A trade journal of a still-emerging field, written by Adam Tinworth.

Posts tagged travel


I’m back in Germany, for the first time in over a year, and it’s strange not to be in Berlin, which is my most frequently-visited city of late. Instead, I’m in Hamburg, which is the new home of NEXT Festival, which has relocated back here from the German capital.

I’ve got a little time in my schedule (for once) to explore, and so far I like what I see. It’s a relaxed city, with an edge of cool. Oh, and I got to eat a hamburger in Hamburg, so that’s another one crossed off the bucket list:

Hamburger in Hamburg

One thing that worried… no, “worried” is the wrong word. One thing I was curious about was how the Apple Watch would survive a full day, followed by a long haul flight. And by “long haul” I mean 13 hours in the air. Unlike my phone, I’m not likely to be topping the watch’s battery up through the day, so I suspected it might be DOA in Singapore.

Apple watch after 13 hour flight

And, as you can see above, it wasn’t. Clearly, once the wireless was off, the battery usage dropped dramatically, and so I finished the flight with about the same battery left as I have after the end of a normal working day.

It made it through to bedtime in Singapore that evening. That’s just seven hours less than a full two days. Pretty good for a wearable.

Talking of “influencers“, here’s some very good questions about the use of “influencer” marketing in travel:

Out of curiosity I requested the international visitor numbers to Costa Brava on either side of the 2012 TBEX event in Girona. Arrivals the following year were virtually static: 2,953,097 in 2012 to 2,965,649 in 2013.

TBEX is the largest gathering of digital influencers in the travel space, which makes it (even if it’s not publicly billed as such) by far the biggest “blog trip”. Ready for those big numbers? The event generated 26,967 hashtagged tweets with just under 150,000,000 impressions on Twitter alone. (Google TBEX Girona for an entirely unscientific snapshot of its wider exposure.) So if not in visitor numbers how did Tourism Costa Brava gauge their returns?

How indeed? (Spoiler: “branding”.)

And what does this do for the bloggers and the brands involved?

I honestly wonder if we even know what “credibility” is anymore. Does plonking that standard disclaimer at the end of a post promising that “as ever all opinions are my own” really count? If so it’s a remarkable stroke of luck that bloggers never seem to have a shitty time when they’re travelling on someone else’s dime. Do we know what this is doing to the legitimacy of our messages, and therefore our potential to “influence” consumers in the first place?

This is the first of a series of unashamedly self-indulgent posts, looking back at my working year through 2014. It was the year that my work as a self-employed digital publishing consultant really took off, and I’ve done so much this year that I actually need to take stock of what actually happened over the year. Plus, I can share some great photos.

I have never travelled as far – or as often – as I did in 2014. One single trip – to Hong King – probably beat my previous biggest year for travel in one fell swoop. I have, without quite noticing it, become a jet-setting consultant and trainer, and I’ve been really enjoying it. My work has taken me all over the world, and I’ve even roamed a little for pleasure, too.

There are downsides, of course: jet-lag ate me alive in Hong Kong, for example, and that trip cost me nearly a week away from my daughter. But, all in all, it’s been a hugely positive experience. For various reasons 2015 is likely to be less traveled, so it feels right to memorialise a busy year.

Here’s where I went, when and why…

1. February: New York (work)

GridIron in New York

The first of two trips to New York, where I flew in on the back of a storm, and flew out before another blizzard hit. Two days in New York is great fun, the people I was training were lovely – but a six hour red eye flight, surrounded by gaseous teenagers, is no way to get a good night’s sleep.

2. April: Back to NYC (work)

New York Skyline

A few months later, I was back for the second half of the same training course. By then, spring had firmly taken hold of New York, and I was able to enjoy some lovely artisanal coffee in the sun. There were plans for another couple of trips to New York later in the year, but they were eventually abandoned – a shame. I’d really like to spend some more time in the city in the none-too-distant future. These couple of tasters really gave me an appetite for more.

3. May: Berlin for NEXT (work)


This was such a joyful trip. I love Berlin, a city (as my colleague Martin Recke says) without a business model. But it’s also a city having a world of fun trying to figure one out. My reason for being there was to attend NEXT, a conference I’ve worked for since early 2012. I love the gig – it’s an under-appreciated conference, whose team are superb at genuinely bringing you the future, rather than an examination of what’s happening now which most tech conferences do. I’ll certainly be back at NEXT in 2015, but there’s a chance I won’t be returning to Berlin during the year – and that makes me sad. It’s the city I’ve visited most in the past three years, and I’ve fallen a little bit in love with it.

4. June: Hong Kong (work)

The skyline of Hong Kong's Wan Chai

Almost exactly three years after I failed to get on a long haul flight, due to an extreme fear of flying, I strapped myself happily into a metal tube, had a nice meal, a glass of red wine, and slept deeply for the majority of the 13 hour flight. So far, so good. However, I’d made a mistake in not pushing hard enough for an extra day to acclimatise to the time difference. The combination of the massive jet lag, and the rampant humidity of the city – it felt rather like being slapped in the face with a fish-scented sauna every time I stepped outside – made this the hardest trip I took this year. Still, it was compensated for by an especially lovely bunch of trainees, who I loved working with. The afternoon we shot video together was one of my working highlights this year.

5. August: La Belle France (pleasure)

Gate in the Woods

Just over a week at my brother’s place in France, not terribly far from Poitiers. A week when I didn’t have to cook, barely worked, and indulged in swims and long walks in the woods. It took me a long way to recovering from the major wobble I’d gone through earlier in the year. (More on that later in the week…)

6. August: The Cotswolds (pleasure)

Calm in the Cotswolds

Another week’s holiday in August, this time with my wife’s half of the family. Lakes, walks, and mediocre food. But Hazel had a huge amount of fun, and so did I, so I can’t really complain. All in all, I took half the month off, which was probably one of the best decisions I took all year.

7. December: Paris in the winter (work)

Christmas at Galleries La Fayette in Paris

Rounding out the year was my annual pilgrimage to LeWeb. It’s been nine years on the trot now, and I’ve come to really enjoy Paris in that time. It’s a city that rises above the worst things levelled at it – the disdain and hostility of its residents – while not quite living up to the most positive things people claim – the whole “city of romance” business. The real city is so much more interesting than either of those extremes.

Blue skies over Ebbsfleet

There aren’t many places I can say that I visit exactly twice a year – but Ebbsfleet Internetional is one of those. I’m sat in the departure lounge, waiting for my train to Paris for LeWeb. Every year I wonder if this will be my last trip there. And every year I head back.

This year, I’m trying to go completely paper-free for my travel. My boarding passes for the Eurostar and my LeWeb ticket are both securely held in my iPhone Passbook:

A full PassBook of LeWeb travel docs

My hotel booking is in Evernote, should I need to produce it, as is a copy of my parking receipt. This is the first time I’ve travelled completely without paper back-ups of these.

In fact, the only paper I’m carrying can be found in my Passport, and my Moleskine notebook. No books (Kindle and iPad), newspapers or magazines. Digital all the way, baby.

I’m putting my travel arrangements where my (digital) mouth is…