How do you select your travel destinations?
- Are other people’s stories a good source for your next adventure?
- Is there a travel TV show that you follow?
- Have you ever camped out in the library or in a bookstore’s travel section?
- Do you find leads in newspaper or magazine articles?
- Are you overwhelmed with online travel subscriptions?
- Do you make random, spontaneous decisions?
- Or do you have another method for determining your next adventure?
Until last weekend, I had never attended a travel show. After reading an online ad for the Denver Travel and Adventure Show, I was curious.
- What type of people would take time out from their weekend to walk around the convention center?
- What vendors would be interested in marketing their destinations in Denver?
- Would the majority of vendors be domestic or international?
- Would popular Colorado locations choose to come or would they pass on this forum?
- Most importantly, I wondered how much I would learn about different travel options if I walked around.
Since I had no idea how long it would take to meet and greet the 150+ vendors, I chose to arrive soon after the event began. Shortly after the start time, the aisles between the booths became a bit congested and people were taking seats in the theater areas. Travel personalities such as Rick Steves and Peter Greenberg, along with representatives from an assortment of destinations, were giving talks.
I skipped the presentations and focused on checking out the booths. Each booth had a plethora of printed material to distribute. Many had drawings for giveaways. If luck was on your side, there were plenty of awesome freebies. While I did choose to share my email with several, I wasn’t a lucky winner. After my address is entered into their data banks, email advertisements will probably invade my inbox.
As I walked up and down the aisles, I saw a cross section of African, Asian, Australian/South Pacific, Caribbean, European, Middle Eastern, South American/Latin American, North American, and cruise line vendors. Since I enjoy exploring Colorado and the surrounding region, I was delighted to see some local venues, as well as locations from neighboring states. I expected to see booths promoting travel products, but I didn’t anticipate seeing lifestyle vendors such as Cutco Cutlery or HelloFresh. Even more surprising were indoor camel rides.
Almost every conceivable travel option was on display—single location, city, national park, county, regional, state, and even country. The people manning the booths were exceptionally knowledgeable about their destinations. My bag became heavier and heavier as I continued to add brochures about amazing destinations.
The other participants covered the whole gamut of the travel industry. Both young and mature individuals were eager to learn more about travel opportunities and in some cases save a few dollars by booking onsite.
After a few hours, my head was spinning. I needed a break. Luckily, my rest period coincided with one of the food demonstrations. Chef Roman Rodriguez and two of his assistants from Ocean Prime, an award-winning Denver seafood restaurant, demonstrated how to prepare a halibut with lobster ravioli dish. As I watched the chefs, I double-checked the program. I was ready to leave.
In my office, I now have a tall stack of brochures from the travel show. It will take a couple of hours to organize the materials and decide which ones I want to toss. The show did introduce a few places that I never thought about visiting and also made me reconsider going back to places that I have already seen.
Would I recommend this show to everyone?
Prospective travelers who cannot focus on their top choices could easily become overwhelmed by the bountiful options. Yes, it’s fun to dream about visiting places around the world. But, it’s unrealistic to create a list that can only be accomplished after winning the lottery.
Who would benefit from visiting a travel show?
Individuals and couples who know where they’d like to go. They will benefit from talking directly to the owners of resorts and representatives from municipalities and regions. This first hand information may lead to a better understanding of a destination and possibly a reduced cost reservation.
To maximize your time at the show, I recommend reviewing the schedule and the floor plan. Decide in advance whether you want to attend any presentations and/or food demonstrations and then fit in your desired destination booths. After a few hours, you may have selected a list of travel options. It’s possible that you may have booked a future trip or be informed a day later that you won a fabulous trip.
When Sandy isn’t skiing or trekking in the Colorado Rockies, she is traveling. She has visited more than 40 countries and lived as an international teacher in Bangalore, India. As the the content coordinator for Golden Living, a Best Version Media publication, she writes family and business feature stories and contributes a monthly travel tip column.
Sandy share her lifestyle and travel experiences with international and domestic online sites and print media. Her stories have appeared in Destinations Magazine, Grand Magazine, Wandering Educators, Golden Living, One Travel, Miles Away, Canadian Jewish News, Family Circle- Momster, and others.
Sandy’s award-winning book, May This Be the Best Year of Your Life, is a resource for people contemplating an expat lifestyle and living outside their comfort zone. This memoir was a finalist in the Travel category for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the 2013 International Book Awards, the 2013 National Indie Book Excellence Awards, 2013 USA Best Book Awards, and a Honorable Mention award in the Multicultural Non-Fiction category for the 2013 Global ebook Awards.
Last year, Sandy created a second website, The Traveling Bornsteins, that focuses exclusively on travel.