Why the NATJA 2011 Conference is Worth Your Time & Money

There are a whole slew of travel writing organizations out there in several countries. While there’s a point to be made that they’re less relevant in the digital age, when it’s so easy to find and join tribes without paying annual dues, there’s still no substitute for face-to-face contact and learning from experts.

I have only ever belonged to one such formal organization: the North American Travel Journalists Association. To me it’s SATW’s less snooty sibling, with a much younger membership. From the start they have recognized and embraced new media instead of treating it like some waste of time people indulge in between reading newspapers and magazines.

So I’m proud to be a speaker at the upcoming conference in Anaheim, California in mid-September. I’ll be speaking, fittingly enough, about the future of travel writing and how to make money at this instead of it being a frustrating hobby. And how to do that while enjoying yourself and writing about what you love instead of selling your soul.

You can get the full scoop on the conference here. It’s going to cost you some money of course, but I’ve paid before to go and it was worth the investment.

Guest Editors, Authors, & Bloggers to Learn From

Besides me spouting off, you’ll also hear from (and maybe get a chance to meet) a whole slew of other great writers and editors from different media. Here’s just a sampling of speakers and panelists:

Veronica Stoddart, USA Today
Adam Pitluk, American Way Magazine
Spud Hilton, San Francisco Chronicle, Travel Editor
Johnny Jet – Johnny Jet’s Travel News and Tips
Michael Luongo, writer, book author and editor
Gary Arndt, Everything Everywhere, Editor
Jennifer Miner, The Vacation Gals, Co-creator, co-editor, and co-writer

Through July 4 they’re running a deal for $629 that includes a year of membership in NATJA. Here’s what else you get: all meals, 3 nights at the hotel, any pre or post trips, day tours, a Disneyland Resort hosted event, professional development workshops and the marketplace (opportunities to meet with destination and service PR people and visitors’ bureaus). The pre- and post-trips are like mini press trips in the southern California region. There’s a payment plan or you can use a credit card and rack up miles.

If you’re a writer ready to step up to the next level, this is an conference worth attending and you don’t have to spend 24 hours in a plane to get to it. You can go on Southwest even and check your bags for free. The sessions and panelists look incredibly useful and this event is usually well-organized. There will be coffee, the speakers will be prepared, and the microphones will work.

If you’re attending, drop me a note and we’ll connect. The associate editor of this blog, Kristin Mock, will be there as well, so save two spots at the bar…

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