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A couple of weeks ago, I had a great opportunity to check out the Chicago Travel & Adventure Show. This show takes place in the suburb of Rosemont, very close to O’Hare International Airport every year. It’s an opportunity to learn about destinations around the world, listen to travel stories from well-seasoned travelers, and plan out your vacations. No matter what your interests may be, there’s something for you to enjoy or learn more about. In my situation, it’s a perfect time to meet with some destinations that I’m looking to highlight here on the blog!
Attending a travel show like this is a great chance to open your mind to some great new locations or learn more about ones you are already interested in! Have you wanted to check out cruising or group travel options? What about the best insurance options for while you’re traveling? Where does someone even begin to research some of these minute details? Most likely at a travel show like the one I attended in Chicago. It’s a low key opportunity to learn, be entertained, ride a camel or scuba dive, ask questions, and bring home lots of brochures and new ideas.
Since I seem to be making my way to more and more of these events, I thought it might be awesome to create a list of tips for making the most of your travel show experience! If you’re not ready, you can find yourself overwhelmed at all the options and booths and people. There’s A LOT going on and chances are you don’t have all day to hang around and talk to people! Plus, if you’re paying for a ticket to these things as well, you’ve got to maximize your time! For me, planning a trip is always part of the fun.
Here are my top five tips for making the most of your travel show experience!
1. Do Your Research
Chances are, you already know some places that you’re interested in working with or learning about. Make a list of the places and brands that you are most interested in so that you have a starting point for your day, rather than wandering from booth to booth. Most of these exhibitions have a list of brands that are attending and some even have booth numbers or maps so that you can plan out a course of action once you arrive.
2. Know Your Why
Are you attending one of these shows to hear speakers? To make a large purchase? Enter contests? Connect with brands for partnerships? This will also help guide you as you set up your experience. If you know of certain things you want to check out and WHY you want to check them out, that can help you prioritize your day.
3. Go Early & Buy Early
I definitely suggest acquiring your tickets to shows like these EARLY. Often times, there are early bird discounts if you buy online far enough out from the event. Buying tickets in advance can help you get cheaper tickets and not get stuck waiting in lines to get in on the day of the event. Also, arriving early is in your best interest as well. If you arrive early, many times the crowds are still light and you may able to check out your desired booths a little faster.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Talk!
Seriously! Talk to the vendors! Talk to other attendees! Traveling is so much better because of the people you meet and that definitely goes for the planning of your trips too! Actually talking to vendors and representatives can give you a whole new point of view about a location or product! Hearing people talk about places they are passionate about can change your mind. Connecting with representatives from a destination is a great idea. If you’re a blogger/writer, take plenty of business cards or mini-sized media kits! You’ll need them!
5. Pack Lightly
I say this because these events can get crowded. If you’re lugging around a suitcase, every family member’s bulky coat, etc. – you’ll never make it through the aisles. I probably had my toes ran over about 5 times from grannies who brought their rolling suitcases into the venue! If you’re worried about carrying things, carry ONE backpack or tote bag. Booths are handing out bags left and right, so don’t worry about not having enough space to carry your goodies home! If you’re worried about being cold or hot, dress in layers. Simple.
All in all, I had a great experience! I got to check out some new-to-me destinations and companies, plus reconnect with some that I’ve known for a while. Not to mention connecting with other travel writers and travel professionals. It was a win-win all around!
Have you ever been to a travel show? Would this be an event you’d like to check out? Tell me all about it in the comments!