Having just launched the SavvySojourns travel blog in 2011, I attended my first TBEX (Travel Blog Exchange) conference recently in Keystone, Colorado – and what an introduction it was to the movers and shakers in the travel industry. More than anything, however, TBEX offered me a way to experience the beauty of the Rocky Mountains at a very affordable cost. The $85 conference fee granted me admission to two extraordinary complimentary dinners, reduced rate lodging, free golfing and gondola rides, as well as other freebies and discounts.

Keystone Resort & Spa – photo courtesy of Keystone Resort

The highlight of the conference was, of course, the dinner parties! And they were spectacular. The first night we boarded a gondola to the top of the mountain, where, inside a beautiful wood-beamed lodge, we got to sample all the great dining that Keystone and Vail Resorts have to offer.

Site of opening night soiree — atop Keystone Mountain.

The wild boar was amazing, and the chocolate dessert display was unbelievable. The next night, Expedia hosted a fun-filled, Western-themed event – complete with mechanical bull-riding competitions and all the barbecued food you’d ever want. What a night as they launched their #ExpediaFindYours campaign.

As a lover of the outdoors, however, the most memorable moments for me were the endless views of trees and mountains, waking up to the majestic sight of Keystone Mountain, and then speeding down that mountain on a bike. The Keystone area has so much to offer in the way of summer outdoor activities – particularly bike riding — that I definitely plan to return.

Amazing chocolate desserts at opening night soiree.

While in Keystone, we took the opportunity to explore other nearby towns and get a glimpse of what we might enjoy on future trips to Colorado. En route to the town of Breckenridge, we saw many inviting biking trails offering vistas of the Rocky Mountains, fast-flowing rivers and peaceful lakes. And Breckenridge was definitely worth a visit. The downtown offers a charming Victorian style that gives you a glimpse into what life might have been like back in 1859, when the city was established.

We found an excellent hiking trail just outside of Breckenridge – called the Mohawk Lakes Trail– that paralleled a creek and gave us just the right dose of fresh mountain air we needed before heading home on our flight.

Charming downtown Breckenridge
View from the summit on Keystone’s mountain biking trail.

In closing, if you’re looking for a way to experience an area you’ve never been to before, consider getting there by way of attending a conference. Our conference rate lodging costs in Keystone — for a fully equipped one-bedroom condo with a balcony view of the slopes and beyond — made the trip affordable. And the complimentary dinners associated with this event were top notch. I am already thinking about future conferences, and with TBEX planning an event in Spain this Fall, that may be where my travels take me next. Share