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Posts Tagged ‘The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show’

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7 more exotic destinations you can visit for the price of a weekend in Las Vegas

One of the most popular presentations I’ve ever given has been about seven exotic locations you can visit for the price of a Vegas weekend. Since I last spoke on the topic, travelers have been eager to know if I’ve added any more destinations to my list, and where they can go in 2013 to turn their ordinary trip into an extraordinary vacation.

So when I was asked to speak at the 2013 Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show, I knew this was a topic I wanted to revisit. I spoke for a little over 15 minutes this year, covering seven more exotic destinations to visit for the price of a Vegas weekend. We caught the speech on film for everyone who couldn’t make it, so just hit play to listen in.

After watching my speech, do you plan on visiting any of the destinations I mentioned? I’d love to hear about your travel plans in a comment below.

Famous Philadelphia places and faces

Friendly Planet Travel blogger Caitlin previously quizzed Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show attendees on their Philadelphia knowledge. I thought everyone did a really good job, but we decided to take it one step further.

It’s one thing to ask a question, but can travelers recognize the people and places that make Philadelphia famous just based on a photo? Could you tell the difference between Benjamin Franklin and William Penn? How about Harry Kalas and Bradley Cooper? We put attendees to the test, with the help of a trusty iPad, of course.

I even got in on the action and took the quiz myself. Check it out for yourself to see what picture everyone had the hardest time identifying!

Did you pass the test?

Philadelphia travel trivia: What do you know about the City of Brotherly Love?

Quiz time — How much do you know about the city of Philadelphia? Our offices are located just a stone’s throw away from there, in Jenkintown, Penn., so we spend a lot of time in the City of Brotherly Love.

We like to consider ourselves local experts, and wanted to know if the attendees of The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel show were just as savvy. Friendly Planet Travel blogger, Caitlin, quizzed passersby on famous Philadelphia landmarks, noteworthy Philadelphians, and how many people visit Philadelphia every year.

Think you know the answers? Hit play to find out!

Can you name five famous Philadelphians? Let me know in a comment!

Christopher Elliott’s favorite place to visit

We’re finishing up our Chris Elliott video series which we shot at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show. In case you missed it, here are the first two from this series:

  1. Chris Elliott talks travel consumer advocacy at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show
  2. Travel consumer advocate Chris Elliott shares his best travel tips

In this video, Chris and I chat about natural disasters, and who (if anyone) is at fault when a traveler experiences one far from home. We also mention our favorite destinations, and I couldn’t pick just one. I love traveling too much! See which place we each picked.

But that’s not all! I managed to snag two copies of Chris’ book, “Scammed: How to Save Money and Find Better Service in a World of Schemes, Swindles, and Shady Deals,” and he signed them.

The top 10 affordable destinations of 2012

I would never offer a tour that wasn’t a terrific value — that’s the core of our business at Friendly Planet Travel. But there are some tours that are so value-packed, I want to point them out specifically.

I had the opportunity to do just that at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show last month. I named my speech “The Top 10 Affordable Destinations of 2012,” and delivered exactly what I promised. Check out my speech in it’s entirety below.

If you don’t have time to watch the full video, I’ve detailed a few of my favorites, as shared in my speech, below.

Pick #9: Ireland. Like Greece, Ireland has gone through some difficult financial times, but you would never know it from the incredibly friendly and welcoming people you’ll meet when you visit. Ireland has always been a popular destination for Americans, but in the coming years, Ireland is expected to see record numbers of tourists. That’s no surprise. The country is beautiful, with lush, green landscapes; picturesque towns and villages; castles galore; and plenty of pubs where you can mix with the locals, especially since they speak your language.

Pick #6: India. This wild, disorganized country of over a billion people is simply amazing. It has plenty of history and culture to experience and admire. It has an educated, entrepreneurial population that is rushing toward modernity at the speed of light. It has the most gorgeous building I’ve seen, the Taj Mahal, and believe me when I tell you that no picture does this palace justice. That’s how all of India is.

Pick #3: China. Each year, we wait to see if interest in China will finally drop among travelers, but it never does. This is a country that continues to amaze travelers, with its ancient history, gorgeous landscapes, incredibly welcoming people, and, of course, the food. Oh, and did I mention that you can buy an entire wardrobe for pennies on the dollar? Travel to China continues to be a terrific bargain.

Pick #1: Cuba. You might be thinking Cuba is a place that Americans can’t visit. But in the past year, the rules have changed, and a few tour operators are lucky to have been granted one of the new people-to-people licenses, including us. This tropical island is a 50-minute flight from Miami, but until recently, it could just have easily been on Mars. Thanks to a liberalizing of laws, Americans can visit Cuba legally. Visiting Cuba is like taking a trip back to the ’50s, and not just because of the cars. When you visit Cuba, you get to see how people have created a life for themselves with very little money or resources. The music is everywhere, street parties abound, and everyone is welcome to attend. It’s quite an experience.

What places are you planning to visit in 2012? One of these or somewhere different? Let me know here.

Travel consumer advocate Chris Elliott shares his best travel tips

I’ve shared the first interview with Chris Elliott at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show, but I know you’ve been eagerly awaiting more. Everyone needs their Chris Elliott fix!

I’m here to give it to you. In this video, Chris and I discuss how travelers should prepare for a trip. Chris mentions the importance of using a travel agent when picking a destination (I swear I didn’t ask him too!), and we both said packing lightly is travel gospel.

Hit play to see what else we recommended as our “travel dos.”

Don’t miss part three, coming soon!

Chris Elliott talks travel consumer advocacy at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show

Everyone in the travel industry knows Chris Elliott. You either hate him or you love him. You hate him if you’re one of the airlines, hotels, agencies or other travel industry suppliers who don’t take care of customers according to best consumer practices. You love him if you’re like Friendly Planet Travel, where our travelers’ every pleasure is our primary concern.

Chris has been featured on the blog before, and he and I stay in touch on various travel topics. Chris and I caught up most recently at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show and I was delighted when he sat down for an interview with me. One of my bloggers, Caitlin Davis, served as moderator. But I’ll tell you the truth — we didn’t do much preparation. Chris loves travel and so do I. It doesn’t take much to get both of us going on the topic, as you’ll see once the cameras started rolling. This is the first of three videos from this interview, so keep your eyes on this space for parts two and three. Hope you enjoy it!

Keep your eyes peeled for the next installment!

Proof that it’s never too late to travel

Age isn’t anything but a number. That could be the motto of Regina Fraser and Pat Johnson, two friends who travel the world together and film it for their PBS television series “Grannies on Safari.” They’ve combined their love of people, art, and travel to make this Emmy® award winning TV series, sponsored by AARP.

When I heard Pat and Regina were going to be at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show, I jumped at the chance to have a member of our blogging team, Caitlin, sit down with them for an interview. I’m so glad they did and while we were together, we had them sign a few copies of their new book that we’ll be giving away on the blog. Stay tuned for details about that.

Caitlin asked Regina and Pat about their favorite places to visit, why they chose to feature women’s rights in their show, where we can look forward to seeing them next (which I was excited to hear!), and much more. Hit play below.

For more from Regina and Pat, check out some of the articles they’ve contributed to Huffington Post, their AARP blog, and their show website for the latest information on where they’re going next. Thanks so much for your time ladies!

Readers, keep your eyes on this space for our upcoming giveaway of two signed copies of Pat and Regina’s book, “The Grannies on Safari: A Travel Journal,” a photo collection of all the places they’ve been.

Pathfinders Travel’s P.J. Thomas helps you see beyond the beach when traveling

Since the day she was born, P.J. Thomas hasn’t stopped traveling. Her father’s work in the Air Force kept her family on the road throughout her childhood. But it was that lifestyle that inspired P.J. to become a travel journalist and eventually start her own magazine, Pathfinders Travel.

For the past 14 years, P.J. has been telling readers what’s beyond the beach and what’s in the heritage and culture of a coastal destination. So when Friendly Planet Travel ran into P.J. at The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show, Melissa got a few minutes to catch up her with on camera.

If you want to do more than sightsee on your next trip, and become part of the local culture, watch the interview. P.J. shares with Melissa some great travel advice on what to do to become accepted into the local community in a foreign country, even if you’re only visiting for just a few days.

They also talk about how P.J. started Pathfinders Travel magazine, the beaches that should be on every traveler’s to-see list, tips to make sure you’re always being a respectful visitor in the country you’re exploring, and much more. Thanks P.J. for spending some time with Friendly Planet Travel at the Travel Show!

Why a tour of America’s deep South trumped one travel expert’s trip to Antarctica

I base my livelihood on selling tours to exotic locations. But when I was told why a trip down South was better than a trip to the edge of the world, I wanted  to share with you the reasons why, despite the fact that I do not sell any tours to that region.

When we were at the The Philadelphia Inquirer Travel Show, Melissa talked to travel journalist Reid Bramblett about why his trip to America’s deep South trumped a trip he took to Antarctica.

And it wasn’t the amenities that made one trip better than the other — it was the experience. That’s what travel is all about. Experiencing the world the around you. You don’t have to book a five-star hotel or spend thousands of dollars on first-class service.

Sure, it’s nice to do that once in awhile, but traveling is about interacting with new people, seeing different sites, and sharing the experience with others. And it just so happens that Reid found an extraordinary trip in his own country, traveling with his dad, and visiting a not-so-off-the-beaten path, exotic location.

Reid explains his travel philosophy in a conversation he had with Melissa at the show. They talked about ways travelers can turn an ordinary vacation into an extraordinary one, when and where you should splurge while traveling, how to immerse yourself in the local culture, tips to get through airport security faster, the #1 item you should have in your carry-on bag, and much more.

See what Reid has to say in the video. It’s an interview packed with valuable travel advice from someone who has written or contributed to over 30 travel guidebooks and founded ReidsGuides.com. Thanks Reid for taking the time to chat with Friendly Planet Travel!

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