St Albans blog trip – ingredients locally sourced

St Albans AbbeyThis weekend St Albans will play host to five of Europe’s prominent travel bloggers. I’m very much looking forward to welcoming four old friends and one that I’ve yet to meet in real life to my home city.

I’ve had a lot of fun organising this event and I’ve stressed to those attending that this is not going to be like a ‘proper’ blog trip. There is no PR or tourism body involvement and we are doing the type of stuff I would normally choose to do on a weekend, and eating in the places where I would typically eat. So definitely no Michelin stars, macro-biotic diets or helicopter rides on this trip!

Just before the event kicks off I thought I’d share some of the story of how the idea came about and introduce some of the characters involved.

How did the idea come about?

After spending time with a bunch of great folks on my first blog trip in Valencia earlier in the year I gathered that many of them would like to attend World Travel Market, but the cost of staying in London for the duration was prohibitive.

It briefly crossed my mind to offer a couple of folks a couch to sleep on and then I figured there might be a bigger opportunity here. Why not invite some of the local business in St Albans to offer their services in welcoming a group of bloggers to the city? They would gain from extensive exposure on the various blogs and social media channels, and they also pick up links in return for their support (in posts such as this one).

Local suppliers

I was keen to work with local suppliers who would most likely have been overlooked by a ‘properly organised’ press trip. So I approached a few of these companies myself and have been genuinely surprised by the willingness that local people have shown to be part of this weekend.

I have had a rental car provided for the weekend by St Albans Car and Van Rental; lunch on arrival is being hosted by The Waffle House – a local favourite spot (and a world away in every sense from the American chain of the same name).

We have an exciting day out planned on Sunday, being organised by Anna and Ben from Tourdust. It involves a traditional Sunday pub lunch at the Rose and Crown in Ivinghoe  and a walk – beyond that, watch this space!

And then once World Travel Market starts, we have a fantastic transfer organised with smallcarBIGCITY from St Pancras to the exhibition centre, and London Travelcards courtesy of Discount London.

Last but certainly not least, accommodation is being provided at the Black Lion Inn where the owner Gail is not only welcoming the group into her hotel but has also played a valuable role in promoting the whole project to the wider local tourism community. On top of that she is hosting what promises to be a very lively social evening on Sunday.

The bloggers

Welcoming some old facesIn the end I could easily have attracted double the number of bloggers to visit, but logistics meant that I had to limit the number to five. Now of course World Travel Market is the big draw here, but I’m hoping that the five who will be staying in St Albans will leave the UK next week with good memories and impressions of a part of the country that they wouldn’t otherwise have known. The five bloggers who will be experiencing a weekend in St Albans before making their way into London for WTM are:

Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) - www.velvetescape.com

Simon Falvo (@1step2theleft) - http://www.wild-about-travel.com

Melvin Boucher (@traveldudes) - http://www.traveldudes.org

Isabelle Kenis (@isabellestravel) - http://www.isabellestravelguide.com

Abigail King (@insidetravellab) - http://www.insidethetravellab.com

I’m looking forward to seeing what these folks make of St Albans, my adopted home for the last four years. More on the itinerary as the weekend develops… and it will be more interesting to hear what these guys make of the planned events! You can follow the weekend’s activity on Twitter via #blogstalbans.

Author Information

Freelance travel writer

15 Responses to “St Albans blog trip – ingredients locally sourced”

  1. What?! No helicopter ride, Andy? LOL Just kidding! I`m really excited to visit your hometown and exploring your local gems! The itinerary looks ace and I can`t wait to get there. See ya all very soon :)

    November 3, 2010 at 11:50 am
  2. Have a great time everyone!

    November 3, 2010 at 12:15 pm
  3. Have a great time and hope to meet you all at WTM

    November 4, 2010 at 1:55 am
  4. Thanks guys. Looking forward to meeting up with many new and familiar faces at WTM too!

    November 4, 2010 at 9:01 am
  5. Can’t wait – and sweetly surprised by the intro. Thanks!

    November 4, 2010 at 10:58 pm
  6. Nice work Andy! Impressive legwork getting the local businesses on board. I’m sure it will be an excellent event.

    November 5, 2010 at 12:41 am
  7. Looking forward to catching up with you guys who didn’t make it to Crouch End the other day (Melv, Keith, Abi)!! :)

    I’ll see u on Sun evening…. and again at WTM… and again at Mon eve’s Travtweetup… and again at Tues eve Travblogcamp!

    Impossible to have too much of a good thing!

    November 5, 2010 at 12:00 pm
  8. Woohoo! I’m blushing at the only thought that I’m considered one of ‘five of Europe’s prominent travel bloggers’. :-)

    Only a few hours left, now. I wonder if I’ll be able to sleep…

    November 5, 2010 at 11:50 pm
  9. Thanks for all the good wishes. Looking forward to catching up with you on Sunday Alastair. Now let the action begin!

    November 6, 2010 at 10:26 am
  10. What a great group. I look forward to the individual write ups from the participants.

    November 6, 2010 at 7:38 pm
  11. Tom #

    What a great idea Andy!

    Look forward to hearing about all the weekend’s activities – never been to St Albans so keen to hear about the best spots.

    I’m based up in Yorkshire and would love to get you guys up this neck of the woods one day to host something similar

    Hope you all have a fab time at WTM, gutted i can’t be there

    Tom

    November 7, 2010 at 10:44 pm
  12. My Fave in St Albans is the Rose Garden, always worth a visit in May June July

    November 12, 2010 at 12:33 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tweets that mention 501 Places » Blog Archive » St Albans blog trip – ingredients locally sourced - Sharing the world with you -- Topsy.com - November 3, 2010

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Isabelle Kenis, dohop, dohop, Michael and Marlys, Blondy and others. Blondy said: rt @isabellestravel RT @501places St Albans blog trip – ingredients locally sourced http://goo.gl/fb/PkxE5 #travel #lp #blogstalbans [...]

  2. Local businesses sponsor travel bloggers in St. Alban | velvet escape's blog - November 5, 2010

    [...] The travel bloggers who will be participating in this blog trip are Melvin (Traveldudes), Isabelle (Isabelles Travel), Simon (Wild About Travel), Abigail (Inside the Travel Lab), me and Andy. Read about Andy’s experiences of organising this trip in St. Albans Blog Trip – Ingredients Locally Sourced. [...]

  3. Delightful Break With a Local Flavor in St Albans | Wild About Travel - November 19, 2010

    [...] lot to offer, as I recently expe­ri­enced dur­ing a lovely blog trip I’ve been invited to by Andy Jarosz.Together with 4 of my favorite Euro­pean blog­gers, we’ve been won­der­fully dri­ven through [...]

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