Last time, I promised to share more about my family’s excursion to the travel show. I’m mostly sharing “lessons learned” to help you all for next year, along with a couple funny anecdotes about our experience to keep it lively. Enjoy!
- Expect to spend a lot of cash for not a lot of return. After parking and entrance fees, we dished out nearly fifty bucks– a lot to us (especially to me), since I rarely leave the house these days except to take Elena to daycare or buy groceries.
- The walk from the parking lot to the convention space went for miles (at least, that’s what it felt like). Thankfully, the walkway was indoors. Baby Girl wouldn’t have been too happy had it been otherwise.
- We bought our tickets at the door. In hindsight, purchasing our tickets online would have cost less (especially with a Groupon), but people with pre-purchased tickets experienced a tedious wait. The ticket booth only accepted cash, so I kept an eye on the line as Jacob used the ATM, and I observed only a couple of people enter, whereas we zipped right through with virtually no wait. I guess it all comes down to what you value more: time or money. As new parents, time often wins out as the more precious commodity.
- If we go again next year, we’re going to make and bring a custom stamp with our pre-printed contact information. Jacob and I each filled out at least 25 contest entry forms. By the end, I had tired of hand writing my contact info over and over … not to mention, a little concerned about all the spam emails I’d soon receive for my troubles.
- None of the destinations that I’d like to visit in the near future were represented at
the show. There were multiple booths for places like Branson, Mo., Las Vegas, and Oklahoma, but those places aren’t on my list. So, unless you’re in the initial stages of vacation planning, or you’re taking a shotgun approach to picking a location, the show isn’t really a good value. However, you can find redemption in the many chances to win free vacations.
- Don’t go if you’re an agoraphobic. That place was nuts! We brought Elena in her stroller, so we muscled our way through the crowds, but we definitely didn’t linger. If you have a Rascal scooter, make use of it. Those rascal-riders knew best, parting crowds and blocking aisleways like they owned the place. I felt sorry for the regular old pedestrians, constantly stepping out of the way of all of us with our wide berths. Especially the couple of people I saw with their service animals. I was really worried someone would step on or trip over some poor doggie. Here’s hoping they made it out okay …
- We didn’t even hesitate as we passed the Mexico booth– and that’s one of the places where I wanted to learn more. I couldn’t see past the four and five-deep throng of onlookers. My guess is that something interesting was going on, but being only five-foot-two has its disadvantages in crowds, so we pushed through — literally — to the next booth.
- A couple of the contests required entrants be present for the drawing to claim prizes. I might have considered returning for the nine-day trip to Spain, but there was no chance I would wrestle my way back through the crowd for a free bottle of rum from Anguilla. How absurd!
- Now, for the fun stuff. The perfect angel, Elena is always either sleeping or smiling when we venture out of the house (we are such lucky parents!). She slept for the first hour or so. Fifteen minutes after she woke up, Jacob noticed she was missing a sock. Whoops! With the crowd situation, that sock was lost forever. Next time, we’ll pack an extra pair in the diaper bag, along with the extra clothes.
- Before we left, we stopped at the restroom near the exit, and changed her diaper. Around the second mile of the walk back to the parking lot, Elena made another very dirty diaper. We had a super fun time changing her in the back of the Jeep.
Jacob just got a voicemail from one of the travel vendors at the show. We’re hoping for something exciting and glamorous. Knowing our luck, it’s probably an attempt to sell us something, and not to announce that we’ve won an all-expenses-paid trip to the Bahamas. Wish us luck!!