There are a plethora of travel and leisure shows happening this month. In London there are at least four going on: The Active Travel Show, The Destination Show, The Adventure Show, and of course, The Boat Show.
Travel shows are a great way to see an array of exhibitors and companies under one roof. They are all there to lure and impress you so you may get some great offers, not to mention entertainment, free food and drinks, and a fantastic and energetic vibe that will get you buzzing with excitement.
But while travel shows and exhibitions can be lots of fun, they can also be a tiring and expensive way to spend a day.
So, how can you get the most of out your visit to a travel show?
If you are looking for something in particular, whether is is some new ski gear or even a holiday, do a little research beforehand and find out which stands to visit.
Do everything early
Yes, it is alarm clock time. Get there early and eat early before the queues for food and water start. Also, if you want to take part in any time allocated special activities such as a climbing wall get in as early as you possibly can whilst you are fresh.
Decide on a budget
These shows are a great place to lure you into buying the latest gadgets or clothing and, while you can often get great bargains, you can also easily spend money you really didnt mean to spend. So, set yourself a budget: a certain amount for food and treats and another amount for any purchases. And dont kid yourself you need to spend ALL of it that day! If you know youll end up getting something you probably dont want, leave your credit and debit cards at home and just take cash.
Get it while you can
If you see something you want, whether its a must-have ski helmet for the slopes or a subscription to that travel magazine you have always fancied, it can be wise to just buy it there and then. Because when you go back the stall will no doubt be inundated, sold out or even closed up. Seize the day!
Stop for breaks
You can easily get carried away by the buzz of these shows, but it makes sense to remember to stop for breaks to keep yourself hydrated or just sane! See if it is possible to go outside (Youll need to check with someone as they may need to do something to your tickets or stamp your hand) to get some natural light. If you are with children, having regular breaks is even more important.
Look out for online deals before you even get there. Sometimes exhibitors have vouchers for a free gift on their website, redeemable at the show, or have a deal where they can get you cheap tickets. If youre really on a budget, taking your own lunch and drinks is perfectly fine, but it is nice to have a little something to splurge on a glass of mulled wine or decadent cake just to stop you feeling like you are missing out. Also take some business cards, as many exhibitors have competitions you can enter with a business card.
Look out for quiet spots
Keep your eyes peeled for quiet spots where you can retreat if you need to phone, eat your lunch in peace or just have a quite five minutes.
What the Experts Say...
We also spoke to Tim Holmes from Vos Media VOS who are one of the the largest consumer events companies in the UK, producing events including the Ski & Snowboard Show, The Outdoors Show, The London Bike Show, The Active Travel Show, and Vitality Show. Tim said:
Research the show before you arrive online and make sure you have got a handle on what you want to visit. It might be that some of these are pre-bookable or on a first come, first served basis which will then determine the time of your trip. As an example, we have the London Nocturne running at the Bike Show for the first time this year and there will be Penny Farthing and folding bike races as well as professional ones. However it is only going on in the afternoon / evening so you would need to plan your day. http://www.thelondonbikeshow.co.uk/attractions/ig-london-nocturne/
Leave enough time to have a wander round as well as visit those people you have researched. Also attend with an open mind most people are at travel shows because they have an interesting product / destination. Have a chat what is the worst that can happen?
If you are concerned about crowds, plan to come on a weekday (especially a Wednesday or a Thursday depending on show open hours). For example at the Outdoors / Bike / Active Travel shows starting this week we have already sold a huge amount of tickets for Saturday. As such plan to come on Thursday or Sunday morning if you need to come on a weekend. http://www.theoutdoorsshow.co.uk
To keep costs down (especially if you have kids) bring your own drinks and snacks as venue concessions tend to be high priced.
Finally, sign up to show newsletters well in advance as you will always get the best price from these rather than buying on the door.