Travel & Adventure Shows

The D.C. Travel and Adventure Show is an annual event which takes place early in the year. Three of the eight annual Travel and Adventure Shows are held in California. Philadelphia hosts the only other one on the east coast.  Started in 2004, the Travel and Adventure Shows offer a mix of exhibitors from around the world and celebrity speakers with some culture-focused entertainment thrown in for good measure. The 2017 D.C. show featured speeches followed by meet and greets with Samantha Brown, Pauline Frommer, Peter Greenberg, Jack Maxwell and Patricia Schultz. Samantha Brown and Peter Greenberg appeared on both days.

Travel Theater

Peter Greenberg kicked off both days in the Travel Theater with his “Travel in a Time of Disruption” seminar. The CBS News Travel Editor gave some helpful tips on finding a room. His response when there are no more rooms available: “Would you have a room available if the President of the United States showed up?” While most of us would not think to ask for an “out of order” room, Peter knows all the tricks. Perhaps the most useful advice he offered was to never travel without medical evacuation insurance. Four first class seats and a nurse can easily cost more than an automobile!

As you can probably imagine, Samantha Brown’s “Lessons Learned from a Life Lived on the Road” was the most lighthearted of the celebrity speeches. The Travel Channel host managed to describe the frustrations of her “job” without ever getting too serious. The 161 hours of television shows in which she appears took over 23,000 hours to create. 17 hour days are the norm for Samantha Brown. Her “lessons learned” (that’s an Alice in Chains song) are that every place has a soul (not just Korea) and that you must enjoy the mundane. When she arrives in a new destination her rituals include going for a walk with no maps or apps and then starting every day at the same coffee shop (that’s a Red Hot Chili Peppers song) in order to feel the pulse of a destination.

Another Travel Channel host (Jack Maxwell) was followed by Pauline Frommer, Editorial Director of Frommer Guides. Pauline considers herself to be a consumer advocate first and foremost. Her Ralph Naderesque speech focused on brands “scraping” for your buying habits. As she’s been doing for years, Pauline stressed the importance of erasing your browsing history and removing cookies. Anyone who frequently books flights can probably recall at least one instance where they searched for a flight, went to do something else and then noticed an increase in the price 30 minutes later. She went over other upcoming changes such as airlines trying to make more and more money on the back end as well as airlines offering points for how much you spend rather than how many miles you fly. Like Peter Greenberg before her, Pauline reiterated the fact that insuring a flight or hotel is usually a waste of money. If you fly once a month and spend $75 to insure each flight, that’s $900 in a year. You can fly almost anywhere in the United States as well as parts of Southeast Asia and Latin America for less! Perhaps her most shocking statement was that the bagels in Montreal are better than the ones in New York. That’s coming from a lifelong New Yorker!

Georgetown alumni Patricia Schultz closed out the final day of the show discussing her most recent book 1,000 Places to See in the United States and Canada Before You Die. Her first book 1,000 Places to See Before You Die took eight years to write and had a working title of 100 Drop Dead Places. While most of her speech focused on North America, she did talk about living in Italy as well as the importance of seeing Iceland in the summer. As Pauline Frommer mentioned, 2017 will be the year to see the northern lights as opposed to any time between 2018 and 2028.

Destination Theater

The destination theater featured 30 minute seminars on travel to Eeyou Istchee, The Bahamas, US Virgin Islands, North Carolina, Tanzania, Thailand, Alaska and Israel. There were also presentations by brands like Travels with Audrey, Cruise Planners, Dream Yacht Charters and Intrepid Travel. Each destination presented the audience with some interesting facts. For example, Anchorage has a Jewish history museum and no sales tax. The state of Alaska has 11 different ethnic groups.  Israel has six different climate zones and the highest per captia startups. Their passport control officers stopped stamping passports years ago due to issues with entering other Middle Eastern countries with an Israeli stamp on your passport.

Intrepid Travel focuses on the niche between luxury and backpacker travel. Brand and Partnership Manager, Joni Taisey helped debunk myths about group travel. Her presentation spoke particularly well to solo travelers. One of the “myths” is that you will be a third wheel if you go solo on a group tour. Her most compelling point was that a guidebook can never replace a local guide. She used her own story about learning more from a week in Colombia with a local guide than during a whole month traveling solo through Portugal.

Savvy Traveler Theater

Presentations in the Savvy Traveler Theater featured more practical advice. Most focused on a travel niche. The notable exception was Lee Abbamonte who would have been better placed in the Travel Theater. He has after all, seen more countries than anyone who spoke in the Travel Theater. Angel Castellanos spoke about packing, while Ralph Velasco offered photography tips and a free autographed book to one lucky audience member. His tips included “always look at the background” and “it’s not about the camera.” Some of the pics on display were taken with an iPhone. He stressed the importance of the magic hour and encouraged anyone who doesn’t like to wake up early to be a writer. There were also presentations on cruises as well as LGBT and family travel.

Taste of Travel Theater

The most fun and interactive part of the show was the Taste of Travel Theater. Chef Matt McMillin  from Cooper’s Hawk served as the Event MC. Chefs from local restaurants demonstrated how to prepare dishes like short rib with creamy yellow polenta, spicy tuna sushi, tomato bruschetta and  Italian cheesecake. Chef Sherene James from the Jamaica Tourist Board demonstrated how to make jerk salmon with tropical salsa on both days. Chef Guillermo Pernot from Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar shared his chicken croqueta recipe.

Global Beats Stage

The Global Beats Stage covered music and dancing from every continent except for Australia and Antarctica. Although it wasn’t too cold for Metallica to rock out in Antarctica, a world captivating dance craze is yet to make it out of the frozen continent. Furthermore, AC/DC and Kylie Minogue were unavailable to represent Australia.

The Argentine department of tourism brought Flamenco, while Europe was solely represented by the Irish. The Americas were also represented by the Bahamas and Bolivia. Sahara Dance presented Egyptian and Middle Eastern dancing, including belly dancing. India was the sole Asian country represented on the Global Beats stage, while Rhythms of Kalahari closed out the final day with Dances from Botswana.

Have you attended a Travel and Adventure Show? If so, where? If not, would you consider attending one in the future?

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