After a few years of mostly not traveling, the tides have changed and Travel. Is. Back! Domestic and international destinations are booming, the cruise industry is surging, and air travel is crazier than ever. That means it’s more important than ever to start your planning at the Travel and Adventure Show!
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.
So, we hear you asking…
What is the Travel and 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 some hands-on activities you can try.
The Travel and Adventure Show is a trade show for travel, with row after row of friendly 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 and knowledgeable people. The Tahiti booth is filled with people from Tahiti. The gal from the Georgetown Railroad actually runs the train! Yes, that was Rudy Maxa at the Rudy Maxa Tours booth! You will come away from each booth you visit with so 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 and Andrew McCarthy, along with Travel Channel and Discovery veterans Samantha Brown, Jack Maxwell, and Josh Gates. We’ve heard from travel authors including Pauline Frommer, Patricia Schultz, and the legendary Paul Theroux. Travel authorities in attendance have included Rudy Maxa, Peter Greenberg, Johnny Jet, and others. Most of them are very willing to Meet & Greet afterwards, giving you a chance to chat and get an autograph.
The speaker lineup changes from year to year, and from show to show. Josh Gates may be the “headliner” in Los Angeles, while Samantha Brown takes the stage in Dallas, for example. You can see who will be speaking at the shows, usually several months in advance, by checking the show details at the Travel and Adventure Show website. You’ll need to select a show you’re interested in attending, and then clicking on Speaker Schedule.
When available, we always include the speaker lineup for upcoming shows in our listing below. This makes it a little easier to see if there’s an upcoming show you might want to attend, or even travel for! (Yes, we will travel to see Josh Gates – among others – at a Travel Adventure Show!)
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. We even learned how to make sushi rolls with Carl Rosa at a Travel and Adventure Show, and got to eat the evidence!
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 flown 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.
[Tweet “If you go one place every year, make it the Travel and Adventure Show to find that one new place to go this year.”]
Where is the Travel and Adventure Show?
With the COVID Pandemic in the rear-view mirror, 2023 welcomed a full slate of live Travel and Adventure Shows. Nine cities across the country played host from January to April; you can see the schedule and headline travel icons below.
Already, 2024 is lining up to be another fantastic year, with mostly the same nine cities tentatively scheduled. As of yet (May 2023), there have been no announcements concerning speakers or exhibitors, but we will update this article as warranted. Of course, it pays to remember that schedules are always subject to change.
- January 14 & 15 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
- Scheduled Speakers: Samantha Brown, Brian Kelly, the Points Guy, Pauline Frommer
- January 21 & 22 at the Hynes Convention Center
- Scheduled Speakers: Brian Kelly, Peter Greenberg, Patricia Schultz
- January 28 & 29 at the Jacob Javits Center
- Scheduled Speakers: Samantha Brown, Andrew McCarthy, Pauline Frommer, Peter Greenberg
- February 4 & 5 at the Washington Convention Center
- Scheduled Speakers: Samantha Brown, Andrew McCarthy, Peter Greenberg, Patricia Schultz
- February 18 & 19 at the Los Angeles Convention Center
- Scheduled Speakers: Rick Steves, Pauline Frommer, Peter Greenberg
- February 25 & 26 at the Colorado Convention Center
- Scheduled Speakers: Brian Kelly, Pauline Frommer, Peter Greenberg
San Francisco / Bay Area
- March 4 & 5 at the Santa Clara Convention Center
- Scheduled Speakers: Andrew McCarthy, Brian Kelly, Pauline Frommer, Peter Greenberg
- March 25 & 26 at the Cobb Galleria Center
- Scheduled Speakers: Andrew McCarthy, Pauline Frommer, Peter Greenberg
- April 1 & 2 at Dallas Market Hall
- Scheduled Speakers: Andrew McCarthy, Peter Greenberg
2024 Sneak Peek!
Get more information and purchase tickets for any or all shows at the Travel and Adventure Show website.
Why Should I Go to the Travel and Adventure Show Every Year?
You’ve seen one 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. One year, we were planning a 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 was going to secretly take one of his own Ireland tours so we could join him. (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 and Adventure Show for providing complimentary Press Passes to previous events. All opinions expressed are solely our own.
Not required reading (or watching), but you may want to pick up one (or more!) of these travel tomes before your visit to the Travel and Adventure Show. If nothing else, you could come away from the show with an autographed copy! (Pro Tip: Leave the talks a little bit early; the Meet & Greet lines will already be forming!)