The Best Bargain in Town: The New York Times Travel ShowStory and photos by Denise Mattia
People from the tri-state area braved freezing temperatures to find vacation bargains at The New York Times Travel Show, which was presented by American Express and held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on the last weekend in February.
I hugged the tropical booths at first to warm up. The dive pool, which offered a free scuba lesson to those who always wanted to know about the sport but were afraid to ask, looked so much more inviting after I'd swayed to the rhythms of Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean. These territories offer visitors consummate ecotourism experiences and cultural riches in addition to sun and fun. And where the dollar has declined elsewhere, US vacationers can still find bargains by traveling south of the border.
Returning to the wealth of activities of the US, I sipped Kona coffee from the Hawaiian Islands, while reading about the native lifestyles, history and hospitality of the Polynesian culture there. I also found booths that offered great deals at full-service spas, and was entertained by penguins, boars, a kangaroo and parrots from Florida's Busch Gardens and Sea World exhibition. Collette Vacations teamed up with Holland American Line and the History Channel and is offering visitors a unique chapter of American History while exploring Alaska with Steve Thomas. Other stateside holiday choices included golf and beach resorts and urban cultural centers from the Keys to the Carolinas, quaint inns in Philadelphia and New Jersey, and crafts in New Hampshire. In addition to my own hometown, New York, art and theatre is thriving amid the pristine landscapes of the Berkshires.
European agencies offer affordable tours to remote, seldom visited European destinations, as well as cruising, cycling, trekking and city excursions. With the Naeroyfjord and Geirangerfjord newly designated as World Heritage sites, these waterways head the list for travelers. Included with the Norwegian Coastal Voyage is a stop in Oslo for the Ibsen Festival in August. In the UK, between April 2006 and April 2007, Stratford-upon-Avon will become an international cultural hotspot as actors and visitors from all over the world descend on the town for a once in a lifetime celebration of Shakespeare. Combining the greatest outdoor museum with scenic beauty and unspoiled charm, Greece, Croatia and the Czech Republic offer excellent travel values, while discounts up to 30% can be found for long-haul travelers journeying to exotic destinations in the South Pacific, Papua New Guinea and Australia, or to Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Japan, China, and India.
I saluted a Canadian Mounty and made my last stop the American Express Booking Station, where I chatted with an advisor about still more exclusive holiday offers. The Times Travel Show gives avid adventure seekers, armchair travelers and occasional vacationers the opportunity to see the world at an affordable price. It will be held again at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center on February 23rd and 24th, 2007
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