Travel junkies journey every year in late January to the Javits Center for the annual New York Times Travel Show. This year topped all records, setting an attendance of 30,099 with 560 exhibits representing over 170 countries.
It was a weekend of wandering aimlessly through exhibits and displays featuring tours and trips. There were eye-catching displays, as well as endless opportunities to win a free exotic trip to somewhere like Dubai and Abu Dhabi on Emirates Airlines, or a round-trip air ticket for two to South Africa with three nights at the Victoria & Alfred Hotel in Cape Town. And this year Ramón Martín, executive director of Hello Travel, announced new “flexible travel packages where travelers have one year to select travel dates at six 5-star Catalonia Hotels & Resorts property.”
In addition to the exhibits there are travel seminars, everything from a talk by travel author Pauline Frommer to hearing Supinder Singh, president of Palace Tours, on what to expect this summer on train travel in Spain, Ecuador, Peru, Ireland and Scotland. You can also sit in on travel seminars that focus on L.G.B.T, or how to “Take Your Travel Photography to the New Level,” or the “Top Places to Travel Alone in 2017.”
The show also features Taste of the World, food dishes from savoy pies of London to “the world’s best cup of coffee” of Costa Rica. Celebrated chefs like Art Smith and Adam Richman cooked up their favorite meals on the spot.
Rachel Zitin of LivItaly Tours said she is seeing a shift from urban travel to longer stays in the countryside. “More and more families are renting a large fully-equipped villa outside of the major cities and choosing to visit the cities as day trips or single overnight stays,” she said. “We notice this especially in central Italy, in Tuscany, Umbria, Lazio and Campania. This allows families to fly into Rome, spend 1-2 days exploring the city highlights and then travel by train or private driver to a Villa for a week of relaxation and family time.” As a result, LivItaly Tours is now offering a variety of pre-arranged day trips which allows for families to see highlights and return to their residence at the end of the day.
Heather Richardson of Jacada Travel is finding that family vacations can mean Multi-generational travel. “What we’re noting,” said Heather, “are three generations traveling together, or grandparents taking their grandchildren on vacation. I think with the increasingly busy nature of day-to-day lives, families are really trying to get as much quality time together as possible, and that’s often where multi-gen travel comes in.”
Families are also traveling to new locations. What was obvious this year was the focus on Cuba. In addition to three separate booths devoted to it, there was also an additional seminar “Ready to Explore Cuba,” moderated by John McAuliff of the Cuba/U.S. People to People Partnership, which focused on the recent rules changes that have made is easier for Americans to travel there.
If nothing else, the January show is a weekend full of good travel ideas. Travel guru Anne Dimon, founder of Travel to Wellness, gave five rules all travelers should follow for a successful vacation.
- Know yourself and know your special interests.
- Don’t let price alone dictate destination.
- Choose your travel companion(s) carefully.
- Identify your stressor(s)
- Don’t stress the small stuff.
The best and least expensive countries are to be found in Eastern Europe, especially Hungary, Bulgaria, Croatia and Slovenia, where you can find hotels for as little as $25 to $45 a night. Also, the strong dollar means lower airfares with these countries particularly good bargains, Australia, Great Britain, India and South Africa and India.
Walking out of the show with more pamphlets and brochures than anyone can possible carry, let alone read, and after a full weekend of consuming travel data and rich cosmopolitan food, one might be tempted to ask: Do I need to go anywhere at all, but the New York Times Travel Show?
Besides novels and non-fiction, John has published travel articles in Travel & Leisure, Diversion, Luxury Travel, Smithsonian, and other magazines and newspapers. Oh, and has he told you in the last thirty seconds that his favorite destination in the world is Menorca, Spain?