For my recap on The 2014 New York Times Travel Show, here is a mix of information from sessions I attended as well as my time on the show floor.
While passing along the 1,000 plus booths, it was good to see some mix-ups. Sections for technology, LGBT, adventure, and health/wellness travel had good placement on the floor, along with traditional interests relating to cruises and countries.
While Europe, the U.S. and the Caribbean continued to have a good amount of space, it was nice to see a strong representation of Asian and South, Central and Latin American countries. Indonesia and Taiwan stood out in my mind.
Costa Rica had a nice informational booth, with tasty samples of iced coffee, a creamy, sweetened rice drink, and a shrimp dish. Cuisine aside, Costa Rica is an affordable getaway, and its natural scenery makes it enticing to both budget and adventure travelers. I attended a press seminar held by Costa Rica’s tourism board, who unveiled a new marketing campaign: Essential Costa Rica, focusing on a strong commitment to conservation (with goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2021) and its growth in technical innovation.
For the United States, Atlantic City, New Jersey of course had a glitzy booth, complete with a DJ and spin wheel giveaways (got a wine cozy from a game of roulette). On Friday and Saturday, I got to watch “Sand Master” Matt Long from Wildwood Crest, NJ, at work. He kept fine-tuning his sandcastle sculpture, and it was to neat to look on as he combined each part. Wildwood Crest must have some great sand.
Saturday and Sunday’s portion of the show is more consumer driven. Leading experts in this field often come back year and after year. The father and daughter team of Arthur Frommer and Pauline Frommer of the Frommer’s talked about how major developments in accommodations are changing where we can stay: in vacation homes and short-rental apartments in place of hotel rooms.
These options have been providing more comfortable stays for much less of a price tag. Companies such as Airbnb, HomeAway, Roomorama, VRBO and FlipKey have been leading in connecting homeowners/renters with visitors (in some states such as New York, it’s illegal to rent to a transient person unless the renter has to stay there during the visitor’s time).
Arthur and Pauline tried out Airbnb for their visits to Portland, Oregon and Seattle and for each time stayed in the upstairs level of a two-family house with “modest furnishings” and stocked with grocery staples. They saved a bundle! If you’re weary about staying a stranger’s home, be assured you can check up on previous references left by past guests on these sites.
Apps have become a traveler’s best bud. During her presentation, Conde Nast Traveler’s Wendy Perrin named a number of apps that help with everything from flight tracking to getting directions to even finding out what’s happening in your destination. Perrin’s picks included: FlightStats, MyTSA, GateGuru, HotelNight, City Maps 2 Go, and Peek.
In all, I was able to leave with new insights and a couple of brochures of places I hope to go to soon!