Need some inspiration for your next vacation? After the craziness of the holidays settles down, travel show season begins across North America. These events bring together representatives of hundreds of travel destinations, major attractions, and other travel-related services all under one roof for one or two days. You’ll be welcomed at the themed booths, where sales staff will answer questions, pass out brochures, and sometimes give away promotional items, or samples of food and drink indigenous to their area.
Larger travel shows also offer events off the show floor, and some of it is geared toward families. For example, at last year’s New York Times Travel Show, Sea World Orlando promoted their new “Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin” attraction with mascots, hands-on activities, and even appearances by live penguins. Other destinations might present native dance or musical numbers.
If you’re considering visiting a travel show, make the most of it with these tips:
● Plan ahead by looking at the event’s website to see which destinations will be there. If there’s a place participating which you’re seriously considering visiting next year, get your questions together. This is your chance to ask a live person for details such as, “How far is XX hotel from the airport?” or “Is it necessary to change currency, or is the U.S. dollar widely accepted?”
● Look at the schedule of events for children’s activities or entertainment, and decide if it’s worthwhile to bring your kids along. Find out if strollers are permitted at the venue. Sometimes they aren’t, due to the crowds in the aisles.
● Wear comfortable shoes, bring a few bags to carry the brochures you’ll pick up from the booths, and bring your own water and snacks. If you’re there all day, you may have to buy food and drinks on-site, and the prices can be high. I normally spend between $15 and $20 for lunch, just for myself, when I go the Javits Center in New York City.
Here are the dates for several major 2014 travel shows:
• Chicago Travel & Adventure Show, January 11-12, 2014
• 16th Annual Los Angeles Times Travel Show, January 18-19, 2014
• Boston Globe Travel Show, February 7-9, 2014
• 9th Annual Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show, February 8-9, 2014
• Washington DC Travel & Adventure Show, February 22-23, 2014
• New York Times Travel Show, February 28 – March 2, 2014
• San Diego Travel & Adventure Show, March 29-30, 2014
–Traci L. Suppa
Traci L. Suppa drags her small-town family to see a quirky array of the world’s largest, longest, or tallest things, and blogs about it at Go BIG or Go Home.