The NY Times Travel Show was this past weekend, and we had the honor of attending on Friday when the floor was only open to press and members of the travel community. The event is designed to get people excited about travel opportunities (and to try to get them to book trips on-site at a “discount”) so we figured we’d tell you about the things we saw that got us the most jazzed:
1. The Ecuador Booth
The first thing we saw when we walked in was the pavilion for Ecuador, and it was easy to see why the event planners put these guys right by the entrance. Live Ecuadorian folk music…
…and this colorful, enthusiastic (creepy, faceless) person in a giant headdress:
We thought of them as the “hype men” of the whole event, and loved it.
2. Uri Tours to North Korea
We had the pleasure of speaking with the team from Uri Tours, a group that organizes trips into North Korea. We had no idea that such a thing was even possible, but apparently it’s pretty easy (the visa process is under a month long, and trips only need to be booked three months in advance). Tours run from April through November and begin/end in Beijing, China, and you best believe we entered their raffle to win a free North Korean vacation.
3. The Taiwan Pavilion
Like the folks over in Ecuador, the tourism board of Taiwan also had some live music going. In place of a
terrifying bird demon dancer in a headdress, however, they were serving little cups of hot tea. We aren’t huge tea drinkers, but anyone offering free stuff gets a shout out from us.
4. Icepedition Treks in Iceland
The enthusiastic owner of the Iceland tour operator Icepedition flagged us down for a chat, and we couldn’t resist hearing about the cool stuff they arrange for travelers on the island. We especially enjoyed their “Arrive and Drive” program for people like us who prefer to stay far away from tour buses. Basically they give you driving directions and your itinerary and you can drive yourself around your pre-booked vacation, which sounds awesomely adventurous.
Oh, and the founder gave us a piece of chocolate covered licorice (an Icelandic favorite) to try. Again, give us free stuff and you will get promoted on Travel Freak – guaranteed.
5. Wildlife Excursions in Indonesia
All that talk about off roading in Iceland got us pumped up for more jaunts into the wilderness, so we were immediately drawn to the DOYANTravel booth. The group arranges several tours around Indonesia, but our favorites were the three-day excursion into Komodo National Park and the five-day adventure into Borneo to discover orangutans in their natural habitat.
6. This Over-Excited Mannequin
White water rafting trips down the Delaware River are like crack to this guy:
7. Direct Flights to Palm Springs
We’ve never been to Palm Springs, but from what we’ve heard about its all night pool parties and balmy oasis climate, it seems right up our alley. That’s why we were excited to discover that Virgin America has expanded their flight service to include nonstop flights between New York’s JFK Airport and Palm Springs International Airport every Saturday. Now all we need are a couple mesh tank tops and the money for the ticket!
8. Real Live Penguins!
We found these little guys in the SeaWorld pavilion, which was shaped like a giant igloo to promote the new Antarctic exhibit coming to Orlando. We had half a mind to set them free because their enclosure looked painfully small, but we figured we’d be thrown out and we still had more business cards to hand out.
9. “Dance & Party” Tours of Spain
As you probably know, we are wont to get wasted and dance around during our travels. For a long time we thought we were in the minority in that respect, but apparently tour operators are starting to pander to our debauched demographic. Palace Tours, which runs group tours in Spain, Portugal, and Morocco, has started offering something called the “Dance & Party Tour” around Spain. You can opt in or out of any of the pre-planned events to find your own drinking holes and club spots, and the operators will even point you in the right direction to find the best nightlife and entertainment options in each of the cities on the trip. Sign us up!
10. The Motorcycle Show Downstairs
Because if there’s one thing we love more than brochures about tourism, it’s getting our picture taken on a bitchin’ hog.