Last Saturday, I got up bright and early and met my WDFT partner-in-crime, Candice, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. After getting over the initial shock of being somewhere on a Saturday well before brunch hours, we set out to explore the DC Travel & Adventure Show. Here are the top ten things we learned from the experience (besides not showing up on an empty-stomach):
1. Using a travel agent can actually save money and get you a great deal. We learned from Cathy Cusuma of @Cruisitude that booking through an agent and with a group, you could get a free room.
2. Patricia Shultz, author of 1000 Places To See Before You Die has been to at least 80% of the destinations in her book, and encourages you to venture outside of the usual all-inclusive Punta Cana vacation (no shade).
3. Belizeans are awesome! They had the most to offer at their booth and were pretty generous about it. We tasted their rum, fudge and jelly; they even gifted us a little bottle of the rum to take home. We need more of Belize in the District.
4. D.C. is apparently proud of its buses. The show featured a state-of-the-art Metrobus for patrons to tour.
5. Each country or region of the world is represented at the show. If you were specifically looking to book a trip to South Africa, you had at least five reps to speak with about comparing prices and scoring great deals.
6. If you’re looking for a food and wine tour, Italy is an amazing option; however, make sure you’re touring the southern part for the BEST food and drink (according to Italians).
7. When booking travel tours, if you can, book in a small group. When eating in local restaurants, you’ll more than likely be able to find a smaller, more authentic and intimate restaurant.
8. Only 30% of Americans have a passport, which they don’t even use frequently. Get your stamps up, people!
9. Whenever possible, travel during off peak times, even if it means pulling your children out of school, so you can get a cheaper rate. Avoid holiday travel if you can.
10. Use travel tech such as apps, not only to help you plan your trip, but to use as a guide while you’re exploring.
BONUS: Get to the travel show early to avoid crowds and get first dibs on any samples or freebies being given out.
The next stops on the Travel & Adventure show tour this year include San Francisco (March 5-6, 2016) and Philadelphia (March 19-20, 2016). For more information and tickets, visit www.Travelshows.com.
- Nyasha Chikowore