You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*
Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?
*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?
It is indeed an exciting era for us travel bloggers. Being partly despised (mostly by those ignoring what we do) and partly celebrated, it comes with great pleasure that I now draw this balance of my most recent, successful travel blogger cooperations in South America. Why you too should head over there with your travel blogs and experience the exciting range of festivals, events & opportunities Latin American style is my personal trip summary written up here for you.
Good news first: Both Argentina & Chile boast free WiFi at almost each and every corner, be it a hotel, youth hostel, café, restaurant, airport or any other kind of “waiting area”: Ladies & Gentlemen, this is THE continent to explore for us Internet-addicted travel blogger folks!
Part of the fun is that some forms of cooperation can even be managed last-minute and while on the spot: Thanks to René Bustamente, General Manager of the luxurious EcoCamp Patagonia my blogging friends and I were invited to spend one amazing night at the “glamping” EcoCamp at national park Torres del Paine in the south of Chile.
From Planning to Acting: What kind of cooperations add value from the point of view of a travel blogger?
I still remember it as if it were yesterday. Just over four months ago, I was standing in the South America hall of the London World Travel Market, one of the leading tourism trade shows in the world with my business cards hot off the press. A (bilingual) travel blog address, several Social Media profiles such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Instagram or Pinterest, the fact of being part of a larger travel blogging community and the willingness to engage in “creative cultural”, sustainable travel activities while in Argentina and Chile: Except for my flights from / to Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile, I had not really planned anything for my trip yet. Up until that moment, it was.
Who would have thought that I was indeed being invited to stand here in these magnificent national park surroundings – in style at a four-star-hotel? THANK YOU Hotel Las Torres, who have made my stay possible and enjoyable.
The first question a travel blogger has to answer in the light of a possible cooperation is also the most central one: Which direction am I going on this trip and with my blog? What are the strengths I can achieve in terms of quality and reach? What is my added value for potential partners of the tourism industry?
Often, it is the latter question which will determine the nature and extension of any particular blog trip. In my case, out of London World Travel Market I took three key talks with industry members from South America: Pablo Araya, marketing manager at the national park hotel “Las Torres”, Exequiel Ramírez of Mendoza Wine & City Marketing about Mendoza Wine Festival as well as “Buenos Aires and the Argentinian Red de Turismo Sostenable“, including their affiliation with sustainable tourism operator ANDA Travel. All of them fitted perfectly with my personal interests: Besides, I could also demonstrate my strengths of focusing on wine, culinary adventures, travelling with locals and sustainable, community-based travelling. At least, that’s what I claimed: Even I have to admit I was only beginning back then. But hey, this should never hinder you !! I am all the happier for saying that each and every talk I had that day turned into perfect & personalized travel accounts summarized on my blog about Argentina and Chile!
Thank you, Elvira & Hervé of ANDA Travel for your tremendous support and assistance while organizing this trip built around experiencing countless community-based, low-impact forms of tourism around Argentina. Exactly how I like travelling: MUCHISIMAS GRACIAS therefore, for also providing me with a 20% discount right through valuing my work as a travel blogger.
All the so-called “Red De Turismo Vivencial farm holiday” experiences in Argentina near the city of Bariloche and Jujuy in the north would not have been possible had it not been for the help and support of the likes of community-based operator ANDA Travel. Thank you guys once more – you made it happen for me!
And finally: You must be damn lucky to be standing bathed in VIPs at the one-of-a-kind International Wine Festival in the city of Mendoza, experiencing one Latin American Party like never before plus in style … WOW. I will never forget this amazing blog trip … perhaps one of the best of my entire life: Viva #VendimiaBT 2013!
Travel Bloggers in South America: Feedback For the Future
Along the way, my experiences of “bargaining for blogtrips” right then and there included everything from sitting down with the boss for half an hour – “what value am I providing to you and your business?” to an almost casual and downright effortless invitations to international blog trips with numerous other South American travel bloggers. From what I have been able to observe while travelling through Argentina & Chile in the past couple of weeks, this is my conclusion:
- (International) Travel Bloggers are met with great interest, in most cases you are able to establish a (successful) cooperation benefitting both parties fairly quickly: From a cooking workshop in Buenos Aires (free for you if your partner pays) to a wholly sponsored stay at the expensive, four-star-luxury national park hotel “Las Torres” (probably worth some $ 2.000 …) to continuous discounts of 10%, 20% or 50% on normal rates or while booking excursions: Travel Blogging is worth it, interest in (digital & new age) media coverage widespread and growing.
- Last-minute negotiations and/or writing emails on the spot introducing your blog, Social Media profiles or else are in almost each and every case sufficient in order to receive a discount or even a free tour with selected operators fitting your profile.
- Contacts to fellow South American travel bloggers are another means of support and source for inspiration. The growing network of “Brazilian Travel Bloggers” as well as one of the leading travel blogs from Argentina, called “Magia En El Camino” are there to provide further tips and ideas, also concerning blog trips happening around South America.
As a travel blogger, you really get the chance to “go behind the scenes” (of normally accessible travel opportunities): This room at the four-star luxury Hotel Las Torres in Torres del Paine National Park normally costs over $500 in high season – impossible for an average budget when travelling around the country for six weeks.
In Mendoza, the city even hosts me to the point where they FLY ME IN FROM BARILOCHE to join them for their international Festival de Vendimia, the largest wine event in the entire country of Argentina and perhaps South America … Here, I am part of a group of international media & bloggers that is being spoilt for four entire days.
Many times, it’s the people from the rural areas who are most curious about your work as an (international) travel blogger, having only had very recent or emergent relations with international arrivals. A wonderful experience, also from the point of view of a professional observing international tourism development.
Ready for learning even more about creative travel?
Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it