LA Travel and Adventure Show 2012 – 1st Hand Highlights

I had a fantastic time yesterday at the 7th Annual LA Travel and Adventure Show!

I attended the 2010 show and felt mixed about the experience.  2012 was far better.

A frequent comment from the speakers and exhibitors was how happy everyone was to be holding the event at the Long Beach Convention Center.  It was an ideal venue.  Parking was not an issue, there was plenty of space for stages, activities, exhibitors, autograph signings/meet & greets, and all of the ensuing foot traffic.  The venue itself was clean, modern, newly furnished, and quite inviting.

Visitors could take advantage of show-special discounts on travel packages, listen to a number of industry respected speakers, visit a wide variety of destination oriented exhibits, take part in a few kid oriented activities, and nosh on a few samples at the Culinary Stage.

Pauline Frommer

The first order of business was to head over to the Travel & Adventure Theater to check out Pauline Frommer.  Her presentation was geared toward “Traveling Smarter: When to Splurge and When to Scrimp.”

Frommers Highlights:

To travel is to expand, discover, and learn more about yourself and then you get to come home with a treasure. -Pauline Frommer

When traveling internationally, she hates “Hop-On/Hop-Off” busses.  She feels removed from the locals and feels that it is a watered down experience with mediocre information.

DON’T splurge on car rentals/ DO splurge on activities

DON’T go on group tours

  • Feels that typically you are shuttled around with 40 other people, you are forced to stay at hotels which are not centrally located that can accommodate large busses, you are dining at restaurants that can accommodate 40 people at a time which means that the locals have long abandoned it, and as much as everyone will probably be lovely – there is always going to be at least one that is nightmare traveler.

Recommends for airfare deals.

She does recommend adventure Tours

  • At most there will be 12 people and typically it works out to be $50 per day per person.  Plus her recommended companies are internationally based so you will experience a more diverse crowd. (Check out: Djsoer, Intrepid Travel, & G Adventures formerly known as GapAdventures)

She is sceptical about Trip Advisor‘s reviews.  She has heard that they may have a staff that is dedicated to creating good reviews and posing as customers.  Apparently this is not so uncommon among some review based travel sites.

Mentioned to keep any eye out for Free Giveaways.  She shared: Costa Rica is giving away one free trip per day and all you need to do is “Friend” Costa Rica Tourism Board on Facebook.

Recommended utilizing Global Greeters as opposed to professional tour guides.  They are local volunteers that will show you around based on your interests. Ex: a doctor could be paired with a fellow doctor that could be shown the local medical practices of the area. 

Under Explored Destination Ideas – “How to scrimp & feel like you’re splurging”:

  1. Poland (feels like Western Europe but at half the cost)
  2. USA National Parks (celebrating 150 yr Anniversary of Civil War)

Round-The-World Tickets: The are inexpensive if you stick to their itinerary, but you may be stuck in one region.

Advice for your first big trip to…

  • STAY in the heart of the destination.  Don’t scrimp by staying in a suburb and kill yourself commuting.
  • Consider renting a house in one location and then do a series of day trips to surrounding areas.
  • Stay AWAY from all inclusive resorts.  Typically they water down drinks, provide mediocre food, it’s a corporate experience, the local restaurants shrivel up – but they are cost-effective.

Andrew Zimmern

Next I checked out Zimmern’s presentation which was geared toward “Bizzare Travel.”

Zimmern’s Highlights:

Known for eating at varying international street vendors and carts he insists:

  • Hot food should be HOT
  • Cold food should be COLD 
  • If you spot a few options, EAT from the cart with the longest line.

He travels “mouth first.”  Told a charming and revealing story about how he was introduced to travel as a kid. 

  • He would join his dad on business trips and frequented a variety of cultures.  One trip they flew to France.  They arrived, ate at a local cafe and enjoyed tiny snails that were so small he had to use a silver toothpick to get them out.  Another day he and his dad went and stayed with a farmer overnight.  The farmer had chicken roasting over an open flame and the fat dripped off onto the yellow potatoes below.  Little Zimmern thought all of this was cool.  When he returned to school his friends wanted to know how it went and if he saw the Eiffel Tower.  He admitted that he had no idea about the Eiffel Tower and they had been in France for four days!  That is when he realized that he traveled like his dad liked to travel – “mouth first.” 

Patricia Schultz

The famed writer of “1000 Places to See Before You Die” was my absolute favorite speaker of the day.  She is well spoken, on fire, and her enthusiasm for travel is contagious.  She is very enchanting. 

Schultz Highlights:

“Better to see something once than to hear about it a thousand times.” -Asian Proverb

Her first addition of her famed book was released in 2003 and took eight years to complete!

She has recently released her 2nd edition and is proud to state that she has not merely updated a few phone numbers and websites.  She took four years to completely re-think and reorganize the entire book!

She takes the audience through a few of her favorite additions of the new book:

  1. Hebrides Islands – Scotland: recommends to go with the flow & be flexible…
  2. Bruges: Like a small Brussels.  Amazing chocolate, architecture, etc…
  3. Fjords of Norway: experienced the Northern Lights…
  4. Vienna: checking out the Christmas Markets is a must! Area is young, hip, vibrant, and full of galleries…
  5. Russia – St. Petersburg: Now visitor friendly.  Recommends the White Nights Festival
  6. Petra: UNESCO protected historic location.  Buildings are carved into the rock…so she asks, “Can you really say they were built?  They’re more like sculptures.

Samantha Brown

There was a tremendous amount of excitement surrounding the arrival of Brown.  The crowd was competitive for seats and the media photogs and cameras were in full force.  Her enthusiasm for her passion seemed to allow her to come across as your friend instantly.  She was gracious and personable streight away.  Sam Brown’s presentation was geared toward “Travel Errors: My Globalization of Mishaps.”

Brown Highlights:

“Don’t judge a place too much.  Be careful of having a very strong perception of an area; just let a place wash over you.”  – Samantha Brown

She knows she comes off as the perfect traveler.  She feels it sets up this feeling that there is a wrong way and a right way to travel.  So she thought it was fitting to dish on her travel mishaps.

Things she’s learned from mishaps with language:

  • Better to stammer and show you are making an effort than to worry about perfectly pronouncing everything.  This will help establish a connection and show that you are making an effort.  People will know you are not local based on your accent. 
  • Be polite, don’t forget to smile and make sure to know the basics: 1. Hello 2. Please 3. Thank You 4. May I please have…
  • She is not a fan of language apps.  It takes too long for everything to load and to run searches.  Meanwhile, the person you are trying to converse with is just standing there.  It’s better to stammer and use hand signals and make the personal connection.
  • She loves visiting local supermarkets for a quick way to pick up basic words.  Ex: can of peas.  There will be a pic and large simple clear text.  

Things she’s learned from mishaps with hotels:

  •  She’s learned to make them home and not live out of her suitcase.  She fully unpacks, hides the hotel related crap in a drawer, and familiarizes herself with the layout of the room.
  • A hotel does not need to be luxurious to get a sence of the place.


All the Samantha Brown excitement. 

Overall there was a great turnout.  I’d have to say that there was no mention of the 2012 Olympics and no real Western European presence.  Taiwan was the presenting sponsor and Costa Rica had big splashy displays.  Travel apps were widely talked about.  There was weak participation with the activities: rock climbing, scuba, bubble roller, and zip line.  They seemed set up more for the novelty. 

To see more pics from my day at the Travel Show, visit my Facebook page.


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2 thoughts on “LA Travel and Adventure Show 2012 – 1st Hand Highlights

  1. Annette | Bucket List Journey January 27, 2012 at 10:18 pm Reply

    I’m excited to be going to the one in Northern California next month 🙂

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