My New Favourite Festival: Travel Bloggers Unite

Travel Bloggers Unite is definitely one of the best festivals I’ve been to. You might not think of it as a ‘festival’, but what else could a festival blogger call an event where you choose between ‘stages’, follow a printed programme, all have lanyard round your neck, meet some celebrities, have VIP sections and more booze and food options than even I can consume. It definitely didn’t feel like I imagine a conference would.

The only difference is that Travel Bloggers Unite was held in the fanciful Sheraton Hotel in Porto, not a field in Glastonbury, oh, and the toilet opportunities were comparably orgasmic too.


Not technically stages, but rooms, or ‘arianes’ as they were called at TBU Porto 2012. I chose to see theaussienomad do a gig on plugins, adventurouskate on building a press trip and travelblggr on iMovie and automodo, oh and my new friend theblondeabroad about how to use an iPad for travel blogging. Just need to actually be able to afford one now and I’d be well away. I also learned about the importance of collaboration from Janice Waugh – watch this space – and of working with companies from Debbie fourbgb.

Not bad for three days fun.


Strength in numbers, so says those that know…


Oh dear, I got in with a bad crowd from the start and didn’t really leave them. I drank a lot at TBU, but had a huge amount of fun. Just like it should be at a festival. I arrived, met up with a friend I knew from the London #TravelMassive nights and we immediately got started on the port down at the harbour. We soon learned of a party going on in town so we managed to get ourselves back to La Boheme at Galerias de Paris and the rest, as I say, was a blur. I just know that I found some kindred boozey spirits in a select few excellent travel bloggers who I won’t shame here and we stuck together from then on.

Amazing venue in Porto

Arriving at The Freixo Palace

On the Friday night there was an official welcome party at the Freixo Palace Hotel. All the drinks were free and the pastry canapes were tasty. The venue was beautiful and the view incredible. We were treated to some traditional singing by a band of medical students and there was plenty of chat and fun. The party finished at 10:30pm, so off we went back to the Galerias de Paris by bus. I sadly/happily found a lethal Capiriniha stall which everyone seemed to enjoy…

Saturday night was the gala dinner at the Alfândega Congress Centre. Wow, it was truly incredible. I wouldn’t mind getting married there it was that amazing. We were treated to a huge spread of food that the bloggers attacked like gannets as soon as they set eyes on. After a few awards were given out to the travel blogger stalwarts the night continued with wine, port and vodka cokes looking out on the Douro River. Only to be interrupted by my very first flash mob organised by theblondeabroad and adventurouskate to Call Me Maybe. No one quite knew what was going on, especially me…

After this we went back to the Galerias de Paris, again, and introduced everyone else to the Capirinha stall. I realised the only way for me to beat them in the morning was to get them to join me. Although they still won.

The last night started off a bit more chilled at the incredible Gallery Hostel at a party organised by BudgetTraveller, but soon dissolved into drunken foolery and deep conversations at Breyner85. BudgetTraveller and Kate got up and sang Wonderwall, while the rest of us downed chilli shots and sangria at the bar.

You can see more photos on my Facebook page, but they go a bit like this…

Where to sleep

From the Tattva Design Hostel where I stayed to the Sheraton Hotel where it was held, everyone was well impressed with their accommodation. Porto was a great place to hold this year’s conference as it was very easy to get around and wherever you were the scenery was amazing. Having a real bed to sleep it is another reason why it’s one of my favourite festivals. It was useful to have somewhere comfortable for some down time and to relax, and to play on the Wi-Fi of course.

The people

A festival’s clientele can make or break a festival, as noted in the differences between this year’s Parklife, Field Day and Eastern Electrics. The festivalgoers at TBU were the best ever. Being at the TBU festival among the best/coolest/most fun travel bloggers in the world was exactly where I wanted to be. There were a handful I knew before, but in the three days I met many driven and exciting people who have really inspired me to be better and to work hard on my blog.

I loved being around so many accents, hearing everyone’s stories and feeling the incredible amount of creativity bubbling in the arianes. Victoria from has written a great ode to TBU picking up on just that at Living the life you want to not the one you should: inspiration from TBU.

It’s great to know who’s as genuine in real life as they are on their blog, and who might just be hiding behind the keyboard… 


TBU was incredible. Porto was beautiful and I’m looking forward to going back with my boyfriend in 2013 at some point. I’ve made some great friends who I actually can’t wait to see again – wish, wish I could go to TBEX – and I feel inspired to do great things on the HostelBookers blog and this here little internet space of mine.

The ticket was possibly the best £20 I ever spent!

My First Time at Glastonbury: I Make the Mistakes So You Don’t Have To
My Boss's (Luis) A-P of What to Do in Porto


  1. by Edna on September 11, 2012  10:12 pm Reply

    Thanks for the recap! So jealous I wasn't able to attend (even though I live in Paris -- so close yet so far!) and meet all my favorite bloggers over some port :)

    • by Vicky on September 11, 2012  10:21 pm Reply

      Oh it was so much fun Edna! You have to go to the next one :) Hope to see you there...

  2. by Shamis @ Gawaya Travel Blog on September 13, 2012  5:42 am Reply

    Now I see why you couldn't go to all the places in Porto your boss recommended ;) Looks like you had a blast there.

    • by Vicky on September 13, 2012  6:30 pm Reply

      Haha. Too much fun to be had with the other bloggers! It's people not things that make places. I'm currently debating going to TBEX. Really, really want to!

  3. by Arianwen on September 14, 2012  12:34 am Reply

    So jealous I couldn't make it...even if I was in the Galapagos instead. Thanks for letting me know what I missed. Collaboration is the way forward chica! :)

    • by Vicky on September 14, 2012  1:22 pm Reply

      Ar, it was brilliant Ari. We can go to the next one in April or whenever it is they have it. Galapagos would have been better though - especially the way you played it ;)

  4. by Satu @ Destination Unknown on September 14, 2012  10:49 am Reply

    I think festival is the perfect term for the TBU!! Great recap & looking forward to the next one. We're still in Portugal though chilling by the beach, so I haven't quite got out of the festival mode... :)

    • by Vicky on September 14, 2012  1:21 pm Reply

      Oh my god I am so jealous! Was great to meet you at the weekend. Are you headed to #TBEX? I had so much fun, didn't realise how great all travel bloggers are :).

      • by Satu @ Destination Unknown on September 14, 2012  6:42 pm Reply

        I know, I had no idea either!! :) Unfortunately won't make it to #TBEX, but should be at the WTM, I hope!

  5. by Andrea on September 14, 2012  5:05 pm Reply

    Looks awesome - we have to get to one of these soon.

    • by Vicky on September 16, 2012  6:22 pm Reply

      Yeah, maybe I should have taken a day off. Got a bit carried away in all the fun :)

  6. by Victoria on September 16, 2012  10:19 pm Reply

    Hey Vicky, Really enjoyed the re-cap, and thanks for the mention :) Was great to meet you at TBU, Wish you were coming to TBEX too. Hopefully meet you at the next 'festival' after that. It really is a great way to describe it!

    • by Vicky on September 19, 2012  8:36 pm Reply

      Yeah, wish I was too! Preeti and Isabel from my work are going so make sure you look out for them. Preeti is mad on vegetables too, so you can be friends :)

  7. by Susan Mcguire on September 18, 2012  10:54 am Reply

    seems that you had so much fun there @Edna .. After I watch your uploaded video I'm quite jealous on you dear ...:)

    • by Vicky on September 19, 2012  8:34 pm Reply

      Ah you'll have to go next year!

  8. Pingback : VickyFlipFlopTravels » Cool Festivals and Epic Holidays |What’s a Travel Blogger Got to Do to Get a Press Trip Around Here? - VickyFlipFlopTravels

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