Surprised to learn that The New York Times after 17 years is no longer the sponsor of this iconic travel show that is so much a part of the industry. A sign of how the global pandemic has impacted the travel industry faced with back-to-back years of a downturn economy trying to recover. No surprise that the show has plenty of sponsors who want to carry on with what attracts over 30,000 attendees every year. This year’s show was scheduled in March instead of January when folks generally are planning their travels. Needless to say, COVID has broken many routines in our lives that we are adjusting to with more to come.
The show is a combination of exhibitors from over 100 countries, live event shows and back-to-back seminars from travel experts, authors and celebrities. It’s a bit like a bazaar, with huge crowds, loud music and many distractions. It is reasonably priced ($16-25 for up to two days) although if you join Goldstar.com the tickets are half price. My preference is to focus on the seminars and during breaks, explore those exhibits I am most interested. My intention is to always try to engage with folks and learn what they offer. Many exhibitors offer giveaways, raffles and snacks to get you to visit their booth. As always, I walk away with someone to follow-up with on matters related to traveling or my blog. If you go next year, I suggest you arrive to the Javits Convention Center early (unless the show is in another city). They have a Starbucks on the premises where you can drink your coffee while reviewing the program and floor plan. The floor plan is critical in learning the location of chosen seminars and preferred exhibitors to allow you to keep to your schedule as it gets a bit crazy.
As expected, and after a two-year pandemic, getting back to feeling safe to travel is still a work in progress. This was reflected among exhibitors from a variety of countries who expressed a desire for more travelers. Many offering reasonable discounted packages to get folks to jump on a plane.
Here is What I Liked and Learned About Trends in Traveling
For me, the seminars are the best part of the show. They bring a combination of travel experts, authors who have written travel books and TV travel celebrities. For folks like myself who are bloggers, they also offered content creator workshops of which I attended two of them. You can purchase books and also learn about the newest travel gadgets. I was blown away with this amazing new carry-on luggage sponsored through Kickstarter. Here is the link if you are looking for the best way to maximize what you can take on the plane without checking your luggage (warning it’s not cheap although it did not stop me from buying it). I also purchased a slick designed Bluetooth stereo headphone with a charger for my iPhone, which I convinced myself I needed.
Key Trends in Traveling That You Should Know About
First thing, travel is back with a vengeance and so planning now is critical because there will be hiccups as the industry gears up while being guarded about new variants.
Every week, countries are dropping their restrictions. However, they may change back again depending on what is happening in their countries with new variants. Strongly recommend that you go to Sherpa.com to learn in real time about restrictions and documents needed.
Bear in mind that the US requires you to have a negative COVID test before you can hop back on a plane. You need to book the taking of a test in advance no earlier than a day before your return to avoid long lines and possibly missing your flight. Keep in mind that if you test positive you are not going anywhere. Here is where travel insurance that covers COVID is a must.
Sustainable travel is a growing and important trend we all need to be conscious of as we visit countries. Offset your carbon footprint by reducing your use of plastic, paper and fuel when possible. Most importantly, buy local vs big retail/dining chains so that indigenous communities can benefit from your travels.
Cost to travel will continue to fluctuate depending on popular destinations. Be flexible about where you can travel that will not break the bank. Remember, there is always next year when the demand may not be so intense.
Final note on giving yourself permission to travel
Travel is an experience to embrace your creativity and adventurous self. It is the “new classroom” to learn and open your mind and heart. Try to be a traveler and not a tourist to blend in so that you can experience a life changing momentous trip.
Bon Voyage and don’t forget to send photos! As for me, I am not wasting any time and am heading to Mazatlán, Mexico.
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