Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

It’s been a rough few weeks.

I was going to write about the rest of my marvellous time in Sweden.

I was going to tell you that I was asked to be one of the five (5) members of an academic discussion panel on Brexit, at the Humboldt University of Berlin!

It’ll be on 24.06.17 as part of the Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften, or the Long Night of Sciences at the Centre for British Studies in Berlin.

I was also going to tell you that not only was I featured as a guest blogger on the University of Chester Alumni website, but I’m also going to be on the University of Chester’s official Case Study posters for postgraduate recruitment too! Now isn’t that cool!

Berlin – very British – rbb

However, bearing in mind what has been happening in my home-country of England, there was just no way that I wasn’t going to mention it.

And sadly, this isn’t the first time.

There have been terrorist attacks in both London and Manchester.

Everyone is in a state of shock.

Our sympathies and condolences are with the people, family and friends of both Manchester and London.

Tributes left in St Ann’s Square, Manchester, for the people who died in the terror attack
©Jeff J Mitchell /Getty

The world has been in a dreadful state within the last year.

First, we had that horrible referendum in which my fellow Brits voted to Leave the European Union, and won! Shortly after, we had airport explosions and train attacks in Belgium, awful situations of terror in France, mindless shootings in the US, the senseless mass killing of the gay community in America, a mad axe-wielding teenager in Germany, an airport terror attack and a near military coup in Turkey, another disturbed teenager ran riot of an evening, randomly shooting innocent shoppers, after luring them to a free McDonalds’ burger, in Germany, and the awful fact that Donald Trump, a laughable figure, actually ended up as the President of the United States, and thus, the leader of the Free Western World!

I mean, how did that happen?!

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

Berlin was targeted by a mad man at the German Christmas Market, then London was terrorised in March, Stockholm in April, and very very recently, Manchester was attacked, and just over the weekend, London, all over again!!

Just what is the world coming to?

MANCHESTER

That famous and historical city – Manchester!

I’m a British girl!

I was born and grew up in the suburbs of a most famous and historical city – Manchester.

Manchester is in England and when you think of England you think of icons like King Henry VIII, The British Empire, David Bowie, and of course, The Beatles.

Images of Cool Britannia with absolutely everybody LOL!
@Debbiefm

The Beatles may come from Liverpool, but you can’t have everything can you!

Manchester began as a Roman fort called Mamucium or Mancunium, in about AD 79 and was historically a part of Lancashire, and until the 20th century, became a part of Cheshire.

Manchester is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the South, the Pennines to the North and East, and an arc of little towns surrounding it!

The lovely” Just So Festival” is an annual weekend camping festival that’s actually in Cheshire, but billed as Manchester!

In fact, where I grew up, is technically no longer known as Manchester, but Cheshire!

Throughout the Middle Ages, Manchester remained a manorial township, but began to expand around the turn of the 19th century, brought on by a boom in textile manufacturing during the Industrial Revolution, bringing extreme wealth to Manchester and making it the first industrialised city in the world!

Phew!

It’s lovely cruising down the Castlefield Canal, or any other canal in Manchester!

Manchester is the highest-ranked British city, apart from London of course, and is the third-most visited city in the UK!

It’s famous for it’s universities and seats of academic learning, architecture, art and culture, museums and galleries, theatre, literature, nightclubs and bars, cinema, music, Manchester Pride, the BBC, science and engineering, sport and excellent transportation. In fact, Manchester has loads of river canals which you can cruise along, free trams that you can use in the city centre, and Liverpool Road train station, which is the first inter-city passenger railway station in the world!

Manchester has about half a million people.

Now that Brexit & Article 50 has been triggered, as an island nation. We’re out. Alone.

So of course, when terrorism came to my home-town and therefore, my city, I was saddened and outraged.

This act of terrorism was not only cowardly, but taken out in an area where teenagers and young children were watching a fabulous concert of Ariana Grande.

Everyone was most upset.

And so was  I.

Everyone was most upset.

My fellow Mancunians rallied round to give each other comfort and support.

They are brave, and so must we all be.

This was not the first time that Manchester has been bombed by terrorists, as the IRA tried to destroy the city in 1996, and sadly, it won’t be the last.

And this time it came very close to home, as the office of my brother – The Writer – is opposite the Manchester Arena! I rang home in the middle of the night with a shaking hand!

Is it safe to travel to Europe right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

And I’m just so sad.

The terrorist have have struck my continent and attacked my country.

This wonderful continent of Europe might make tourists and visitors wonder.

They might think that perhaps travelling abroad isn’t all it’s made out to be.

Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!

They might think that Europe isn’t the place to be after all!

My blog isn’t about politics, and I’m not a politician or a secret agent, so outside of the odd look-between-the-lines rant, I can’t tell you what to do, or advice you as to who best to run your country. Or mine!

What I can tell you is how to cope, and how to keep on living, doing whatever it is you’re doing.

I’m a British person and I live in Europe. People are worried and concerned:

I’M SCARED TO TRAVEL TO THE UK!

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

You don’t need to be.

However!

I’ll tell you something for nothing.

We Brits are as stoic as we come.

Britain is thousands of years old and has been through battles many, many times.

We’re not strangers to attacks.

Or threats.

Or war.

Britain is thousands of years old and has been through battles many, many times.

You’ve only got to look through the last century to see that.

Britain has been blighted by the IRA in Ireland for years, and tourists still love to come to the UK.

Spain has had train explosions from people fighting for the separation of the Basque Region from the country, and tourists still love to visit Spain.

Heck! World War II was started by a madman from Austria, who terrorised the whole continent by his fantasy of German supremacy! Not to talk of the Berlin Wall that was to divide a nation for 38 years, and tourists still love to come to Germany too!

BUT WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

Manchester – And then we have to get up, brush down, wipe away the tears, keep calm, and Carry On with things!

We must cry, and we should.

And then we have to get up, brush down, wipe away the tears, keep calm, and Carry On with things!

Manchester people (of which I am one) are known for plain speaking, and being strong of mind.

We’re stoic, and have a stiff upper lip! #DontLookBackInAnger.

Whatever you think of Britain, the UK is open for business, and always will be.

The point I’m trying to make is:

DON’T LET FEAR TAKE CONTROL

The London Bridge attacks were devastatingly horrible, but you’ve got to keep your head up high, have a bit of a laugh, and get yourself a cup of tea, or in this case, take your beer with you!
©AP

During times of upsetting national news, as British people, we use bleak humour to comfort each other and rally around our community. And even though the London Bridge attacks were devastatingly horrible, you just have to keep your head up high, have a bit of a laugh and a cuddle, and get yourself a cup of tea. Or in this case, take your beer with you! So…

Walk outside your front door.

Drive your car.

Get on that train.

Take a flight.

Sail on a ship.

Take a step at a time.

Don’t let fear take control!

IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO BRITAIN & THE UK ‘COS I’M SCARED TO TRAVEL ABROAD? 

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

Sure it is!

Manchester isn’t #reeling, and neither is London. We’re British, we’ve got a stiff upper lip, and we’re going to get on with things, and pull through!

Millions of international tourists and travellers visit and travel through the UK every year, and most visits are completely and utterly trouble-free.

Millions of international tourists and travellers visit and travel through the UK every year, and most visits are completely & utterly trouble-free!

However, if you have any concerns, or need help, or information, I recommend the following:

  • As much as possible, stay away from large crowds and high-profile events
  • Don’t leave bags or luggage unattended. Take care of your belongings and passports at all airports and train stations
  • Remain vigilant, but don’t go crazy and finger-point at random innocent people going about their business
  • Follow the instructions of the local authorities
  • Monitor media and local information sources
  • Allow extra time for your journey due to increased security measures at airports, important train stations, and international borders
  • If you’re German, contact the Außenministerium der Bundesrepublik Deutschland – Andere Länder
  • If you’re American, contact the Embassy of the United States in whichever country you’re in
  • Take out travel and medical insurance BEFORE you travel

Don’t panic. Remember:

Keep calm! Don't worry! Don’t panic!
Keep calm!
Don’t worry!
Don’t panic!

Britain is safe.

Ordinary people don’t carry weapons of any kind. There isn’t a need to!

They say that most accidents and deaths occur near to, or in the home. Statistically, you’re safer outside your home!

And if you’re still not sure take a peep.

See you next week!

Book your hotel here!

IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO BRITAIN & THE UK ‘COS I’M SCARED TO TRAVEL ABROAD?

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions about taking control of travel nightmares and the fear of terrorism, are my very own!

Next week, I’ll continue my articles on Sweden.

In June, I’ll also be visiting Slovenia! Yay! Follow me on Twitter & Facebook to find out what I’m up to!

On June 24th, I’ll be at the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens with Travel Massive Berlin.

From July 4th – July 7th, I’ll be at Berlin Fashion Week.

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in June, you’re crazy!

Save the Date!

June & July are going to be awesome!

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

 

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

Is it safe to travel to Britain and the UK right now? Are you scared to travel abroad? Will you let terrorism take control? Have your say?

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

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16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

So last week, I told you that even though I have a lot of future posts coming up about my FAM/Press Trip to the Philippines, I was going to divert to writing about Taiwan!

Taiwan?

Yes. Taiwan!

Aha!

?/%$!!?%$§!

Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?
Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?

Now let’s be honest. A fortnight ago, I told you that western travellers tended not to choose the Philippines when travelling to Asia, and with Taiwan, it gets distinctly worse because.

Nobody knows where it is!!!

There are murmurs of:

Taiwan?

Do you mean Thailand!

or

Taiwan?

Is that in Turkey or something!

In fact, until last year, I thought that Taipai - the capital of Taiwan - was somewhere in Korea!
In fact, until last year, I thought that Taipei – the capital of Taiwan – was somewhere in Korea!

In fact, until last year, I thought that Taipei – the capital of Taiwan – was somewhere in Korea!

Yes. Korea!!

Was it any wonder that when I decided to add another Asian destination to my trip, I opted to choose Taiwan!

But if you’re just following my blog, and you haven’t a clue why Taiwan even came up in the first instance, here are a couple of links to remind you:

Me in the Philippines, but could this be a James Bond moment! ©Scott Herder - BoboandChiChi.com
Me in the Philippines, but could this be a James Bond moment!
©Scott Herder – BoboandChiChi.com

Gosh!

So let’s do some history.

TAIWAN

Taipei 101 Observatory - The world's tallest building in 2004!
Taipei 101 Observatory – The world’s tallest building in 2004!

Taiwan, otherwise known as, the Republic of China (ROC), is a state in East Asia. It was founded in 1912, making it the first democratic republic in Asia!

Neighbors include the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to the west, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south. Taiwan is the most populous non-UN state and the largest economy outside the UN boasting a per capita income of over $45,000!

Despite its contentious relationship with China, Taiwan has thrived over the last four decades as one of the strongest economies in Asia, a population of just 23.4 million people, and a GDP of over $1.1 trillion!

16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

The history of Taiwan can be traced back to at least 7000 years!

Between 7000 and 400 years ago, Austronesians, (the ancestors of the island’s indigenous people), arrived in small groups and became the earliest known inhabitants of Taiwan.

Taiwan was initially colonised by the Dutch in the 17th century, followed by an influx of Han Chinese, including Hakka immigrants from the Fujian and Guangdong areas of mainland China, across the Taiwan Strait.

The Spanish built a settlement in the north for a brief period, but were driven out by the Dutch in 1642.

Taiwan became a colony of Japan and remained under Japanese rule for 50 years!
Taiwan became a colony of Japan and remained under Japanese rule for 50 years!

In 1662, Koxinga, a loyalist of the Ming dynasty who had lost control of mainland China in 1644, defeated the Dutch and established a base of operations on the island. His forces were also defeated by the Qing dynasty in 1683, and parts of Taiwan became increasingly integrated into the Qing empire. Following the First Sino-Japanese War in 1895, the Qing ceded the island, along with Penghu, to the Empire of Japan.

The island became a colony of Japan and remained under Japanese rule for 50 years, during which time it evolved from a traditional society into a modern one.

In 1945, following the end of World War II, the Republic of China (ROC), led by the Kuomintang (KMT), took control of Taiwan.

Taiwan, otherwise known as, the Republic of China (ROC).
Taiwan, otherwise known as, the Republic of China (ROC).

The KMT ruled Taiwan (along with Kinmen, Wuqiu and the Matsu Islands on the opposite side of the Taiwan Strait) as a single-party state for forty years, until democratic reforms in the 1980s.

During the post-war period, Taiwan experienced rapid industrialization and economic growth, and was known as one of the Four Asian Tigers.

Wow!

How intriguing!

Singapore is also known as one of the Four Asian Tigers!
Singapore is also known as one of the Four Asian Tigers!

I was enormously impressed by Taiwan and here’s why:

16 BRILLIANT REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT TAIWAN!

16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
  1. Taiwan is an island country boasting abundant natural resources
  2. A great collection of landforms have been carved out of the Taiwan landscape, such as majestic peaks, rolling hills and plains, basins, coastlines, and other natural landscapes
  3. There are 8 national parks and 13 national scenic areas to preserve Taiwan’s best natural ecological environment, and cultural sites
  4. Taiwan has invaluable rare and endangered wildlife such as the Taiwanese land-locked salmon, the Taiwan serow, Formosan rock monkeys, Formosan black bears, Swinhoe pheasants, blue magpies, Mikado pheasants, and the Hsuehshan grass lizard
  5. Taiwan boasts excellent infrastructure, a convenient transportation system, and high-quality communication services
  6. It’s utterly and completely clean! I couldn’t believe that there was no litter or trash on the underground train. And if it’s raining, you can pick up an umbrella at the train station. For free!
  7. The fabulous food, and the Night Market. I’m going to say no more about it, until next week!
  8. So that you can pay a visit to Taroko National Park
  9. Get all sweaty and energetic with a hike up Jade Mountain
  10. To experience the wonderful ambience of Sun Moon Lake
  11. So that you can hang out where the cool kids do in the hip neighbourhood of Ximending – the  first pedestrian zone built in Taipei and the source of Taiwan’s pop subculture, cool Japanese trends, cultural-creative goods, food, and entertainment, as well as unique avant-garde fashion and style. In fact, I stayed in this region for 3 days before I moved to another part of town. More about this next week!
  12. To discover and explore a bustling modern metropolis sprinkled with quiet lanes and alleys in corners that you would never expect, as well as a unique cultural environment filled with creativity and design. One evening, we bumped into a film company making a Taiwanese soap-show, based around a red-brick cultural building, constructed in a historically preserved heritage warehouse!
  13. So that you can hop on a high-speed train and experience the Taiwan Railway Journey across the country island!
  14. Get in touch with authentic Taiwanese life by visiting the mountain region of Pingxi where you can write wishes on a sky lantern, before letting it go into the sky!
  15. Be fascinated by the beauty and serenity of the Shifen Waterfall
  16. Because Taiwan has the feel of being Chinese, but itsn’t!

That’s all for now!

16 BRILLIANT REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT TAIWAN!

Me being a tourist in trendy Ximending 16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
Me being a tourist in trendy Ximending
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

This article is not sponsored and even though I received a part-complimentary stay at amba Taipei Ximending and amba Taipei Songshan, all opinions and the magnificent time that I had, are my very own!

Next week I’ll be writing about what I did in Taiwan, and then returning to the Philippines again later!

On November 24th – 26th, I’ll be attending the Berlin-Premiere and the 10th anniversary of British musical comedy duo – Carrington Brown at Bar Jeder Vernunft in Berlin.

On November 24th – 26th, I’ll be joining my American friends to celebrate Thanksgiving!

On November 27th, the Berlin German Christmas Market will open, and the furore of mulled wine, German sausages and green cabbage, will begin!

In December/January, I’ll be going to Holland.

The British Shorts Fillm Festival will take place from 12th – 18th January, 2017

Berlin Fashion Week will take place from 17th –  20th January, 2017.

At the end of January, I’ll be skiing in the Czech Republic.

Save the Date!

November is going to be compulsive!

Watch this space!

Please also note that there is now a Booking.com affiliate link (for the very first time) connected to my hotel. Every time some sort of accommodation is booked via my link I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself! A win-win for all!

16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

Would you like to visit Taiwan? Have you been there? Did you know that Taiwan was not a part of Thailand or Korea!! Let me know!

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

How I went to TBEX again, and what I learnt!

Let's paaaaaarty! TBEX Manila 2016 - ©Kira Ramirez - Elegantly Wasted
Let’s paaaaaarty!
TBEX Manila 2016 –
©Kira Ramirez – Elegantly Wasted

So last week I told you all about the fear and horror of visiting a city such as Manila!

I told you about the anxiety of many a people living in a constant state of fear at home, not to talk of travelling abroad!

I also told you how well we were looked after, because I couldn’t be in Manila on my lonesome.

Oh dear me no!

Bloggers from TBEX are welcome everywhere!
Bloggers from TBEX are welcome everywhere!

I was with TBEX!

The comments of my previous post gives me the distinct impression that people are wary of going to a TBEX conference, or any conference at all for that matter.

I have the feeling that people are reluctant to open their purse-strings and spend $100+ on something that they know very little about so have no fear, Victoria is here!

Yep! I’m here to clarify your mind on whether going to a TBEX conference is worth the money that you will undoubtedly, spend.

WHAT IS TBEX?

Travel Blog Exchange - that's us - TBEX Asia!
Travel Blog Exchange – that’s us – TBEX Asia!

Well, TBEX is the holy grail of the travel blogging world and stands for Travel Blog Exchange.

WHAT IS TBEX ALL ABOUT?

TBEX Asia Pacific - one of the largest gatherings in the world!
TBEX Asia Pacific – one of the largest gatherings in the world!

TBEX is the world’s largest conference and networking event for travel bloggers, writers, online travel journalists, new media content creators, travel brands and social-media-savvy travel industry professionals. There are three (3) conferences held annually in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, attracting 600-1000 delegates from all over the world!

It’s also a medium for the creative minds of the travel industry to come together, to network, to learn, to negotiate with the travel industry, and for those who are so inclined, to take the business of blogging to the next level.

How exciting!

At TBEX Europe with myself - Victoria Ade-Genschow - The British Berliner, Matthew Kepnes – Nomadic Matt, & Jodi Ettenberg – Legal Nomads, in Lloret de Mar – Spain.
At TBEX Europe with myself – Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner, Matthew Kepnes – Nomadic Matt, & Jodi Ettenberg – Legal Nomads, in Lloret de Mar – Spain.

Last year, I went to the TBEX conference for the very first time.

In previous years, the bloggers conference had been in Dublin (whisky & beer. Yay!) and Athens (ouzo & wine. Double Yay!). Last year it was on the seaside coast of Costa Brava. In Spain.

Paella in Spain is just all you need!
Paella in Spain is just all you need!

Oooooo!

And I spent most of my time crying, as it was a complete and utter disaster!

I love going to Spain and after that horrid experience I needed to go back to Spain again. So I did!

In fact, I went one step further, and travelled to Portugal too!

I'm the Vice-School Principal / Social Media Manager at Logo Sprachenschule!
I’m the Vice-School Principal / Social Media Manager at Logo Sprachenschule!

I had planned to once again go to the TBEX European conference in Sweden, but a window opened up. That window was the fact that I took up a new job for a German company called LOGO Sprachenschule, as the Vice-School Principal responsible for their English-speaking business and their Social Media Management too!

We’re in the process of setting up a new website, but I’ll let you know when it’s done!

So back to TBEX!

I'm going to see everything that there is to see all over the Philippines!
I’m going to see everything that there is to see all over the Philippines!

I didn’t go to the conference in Sweden, but opted to go to the TBEX Asia-Pacific 2016 conference in the Philippines instead!

And this year. It was brilliant!

Every year, TBEX partners with fantastic destinations so that bloggers and media people get the opportunity to meet potential business partners or sponsors, meet influential bloggers, get new strategies and tips, network with each other, discover new destinations, share a new experience and well, be entertained and paaaaaaaarty like it’s 1999!

And party we did!

At the #TBEX Asia Pacfic Oktoberfest Farewell Party, with local Filipinos!
At the #TBEX Asia-Pacific Oktoberfest Farewell Party, with local Filipinos!

Most importantly, TBEX affords participants the opportunity to experience the destination hosted by the country itself!

You see, going to TBEX doesn’t only mean the conference weekend but actually a few days of serious jollification and pre-tours before the conference, and a week of a bit of a jolly, after the conference! In fact, even though the conference officially took place from October 13th – October 16th, many people arrived early, and some people are still in the Philippines NOW – Living the life of Riley!

Party like it's 2016 at TBEX in Manila! ©Vicki Winters
Party like it’s 2016 at TBEX in Manila!
©Vicki Winters

Last year, I wished it had been me.

And this year it was!

BUT WHAT DO YOU DO THERE?

Let's paaaaaarty! TBEX Manila 2016 - ©Kira Ramirez - Elegantly Wasted
Let’s paaaaaarty!
TBEX Manila 2016 –
©Kira Ramirez – Elegantly Wasted

Whatever you want really!

But seriously, there is a conference agenda crammed with pre-BEX tours, workshops, keynote speeches, break-out sessions in Content, Commerce, Community, TBEX Business, Speed Networking, a Closing Keynote about the future of travel by Patricia Schultz – the bestselling author of 1,000 places to see before you die, and fun things like pub crawls, an opening night party, refreshments, lunch, coffee-breaks, a Second Night Party, a Farewell Party, Roof-Top Pool Parties, cocktail bars, meet-me-at-the-front-parties, FAM tours, all great fun, and all included in the price!

During the TBEX conference, I hardly slept at all!

At TBEX Asia-Pacific in Manila - the capital of fun!
At TBEX Asia-Pacific in Manila – the capital of fun!

There were shuttle vans and buses to take bloggers to the conference venue and since, I’m weird and actually like learning new things, I went to quite a few sessions.

I went to:

During the TBEX conference, I hardly slept at all!
During the TBEX conference, I hardly slept at all!
  • Writing like a Human Not a Robot: SEO With Soul (Community) by Michael Briggs
  • You Want Publicity? Use G+ to Reach Millions (Community) by Shane Dallas
  • Practical Ways to Improve your Affiliate Sales (Commerce) by Chris Christensen
  • How to Trend on Twitter (Commerce) by Michael Collins
  • How To Build A Thriving Real Community Around Your Blog & Brand (Community) by Anton Diaz
  • And Speed Networking

I wanted to go to:

Take a photo of me. No meeeee!
Take a photo of me.
No meeeee!
  • How to Improve Your Architectural Photographs (Content) by Ajay Sood. Thankfully, I met him again as he was on my FAM trip too!
  • How to Monetize your Blog with Print on Demand (Commerce) by Betsy & Peter Wuebker. I opted to go to a session conducted by a local Filippino – Anton Diaz instead. And I enjoyed it very much. In fact, the room was packed!
  • How to Creat Eye-Catching Hyperlapse Videos Today Using your Smart Phone (Content) by Scott Herder. I regret missing this the most as I love my iPhone 6 smart phone, and actually prefer using it to a more sophisticated camera! It’s small. It’s in my handbag, and it’s less invasive. I’m a strong believer that you ask your subject before taking their photograph!
I was exhausted and really, really tired. So I nipped off for a nap!
I was exhausted and really, really tired. So I nipped off for a nap!

And I missed it ‘cos by the last day, I was exhausted and really, really tired. So I nipped off for a nap instead! Happily, Scott was on my FAM trip too!

YOU MENTIONED REFRESHMENTS. WOULD WE STARVE?

A customised bubble-tea type drink at #TBEX in Manila!
A customised bubble-tea type drink at #TBEX in Manila!

Ha!

Not in the least! I’m sure people do worry, because food n’ stuff has to go in the budget, but once you’re on the doorstep of the TBEX Convention Center, you wouldn’t have to pay for a single item of nibble!

Exotic fruit at #TBEX in Manila!
Exotic fruit at #TBEX in Manila!

All soft drinks, water and coffee were provided free of charge. Getting a cup of tea was slightly more difficult, but the staff were awesome and ran around making sure that I had a good cuppa. With milk and sugar!

Nibbles at #TBEX in Manila!
Nibbles at #TBEX in Manila!

During the breaks we had tables full of snacks, cake, fruit, nibbles and ice-cream. I’ll let the pictures do the talking!

Colourful Filipino buns at #TBEX in Manila!
Colourful Filipino buns at #TBEX in Manila!

Lunch was amaaaaaaazing, and at one of them, we all had to eat standing. And with our bare hands!

A delightful hands-only lunch at #TBEX in Manila!
A delightful hands-only lunch at #TBEX in Manila!

It was quite hilarious too, as most of the Asian bloggers were using cutlery delicately provided, while we international bloggers all tried our best to use our fingers!

Yum! Mussels at #TBEX in Manila!
Yum! Mussels at #TBEX in Manila!

The food was quite delicious too!

As for drinks, I’m more a cocktails and champagne type of girl so when we went to the Second Night Party at the Long Bar at Raffles Makati, hosted by Travel Massive, I bought the All-You-Can-Drink for four (4) hours ticket, and bought cocktail after cocktail. I also sneaked a few to the local Filippino bloggers as the bar price was beyond their local budget!

A Singapore Sling cocktail - Long Bar at Raffles Makati, hosted by Travel Massive at #TBEX Manila.
A Singapore Sling cocktail – Long Bar at Raffles Makati, hosted by Travel Massive at #TBEX Manila.

And let’s not forget the TBEX Farewell Party which was themed for Oktoberfest.

Yep! Oktoberfest!

German craft beer and festive gingerbread at the #TBEX Asia-Pacific Oktoberfest Farewell Party, in Manila!
German craft beer and festive gingerbread at the #TBEX Asia-Pacific Oktoberfest Farewell Party, in Manila!

Well, this girl didn’t let you down ‘cos there was German food, Filippino food, and Indian food, as well as good ‘ole German craft beer, and German beer on tap!

The service staff even wore the football uniforms of the German 2016 FIFA World Cup winners!

Neat!

WHY TBEX?

Drinking a very important cup of tea! © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
Drinking a very important cup of tea!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

Why not?

And because blogging can be a lonesome game so it’s pretty nice meeting others.

Hanging out with real people, and people who “understand” why it’s important to position an item just so, before you take a photograph! You should have seen the angles that people were taking with some even standing on the table, in order to get “that photograph” just right.

And everybody completely understood!!

HOW CAN I GO TO TBEX?

One of the major locations for TBEX is in North America!
One of the major locations for TBEX is in North America!

There are three (3) conferences held annually in North America, Asia-Pacific, and Europe. Choose the region that is closest or more appropriate for you. For instance, going to TBEX in America would be pretty useless for me, as many of you are actually from North America, Europe, or the UK, and are more interested in Europe!

Truthfully, I decided to go to the Philippines because I could!

WOULD IT COST ME AN ARM AND A LEG?

You can save up all your pennies, and it wouldn't cost you!
You can save up all your pennies, and it wouldn’t cost you!

‘Not at all!

TBEX Asia (2016) cost me (with a Travel Massive discount) just $125.00!

TBEX Europe (2017) (early bird) cost a mere $117.00!

Of course, you do have to factor in your flight cost.

The cost of flying to the Philippines is effectively cheaper than flying to Sweden!
The cost of flying to the Philippines is effectively cheaper than flying to Sweden!

In my case, I knew that the cost of flying to the Philippines would effectively be cheaper than flying to Sweden as Nordic countries are hideously expensive!

BUT WHAT ABOUT HOTELS?

I stayed at three different hotels in Manila!
I stayed at three different hotels in Manila!

Whilst in Manila, I stayed at three (3) different hotels.

TBEX usually recommends a bevy of hotels which I would definitely check out as they’re usually near the TBEX Convention Center venue, and loads of other bloggers will also be there which is all part of the fun…!

However.

Do your own research as to prices.

I found that my hotel was actually cheaper without the TBEX discount code, and gave me more extras like breakfast and bottles of water!

The Golden Phoenix Hotel in Manila.
The Golden Phoenix Hotel in Manila.

The first hotel I stayed at was the Golden Phoenix Hotel Manila.

There was free WiFi, a buffet breakfast (mainly Asian), a swimming pool, and a fitness center.

The Asian boxed take-away breakfast!
The Asian boxed take-away breakfast!

It was in a really nice area, the staff were great, my room was large, and the twenty (20) or so bloggers that were staying there, were awesome!

Cost: PHP 3,002.52 or €57.00 per day

The Belmont Hotel & Resorts in Manila
The Belmont Hotel & Resorts in Manila

The second hotel that I stayed at was the Belmont Hotel & Resorts.

We were all moved there, so that we could fly out for our FAM trips pretty early in the morning!

Getting ready to fly out on our Visayan Charms FAM trip in the Philippines!
Getting ready to fly out on our Visayan Charms FAM trip in the Philippines!

The night before our FAM trip and the night after our FAM trip were complementary, and I liked the set-up so much that I paid for two extra nights out of pocket!

The Belmont Hotel is very near the airport, and my room was large. And of course, the fact that all the bloggers who had gone on a FAM trip were accommodated there, made it a pretty social place to be.

Now this is what I call a great start!
Now this is what I call a great start!

There were roof-parties, pool parties, and generally, come-to-my-room-we-have-whisky-and-rum-parties!

Sadly, towards the end of my time in Manila, I was horribly ill.

Perhaps, it was due to the very hot weather, the over-indulgence of wonderful food, a few sneaky gulps of whisky, and the intensity of foreign travel in a developing country, I ended up with the trots, so I was very happy to still be in only one place, and one room!

It had to happen. I ended up with the trots!
It had to happen. I ended up with the trots!

The service wasn’t that fantastic as the staff were over-whelmed. It took one hour for someone to come to my room with a pair of scissors, numerous calls for someone to bring me a bar of soap, and an extra towel, and sometimes, it would take ages to get reception on the phone! However, when I was ill, they sent for a doctor, and honestly, I was glad that I was at a more up-market place, than elsewhere!

They had free wifi, a lovely swimming pool, a nice restaurant, breakfast, a lovely view, comfortable beds, and free bottles of water.

Cost: PHP 6,000 for two nights or €57.00 per day. If you booked a room at this first anniversary price, you would get the second night for free.

So that was what I did!

I don't have a picture of the Vieve Hotel in Manila, only the traffc!
I don’t have a picture of the Vieve Hotel in Manila, only the traffc!

The third hotel I stayed at, I would definitely not recommend!

At the end of my stay in Asia, I flew back to Manila for 24 hours and this time, I chose the more humble 3-star Vieve Hotel.

The staff at the Vieve Hotel were nice enough, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you were travelling solo. I wanted to see the more “authentic” Manila, and I certainly did!

Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?
Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?

To be candid, I was scared.

I didn’t go out that night but stayed in my room, double-locked the door, and jammed a chair behind it!

WHAT DID I LEARN AT TBEX ?

There are many things to learn at such places as TBEX International 2017 in Jerusalem ©Israel21c.org
There are many things to learn at such places as TBEX International 2017 in Jerusalem
©Israel21c.org
  1. Leave plenty of time for trips, tours and meet-ups both before and after the TBEX conference
  2. Use the TBEX recommended hotel list when booking your hotel or B&B, but do your own research for prices
  3. Networking is key to putting a face to a name in the blogging community
  4. Just because you don’t have an appointment, doesn’t mean that you can’t go to the Speed Networking event to meet potential clients
  5. Don’t be afraid or shy to say “hi” to some of our blogging stars or key-speakers who are just as human as we are
  6. Realise that some people might consider you to be a blogging star too!
  7. Make sure that you’re in the right session room….!
  8. Think about your future and where you would like your blogging career to lead to
  9. Don’t be afraid to monetize if that is what you want to do, just be realistic as nobody ever “made it” by blogging alone. There’s a huge amount of hard work behind the facade of “success.”
  10. Think about what your niche market is and if you’re a local destination expert – own it!
  11. Google+ could be the next big thing. Don’t under-estimate it
  12. Don’t spend more than you can afford to lose.
  13. It’s not about the best camera in the world, it’s about you!
  14. Improve your photography
  15. Drink lots & lots of water
  16. Try not be sick
  17. Give back to whatever local community you happen to be in
  18. If you’re tired, take a nap
  19. Be professional
  20. Be appreciative of all the hard work that the host country / region has done
  21. Listen to your readers
  22. Look at what excites YOU
  23. Educate yourself
  24. Get started
  25. Build your audience
  26. Do things your way
  27. Sunglasses can never be too huge!
  28. Have a great time!

ANYTHING ELSE?

The next TBEX Europe Conference is in Ireland. Again! Ho! For the the luck of the lovely Irish!
The next TBEX Europe Conference is in Ireland. Again!
Ho! For the luck of the lovely Irish!

The next TBEX Europe Conference is in Ireland!

I’m going to be there. Are you?

HOW I WENT TO TBEX AGAIN, AND WHAT I LEARNT!

I'm looking gorgeous in the Philippines! ©Scott Herder - BoboandChiChi.com
I’m looking gorgeous in the Philippines!
©Scott Herder – BoboandChiChi.com

This article is not sponsored and even though I was invited on this trip as a guest of the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines and as a member of TBEX, all opinions and the magnificent time that I had, are my very own!

Next week I’ll be writing about Taiwan, and then returning to the Philippines again later!

On November 26th, I’ll be attending the Berlin-Premiere and the 10th anniversary of British musical comedy duo – Carrington Brown at Bar Jeder Vernunft in Berlin.

Save the Date!

November is going to be wind-biting!

Watch this space!

Please also note that there is now a Booking.com affiliate link (for the very first time) connected to my hotel. Every time some sort of accommodation is booked via my link I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself! A win-win for all!

How I went to TBEX again, and what I learnt!
How I went to TBEX again, and what I learnt!

Do you want to be a blogger? Have you ever been to TBEX or a conference of any kind? Is it worth the money? Let me know!

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com