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What is the Women in Travel Summit?

Have you been wondering why I keep tagging everything with #WITS16? 

What is WITS? It is the annual Women in Travel Summit, which was held this year in Irvine, California. It is a conference where travel-loving women gather from all over the world for a few days of deep-diving sessions on branding, social media, blogging, personal style, and of course, travel! It’s sponsored by Wanderful (www.sheswanderful.com), and each year the attendees vote on the next year’s location.

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New friends, new hair!

 Why is it so great? I never knew that I had nearly 400 best friends with similar interests, but they were all at WITS and ready to chat! Outside of our sessions, we had excursions that took us across Newport Beach on a scavenger hunt, screenings of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and day trips to places like Laguna Beach, Temecula Valley, and Balboa Island.

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Style and branding workshop with the fabulous Diana Jennings of South Coast Plaza!

My favorite part of WITS ’16? Connecting with other women and attending mentor sessions with industry leaders! Whether serious Influencer or new blogger, the women of WITS ’16 focused on helping everyone succeed and showing support. I had countless deep, meaningful talks with my new friends, many of whom know more about me than my closest family members!

Stay tuned over the next few weeks, and I’ll take you on my WITS ’16 adventure! (…and show you how many times I put the “lost” in WanderLost…)

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On our way to the Strayboots Scavenger Hunt at Newport Beach!

 The Cost

I’m starting to post the cost for our trips to pass on lessons learned so you can learn how to save if you’re doing something similar. Let me know what you think about this section!

I found out about the conference 1.5 weeks before it happened, which meant I was going to be paying way more in airfare thank I would have paid if I booked early. After looking at flights and calling the hotel to find out that the conference’s block of rooms had already been filled, a lightbulb went off, and I decided to check out Expedia’s bundle deals. This saved me, well, a bundle!

The conference itself was extremely affordable, and the Hotel had a great 24-hour shop / restaurant with very affordable prices. I wish I would have known that Wanderful was connecting women with roommates, which would have cut the hotel bill in half.

The Breakdown

Expedia Bundle Deal (Thursday-Sunday with flight + hotel) – $1,133.72. Booking ahead would have saved me at least 1/3 of this price, and sharing a room would have saved even more.

WITS Conference – $168.74.

Food, snacks – $56.43. This could have been much cheaper, but I ate at two nicer restaurants. The conference provided many meals.

Ubers – $71.73. I took free shuttles to the hotel / airport, but splurged on solo Ubers to go to the beach. And I had two drivers who became very, very directionally challenged. Splitting Ubers would have cut this cost in half.

While the grand total was way beyond what I typically spend in a few weeks, there has been a huge ROI. In addition to the costs I have listed, I attended a full day of half-hour and hour-long one-on-one mentor sessions at different levels of cost before the conference officially started. I cannot recommend these sessions enough, and most of the women met with me for 1/3-1/2 of what they list their services for on their website.

As for the ROI I mentioned? There are collaborations in the pipeline, and WLT is now linked with an amazing network of supportive women bloggers, entrepreneurs, and digital rock stars. Oh – and did I mention I even walked away with a Delsey Montmartre bag and countless other pieces of swag?

Have you heard of the Women in Travel Summit, or any other amazing travel / blogger conferences? Let me know! I may see you there!

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