Most people travel vicariously by watching the Travel Channel on television or reading travel sections in such newspapers as the New York Times. Of course there are a host of magazines that provide the armchair traveler with a foreign fix.
Of late the Travel Channel has morphed into something far afield from travel. You can see ghost stories, watch some guy named Adam force food down his mouth as though he was competing in Nathan’s annual hot dog eating contest or see Anthony Bourdain trying to impress everyone with how cool he is.
Samantha Brown has been marginalized by that channel. About the only place to see good travel television is on Create TV where presenters such as Rick Steves, Rudy Maxa, Ian Wright, Joseph Resendo and others travel with the intent of bringing the experience to you.
The average person will never be able to see the world, but there is an inexpensive and easy alternative. Two shows recently held in New York City, afford all comers a wonderful travel experience.
The New York Times Travel Show, an annual event at the Jacob Javits Center, brought together representatives of some of the most exotic destinations into one venue. New York travel opportunities were presented, as were China, Cuba, Costa Rica, South Africa and scores of other destinations.
Each booth was manned by representatives knowledgeable about that destination and enough material to hand out that would make a recycling plant envious. There were also travel packages offering show discounts.
Cruise lines such as Celebrity were on hand to discuss their ships and the wonderful ports they visit. Grenada’s Spice Island Resort, arguably one of the most beautiful island resorts in the world, was represented there as well.
With more than 500 exhibitors it would seem to be virtually impossible for an attendee not to find something of interest. The reps at the booths were all quite knowledgeable and never rushed anyone. They discussed the details of their destination, resort, accommodations, and, in many cases, offered to work out an itinerary for anyone ready to go.
There were also travel experts there for seminars on various aspects of travel. Arthur and Pauline Frommer, two of the tops in the industry, producers of one of the major lines of travel directories, passed along their expertise.
The Frommers autographed copies of their books. Other well-known travel writers holding book signings were Joseph Rosendo, Eileen Ogintz and Peter Greenberg amongst many more.
Another show that you’ve missed for this year as well was the Luxury Technology Show at the Metropolitan Pavilion on W. 18th Street. Luxury was immediately evident as you walked through the front door and wanted to take the first exhibit and run…a $300,000 McLaren sports car.
The metallic shine on the car lit up the eyes of everyone who passed it. Most somehow managed not to drool on the paint job. From that introduction there were more booths with many items affordable to the average wage earner…barely.
Technology was on display. Watches that Dick Tracy would have been proud to own gave the wearer the ability to make calls, view call logs and email/text messages, have Bluetooth capability and even count the number of steps you take in a day. The Android SmartWatch was one of the most visited booths at the show.
With all that technology running out of juice is a frequent happenstance. A pocket-sized gizmo, the Puku, solves that problem. Coming in six color choices the unit carries enough juice to provide three to five full charges for the average smart phone.
The Puku is compatible with Apple and Android smart phones, tablets and many devices that have a tendency to die at the most inopportune time.
A truly space-age unit, the Emperor 1510, looks like a science fiction pod that provides a closed-off work space as a cone drops down over your head while you are seated in a comfortable desk chair.
In front of your face are five screens and on a swivel is a keyboard. Controls on the armrests allow you to move the pod up or down, sideways or backward and forward. Capt. Kirk would have loved this on the Starship Enterprise. It had more versatility than even the imagination of his writers thought of. The unit is not cheap, selling for about $23,000. But what a gift it would make to give yourself.
There were several stations with earphones that act as either Bluetooth stations or sound suppressors for noisy environments or air travel. Other booth, such as Honeywell, had the latest in thermostats for the home. They are remote and wireless and voice operated.
There’s no question that the future is here.