The Deal Mommy

4 Takeaways from the DC Travel Fair

Events like the Travel and Adventure Expo this past weekend not only entertain me and my family, but educate as well. This past Sunday in addition to the Deal Kids spending quality time with a kookabura and burning off energy on the rock wall I took away 4 bullet points to share with you:

  • Andrew McCarthy is the real deal. Yes, that Andrew McCarthy. His talk was the highlight of the show hands down. As a father of three who espouses travel with his kids but rejects fear and living in the “bubble” of 100% luxury, his quote that “travelers are the last best hope for the world” made me want to stand up and cheer. Put away your OMD records and pick up his travel memoir The Longest Way Home: One Man’s Quest for the Courage to Settle Down“. You won’t regret it. And while you’re at it, grab Lights, Camera…Travel! (Lonely Planet Travel Literature), which is a really fun anthology of Hollywood stars and their travels that McCarthy didn’t write, but had a heavy hand in editing.
  • Busch Gardens annual passes could be a great value, and you can pay monthly with no interest. I need to look deeper into these (expect a post in the near future).  I had a great chat with the BG folks and basically a single visit pays for a seasonal pass, but the annual pass is just a little more and also includes parking and food discounts (and will get you into food and wine/Christmastown/Spring Break).  The fact that you can pay monthly with no interest makes it much more like a Hulu/netflix subscription and also makes me consider the 2 or 3 year all park Platinum pass more within reach…I’d love to hear from any readers who use the monthly pay feature and whether they feel they’ve gotten the value out of it.
  • There are a lot of regional destinations I know NOTHING about. The folks at each table (especially the less-known ones) are passionate about where they’re from and LOVE to tell you about it!  Give them a minute and you’ll learn about caverns you didn’t know existed, rapids you can tube, parades you can visit, and festivals you can crash.  I hope to take some time exploring some of these places off the beaten path soon and encourage you to do the same.
  • The Destination Experts are happy to help you if you have specific questions. I am so grateful to Rosemary of Via Mondo who gave me some terrific city suggestions for my trip to Italy in August to help avoid all of the crowds. Her unique knowledge saved me hours of research! Use the resources available to you at the expo to fill in gaps in your upcoming trip schedule.
  • I also wanted to give a quick shout-out to the Deal Mommy readers I met at the Expo with their own families. It’s great to see you out and about planning your own adventures. What did you take away from the fair? Please share in the comments.

7 thoughts on “4 Takeaways from the DC Travel Fair

  1. AMJ

    Regarding the Busch Gardens passes…we live about an hour and a half away from Sea World San Antonio which has similar annual and seasonal passes (called the Fun Card). We’ve had annual passes a couple of times, but this time we did a combo of annual pass and Fun Cards.

    In December, they had a deal (which they seem to have every year at Sea World San Antonio) where you could purchase a Fun Card that was good for the remainder of 2013 and all of 2014. Like you said, those cost almost the same as a one day ticket. We ended up with Fun Cards for my husband and kids, but I got an annual pass so we would get free parking, food discounts, etc. Because of the time of year that we purchased the passes and tickets, they will all expire within a couple of weeks of each other. I think the big disadvantage to the way we did our tickets for this year is if you wanted to attend special passholder only events or if your spouse is the one making food/merchandise purchasing. I always seem to be the “snack runner” so it made sense for me to be the family passholder rather than my husband. It was also more of a possibility the kids and I would go without him. It also looks like the Busch Gardens Fun Cards only go through September 1st.

    We’ve also purchased annual passes halfway through the summer. This worked out very well for us. We went enough during the half summer we had the pass that we didn’t feel like we were missing out on anything the rest of the summer.

    Depending on your plans, I think the platinum pass can be a very good value, especially if you are going to Orlando. It’s a big commitment though.

  2. Becky

    I’ll also comment on Busch Gardens – we’ve never done a season pass since I can’t imagine going more than once or twice a year. If you or your other readers are in the same boat, there are still deals to be had. They had tickets for the Howl-o-Scream this year at $36pp on Living Social (cheaper for kids). Throw in a 20% coupon, their standard buy 3 get 1 deal (invite your friends), and a shopping portal payout and it worked out to about $20pp. Of course, those types of deals require you to be paying attention (something I know you’re good at!) and stacking discounts.

    On a different note, thanks for the book recommendations!

    1. The Deal Mommy Post author

      Another good option! I think it also depends on how long you visit. We tend to do Wburg on vacation certs so longer weekends or even a week in summer. Also, the kids never get sick of theme parks, esp. Water Country in the heat. Thanks, Becky.

        1. The Deal Mommy Post author

          Thanks, Becky. I do admit to snoozing on KD as it’s just not as fun for a weekend for me due to lack of overnight options. But for a daytrip, its fine.

  3. Pingback: Groupon: 20% promo code for ANY Event or Activity= $28 Busch Gardens Tix! | First2Board

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