personal reflections Stockholm ARN Stockholm Sweden TBEX

Headed to TBEX Stockholm today

aerial view of a body of water and land

This is notice that Loyalty Traveler will be traveling to Stockholm, Sweden today for the Travel Blog Exchange TBEX Stockholm conference this week. Airfare deals and other news may be scarce for a couple of days, or weeks.

This will be my first TBEX conference since 2013 Toronto. I burned out on conferences after a busy 2014 year and decided I’d rather focus my travel trips on me since I don’t really use these conferences to make the kinds of business connections most bloggers want to make to grow their business. My primary objective is to be entertained and meet people with interesting travel stories.

TBEX is the conference I most enjoy due to all the diverse travel styles and memorable stories I hear from bloggers I meet. Nobody talks about credit cards and first class flights and their hectic business/blogging travel schedule, or if they are talking about them, I can walk over to the next group where there will be someone sharing a different kind of travel adventure.

At TBEX I feel like a middle man, not in the ‘titans’ of the blogosphere being surrounded by admirers and fans dying to meet them (fans freak me out since I enjoy my anonymity and hanging out people watching) and I am not a newbie wondering how to make this whole blogging thing work out as a sustainable job.

Stockholm, Sweden

I laughed when my wife asked me if I knew where the grocery store was in Stockholm. “It is a big city. There are grocery stores all over the place.â€

“But do you know where the grocery store is relative to our hotel?â€

“I can look on a map and find the store or ask at the hotel.â€

“Don’t you remember where the stores are?â€

“The last time I was in Stockholm was 1993.â€

“I thought you were in Stockholm several times in the past two years?â€

“I have been to Stockholm Arlanda airport several times in the past two years. Last time I was actually in Stockholm was 1993.â€

Over Stockholm

Sweden coastline around Stockholm (April 2016).

This will be the first travel conference with Mrs. Loyalty Traveler. I am trying to integrate her into the business this summer, so she can get an idea what this blogging world is really all about. The real deal for me is the $125 conference fee for four days of activities in Stockholm is a budget trip in a city where every meal runs about $30 to $40 and the price of beer is a budget buster. I’ll be seeing some fine hotels, taking a couple of tours, photographing Viking ships and hanging out at the Abba Museum. I’ll probably even attend some blog workshops.

I read Kerwin McKenzie’s TBEX 9 Tips for First Timers the other day and figured I fucked up on about half his tips my first time at TBEX in Vancouver. Got drunk, got busted for an unauthorized pool party at the Fairmont Vancouver (no mounties involved), screwed up my blog posts on Vancouver with some misinformation and also my conference writing task hastily written at 4am with a massive hangover, and missed the final day of workshops sleeping off my hangover.

All that dress for success advice is out the window for me. My wife will have to be the business face of Loyalty Traveler. My new rule I came up with in New Orleans a few weeks ago is “I ain’t going if I can’t wear my shorts.â€

I am an independent freelance blogger/writer. I am not seeking out any tourism firms or sponsors to finance my next trip. In honor of TBEX Vancouver 2011, you may just find me lounging around Stockholm with any free beer I find wearing my ‘Vancouver 420’ shirt.

Looking forward to reconnecting with some wonderful travel bloggers and relaxing.

This blogger job is supposed to be fun.


  • Hahaha. I’m in Stockholm at the moment for TBEX. It’s my first one. I’ve never been here before, so it was a good excuse to go. I’m not expecting a ton, just hoping to learn some and meet some cool bloggers.

    Speaking of free beer, I’m staying at the Clarion Hotel Sign, and when I checked in they gave me a Nordic Choice status match to my Choice Hotels status (which in turn had been another status match). The end result is a 125 Swedish kroner credit for each night I’m staying here, enough for a beer and a snack

  • Slumlush July 11, 2016

    Must be nice #titanproblems

  • Lisa July 12, 2016

    That’s great – the “unauthorized” pool party sound fun. I like your style, Ric. You aren’t afraid to drop an occasional F bomb like a normal person. Have fun!

  • Ric Garrido July 15, 2016

    Re-read this post after three full days in Stockholm. I have to amend my preconceptions of this big city. There are not grocery stores all over the place. In fact, my biggest hassle in this city is the difficulty of finding grocery stores in the tourist areas of the city and I have a working smart phone with internet to locate them.

    There are few places with good, relatively inexpensive food like noodle shops, sandwich shops, falafel, pizza, aside from full scale restaurants or Burger King/McDonald’s. And there is not even the option of grilled chicken burgers in McDonald’s. It is either $8 to $10 hamburgers or fried chicken nuggets or fried chicken burger patties in the fast food places.

    We have been able to eat plenty of salad from grocery store bought food, but a hot chicken in a grocery store has only been available in fewer than half the grocery stores we have been shopping.

    AT least in Norway I have found Subway Sandwich shops prevalent in cities and towns. Severely disappointed in the food and alcohol scene here in Stockholm. Looking forward to Krakow, Poland where we will be able to afford restaurants without busting the travel budget. In Copenhagen I am familiar with locations for many grocery stores, stores are open late and there are many lower cost, healthy food places with noodle bowls, falafel, and quick foods without the need to have a full sit-down restaurant meal or an unhealthy fast food meal.

    I hate to hate on Stockholm since it is a city with many lovely attributes, but this city is not really my kind of tourism city with its no drinking in public culture and lack of places to get a quick bite to eat with healthy food selections. There are plenty of sit-down restaurants, but those quickly add up the travel spend and grocery stores are nowhere nearly as prevalent as I expected to find.

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