Well…not quite, but close! Last weekend I attended the New York Times Travel Show.  It’s essentially a trade show that takes place at the Javits Convention Center complete with cultural performances, food demos, speaker seminars and a rock climbing wall.  I read about the show a few years ago and attended for the first time two years ago.  This year, I went because I a) have a blog now so the show would actually benefit me and b) because my friend Julia Dimon a.k.a. Travel Junkie Julia (check out her blog in my blogroll to the right or just click the link) was leading a seminar entitled “Stop Procrastinating and Start Traveling: How to Live Your Travel Dreams”.  Obviously, I wanted to hear what she had to say (and see her, it had been years!).

First a bit about the show.  When you walk into the Javits Center for the  Travel Show, I will admit it’s a bit overwhelming.  The first floor event space is sectioned off by continent with various booths per state or country.  I made a beeline for the US as it pertains directly to my blog.  I also of course signed up for every sweepstakes imaginable…ahem I’m still waiting for my call about my free trip Barbados Tourism!!  The floor below has two large conference rooms for speakers.  Free things like literature, magnets, and pens are basically thrown at you from various directions. Its great fun!

A brief background about Julia.  Julia is an adventure travel writer, a TV host and hard-core travel junkie who’s traveled around the world to over 80 countries, across all seven continents.  She understands the importance of travel as it relates to broadening our perspectives and learning about who we are and what we are capable of.  What I found interesting is that although most people would say they understand why its important to travel, they simply don’t do it.  Here’s why according to Julia:

1) Money – I’d have to agree that this is the number one reason why folks don’t travel, especially Americans. Julia shared travel search engines like Kayak.com, Skyscanner.com, cheaptickets.com and Momondo.com that help you save by comparing pricing for airlines, hotels and car rentals.  There is even a service by Bing Travel called a price predictor that predicts whether you should buy your flight ticket now or wait a week.  How cool is that?! I’m the first to admit that it KILLS me when I buy a flight to watch it drop by 50 bucks two days after I purchased it.

2) I don’t have enough time – Bottom line is this, we make time for what we want to make time for. Ask yourself: What is important to me? What am I spending all my time doing? Your answer may surprise you.

3) It’s too Dangerous – It’s true. The world can be a scary place, especially when we fear what we don’t know.  I’m definitely not going to promote you throwing caution to the wind but I don’t agree with stigmas and prejudices preventing someone from traveling to a certain country or state.  Do your research. Read up on State Department issued travel advisories.  If you still aren’t feeling comfortable about your travel destination, consider a tour company. Gap Adventures, REI Adventures and Contiki Vacations are great places to start your search.

4) I don’t want to travel alone – This is a reason I legitimately don’t understand. I LOVE to travel alone. It’s so much easier! You can do what you want, go where you want to go, eat what you want to eat all without the judging eyes of a so-called “friend”. Haha I’m just kidding. Sort of. I totally understand not everyone is as independent as I am and I also understand that alone travel isn’t always safe.  This is where a tour company comes in again. Another factor of alone travel is that awkward moment when you visit a restaurant for dinner and drape a cardigan over the other chair because “your date is in the bathroom” or you cozy up to a book with your meal. How lame is that? Why miss the opportunity to people watch? One of my favorite things to do is sit at the bar and become best friends with the bartender. No, not for free drinks, although that is sometimes a perk, but because this person lives in the city you are visiting and will tell you all the great spots to visit that are NOT on the tourist map.  If the idea of dining alone gives you crippling anxiety, try EatWithEquals.com, TravBuddy.com and Expats.com to find travel buddies or American’s who live overseas.

5) I have kids – Well…as a person without kids, not much I can tell you here other than the fact that my parents took me on my first flight to Hawaii when I was 6 months old and we never stopped traveling.  Obviously times are different now and I’ll admit that traveling with kids looks like a total bitch but it is possible. Check out blogs like DeliciousBaby.com and HaveKids-WillTravel.com to see families traversing the globe with ease.

I hope what I learned from Julia inspires you to start your own traveling! For more money saving tips, see Julia’s follow up blog post here. Pics from the show are below!

Good ol' US of A

Julia telling us to follow our travel dreams!

Julia and I after the show. Reunited and it feels so good!

Swag bags!

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