They say you should go someplace new every year. We say there is one place you should return to every year: you should go to a travel show!
Right up front, we’ll tell you that we are fans of the Travel & Adventure Show, and have been attending their shows for several years now. 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.
Ed. Note: Tickets for the 2019 Travel Adventure Shows went on sale Monday 1 October 2018. See below for cities and dates. Join the mailing list for updates and discounts, and buy tickets at the Travel Adventure Show website.
We will also tell you we were a little concerned heading into this year’s show. For one thing, the venue moved from the colossal Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center (roughly the size of Rhode Island – #slightexaggeration) to Dallas Market Hall. What you might call a “more intimate” space, although still large. (It is Texas, after all.) Given the current geo-political climate, we worried that tourism may be facing harder times, and that the Travel & Adventure Show might be forced to downsize.
Turns out, our fears were (mostly) unfounded. While the fate of travel in this decade is still uncertain, you wouldn’t think there’s a problem judging from the turnout. Yes, the venue changed, because the Convention Center is in very high demand. (Fan Expo Dallas was happening the same weekend. Talk about tough competition!) But there were plenty of big name exhibitors and presenters, and crowds streaming in from open to close. For now, at least, the Travel & Adventure Show is in no danger of downsizing.
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.
Pro Tip: Look for the Travel & Adventure Show booth, where you can enter to win prizes and get a photo souvenir!
Let’s break these down so you’ll know what to expect when you go.
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, 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?
The schedule for 2019 is already out, and includes a new stop: Boston! You can catch the Travel & Adventure show in one of these cities:
- Chicago: January 12-13 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont
- San Diego: January 19-20 at the San Diego Convention Center
- NEW: Boston: February 9-10 at the Hynes Convention Center
- Los Angeles: February 16-17 at the Los Angeles Convention Center
- Denver: February 23-24 at the Colorado Convention Center
- Philadelphia: March 9-10 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center
- Washington, DC: March 16-17 at the Washington Convention Center
- San Francisco: March 23-24 at the Santa Clara Convention Center
- Dallas: March 30-31 at Dallas Market Hall
See our experience at the 2013 Travel & Adventure Show where we met actor and Lowell Thomas award-winning travel writer Andrew McCarthy!
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 or 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. New last year, for example, was Holo Holo, a charter company that sails to Hawaii’s Forbidden Island and the Napali Coast. 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 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.