New York Times Travel Show 2012 – Resources For You To Use

by brian on March 5, 2012

Another NY Times Travel Show has come and gone and there is always good info to soak up in breakout sessions hosted by some of the big names in travel. Those folks include Samantha Brown, Arthur and Pauline Frommer, and the travel writers at the New York Times. I could not attend every session, but I’ll try to list some of the more interesting companies, apps and ideas for you to use.

Arthur Frommer is very much against the large motorbuses that transport travelers around a country. He prefers to sight see on his feet and not on a bus, meaning doing independent tours. But if you must have an organized group tour, he highly recommends tours that have 12 people or less. They use local accommodations, meaning no big chain hotels and use public transportation. Yes that means catching the train or bus that the local residents use. He recommends Intrepid, gAdventures and Djoser

Pauline Frommer recommends using an “ethnic” travel agency for discounts on airfare, hotels, etc. What is an “ethnic” travel agency? One that caters to the residents of the country you are traveling to. She gave the example of using a travel agency that caters to Japanese citizens when she went to Japan. It took her awhile to get someone who could speak English, but she ended up saving $400 on airfare that she would not have gotten anyplace else.

Inspired by Iceland is Iceland’s way to use tourism to prop up their economy after their recent financial meltdown. You can stay in a farmhouse overnight and learn about Icelandic history, go seal watching, or even meet the mayor of Reykjavik. All of these activities are completely free. Iceland is offering discounted airfare and hotel stays. If you’ve never considered this island nation of 320,000 (yes that is all the people they have) the pricing and benefits say this is the time to go.

Jamaica is offering a program similar to Iceland called “Meet the People”. Anything that gets you off the tourist track and in contact with “real” people is always welcome.

Panama offers free travel insurance. Just sign up at the Tocumen International Airport when you land in Panama City and you’ll have it for 30 days. Just don’t have an accident and found to be drinking, acting reckless or otherwise jeopardize your insurance.

Pauline Frommer talked about Vaughan Systems which allows native English speakers to get a free two week vacation in the Spanish country side. The catch? You have to speak English to Spaniards who want to learn English. That is it. All you have to do is have conversations with people who want to learn English. There is plenty of wine, food and interesting sites along the way to help keep conversations along.

Workwaway provides the opportunity to work (volunteer) for room and board around the world. You can be a ranch hand in Canada, work in a hostel in New Zealand or live with a family in the Italian countryside. A wide variety of experiences are available.

GlobalGreeters finds free tour guides that will take you around major cities all over the world. They will show you the transportation system, take you to the best dining spots and really provide an local’s insider view of a location you would not get on a tour bus with 40 other people.

Arthur Frommer also gave a few tips on Bali and Paris.

To get to Bali from the USA use a company called Escapes Unlimited with a fare of $1399 for 5 days out of Los Angeles or San Francisco. You’ve got to fly to Hong Kong first with a free layover there and then doubleback to Bali. Will take some time but well worth it for the money you save. That price includes airfare, hotels, transfers and even breakfast everyday. Really spectacular savings.

XL Airlines flies Paris to New York. Most of the flight are Paris to New York but you can book New York to Paris for about $550 round trip, taxes and fees included. I didn’t try to book but the search engine brought up the right fare.

In part two, we’ll look at some of the websites mentioned at the New York Times Travel Show that will help you plan and book your next travel adventure.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Nailah March 6, 2012 at 4:27 AM

Thanks for the recap, Brian. That program through Vaughan Systems seems pretty interesting…may have to look into that further. Did they seem like a reputable organization?


brian March 6, 2012 at 5:46 PM

This came from Arthur Frommer so I would tend to believe them to reputable. Also I know two people who have done Pueblo Ingles, which is a similar program and have greatly enjoyed it. Definitely contact them both and find out if their programs fit you. But seems like a fun way to spend a week or two.


Monica March 7, 2012 at 5:21 AM

Pueblo Ingles was one of the best experiences of my adult life. Hands down. They broke off from Vaughan but are similar in setup. All you have to do is speak English for 5 days (Vaughan) or 8 days (Pueblo Ingles) to Spanish executives. You can talk about anything. I gained a few pounds from the food and wine that was served three times a day. The Spanish companies pay about $3000 for their executives to get the practice speaking English. All legit. I just left a week or two ago and am thinking of doing it again.


brian March 7, 2012 at 8:41 AM

Thanks for the info Monica. I’m sure many folks are happy to hear arrangements like this are not a scam and are a great way to see Spain and talk to new people.


Ish May 27, 2012 at 7:56 PM

Every now and then, I stumble across a post that makes me want to leave everything behind and disappear into that great adventure… this is one of them! :)


brian May 28, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Glad I could help! :) I love going to the Travel Show or any place with a wealth of information, if for nothing else than to soak up little travel tidbits. If I can’t use them myself then I certainly hope someone reading can.


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