I just attended the New York Times Travel Show and had a really interesting experience. The show was broken out over 3 days and I attended the first two days. The first day was for travel agents, travel writers, the press and anyone involved in the travel industry.
Got there late because of the New York City snow, but I wanted to summarize some of the great travel information presented for those who could not be there.
The first session I attended was with Arthur and Pauline Frommer of the Frommer’s guides, books and websites titled
“Best Travel Bargains for the Year Ahead”
According to Arthur Frommer, Vegas is the single best bargain in the United States right now. The city has just added 8000 new luxury hotel rooms, which means that all the rooms have depressed prices. He mentioned getting the Aria Hotel at $149 as opposed to the usual $300. The Excalibur, right on the Vegas Strip, can be had for $25 a night.
The countries of Central America
In particular Panama, Honduras and Guatemala. Frommer mentions he saw a round trip ticket to Panama City for $275 with one stop. More condos were built in Panama than in Miami Beach last year, so there are a glut of residences with no one in them. Perfect opportunity for condo rentals.
Known primarily for the Disney properties, Frommer sees the Harry Potter phenomenon playing a big part in bring more visitors to the area. Universal is building Harry Potter theme rides and attractions. With Harry a hot property worldwide, many people will be flocking to Orlando to see their favorite boy wizard (well Harry is not a kid anymore, but you get the drift…)
Do you want cheap tickets to amusement parks and attractions in Orlando, including the Disney and Universal properties. Frommer recommends Official Ticket Center as the place to get tickets with significant discounts.
Package deals to China
There are package deals to China for 2 weeks for $1600 or less, with food, accommodations, airfare, ground transport and a guide included. I love independent travel but these packages may be a much better deal than going it alone. China is the single least inexpensive destination in the world according to Frommer.
You can get 7 day cruises to the Caribbean for $499. 10 day Meditterean crusies for $699. Don’t book directly with the cruises. Use a travel agent that specializes in cruises.
Small Group Tours
These are tours that have no more than 12 people and use public transportation or small vans for getting around the country. No big coach buses means that you get up close nad person with the residents, which really gives an authentic experience.
Pauline Frommer talked about Guatemala. She’s also likes taking a cooking class wherever you go to really see and taste the culture.
Pauline also liked Mexico where the current exchange rate is 13 pesos to the dollar. For art fans, Mexico City is second only to Paris in the number of museums.
She likes Italy, but Southern Italy. Southern Italy is 40% cheaper than Northern Italy. Places like Naples are a huge bargain right now.
Last on Pauline Frommer’s list is Molokai, Hawaii, home of the infamous leper colony. You can participate in volunteer activities while you are there.
The next session I attended was with the New York Times Travel Editorial Team entitled
“Getting the Most Out of Your Travel Dollar”
Michelle Higgins mentions getting a refund after you’ve purchased your airline ticket if the price goes down by using Yapta.com.
Higgins also talks about using apartment/condo/home rentals as a substitute for pricey hotel rooms. You can bring larger groups together, save money and have more space. Image a whole house to yourself as opposed to a small hotel room.
Matt Gross aka The Frugal Traveler talked about the best way he finds great food wherever he goes. He uses Google and puts in “‘name of place’ Food Blog” as a search query. Really simple and really fast.
All of them recommend using TripAdvisor and specifically using the PICTURES hotel guests have sent in to really see a hotel before booking. I’ve used TripAdvisor before and overlooked the pictures myself.
Patricia Schultz, author of 1000 Places to See Before You Die [aff link] had a session with a crowd full of people who had her book. Never read it, but you can check it out at Amazon. If you need ideas on where to go and what to see, this could be the resources for you.
The next panel session was about travel writing.
“Travel Through the Eyes of Travel Writers”
Susan Orelean said some of the more interesting quotes…
“Don’t prepare so much before you go so you get the feeling of being an explorer”
Also theme travel is great to develop a new angle on a much written about place. Susan traveled to France just to eat goat cheese all over the country and did another trip to Paris just to buy lingerie.
More from the New York Times Travel Show next post…
Did you get any great ideas or tips from the New York Times Travel Show? Please share them in the comments below.