Receiving a press pass for the New York Times Travel Show this past weekend was similar to receiving the “keys to the kingdom”!!! One could meander through aisles and experience continental wonders …beautiful colors and vistas, music and food from culture after culture. If one wanted to know when Cuba would be open to travel or how to plan an African Safari or how to make the most of social media while on a trip, the New York Times brought in many famous speakers to address these topics. Arthur and Pauline Frommer offered their sage wisdom on how to offset the high cost of airline tickets by choosing alternative lodgings of private homes and apartments which could lead to a much deeper experience of place by immersion with local people and hundreds of dollars in savings. www.airbnb as well as www.wimdu.com. Pauline suggested booking 4-6 weeks before departure and doing this on either Tues. or Wed. rather than the weekend. In order to find reduced rates, follow airlines on Twitter around 11 am because they are trying to compete with Expedia etc. and will offer very special rates for a few hours to those that are following them on social media. Non direct flights as well as 2 one way tickets could be cheaper in cost. Autoslash is an excellent site to provide lower car rental costs. They will make bookings for each client and if the cost drops, they will send out an email. SeatGuru is the ultimate source for determining if premium seating on flights is truly worth the cost. They also suggested contacting ethnic travel companies in order to experience the culture more directly. Global Greeters connects locals who are very happy to provide tours of their homeland for free.
Samantha Brown reminded us all of how important it is to be flexible and to know the key words of “Hello”, “Please”, “Thank You” in the country you are fortunate enough to be visiting…”better to butcher a language but to show you are trying to make the connection.” Travel is so much about getting past the picture postcard image and connecting with the people. She also suggested visiting the local market for a very quick language lesson by reading the signs and becoming familiar with the types of food in that locale.
.My day ended with a conversation with Mark Murphy, the author of “Travel Unscripted”. He is a 20 year travel veteran who shares his first hand extraordinary experiences in this new book. To quote Rudy Maxa from public television, “Mark Murphy brings a conversational voice, an impertinent ‘tude’, and a wry eye to life on the road.”
So here I sit, surrounded by beautiful photographs and brochure after brochure offering very enticing offers. I am off to Europe this spring and then who knows…it is all so captivating!
Copyright 2012 Frances Schwabenland. Images may not be copied, printed or otherwise disseminated without express written permission of Frances Schwabenland.