This past weekend I attended the Women’s Travel Fest and boy was it AMAZING!
I got to meet some amazing women from all over the United States, as well as an awesome girl from Canada, and one from Europe!
Before I get into this post, and talk about all the awesome things I learned, I want to give a little background on WTFest and all the work that goes into it.
Kelly Lewis (from Go! Girl Guides) founded this weekend long event that helps to connect women of all ages, and backgrounds who love to travel! All of the speakers were interesting and had so much information to share (I have a notebook filled with so many ideas from this event). It was great to see women of all ages and backgrounds being brought together by something they love, TRAVELING!!
One thing I loved most about this conference was that the speakers weren’t just talking on generalized things you can easily find online. They were topics from how to make a good social media impression, and how to make a living off of it, to how to travel on a low budget, and be safe while doing so. I found out tips and tricks on how to keep sites from knowing I am scheduling a trip, because then they will try to jack up prices. I learned how politics impact travel, and how important it is to go after what we want (our DREAMS).
Now enough background, let’s get into this crazy weekend…
Day/Night One- Friday:
I arrived in New Orleans around 4 pm on Friday, and went straight to the Hotel Indigo in the Garden District, which is where I stayed. I loved that most everything I needed was in walking distance, although I did opt to Uber most of the time since I only brought heels with me.
The Garden District of New Orleans is beautiful and more quaint than the French Quarter, which is where the infamous Bourbon Street is located, and is where I spent my Friday night.
After arriving to the hotel I got ready for the Networking Pre-Party that was being hosted at the House of Blues Foundation Room. Let me tell you all, this place had the BEST vibes! The aesthetic was everything! Whoever was the interior designer of this room had everything on point. From the ceiling to the floor, there was this bohemian feel, mixed with pieces that reminded you of artifacts you might find on an archaeological dig, and it all flowed together!!
And let me tell you their cheese and fruit platters, SO GOOD! And they had New Orleans beer, a signature vodka drink, and every wine under the sun. So you know us ladies had a great time.
After an awesome night at the Foundation Room, I hit up Bourbon Street with a few of the awesome ladies I met! I’m not big into partying so felt a little out of my element. But, this was a great weekend to go, because Bourbon was basically dead since the Mardi Gras parties from the previous weekend had just finished winding down.
It was definitely an experience checking out Bourbon, but I know next time I go to New Orleans I want to check out Frenchmen Street, which is where the locals hang out.
BUT I did take on the full Bourbon experience and purchased a hand grenade! A street drink that almost every bar sells.
After being on Bourbon for about 20 minutes, my new friend Valisha* and I decided to go to the Columns Hotel, where we got the most delicious Mint Juleps. She had been there a few years prior and said we HAD to go back, and I’m happy she said that. The aesthetic of this hotel was almost as fabulous as the Foundation Room. New Orleans seriously has amazing architecture and interior design!
The atmosphere was on point, the drinks were delicious, and the company I had made this first night in NOLA perfect!
*Valisha is an awesome individual who will be launching a travel app this summer! It is called Lioness Travel and it is a “buddy” app somewhat like matchmaking apps, BUT instead of being set up on a date, you are set up with a local female who becomes (for lack of a better word) a tour guide for your trip! It is a social app that helps you to become more familiar and comfortable in an area you are traveling too! Check out her website and keep your eyes peeled for her launch: http://lionesstravel.com/
Day Two- Saturday:
I decided to start this day by walking from my hotel to the New Orleans Jazz Market, which is where the actual conference took place. I purposely got a hotel near the market so I would be able to walk, but I only took the walk the morning of day 2 since the sidewalks were pretty torn up and hard to walk on.
I’m happy I did get the chance to take the walk because the murals I walked by were some wonderful pieces of art.
This day of the conference was jam packed with great speakers sharing so much important information, and travel based booths and companies set up in the lobby who gave us lots of fun goodies! I got to hear topics covering travel hacking, travel mistakes, achieving your dreams while traveling, building a business in travel, and keeping strong relationships while you travel.
Cassie is such an inspiration, and we should all be following in her footsteps in trying to achieve the roll of being a Global Citizen! She is credited to be, at the age of 26, the First Documented Woman, and Fastest Person to travel to all Sovereign Nations. Not only this but she is working hard on her Global Citizen duties by educating the youth in the nations she has visited and working on sustainability. Cassie is working to reduce the impact of her expedition by planting enough trees to completely offset her carbon footprint! You can read up on all of this on the two sites linked above.
Cassie is easily one of the most accepting and selfless people I have ever been in the presence of. She missed the lunch break we were given to talk to all of us women who had questions or who just wanted to speak with such an inspiring and strong woman.
Night Two- Saturday:
Day two of the conference wrapped up with a networking after party. Since my parents had also traveled to New Orleans this weekend, and I had the chance to network the night before, I decided to skip out on the party and meet them for dinner.
I met them at The Rum House, that specializes in, you guessed it, RUM! We had a nice outdoor dinner, with a FABULOUS dessert of meringue key lime pie (YUM).
Day Three- Sunday:
Sunday morning I took an Uber to the Jazz Market, where Kelly Lewis started off the day by welcoming us all back for the final day of the conference.
This day we had more freedom in choosing the topic we wanted to hear because there were two stages. The speakers I listened to spoke about topics on how to see more things without breaking the bank, what it is like traveling as an American woman in today’s world, how to be a one-woman camera crew, how to “kill it” on Instagram, and how to create a large follower base.
I was really looking forward to the topics of “How to Kill it on Instagram” because one of my FAVORITE travel bloggers, Alyssa Ramos*, presented it!
Her session did not disappoint! And her personality and looks, awesome online, SO SO much cuter in person! I am so grateful I got to meet someone who has inspired me so much to go out and travel, and live a life for ME.
The other topic I was really looking forward to was “Traveling as an American Woman Today” with Nneya Richards. This session was extremely eye opening and helpful for future travels I have coming up. She highly encourage us to all be aware of political and social issues going on in our home country, as well as the country we are traveling to.
I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to talk with Nneya for a good bit of time the night before her session and she truly does care about the topics she talks on and is such a passionate person!
Although they had provided us with lunch on Saturday, Sunday they did not so there was a long mid-day break for lunch. I got to walk around some of the Garden District and ended up eating at a cute little place called Tacos & Beer. The food was great, and even though I am not a beer drinker, I got a purple haze and it was pretty good!
All in all this weekend was extremely informational, and I know I will be using what I learned over the weekend in my future, since I want to be able to travel as a profession.