The recent New York Times Travel Show drew record crowds and participation: more than 32,000 attendees visited over 560 exhibitor booths and cultural displays representing 107 countries from across the globe. An annual weekend event, this public show packs in plenty of travel tips and inspiration to keep your wanderlust fulfilled far into the future. Here are some of the major takeaways and travel trends gleaned from the show’s industry seminars hosted at Manhattan’s Jacob Javits Convention Center:
What are the top destinations in the U.S.?
Not many surprises here, but plenty to put on your bucket list: Hawaii, Honolulu, Florida Keys, New York City, Washington D.C., New Orleans, Hilton Head, and Austin *
Top international destinations?
London, Paris, Rome, Venice, Florence, Barcelona, Dublin, Amsterdam, Madrid and Toronto *
Top hotel brands?
Hilton, Marriott, Holiday Inn, Hyatt *
Have children, will travel
Thirty-one percent of all trips taken include children. And, their opinions count! Among these traveling families, 77 percent say that their children influence the planning and 68 percent say their kids pick the destination. So, listen to those little ones.*
Heading to the U.K.?
Plan your trip around popular events like Glasgow’s Celtic Festival, a winter music festival featuring artists from around the globe and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world. For the sports minded, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will square off at London Stadium in June — the series is part of a two-year plan to play across the pond. **
Bound for Berlin?
November 9th marks the 30-year anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Events focusing on the history of division, the struggle for freedom, and the process of reunification will occur throughout the year. **
Fancy a trip to France?
June 6th marks the start of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings and the Battle of Normandy, with plenty of opportunities to celebrate peace, liberty, and reconciliation. Plan a trip to follow in the footsteps of the “Greatest Generation.”**
No matter where you go, get off the beaten track and take the road less traveled to unique or off the radar restaurants — not just what’s featured on social media. A few gems: Al Pompiere and La Taverna dei Fori Imperiale in Rome and the Bras Group of restaurants in France. In Venice head to the islands of Lido or Burano to dine. In Amalfi, visit the bathhouse/restaurant at Fornillo Beach, located just outside of more populated Positano. **
Ready for a river cruise?
AmaWaterways is adding a new larger ship to its Danube cruises. And, their new itinerary in Portugal’s Douro Valley will bring you up close to this region, famous for its wine tasting. +
Big on Bleisure
More and more people are blending business with leisure activities on business trips. Piggybacking on a business trip itinerary can help save you money and time and is the best reward for your hard work.+
Small is BIG
Small cruise ships can visit smaller ports and take you to unique destinations. These itineraries also feature more intimate excursions often with VIP access or after hours visits that are blissfully crowd free providing for an experiential and meaningful vacation. +
There’s an app for that
Technology can improve the guest experience by creating moments of delight and helping travelers use time more efficiently. The AmaWaterways app sends picture postcards home and keeps track of ports and last-minute itinerary changes. The Princess Cruise app is the new “walkie talkie” – it keeps families in touch while on board. (Plus, you can even order a pizza and have it delivered to your cabin!) The MY TSA app tracks airport security lines (And, check out their entertaining Instagram for pics of outrageous items found in carry-on luggage). But, while on tours, put the phone away, turn off devices, and take time to meet the people around you. This is the time to soak up experiences and escape from life’s fast pace.+
What matters most? Travel!
People give up on other things before they will give up on travel. Collect experiences, not things. We all want to escape the harsh realities of life and travel is just the ticket.+
And the most important takeaway of the Travel Show?
Travel Agents will save you time! Click here to see why.
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*Data provided by James Shillinglaw, Insider Travel Report
**Data provided by Kier Matthews, Classic Vacations; Celina Tavares, Tourismo de Portugal; Wanda Radetti, VisitCroatia; Elizabeth Minchilli, EatItaly App
+Data provided by James Shillinglaw, Insider Travel Report; Christine Duffy, Carnival Cruises; Kristin Karst, AmaWaterways; Jenniver Tombaugh, Tauck; Jackie Freedman, Nexion Travel; Lindsey Uuberroth, Preferred Hotels
Header photo courtesy of Valentin Antonucci; all others courtesy of New York Times Travel Show