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Monday Travel Update – SXSW Edition

The last week was interesting. It started out in San Francisco where I spoke at the Eye For Travel Social Media conference. I spoke about the economic reasons why companies should work with bloggers. Sadly, I think everyone who sat in the presentation already agreed with me. All the people I needed to reach were off in another session. Oh well.

The other big thing I did last Tuesday was get interviewed by Leo Laporte on TWIT Photo. This was really a big thrill for me as I have been watching/listening to Leo for years. You can watch the complete video of the interview here.

On Wednesday I flew to Las Vegas where I was able to meet Scott Jordan, the CEO of Scottevest in person for the first time. We had a great discussion over dinner and I learned a lot about Scottevest and how it got started. I also spent some time at the Travel Goods Association Show where I discovered just how many companies out there are selling luggage (answer: a lot).

While in Las Vegas I was comped a room at the Palazzo, which quite frankly is the nicest room I’ve ever had Las Vegas. I’m not a Vegas expert to the level that some people are, but it was the best I’ve seen so far. I figure it was the 8th hotel I’ve stayed at in Las Vegas.

Side Note: Las Vegas is the only city in the world where I don’t complain about paying for wifi. The hotels there are casinos first and hotels second. They don’t want you up in your room working. They want you down on the casino floor gambling. For years, no hotel in Las Vegas had minibars for exactly this reason. They didn’t want you drinking in your room, they wanted you drinking at the blackjack table.

On Saturday I flew to Dallas where I rented a car and drove down to Austin for SXSW. I had no hotel room booked and no conference registration. Believe it or not, I managed to find a reasonably priced room in Austin and this is the second year in a row I’ve done this. The trick: wait for rooms to open up around 5-7pm. There are rooms which are booked but no one ever shows up. These aren’t released until the evening.

Having gotten here, I’m not really sure why I bothered to come down. I didn’t have a great experience here last year and while you can find stuff to do if you don’t have a conference pass, you are severely limited.

Moreover, I really don’t care that much about all the tech startups which are all doing goofball things to market themselves. I’m pretty sure most of these companies would be better off not doing anything for SXSW and saving their money. Every one I run across just seems like they will be dead in a year or two. Gamification for the HR industry??? Seriously??

I’m going to be taking off early I think and driving back to Dallas on Monday. I think my time is better spent writing and editing photos instead of dealing with marketing people in Austin. The one thing I have been able to do here is go nuts collecting Foursquare badges. It is one of my hobbies. I have over 120 now.


London Meet UP

I will be hosting a meet up in London on March 21 at the Marylebone on High Street from 6:30-8:0-pm with G Adventures (I’m quite sure I’ll be staying longer if people are up for it).

If you are in the London area and would like to meet myself and other travelers, please stop by for a pint!

London Meet UP

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About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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