Imagine the world at your fingertips. That’s the best way to describe my recent trip to the New York Times Travel Show. Every year it’s held in New York City. It was held this year at the Jacob K. Javits Center. The show is a must see for every traveler and anyone who wants to start traveling in the future. The show runs Saturday and Sunday. It gets better.
I attended the show on Friday, which was the trade day. The trade day is all about learning all the new travel trends so I can share them with YOU. It’s all about attending conferences and networking. First, I was off to a conference focusing on travel to the Caribbean. Let me break it down for you.
Focus on the Caribbean
The first country I saw featured was Dominica . Do not get it confused with the Dominican Republic. There is a current population of 73,000 people. The French and the English fought over the island many times. English is now the official language. There are so many things that travelers visiting Dominica can experience. Think whale watching, exploring volcanoes and beautiful black sand beaches. It is home to the longest hiking trail in the Caribbean.
You can’t forget their annual Jazz & Creole Festival. This year it will take place May 3-5th. Other festivals include the Dive Fest (July 5-14th) and the World Creole Music Festival (October 25-27th). The British Virgin Islands has festivals all its own.
British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands (BVI) hosts the BVI Spring Regatta and Sailing festival every year. This year’s date is March 25-31st. Another great festival is the BVI Food Fete, held in November. You can’t talk about food festivals without including the island of Martinique.
Curaçao’s language is Papiamento. It has many festivals including its own carnival and harvest parade. There is also the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Flying Dutch Festival. Remember that Curaçao was a Dutch colony.
Travel and Leisure named Anguilla the number 1 island for 2017 and 2018! They have their own unique festivals. The Moonsplash Music Festival is very popular. It’s held on March 21st this year. The island has seen many of its beaches expanded. Other festivals include the Beach Festival in May as well as the Literary Festival held over Memorial Day Weekend.
Next it was onto Europe. You’re about to find out how to pack the most food and wine into your next trip!
Focus on Europe
Now it was time to head on over to Europe. This conference was all about unique culinary experiences. It was all about making travel memories that last forever. We’ll break down Croatia, France, Portugal and Italy.
Celina Tavares, the U.S. Director of Turismo de Portugal covered Portugal. In Portugal people sit down and eat. They do not feel rushed. Plan for that when visiting Portugal. Many hotels offer their own wine tours. There is a special Presidential Train Tour experience that happens in September and October only. It includes loads of history and Michelin Star chefs. The tour will end in 2020. That’s when the government will take back control of the train. Catch this special experience before it ends. Her top restaurant is 100 Maneiras, which translates to “100 Ways”. This bistro is located in Lisbon. She described it as “cozy” and “where the chef comes to you.”
“Italian food feels familiar.” That’s what Elizabeth Minchelli, the author of “Eating My Way Through Italy” believes. She also believes that the wine in Italy is “approachable.” She recommends table wine as a good and inexpensive choice. Search out unique wine regions. Everyone goes to Tuscany. Visit less common regions like Sicily and Umbria for more unique experiences. She also recommends day trips to Naples if you are staying in Rome. It’s a 1 hour 20 minute train trip. Her top restaurant is Pompieri in Rome. But wait, there’s more. The restaurant has had the same waiter since she was 12 years old.
Bertrand Collingnon, the President and C.E.O. of Decourvertes French DMC represented France. He helped us to appreciate that in France, people spend a lot of time eating. They enjoy their food. He suggests taking a cooking class if you visit France. Sample champagne in the Champagne region. Enjoy chocolate tours and tastings with chocolate artists. Bras is his personal favorite restaurant.
Representing Croatia was Wanda S. Radetti, C.E.O. and founder of VisitCroatia.com. She gave an inside look into the culture of the Croatian people. They buy their food everyday. The enjoy real, authentic, clean food. Much of the food they eat they grow themselves. She believes “You must eat a lot while traveling, so eat well.” Adding, “and drink wine while you’re eating.” She recommends unique experiences like donkey milk tasting and donkey cheese buying. Gabrek is the name of her favorite restaurant. It has been open since 1929. The food is extremely fresh. As if that’s not enough, the owners call the cows and chickens by name.
My original goal was to spend more time at conferences. I changed my mind and decided I was ready to actually experience the countries. It was now time for the world exhibition.
Incredible India was the presenter of the show and had the largest booth. I’ve always wanted to go to Jaipur in India. I got lots of brochures that talked about the palaces there. The booth showed how much India is such a rich and varied country.
Indian samosas were served at the booth. There was also a henna station.
Bhutan is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go. They have very unique architecture. I was able to speak with some representatives (below) that showed me different trip options.
Below, I’m at the Taiwan booth. The Taipei International Airport offers a Free Half-Day Tour. It’s a special program where you tour Taiwan during your flight’s long layover. Best of all, it’s free!
I noticed that many people were hesitant to try them on since it did take some time to put them on. In a little while, though, there was a small line of people waiting to try them on.
Definitely take advantage of this experience if you visit the show. You won’t regret it. I didn’t just stop to visit Asia.
Africa and the Middle East
Zanzibar is a place I’ve wanted to visit for a while now. It’s an island off the coast of Tanzania in eastern Africa. I’m learning more about the various camps available throughout Tanzania in the photo above. The Chaka Mobile Camp gives you the experience of moving with the wildlife migration from Ndutu to Kogatenda. Permanent camps exist as well.
Puglia is a region of Italy I’d heard little about before the show. There are many regions within Puglia. They offer everything from cycling through olive groves in the Itria Valley to exploring Italian palaces around Bari. They also have some pretty great wines. How do you think I know?
Where else can you experience traditional Danish clothing (left) outside of Denmark? Or the handmade Chugirma hat (right) from Uzbekistan? Another great thing about the show is seeing the traditional dress of so many countries.
The show was a great way to experience the world in a day. It’s definitely a must for every travel lover. The 2020 show will be even better!
Image Credit: Murm the Natural