Adventure seekers were lined up before the doors opened February 16th for the two-day 2013 Bay Area Travel & Adventure Show at the Santa Clara Convention Center. By a show of hands at Andrew McCarthy’s Saturday presentation, “The Transformative Power of Travel,” almost everyone in the audience already had a passport. They were at the show to find out how to travel smarter and learn about new destinations.
When it comes to travel, one size does not fit all. McCarthy—a “National Geographic Traveler” editor-at-large, the author of the “New York Times” bestselling travel memoir “The Longest Way Home,” and a movie actor—is an advocate of solo travel, believing it’s easier to connect with people that way.
“I’m interested in moments of connection,” McCarthy says. “I say to people, ‘Hi, I speak English. Can you help me?’ I remember the people that I met, not the Picasso.”
“I find the world a much safer place than we’re led to believe,” he adds to allay the fears of the lone traveler. “I travel to find things out, and traveling has been my university.”
“I enjoy seeing what’s new at the show, and Rick Steves is a big draw for me,” says Joe Lawrence from Mountain View.
Steves is the guru of European travel, and those who came late to his Saturday morning presentation were sitting in the aisle and standing two or three deep to hear his take on “Europe through the Back Door,” which is also the title of one of his 30 European travel guidebooks. In the afternoon, Steves talked about Italy, his favorite European country.
“We’re passionate about our guidebooks. The top nine Europe books are ours. Our books are right up to date,” says Steves. “It’s a $20 tool for the trip of a lifetime for the curious traveler who wants a transformational experience.”
Steves promotes small group tours. “For the right sort of person, our tours make a lot of sense. They give you stuff economically and efficiently that you couldn’t do on your own,” he says. “Our local guides are paid up front. No tipping and no kickbacks on shopping. The kind of people who take our tours are fun-loving, easy-going people who become temporary locals.”
You don’t have to take one of Steves’ tours to benefit from his years of travel experience. Visit his website (www.ricksteves.com) for free information, including a free travel app to upload on your electronic devices. A seminar by Web Buzz columnist Jen Leo focused on the best apps for travelers.
The dilemma of attending the show is deciding which of the many seminars to attend, as some are scheduled concurrently. In addition, exhibitors promoted unique travel opportunities throughout California, the U.S., and the world. For example, visit www.intoreexpeditions.com for information on an insight study trip to Rwanda this summer, showcasing its natural beauty and providing the opportunity to meet Dian Fossey’s endangered gorillas.
Hungry? Visit the Culinary Stage. Want entertainment? The Global Beats Stage had continuous dance and music such as Brazilian dance by Capoeira Irmandade, located in Santa Clara. Want action? Climb a rock wall, try an aerial zip line (www.mounthermonadventures.com), ride a Segway (www.segwaysantacruz.com), walk on water inside a Bubble Roller, and get a free massage at the end of a stimulating day at the 2013 Travel &Adventure Show.
“A few show offers are available only here,” says Ron Lee from Oakland. “The show is definitely worth the price of admission.”