By now, you probably realize that In The Loop Travel likes to pursue adventures that work in a good amount of physical activity. We're always looking for destinations and vacations that will get your heart pumping and leave you feeling exhausted yet satisfied at the end of each day of your trip.
We had heard of a travel expo that focused on these types of experiences. Our friends over at the Watch Us Wander website had attended a Travel and Adventure Show in Chicago a couple months ago and enjoyed meeting with travel superstars like Samantha Brown.
Hey, a Travel and Adventure Show -- what could be a more perfect fit for In The Loop? So, when we saw a show on the calendar for Washington, D.C., we knew we had to head down this past weekend.
It was a great way to network with travel experts and meet with oodles of destination tourist boards to learn more about what's new in adventure travel.
I was lucky enough to grab some time with Samantha Brown before her main stage appearance.
The Travel Channel host told me about her love for cruising as a hassle-free way to escape with friends and family and how she gets the most out of her stops of various destinations.
On the main stage, Brown gave her insight into how travel has changed since the onset of the Internet.
I found some of her main points compelling. Travel experts become trusted sources because they are constantly out there trying things and seeing how they work. Pauline Frommer, Rick Steves, Chris Elliott and others also made presentations throughout the weekend.
Here are some highlights from the talks I attended (some sessions overlapped).
From Samantha Brown . . .
Studies show the importance of travel for families and how the adventures together help strengthen bonds and build positive memories for children, especially, Brown said.
This makes sense when you think about it. When you go to a strange place, you would look toward your family for interaction instead of ignoring each other as you might in your comfy surroundings back home during everyday life. You rely on each other more as you all navigate unfamiliar surroundings and experience new things as a unit.
Brown also said the Internet and apps have helped travel very much, but that we shouldn't ignore old tried-and-true methods that worked long before new technology took over.
Her advice: Use a mix of old school travel guides, travel agents and the Internet to plan and execute your travel experience. Using them together can help you fine tune aspects of your journey and help filter all the noise that comes from the endless sources of info on the Internet alone.
The most compelling advice she gives is what Brown calls her "No. 1 pillar of travel. Go for a walk."
Brown, who has been a travel personality for nearly two decades, says it's important to "Get out of the tourist centers and meet the real people who live where you are."
Who are you going to trust when you are seeking the best meal on the foreign-language menu? Someone who wrote a Yelp or TripAdvisor review (fine resources, to be sure) or a resident who is sitting right next to you in that Italian restaurant.
Brown implores travelers to occasionally "take the media out of social media -- and just be social."
I loved that!
Here is Frommer's list . . .
Argentina (value of peso is favorable to travelers, offering fantastic deals on anything from steaks to tango lessons)
Asheville, North Carolina (Biltmore estate and a burgeoning beer brewing industry, located alongside walkable historic and charming downtown and nearby national park)
Austria (Salzburg for 50th anniversary of "The Sound of Music" and Vienna for 150th anniversary of the civil engineering feat and city hub Ringstrasse)
Belize (for its virgin rain forest, ziplining, birdwatching, watersports, Mayan cultural sites)
Belgium (200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo and its city Mons is the European capital of culture in 2015)
Cunard Line (the cruise line celebrates 175th anniversary crossing the ocean)
London (Queen Elizabeth set to become Britain's longest serving monarch, new royal baby due to arrive and Magna Carta turns 800, among other celebrations)
Malaga, Spain (miles of shoreline in a vibrant culturally rich city, yet relatively undiscovered)
New Mexico's Chaco Culture National Historic Park (the remote Chaco Canyon is home to wide-open sky and 1,200-year-old ruins of tall buildings, but conditions are deteriorating, so they should be seen soon)
South Dakota (50th year of buffalo roundup at Custer State Park, Sturgis motorcycle rally is 75)
Tanzania's Sealous Game Reserve (the site is endangered because of poachers, and tourist dollars help in the battle to protect seriously threatened animals like rhinos and elephants)
Turkey's Gallipoli (100-year anniversary of the bloody WWI campaign involving Australian and New Zealand soldiers)
Vietnam's Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark (nation's first geopark has updated infrastructure and is ready for expanded tourism)
Washington, D.C. (Events on tap honor Abraham Lincoln and end of Civil War, new memorial for Dwight Eisenhower and National Law Enforcement Memorial Museum opens)
Yellowstone National Park (renovated hospitality facilities include new ecological and design upgrades at hotels, and recent geothermal activity offers good chances of awesome geysers at the park filled with a stunning array of animals)
The Travel and Adventure Show offered tons of information and a great chance for writers and bloggers like me to meet with experts and top decision makers in the travel industry.
The show comes to Philadelphia the weekend of March 21-22, and we plan to get there. It will be a much shorter drive this time, too.
Thanks for reading.
Check out my video recap of the show -- WATCH ME FALL OFF A ROCK CLIMBING WALL.