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The NYT Travel Show is part standard issue trade show, part dynamite travel seminars. I hesitated a bit on going because the 3-day schedule could have been mistaken f0r last year, virtually the same topics and cast of characters. Last year I particularly enjoyed the talks by Arthur and Pauline Frommer and they were my main draw to make the long journey through construction, also the same as last year, to the Javits Center. The concurrent motorcycle show added spice to the mix of people.
Last year I found that the TV personalities gave pre-packaged talks with lots of clips of themselves, so I eschewed those for the writers and travelers. The sales pitches I also skip, for instance I don’t imagine I would have learned much on cruising from a panel consisting of two director of sales, two V.P. of sales, and two S.V.P. of sales for various cruise lines.
Travel trends from the Frommers:
- Continued boom in non-hotel accommodation, despite several US cities putting in place onerous restrictions
- Airline fees are pervasive and will keep growing
- Cheap US intercity bus services continue to grow and improve, with major corporations like MegaBus and Bolt Bus connecting nearly all the US
- River cruises are not cheap and “not for swingers” but a great option in the US and Europe
- Learning vacations at places such as Oxford and Cornell are surprisingly affordable and the economic crisis has made it easier to find slots
- Customized travel for all manner of interests and hobbies is booming everywhere, and there often is a website or agent that can cater to your niche interest
Destinations on the move, from the Frommers:
- China and Ireland are superb-value for package tours
- India airfares are high, but with the weakness of its currency, it is a great deal once there
- Colorado and Washington will experience a “pot upsurge”
- New Orleans and its National WWII Museum are worth more than just hedonistic trips
- Oslo’s new opera house is worth the trip
- Dallas’ yearlong commemorations of 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination make for a poignant history lesson
- Amsterdam, Marseilles and Derry all have big cultural events this year
- Alaska beyond the cruise ship
- Belize for adventure activities that the lawyers would never allow in the US
I confess to not being a regular user of Frommer’s guide books, but I highly recommend Ask Arthur Frommer, a wonderful tome, half travel tips and skills, half brainstorming on destinations around the world. Also check out Arthur’s blog and Pauline’s blog.
I attended some technology sessions. The innovation is cool though utterly overwhelming. Just on the subject of augmented reality apps, the list included: stay.com, Wiki Voyage, Wikitude, another Wiki-something that I did not catch, Around Me, Layar, Junaio, Aurasma, Google Field Trip, Facebook Social Graph Search. I often download apps that I never use, reminding me of Seth Kugel’s Google Maps Test, he of the NYT’s Frugal Traveler blog, “Does it do something better than Google Maps?”