By Lisa K. Berton
As any seasoned traveler will tell you, planning is key to limiting unwelcome surprises. Regardless if you know where you want to explore next or are undecided, make plans to visit a travel show. The New York Times Travel Show took over the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center from January 25-27, and it was filled with hungry knowledge seekers.
It is probably the largest travel show in the Northeast and pulls in tens of thousands of attendees. Folks picked up complimentary reusable bright orange bags to fill with pamphlets, thick glossy magazines, and imprinted tradeshow giveaways.
Featured image: Chef Yohei Omoto makes a Japanese soul food called Otafuku.
Tourism offices, chain and boutique hotels, energetic tour guides, family-friendly attractions, and more came from far and wide. Some set up small tables that overflowed with brochures and location-related decor while others erected multi-sided booths with video monitors and colorful banners. And then there were the chefs, musicians, and artists to enhance attendees' senses.
Additionally, guests were treated to talks all weekend by professional travelers like Samantha Brown whose new series, "Places to Love" airs on PBS. Likewise, foreign destinations and specific market presentations were also included. For example, travel for grandparents and grandchildren or learn all about French cuisine or what to see in Greece.
Consequently, one could easily spend the weekend at The New York Times Travel Show and go from presentation to presentation without exploring the exhibition hall or vice versa.
The New York Times Travel Show layout was by area so people could easily find the location representatives they sought. Sections included Asia, the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, and of course, the United States. Within the United States area, Florida and New York had the most representatives including Miami and Long Island. The New England states were also well-represented.
If you go in 2020, grab the newspaper, a pen, and a chair. Pick out some presentations to attend and decide if you want to meet the authors. Give yourself time to have lunch. Seating is available at the food court just outside of the exhibition hall.
The Jacob J. Javits Convention Center is about a 15-20 minute walk from Penn Station. Taxis can get you there quicker depending on traffic and street closings. Taxis are also available at the Convention Center to whisk you back to your hotel or New York City hot spot.
Above all, here are five excellent reasons to attend a travel show:
- Discounts. Cruise lines, timeshares, all-inclusive resorts, and tour groups want you to book in-person; they've prepared special deals to entice travelers.
- Meet the locals. Most of the promoters live in the area they work for or better yet, own or manage the business.
- Learn more. Attend seminars, buy books, ask questions, and feel better about making travel plans.
- Giveaways. Win small and large prizes such as attraction tickets, a spa treatment, or roundtrip airfare.
- Shop. Find new luggage and travel accessories from multiple vendors.