours Hotel to find out why it was so great – but I would definitely recommend basing yourself near to the Museumsquartier area if you can! This place made such a good base for us as it was so central, close to the metro/bus/tram stops and there was so much to see and do within the district itself. Brimming with shops, cafe’s, bars, restaurants and, of course, museums, this part of town is edgy, lively and will certainly keep you busy during your visit to Vienna.

 

Make use of the metro or the trams

 

 

I’ll go into more detail about this below, but I cannot stress how important it is to use public transport during your time in Vienna. The city is ENORMOUS, and you’ll barely even scratch the surface if, like me and Lucy, you only have two full days there. I did get to tick off all the landmarks I wanted to see, but still feel like we saw barely any of the city despite exploring as much as we possibly could. The transport systems in Vienna are amazing, so take advantage of them, whiz from place to place and see as much, or as little, as you want to see there whilst allowing your legs to rest while you’re chilling on the tube!

 

Purchase Vienna city cards

 

 

This was an absolute MUST for us and we couldn’t have been without them during our trip. These city cards, from the lovely team at the Vienna Tourist Board, gave us free public transport to anywhere in the city, on the trams, metro and buses, and enabled us to go as far and as wide as we wanted. Vienna is such a huge city and it’s impossible to see it by foot, so these cards were a godsend and I’d 100% recommend them to anyone visiting the city.

 

So there we have it,ย my travel guide to Vienna.ย For the best possible experience Iโ€™d recommend using different methods of transport to get around, such as the metro, buses and trams, and you can walk to some places too, depending on where you’re staying.ย The city is huge and you’ll find it difficult to see everything without using the metro to get from place to place, butย I always think it’s boring just being whizzed around on the underground, rather than appreciating the beauty of the city from one of the open top tourist buses! Iย have to admit I felt a bit like this during my time in Vienna and it kind of spoilt it a little –ย we were so pushed for time that we had no option but to use the metro, but I just felt like we were whizzing from place to place just to tick certain landmarks off, rather than spending time getting lost down side streets and discovering quirky, hidden areas of the city.

 

 

Overall though, I did think Vienna was absolutely stunning and I saw as much asย I wanted to see during my short time there, but I just wish I’d got to really immerse myself in the city a little more. Hopefully this post inspires you to think about choosing Vienna for your next city break, and will leave you wantingย to explore one of the most famous places in Austria. Have you ever been to Vienna before? Tell me what you thought of it, Iโ€™d love to hear your comments!

Love Jess x

Thank you to the wonderful team atย the Vienna Tourist Boardย for our complimentary city cards for the duration of our trip.

 

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6 US States that Should be on Everyone’s Bucket Lists

 

 

The good old US of A, home to 52 individual states offering every kind of town, city and village you can think of. Whether youโ€™re hitting the bright lights of Las Vegas or hiking in the remote Rocky Mountains, the US has it all. With so many places to choose from, youโ€™ll have the trip of a lifetime planning your American adventure. Exactly this time last year, I had the pleasure of spending all summer there, road tripping from LA to NYC and ticking off 23 states along the way, so Iโ€™ve seen a fair few of them! My epic trip was booked with Contiki and it was a once in a lifetime adventure, made even bigger because I had totally quit my 9-5 day job in order to jet off across the pond and spend my summer in style. It was also my first ever solo adventure and, for that reason, it will always be an incredibly special trip to me.

After popping into my local STA Travel store and finding out about all the big tours, I knew I wanted to spend my summer in America, and I knew I wanted to do a huge road trip and a big chunk of the famous Route 66 too. As well as visiting 23 states in 28 days I had the opportunity to tick so many amazing things off my bucket-list, including taking a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon, swamp boating in New Orleans, parasailing over Daytona Beach and celebrating 4th July in New York City. I had the most incredible summer pushing myself to my limits, getting out of my comfort zone and doing things I had always dreamt about. Iโ€™ve line danced in Texas, partied in Miami, gambled in Vegas and ghost-hunted in Savannah. Iโ€™ve white water rafted in Durango, seen the White House in Washington and walked in Memphis. It was tough to narrow it down after having such an epic adventure, but here are my top six US states, and why I think you should visit them ALL at least one in your lifetime…

California

 

L.A L.A L.A โœˆ๏ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธโœˆ๏ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

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Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Santa Monica, Disneyland, California has it all. Stretching for nearly 900 miles along the Pacific Ocean, California boasts beaches, mountains, forests and of course the epic Mojave Desert. With the city of Los Angeles being the focal point of the state, and the hub of the worldโ€™s entertainment industry, youโ€™ll never be stuck for something to do in the city of stars. Other Californian highlights include the capital city of Sacramento, celeb haunt Malibu, wonderful San Diego, San Francisco with its iconic golden gate bridge and historic Alcatraz Island, as well as popular boating destination Lake Tahoe and the spectacular Yosemite National Park. I only got to spend one night in LA before my tour started so I saw barely any of it, but I know I want to return to Cali as soon as I can to explore everything properly!

 

Georgia

 

I left my heart in #Savannah ๐Ÿ’– @contiki @statravel_uk #contiki #grandsouthern #america #USA #noregrets #wanderlustwednesday

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Perhaps a little less well known than some of the other states on this list, Georgia is one of the most beautiful states of the entire country offering so much to see and do. The northern part of the state is home to the Blue Ridge mountains, an excellent hiking destination with the most stunning surroundings. Famous cities in Georgia include Atlanta, the capital, Savannah and Augusta, each home to museums, galleries, churches and Atlanta even boasts a number of large theme parks. Savannah is a real highlight though, with its cobblestoned squares, green spaces and fantastic architecture. Forsyth Park is at the heart of the Historic District and is a sight not to be missed when discovering this Georgian gem โ€“ unexpectedly, this place became one of my favourite cities on the entire trip and I canโ€™t recommend it enough!

 

 

Arizona

 

 

If national parks are your thing youโ€™ll be spoilt for choice in Arizona. Arguably the most visited attraction in the whole state is the UNESCO World Heritage site, the Grand Canyon, carved by the Colorado River and famed for its incredible landscape and natural beauty. Tourists and locals alike can choose to hike, bike, fly over or raft in the Canyon and all methods of transport offer the most breathtaking views of this geological wonder. Horseshoe bend, located near the town of Page, is a must see during your time in the state, even if it is just to capture those all important photos. Youโ€™ll also find the epic Antelope Canyon in Arizona, as well as the stunning red-sand desert of Monument Valley on the Arizona-Utah border, both of which are a spectacular sight to behold, and both of which gave me the most amazing photos for my Instagram page! Seriously, they blew my mind.

 

 

New York

 

Concrete jungle where dreams are made of ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ #newyork

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Times Square, Central Park, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building, the city of New York in, yep, you guessed it, New York state, is one of the most visited in the entire world attracting over 60 million people every year. Catch a Broadway show, go shopping in Macyโ€™s, pay your respects at the World Trade Centre memorial or take a boat trip over to Ellis Island to learn more about the history behind this fascinating place. Venture outside of the city itself and youโ€™ll find the spectacular Niagara Falls (straddling the international border between America and Canada), the quirky Long Island and the stunning Lake Ontario, all of which are a world away from the buzz and bright lights of New York City. I was lucky enough to spend 4th July in NYC, watching the fireworks sparkle above the Hudson River, and it was so magical I wanted to stay there forever!

 

 

Texas

 

I miss you #Dallas ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ @contiki @statravel #grandsouthern #contiki #USA #america #traveltuesday #texas

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Grab your cowboy boots and your Stetson hat and head into the deep south for a true taste of America. The second largest state in the entire country, Texas is home to Houston, Austin, Fortworth, Amarillo and many more interesting cities, but be sure to check out Dallas during your time there to experience the famous Tex-Mex cuisine and immerse yourself in the cityโ€™s culture and history. Dallas is a thriving city with a zoo, an aquarium, museums and memorials and is well known for being the site of the assassination of President John F Kennedy in November 1963 โ€“ if you get time, check out the sixth floor museum, itโ€™s incredibly moving and such an important part of American history. If ranches and rodeos are your thing, head over to Houston for the worldโ€™s largest livestock show or stop by the Texan capital of Austin and enjoy their two week rodeo carnival extravaganza taking place every Spring.

 

Florida

 

 

The sunshine state of Florida lies between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean and is one of the most visited areas in the whole country. Brimming with gigantic theme parks, designer shopping malls, gorgeous sandy beaches and vibrant cosmopolitan cities, particular highlights include Orlandoโ€™s Walt Disney World and its Universal counterparts, the luscious Everglades, and the city of Miami. Head over to the beautiful St Augustine to discover one of the smaller areas in the state, and to get away from the hustle and bustle of the larger cities, Iโ€™d definitely recommend doing this to explore somewhere new for a few days. Spend a week exploring the many theme parks, and then relax and recharge with a week on some of Floridaโ€™s many beaches. Head from Daytona to PCB and youโ€™ll soon be feeling fresh after a busy few days seeing the sights and hanging out with Mickey and Co!

So there we have it, the top US states that EVERYONE should visit! Iโ€™m just dying to go back to America as soon as I can, and I could have easily spent many more weeks and months there finding new places to tick off my bucket list. Have you ever been to any of them before? What did you think and which were your favourite? Let me know if I should have picked different states to include in this list, or whether you agreed with my top picks!

Love Jess x

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

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How to survive your first group press trip

 

Ready for the opening party of #MustSeeMenorca with @traverseevents @spain @turismomenorca @portbluehotels โ˜€๏ธโ›ด

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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 ย 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 onlineย 

 

 

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 favourite๐Ÿพ #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 ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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!