Last month I had the opportunity to attend one of the Travel & Adventure Show's in Santa Clara, CA. This critically acclaimed "#1 Series of Travel Shows in the U.S." is endorsed by many esteemed travel industry giants and bloggers, with the Travel Channel being the main sponsor for the event.
With 7 shows set nationwide this Spring, and over 11 years of expertise in travel, this exhibition will let you experience the culture that the world has to offer, and will feed your wanderlust without even leaving the country. Here are my top reasons why everyone should experience one of these shows first hand.
1. Meet With The Experts.
There is not one single place where you can talk to so many people who are passionate about travel and culture in one room. Curious about the monkey's that live on Gibraltar? Or maybe you're interested in diving the crystal clear lagoons of Palawan in the Philippines? The people you meet here have been there, done that, and so much MORE.
Here were some of my favorite travel companies that I got to experience first-hand:
(Click on any of the underlined words to learn more about them.)
2- India has always been on my bucket list. If it is also on yours, and you are interested in exploring the wonders and diverse culture of India, the Magical Journey's India specializes in creating customized adventure travel for luxury tourists, curious adventurers, and rugged explorers alike. They work with their home office in India to ensure that you are getting the ultimate India experience, with a local perspective.
3- Maybe you're interested in an intimate, exclusive tour of Italy, while sipping a glass of Chianti in Italy? Dragonfly Tours specializes in taking you to the heart of each destination, while taking your personal preferences into account. With a 5 start rating on Trip Advisor, there is a reason they are known for creating "Trips of a Lifetime".
4- Or maybe you're more of an adventure traveler and adrenaline junkie (I am, I am!)? Adventures Within Reach is adventure travel your way. From reaching the highest point in Africa at Mt. Kilimanjaro, to experiencing Machu Picchu in Peru, there are enough treks and cultural tours that Adventures Within Reach offers, that are sure to last a lifetime.
5- If you thought all this adventure was only for the young ones, then Road Scholars proves age is no deterrent for the young at heart. This week the Wall Street Journal named Road Scholar the "world's biggest educational institution for adults." This not-for-profit leader in travel offers 5,500 education tours across the U.S., as well as over 150 countries. Learning never ends, and it only gets better with age.
2. Book Your Dream Trip & Get The Best Deals.
Have you ever dreamed about a sipping a cappuccino along the Ponte Vecchio in Florence? Or maybe you would rather experience a KPop show in Korea? With over 200 destinations awaiting travel enthusiasts, many of these travel experts offered "show only" travel deals that were exclusive only for show attendee's. Amidst all of that, many enticing give-away's and fun filled activities awaited almost every booth. Here you are able to get the very best deals out there!
3. Get A Little Star Struck.
Two words: Travel Celebrities. I was extremely excited to meet and get some travel tips from Samantha Brown. She graced the stage of the Travel Channel Theater, and gave her insight on "Then and Now: How Travel Has Changed". She gave the audience some insight into her hectic life - like she has a stylist that keeps her picture perfect, has 2 year old twins, and that she absolutely hates planning trips (how is this possible?!?). She also gave some travel advice and tips, especially since the internet has completely changed the way people have traveled.
Some of the tips that I loved were:
1. Sign up for AirFare Watch Dog if you want to have the best (and lowest) flight fare emailed to you! This can save you hours of research!
2. Download Google Translate on your smart phone or IPad. The 500 million people that use this monthly can attest that this is the perfect app if you are living overseas or if you are a regular traveler. Not only does it work offline, but has the capability of translating images (i.e. signs that you may not understand).
3. Don't forgo traditional travel guide books such as Rick Steve's Europe or Lonely Planet. These leaders in travel are leaders for a reason - they have done the research for you and give you the best of the best. If you are turned off by carrying around large books while you travel, download an electronic version on your smart device.
4. Follow Johnny Jet, which is designed to point travelers to everything the web has to offer. It is a one stop shop for everything travel, and you have the option to subscribe and receive free travel news, tips, and stories. Also, note that this site is very entertaining.
5. Join the Thorn Tree Travel Forum, and get free reviews, advice, and tips. This is a site by travelers, for travelers, and is very easy to navigate. This site is run by Lonely Planet, and is a great extension to their typical guide books. It is broken out by country forums, interest forums, and even allows you to find a travel buddy if you can't find a friend to go with you or if you don't want to travel solo.
6. Instead of tradition hotels, book accommodation on Airbnb. This is something that is very new to me (I utilized hostel world a lot when I lived in Europe), so I am very excited to try this on my next travel destination. You are able to find hosts with extra rooms, entire homes, and unique accommodations like castles and igloos. This is definitely something to try if you want to be amongst locals and want to have a unique experience and place to stay on your next vacation.
4. Experience Cultural Entertainment & Ignite Your Inner Foodie.
The events here are not only travel oriented, but are also here to ignite your taste buds with culinary delights. The "Taste of Travel Stage" will transport your taste buds and will ignite your inner foodie. Throughout the weekend, 8 demo's were featured (which I believe is the case for every weekend and destination that the show is at).
Teena Arora showed spectators how to perfect a Channa Masala and Raita Indian recipe and Chefs Jeff Sheer and Isaac Bancaco prepared olive oil poached snapper and crispy tacos, which are enjoyed by the patrons at local resorts in Maui.
If you are looking to take a break from chatting with all the interesting people at the show, you can stop by the Travel Channel booth, and transport yourself to some of the most sought after places...complete with travel props! Although, the man that took our picture took the trumpet out of my hands. :) Here was our quick visit to Paris:
Cheer's to a fabulous year of adventure and travel!
For more information on the Travel & Adventure Show, and to see when it will be a location near you, click here. It is definitely worth checking out!
Bellisima = "Extremely Beautiful" in Italian, and how i would describe the world, and how I view it through travel.