In 2023, we went to our first Travel and Adventure Show in Chicago after seeing a billboard saying Samantha Brown would be speaking there. We had a lot of fun at the show exploring the exhibits from locations around the world and hearing talks from travel experts. We got a lot of tips that made our travels in 2023 as epic as they were. So, we were excited to visit the show again. We had train tickets and a hotel for the whole long weekend. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other plans and a winter storm rolled in and canceled our train. We debated going a day earlier to still be able to enjoy the travel show, but I realized that if we couldn’t get to Chicago from 200 miles away, I’m sure some of the presenters we were looking forward to seeing would have the same issue.
So, we decided to do something crazy. We canceled all of our plans in Chicago (we did some tourism around home at the Motown Museum to make up for it), made our first claim against our annual travel insurance policy, and booked flights to the New York travel show just a few weeks later. We already had some plans at home that weekend so the whole trip was only about 30 hours. We didn’t have two full days to explore the show like we would have in Chicago, but we got to see Rick Steves and Phil Rosenthal which is what we were really looking forward to.
We loaded up our backpacks (because for only one night away what more do you need?) and took a cheap Spirit flight to New York. In the morning, we walked from our hotel, got some New York bagels, and walked to the Convention Center. The New York Travel show was much bigger than Chicago and had an additional stage for more speakers. We went right to the main stage when we got in to get a good seat to see Rick Steves. If you aren’t familiar with Rick Steves, he is the foremost expert on European travel and is probably the bestselling guidebook author of all time.
Last year the experts hit home how important it is to travel light and be carry-on only. Rick Steves also talked about avoiding crowds when you travel by traveling off-season and when that is not possible, getting out early and late. Avoid being in the tourist areas in the middle of the day. He inspired me to plan a trip to some of those crowded European cities that I want to see, but have been avoiding because of the crowds. As he said, there is a reason everyone wants to go there. After his talk, I had him sign one of his books for me.
Phil Rosenthal is the host of the Netflix show, Somebody Feed Phil and his presentation was a Q&A format about his travels and his favorite foods. While I didn’t leave his presentation with a whole host of travel hacks, it was very enjoyable and he seemed just as genuine as he does on TV. After his presentation, we waited in a crazy long line to meet him and have him sign his book. It was worth waiting in line for this picture (left)!
We spent a little time walking the exhibit booths after we met Phil, but it was so crowded you couldn’t even get close to most of them and they didn’t seem to be doing as many giveaways as last year. We ended up walking the whole floor and then leaving the show to get some lunch. This is the first time since we were in college that we really had time in New York (we did a cruise out of New York back in 2015, but we pretty much just went right to the ship and then drove home immediately after) so we wandered until we found a Dim Sum restaurant for lunch. We weren’t too far from Times Square so we wandered over there and found all of the people. Then, we pretty much took a taxi back to the airport and flew home. All in all, it was a crazy day but it was worth it! We will have to keep our eyes on flight prices to New York for the future because, with those prices, it’s not an unreasonable weekend getaway.
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