It seems appropriate that on the weekend I celebrated my blog’s one-year anniversary I also attended my third consecutive New York Times Travel Show. It is my most favorite annual event (http://bit.ly/y11e5G). It has come to represent all of my favorite and special passions and memories in one place.
The first year I only went to the expos. I didn’t know much about how the travel show worked. I was happy just to go, walk around, take in all the sights, and sign up for possible free vacations. I spent weeks afterwards trying to comb through of all the booklets and DVDs I had brought home. I also scored my fair share of free pens and bags I use to this day.
I am not even sure that year I knew there were lectures and speakers. But I sure knew about the book signings. It was then that I met Arthur and Pauline Frommer for the first time. I got one of my guide books signed and I was happy as a pig in you know what. As anyone who has read my blog knows, I only use Frommer’s guides because I think they are the best (http://bit.ly/AfsKFQ).Especially once my perfect flag system has been put into place. So meeting them that day made it all the more special.
I also met Patricia Schultz that first year. Her “1,000 Places to See Before You Die” is my bible and I borrow that phrase often. I have flagged that baby with its own color scheme for places I have been, yet to go to, and must go immediately. In fact her inscription “To a lifetime of great adventures” brought me to tears that day. It was heavenly. I was hooked on this event for life.
Last year, was a breakthrough/down. It was the first time I attended the lecture series as well as the book signings in addition to the expo. I got to meet Rick Steves, a legend and one of the nicest people you will ever meet. I heard Patricia Schultz talk and I related so much to what she was saying about traveling being the priority in her life and how she cried when she left Spain. I cry when I leave any place I have visited.
It was also where I met my travel God; Samantha Brown (http://bit.ly/qK3xhx). That day it is a wonder I didn’t pass out. I was so nervous and excited I just couldn’t believe my luck that I was getting to meet the woman who had changed my life. Watching her different series had inspired and taught me that I wanted to travel and how to do it. I even brought her some of her favorite cookies from a shop in Brooklyn she had introduced me to. I was first in line and she was lovely. It was a magical day and one I will cherish always.
This year, I felt like an old pro. I had purchased my tickets as soon as they went on sale. I began scouting for the seminar schedule every day until it posted to figure out which day I would attend. I planned on hearing the Frommers and Samantha Brown speak. I also knew I wanted to squeeze in seeing Patricia Schultz to get her second edition book signed since I would not be able to attend the show on Sunday to hear her lecture sadly.
The Frommers were up first and were the usual delightful selves. They had a boatload of great information, the first being that Continental Airlines is no longer in existence as of Saturday morning. I was unaware that a merger had been successful. This will likely mean a rise in airline prices as there are fewer major airlines competing and gas prices are also increasing. They mentioned that travelers are now focused on avoiding expensive hotels to make up for such expensive airfares. Trends include renting apartments and home exchange programs.
This is the best advice I jotted down:
· Use seatguru.com to see if you are really getting the extra legroom you are paying for;
· Follow airlines you want to travel on Twitter for deals exclusively posted there;
· Use airbnb.com as a great way to find accommodations that are affordable in the city you plan to visit;
· Best days to book airfares are Tuesdays and Wednesdays around 11am;
· Never ever book Saturday afternoons that is when posted airfare is the highest;
· Use autoslash.com to search for rental car coupons and book cheapest reservations, it will also let you know if a better deal comes along;
· When you are someplace safe it is always better to travel on your own instead of on a motor coach bus because they will not allow you the most use of your time and sightseeing abilities;
· Great new travel groups to use for exotic locations use public transport when possible and limit groups to twelve (i.e. Intrepid Travel and G Adventures);
· Ethnic travel agencies are popular now because they are making great deals with their native lands; and lastly
· Use workaway.net to find a job that includes free food and room and board for another way to travel on a budget.
After hearing the Frommers I went upstairs to meet them. They were as wonderful as I remember from two years ago. I got another book signed and Arthur even loved my flags! Pauline gave me great tips about a trip to Seattle I am planning. Now I cannot wait to go.
Next it was off through the expo. Every year I feel and see the changes the travel show is making. It is growing. I feel like more and more people are attending. It is so nice to be surrounded by strangers that have a shared love of travel. This is where I found out a pleasant surprise- I didn’t have to wait to see Patricia Schultz, she would be passing by the Traflagar booth in the next half hour. Fate! I stopped got lunch and then I was first in line to see her. She signed my book, we chatted for a few moments, took a photo, and I was happy to have seen her. Another happy check in my to do list.
Lastly, I was off to hear Samantha Brown. She was speaking about her travel mishaps. I can never get enough. Although this year I guess because I had already seen her the pressure was off. I was able to relax and enjoy her talk. Last year I was panicked the whole time waiting to run to the line to meet her. I know it’s going to be a long one and I always want to make sure I don’t miss out. This year I am proud to say I took slower strides and placed third in line. I still got to meet her and we even chatted about the blog. She loves the name and that made my day. Even better news she is in talks for a new Travel Channel series. Thank God. It has been too long.
Now the countdown begins for next year.
For NY Times Travel Show
Most major cities have a travel show so if you do not live in NYC or cannot travel here for the weekend maybe there is one closer for you to catch your favorite travel guide.
The best way to see the world is for free, here are some sites to enter daily for a chance to win a free trip.