Travel and Adventure Show: Comparing Chicago and Los Angeles Shows

With renowned travel professionals like Rick Steves and Samantha Brown, entertainers representing countries from Ireland to Fiji, cooking demonstrations by noted chefs, and booth after booth of exhibitors offering information and guidance on exciting travel options, the Travel and Adventure Show is a must experience for travel lovers. I had attended the Chicago Travel and Adventure show three years in a row and looked forward each year to learning about new places to visit, checking out the latest travel gadgets and enjoying the entertainment and speakers. I had mixed feeling this year when my husband and I decided to escape the Midwest winter and head west, as I would miss the Chicago show. It turned out the timing was right to attend the Los Angeles Travel and Adventure Show instead, giving us a chance to check out new destinations and compare the two shows.

Travel and Adventure Show Exhibit Floor Comparison

The exhibit floor is laid out similarly in Chicago (held in suburban Rosemont) and Los Angeles (held in Long Beach). Booths are categorized with local regional destinations at the lower-numbered aisles. International destinations and tour companies are generally in the higher-numbered aisles. This layout makes it convenient to browse the destination types that interest you.

Travel and Adventure ShowI thought the Chicago show was large with approximately 200 exhibitors, but it turns out the Los Angeles show is larger, with about 300 exhibitors. Speaker and entertainment stages at both shows are around the perimeter of the exhibit floors.

Exhibitor Comparison

Some domestic destinations exhibit at both in Chicago and Los Angeles shows, but both shows include many travel destinations specific to their own regions. In Chicago, we found a lot of Michigan and Wisconsin destinations, whereas the Los Angeles show included a lot of California, Nevada, Arizona and Utah destinations. Although I spend most of my time in the Midwest, it was nice to learn more about several places I plan to visit in the West.

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Likewise, several international destinations are the same in both locations, including African safari tour companies and South Pacific island countries like Fiji. However, more Asian countries exhibit in Los Angeles than in Chicago because of the closer proximity.

Fiji exhibit booth
Entertainment at the Fiji exhibit booth

Speakers and Entertainment

Key speakers were essentially the same in both Chicago and Los Angeles. The difference this year was that Samantha Brown wasn’t in Chicago. Pauline Frommer, Rick Steves and Peter Greenberg spoke at both shows. Besides the key speakers, several additional seminars are held at each show, many unique to the particular show.

Samantha BrownEntertainment ranged from international dancers on the Global Beats Stage to cooking demonstrations in the Taste of Travel Theater.

Irish Dancersramen cooking demonstrationShow visitors had an opportunity to try out a Segway in both Chicago and Los Angeles. However, camel rides or a spin around the floor on a 19-centurty tricycle were unique activities in Chicago. In Los Angeles you could climb a rock wall or roll around in a Bubble Roller land orb.

rock wallBubble Roller

2017 Travel and Adventure Show Schedule

The 2016 Travel and Adventure Show schedule is just about completed, but it isn’t too early to put one or more of the 2017 shows on your calendar. Here is the schedule for the remaining 2016 shows and some of the 2017 shows:

March 5-6, 2016                San Francisco / Bay Area

March 19-20, 2016           Philadelphia

January 14-16, 2017         Washington D.C.

January 21-22, 2017         Chicago

February 18-19, 2017      Los Angeles

March 4-5, 2017                San Diego

April 1-2, 2017                    Dallas

If you go

You can obtain discounted tickets by purchasing them online ahead of time.

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Disclosure: We received complimentary passes to the 2016 Los Angeles Travel & Adventure Show. However, all opinions are my own.

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