When Travel Bloggers Take Over

We rounded up our favorite social media moments from TBEX 2016, the world's largest gathering of travel bloggers.

TBEX at Mall of America
TBEX at Mall of America

During Memorial Day weekend 2016, more than 500 travel bloggers descended on Mall of America® for TBEX North America. For those not intimately familiar with the realm of travel media, TBEX is one of the world’s largest conferences for travel bloggers, online travel journalists, content creators, and travel brands and professionals. With so many awesome, inspiring travel pros roaming around Mall of America, Bloomington, Minneapolis and St. Paul, we compiled a list of our top 10 #TBEXinMN moments.

10. The Closing Party in St. Paul

The closing party on the banks of the Mississippi River in downtown St. Paul was the perfect ending to a few days in Minnesota. The hospitable folks at Visit St. Paul put on sunset party quipped with the best local food trucks, brews and a riverboat cruise.

9. Our Interview with Lou Mongello

We loved getting to interview Lou Mongello, a lawyer turned Disney expert who keynoted the first day of the convention. Lou was an interesting guy with an awesome story, and we genuinely enjoyed chatting with him.

8. The Prince Dance Party at First Avenue

It doesn’t get much more epic than a Prince dance party at legendary music venue First Avenue hosted by Meet Minneapolis. TBEX attendees got crazy dancing to music from the purple one while honoring his legacy at the star outside First Ave.

7. Travel Tips from Pete and Dalene Heck

Sitting down with globetrotting couple Pete and Dalene Heck from Hecktic Travels was a treat. These travel pros sold all their possessions in 2009, started a travel blog, and were even named National Geographic’s Travelers of the Year in 2014. They now have one of the largest followings in the travel community.

6. The Social Media Lounge at Radisson Blu

The tweets from our Social Media Lounge within Radisson Blu were everything. We loved hanging out with so many members of the travel community and getting to know them on social media and in person.

5. Andrew Zimmern’s Closing Keynote Speech

Andrew Zimmern gave an inspiring closing keynote, in which he told stories about growing up in New York City, what brought him to Minnesota, and what it takes to keep his audience coming back for more after multiple seasons of Bizarre Foods. Fun fact: He’s never had an intestinal parasite despite some of his unconventional dining choices.

4. The Opening Night Party in Nickelodeon Universe

The opening night party in Nickelodeon Universe® at Mall of America featured quintessential Minnesota classics (think tater tot hotdish, snow and lakes) and a whopping side of roller coasters.

3. Travel Bloggers Flying Over America

The reactions from those going on Flyover America were priceless. We already knew this high-flying ride across unbelievable American landscapes was epic, but it was even more fun to hear it straight from travel critics.

2. Johnny Jet and Natalie DiScala’s Common Ground

Johnny Jet and Natalie DiScala, two travel media professionals who are married to each other, admitted (during their keynote) that they typically argue about shopping, but never when it comes to Mall of America.

1. Travelocity’s Roaming Gnome Appearances

And, finally, one of our favorite social media moments from TBEX 2016 was when the Travelocity Roaming Gnome popped up in several Mall of America hot spots.

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