Look whom I saw in person last weekend! As a travel blogger, does that mean I have arrived? Well, maybe if he took me to lunch or something, but I was just one of hundreds of guests who heard Rick Steves speak last weekend at the LA Travel Show.
Jennifer Miner, co-creator of The Vacation Gals travel blog, was kind enough to provide me with a ticket to the show and I met her there. She, Brett Snyder (a.k.a. The Cranky Flier), and Kim LaChance Shandrow, a Los Angeles-based tech and parenting journalist, hosted a focus group discussion on travel apps: Best Travel Apps to Help You Plan Your Next Trip. I particularly liked Postcard on the Run, an app that will send real postcards, with your vacation photo on it, by snail mail from your phone to anywhere in the world. LaChance Shandrow recommended her favorite travel apps when traveling with children, one of them Ameba, a TV show and movie streaming service especially designed for children.
I listened to two key speakers, Patricia Schultz, author of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, and Rick Steves, both of them so inspiring and richly traveled. Rick Steves captivated his audience for two complete hours with hardly a break and I have to say I agree wholeheartedly with his European travel philosophies. "Travel like a temporary local," he insists. My favorite tip was that for the best food in any European city, look for the restaurant with a hand-written menu in only one language. He's passionate about how to "be" in Europe, not just "go" there.
Rick Steves raved about Istanbul, naming it one of the four great cities in Europe (Paris, London, Rome, and Istanbul) and the Turkish Culture and Tourism Office had a very large exhibition booth promoting tourism at the show. (Hmmm . . . possible future destination?)
|Turkey had a large presence at the LA Travel Show.|
I think if you're planning a trip for the first time, or are looking to comparison shop for different tour operators and such, going to a travel show is a useful and fun way to interact with destination experts.