By Jeremy Bryant
The LA Travel show took place this past weekend and, since I’d never been to a travel convention before, I figured I’d see what all the hoopla is about. Walking towards the entrance of the Los Angeles Convention Center I heard the beating of drums. Upon entering, I was greeted by cultural sounds from the sponsor destinations of Mexico and Taiwan. What a way to get people pumped up!
Once inside the convention, I was amazed at the sheer number of tables set up featuring different destinations, travel suppliers and speakers talking about various niche markets in travel, from adventure to culinary. Moving around the room, I grabbed pamphlets and brochures for destinations that piqued my interest. I set my sites on Hawaii and Mexico, but I was happy to learn about other destinations I had not yet considered, like Taiwan and Ecuador. Tour providers and activity companies were scattered around the room, ranging from safaris to scuba diving, wine tours, wind surfing, cruises, and destinations. Needless to say, it was hard to stay focused.
Celebrity speakers like Lisa Ling, Rick Steves and Arthur Frommer, gave talks on Global Perspective, European Travel and Thinking Outside the Suitcase. Other stages hosted panels of guest speakers answering questions from visitors.
Seeking an adrenaline rush on your vacation? Areas like the X-treme Adventure Zone, Thrill Seekers and Outdoor Adventurers offered exciting activities and attractions like zip lining and rock climbing that were a big hit with the crowd. Another popular area was Kid’s World where family friendly destinations, entertainment and hands-on activities took place. Another huge draw was bubble rollers. If you haven’t heard of these before, they are huge blown up balls that kids can literally crawl into and roll around while floating in a small pool of water. (I wanted to try this, but was told I was too old). In the back, the Culinary Stage had chefs cooking up dishes with a global taste. Visitors were able to sample local, regional and world cuisines.
Overall, I had a great time at my first travel convention, and learned a lot about all the various things that lead people to travel and explore the world. For just $10 a ticket to enter, it’s a no brainer and I would highly recommend it.
Now that I’ve had a weekend filled with travel inspiration, I just have to decide where to book my next ticket to…
This is a guest post from Jeremy Bryant, a travel agent who has been with CheapAir.com for nearly 12 years. Jeremy also manages and owns Queertrip.com, a LGBT travel site that specializes in LGBT travel.