Adventures in Travel Expo
Washington Convention Center
The Industry: “Active Travel” and Ecotourism
The Attendees: 14,000 intrepid thrill-seekers on quests for travel brochures
• Survivor 3.0 Pro Edition: Julie Wafaei and Colin Angus recounted highlights of their 26,000-mile, two-year odyssey around the globe. The 100-percent human-powered, zero-emission trip involved cycling, skiing, and rowing in two boats customized to prevent capsizing midocean. The globetrotting couple shared how they survived minus-45-degree whiteouts in Siberia, a hurricane at sea, and a kidney infection in the wild. Other tips: Bicycle (with studded tires) on flat frozen rivers in tundra that can’t be crossed by foot. Invest in a solar-powered desalinator to avoid carrying huge water reserves. And realize a three-tune repertoire will drive your partner crazy when stuck in a rowboat together for five months.
• Trip Hazards: Guidebook mogul Arthur Frommer disclosed 10 falsehoods of travel. Among them: High prices correlate with great experiences, last-minute booking saves money, and cruise lines’ optional shore excursions are bargains. And heads up for two “supreme travel opportunities”: China ($990 for a 10-night all-inclusive) and summer school (as colleges worldwide open dorms, cafeterias, and classrooms to adults seeking to burnish their intellects).
• Thinking Local: Adventurer Costas Christ recalled when Kenyan natives set fire to the Samburu National Reserve, destroying habitat and animals to make a statement. “Don’t ever think tribal people are primitive,” said Christ. “They figured someone was making money on their ancestral lands, and they weren’t getting any of it.” The same peoples now manage the wildlife sanctuary.
• Look, Ma, No Tan Lines!: The American Association for Nude Recreation’s literature included “Nude Recreation from a Woman’s Perspective,” which explains how nude recreation can be “a valid and accepted lifestyle choice in a contemporary society.” The brochure features Elf, an ordained minister who has performed more than 100 nude weddings. She noted, “For me, nudism is all about family.”
• Long-Distance Breast-Feeder: Nursing mothers need not deny themselves a getaway. Instead of pumping and dumping, a women’s-travel panelist suggested moms chill breast milk in insulated bags: Make ice packs with Ziploc bags and then overnight them home to baby.
• Back-Up System: D.C.-based Reware’s backpacks and messenger bags collect solar energy to power cell phones, iPods, and other hand-held devices. Zack Lyman recalled his company’s “huge spike” in sales after Hurricane Katrina. Disaster planning specialists recommended the double-duty $200 inventions for “Go Kits,” so that electrical outages wouldn’t cut off communications. Expect to see a laptop-charging Juice Bag within the next few months.
• Tsuna-Me!: To test out Gore-Tex’s Guaranteed to Keep You Dry outerwear, attendees ventured into the Know What’s Inside Mobile Test Chamber and dialed up their choice of water and wind conditions. Adults emerged as believers; kids begged for repeat drenchings.
• Battle of the Sands: Anguilla tourism honchos’ slogan is “feeling is believing.” Reps invited passers-by to plunge their hands into a bowl of sugary granules. Down the aisle, Antigua-Barbuda’s tub featured what appeared to be pink flakes of glass. North Myrtle Beach took a different tack: It hauled in 25 pounds of saltwater taffy.
• The Purpose-Driven Workout: The American Hiking Society offered pages of trips designed to add meaning and work to your vacation. In 2006, 768 volunteer-travelers contributed 30,720 hours, worth an estimated $554,190, to various trail management and conservation programs. Activities included building wooden walkways to bridge wet, boggy fields; removing duff (leaves, needles, and other natural debris that soak up water and erode trails); embedding rocks or logs at angles to divert water from trails; and clearing trees toppled by wind.