They say you should go someplace new every year. We say there is one place you should return to every year: the Travel & Adventure Show!
Ed.Note: This post was last updated on 15 February 2020.
Right up front, we’ll tell you that we are fans, and have been attending the shows for several years. Since the TravelLatte World HQ is in beautiful North Texas, we make a weekend out of the Dallas show every year. It’s like a pilgrimage to commune with fellow travelers, industry experts, and travel celebrities.
Can’t make it to Dallas? No worries! This is a travel show, after all, so it’s only appropriate that it travels around the country. See below for the recently released 2018 dates.
So, we hear you asking…
What is the Travel & Adventure Show?
That might seem obvious but, the first time we went, it was more than we expected. It is so much more than people selling travel. The main section features booths filled by destinations, travel companies, and vendors. There are several stages for presentations and entertainment throughout the day, and a few hands-on activities you can try.
The Travel & Adventure Show is a trade show for travel, with row after row of people telling you about their destination. No pressure to buy anything, and no shame for gathering up brochures from everyplace under the sun. You will find lots of smiling faces and good information from genuinely enthusiastic people. The Tahiti booth is filled with people from Tahiti. The gal from the Georgetown Railroad actually runs the train. You will come away from each booth you visit with much more than a brochure.
For many attendees, these are the big draws. Keynote speakers in the Travel Theater have included travel celebrities like Rick Steves, Samantha Brown, Andrew McCarthy, and Jack Maxwell. We’ve heard from travel authors Pauline Frommer and Patricia Schultz, and authorities like Peter Greenberg and Johnny Jet. Most of them are very willing to Meet & Greet afterwards, giving you a chance to chat and get an autograph.
Seminars & Workshops
Beyond the big names, a host of local professionals, well known travel bloggers, and destination experts address a wide range of topics at the Destination Theater and the Savvy Traveler Theater. How-To seminars cover everything from packing for a cruise, to seeing all three U.S. Virgin Islands in one vacation. (If that’s not a value, we’re not sure what is!)
Entertainment & Hands-On Activities
One of the best features of any trip is the local culture. The Global Beats Stage features a variety of music and dance performances from around the world. On the Taste of Travel Stage, you can connect with destinations in one of the most powerful ways: your sense of taste. You’ll learn about, and how to make, dishes from around the world. Best of all, samples are often included!
Travel memories are often made by trying new activities, and you’ll have a chance to do that, too. We’ve climbed rock walls and flew down ziplines. There have been camel rides, scuba pools, Segway courses, and more fun suitable for the entire family.
This is a trade show, after all. There are travel suppliers and tour companies on hand, often with specials good only during the show. You’ll also find vendors with travel related items like AAACK! Packs, STUFFA travel clothing, and a host of others.
One note for the organizers: Several booths seem very out of place. (Home improvement people, we’re looking at you.) No offense but, with limited real estate in the show, we would appreciate more travel, less not-travel. I mean, we’re not shopping for a staycation.
Where is the Travel & Adventure Show?
To borrow a line from Ted Nugent, this year’s Travel & Adventure Show is “intensity in ten cities!” The schedule for 2020 is out, and includes a new stop: Atlanta! That makes this year’s slate the biggest ever, with ten cities on the tour. You can catch the Travel & Adventure show in one of these cities:
- Boston: January 11-12 at the Hynes Convention Center
- Scheduled Speakers: Samantha Brown, Andrew McCarthy, Peter Greenberg & Pauline Frommer
- San Diego: January 18-19 at the San Diego Convention Center
- Scheduled Speakers: Wayne Dunlap, Cheryl Strayed, Peter Greenberg & Patricia Schultz
- Scheduled Speakers: Rick Steves, Josh Gates, Peter Greenberg & Pauline Frommer
- Scheduled Speakers: Rick Steves, Samantha Brown, Peter Greenberg & Pauline Frommer
- Scheduled Speakers: Rick Steves, Josh Gates, Pauline Frommer & Cheryl Strayed
- Scheduled Speakers: Samantha Brown, Peter Greenberg & Patricia Schultz
- Scheduled Speakers: Rudy Maxa, Peter Greenberg, Pauline Frommer & Patricia Schultz
- Scheduled Speakers: Andrew McCarthy, Rudy Maxa, Peter Greenberg & Kellee Edwards
- Scheduled Speakers: Rick Steves, Rudy Maxa & Patricia Schultz
- Scheduled Speakers: Andrew McCarthy & Rudy Maxa
Get more information and purchase tickets for any or all shows at the Travel & Adventure Show website.
2021 Sneak Peek!
A few dates are already lined up for next year’s Travel and Adventure Show!
- San Diego: January 16-17, 2021 at the San Diego Convention Center
- Boston: January 23-24, 2021 at the Hynes Convention Center
- Chicago: February 12-14, 2021 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Why Should I Go Every Year?
You’ve seen one Travel & Adventure Show and you’ve seen them all, right?
Granted, a lot of the show is the same from year to year. The format doesn’t change much. Many of the same vendors come back every year. Even some of the speakers and presenters are repeat performers. (Personally, we’re okay with seeing Rick Steves and Samantha Brown on repeat. Heck, we do it on our DVR!)
Every year, though, we see and learn something new. We learn about new places, even though some of them have had a booth at the show for years. We meet new people, and learn about new deals and offers. At the 2018 show, for example, Holo Holo, a charter company that sails to Hawaii’s Forbidden Island and the Napali Coast, was at the Dallas show for the first time. Also new was our plan to visit Ireland. Having a chance to talk with Rick Steves’ staff about travel plans was a gold mine, even if they wouldn’t reveal when he’s secretly taking one of his own Ireland tours. (So much for having clout!)
Our advice stands: If you go one place every year, make it a travel show. It’s a sure bet that you’ll find someplace new to go every year.
Disclaimer: Thank you to the Travel & Adventure Show for providing complimentary Press Passes to last year’s event. All opinions expressed are solely our own.