In 2013, the She’s Wanderful organization started The Women in Travel Summit, referred to as WITS. It was designed to offer professional women in the travel community their own environment. Last year, the travel conference was held in Irvine, California. I attended it with my daughter and blogging partner, Taylor. Together, the women of WITS Travel Blogger Conference spent a weekend learning, sharing, and networking.
What Is a WITS Travel Blogger Conference?
At WITS, roughly 400 attendees have a choice of three career path tracks (media, entrepreneur, and trending in travel) that help you decide which educational classes are best suited for your needs. Each day of the WITS Travel Blogger Conference, courses are available for those wishing to attend. My favorite classes at WITS in 2016 were “Becoming a Social Media Rockstar” and “Securing an Unbeatable Sponsorship Deal”.
While learning is a big part of the WITS Travel Conference experience, networking is just as important. WITS help create a platform for attendees to make lifelong friends; ones that you will toss ideas back and forth with, ask questions and share answers with, and make countless memories with.
All WITS attendees meet up for breakfast and lunch every day, plus for keynote speakers and the opening and closing ceremonies. The night before the WITS Travel Blogger Conference began, we had a lovely offsite reception at Andrei’s Conscious Cuisine and Cocktails. Here, we sampled local California cuisine and sipped tasty cocktails while being entertained by musicians and dancers.
Often CVB’s and businesses will offer day trips to help enrich your trip and learn more about the host area (see below).
Team Scavenger Hunt: Team Building Event
Strayboots hosted a nighttime team scavenger hunt for the 2016’s WITS Travel Conference. This hunt was played digitally by using our cell phones and their exclusive app for submitting answers and keeping scores. This team building activity gave us an opportunity to roam around Newport Beach’s streets, shopping enclaves, and the trendy beachfront. WITS partnered with Lyft to arrange our transportation to and from the scavenger hunt, since it took place outside of Irvine.
Savor Laguna Food and Walking Tour
Laguna Beach is one of the most gorgeous spots in California. Laguna lies on the Pacific Ocean, nestled in between huge mountains and is full of cultural gems. A small group of us participated in the three hour walking Savor Laguna history and food tour with host/co-owner Jeanne. The first part of our tour was seeing the sights of Laguna Beach.
Our first stop was in Dawson Cole Fine Art. We were privy to view Richard MacDonald’s Cirque du Soleil statues and learn about some other artists, too. I was impressed by Chuck Close, an American artist who makes gorgeous, larger than life portraits. We also visited the Wyland Gallery, home of Robert Wyland’s wildlife photographs and artworks. Jeanne pointed out her favorite scenery along the way, including the statue of Eiler Larsen, “The Greeter” of Laguna Beach.
Eating Our Way Around Laguna Beach
The second, and best, part of our Savor Laguna food tour was our introduction to local restaurants. Our culinary palates were delighted with epic choices around town: pizza from Pizza Bar, hummus and pita from GG’s Cafe Bistro, and gelato from Gelato Paradiso. Jeanne also threw a few bonus stop at SLAPFISH, where we indulged in creamy, decadent clam chowder fries.
My favorite stop was at Tortilla Republic. We were welcomed with adorable mini-margaritas, chips, a variety of salsas, guacamole, yummy chicken empanadas, and flautas. I am a big fan of food tours and would definitely recommend Savor Laguna if you are in the area.
There Is Always Room For One More
If attending a travel conference is the next step for your business, or if you love to travel and want to hang out with like-minded ladies, join us at 2017’s WITS Travel Blogger Conference, taking place at the Hilton Milwaukee City Center on April 21-23. Visit the She’s Wanderful website to learn more. To take a look at 2015’s WITS Travel Blogger Conference in Boston, click here. I hope to see you in April!
More California adventures?