Finding Inspiration – The Telegraph Travel Show

With a spare Saturday afternoon ahead of me, I decided to indulge my definitely-actually-beyond-my-means travel planning and headed to London’s ExCel centre for The Telegraph Travel Show. With exhibitors ranging from luxury cruises to adventure holidays and short breaks, there was definitely plenty to be found in the way of travel inspo. Although the majority of attendees seemed in a slightly older age bracket than I am (as in, the kind of people who have their shit together, own homes and cars and go on an annual luxury cruise), it was still a fun couple of hours getting new ideas of where I’d like to add to my adventure map over the next few years.

One of my first stop-offs at the show was the Virgin Holidays bus, where I ended up having a lovely chat with one of their reps while planning my route across the room from their top deck. I was expecting to encounter some pushy rep types, trying to convince me to book there and then so they’d be rolling around in commission money by the end of Sunday. But actually, most people I spoke to were just happy to chat about travel in general, which was really nice. The whole idea of my visit was mainly getting inspiration for adventures to come – and inspiration was most definitely found. As well as pretty picture opps…

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I really taken in by Adventure Worldwide – and after entering a competition to win an adventure holiday in Costa Rica (YES PLEASE), I ended up chatting away for ages to one of the girls at the stall about our past and upcoming trips. I’d actually really like to give a more adventurous holiday a go, as sitting on a beach like a stone for seven days with bad chick lit and strong cocktails getting nothing but a sunburn isn’t my idea of fun at all. I love the idea of seeing all the ‘classic’ destinations and I’m not opposed to a bit of sunshine’n’chill. But having an element of exploration and activity as part of a trip really does appeal to me.

The idea of going on safari has been something that hasn’t really crossed my mind all that much, despite being a big fan of animals and visiting (conservation-friendly) zoos. However, after chatting with On Track Safaris (and looking at lots of pictures of lovely big cats), I totally want to go on one of their trips. A registered charity, the On Track Foundation works on leopard conservation, and its safaris focus on educating both visitors and local people about the research programme. One of the top safari locations and home to the Rukiya Safari camp, Kruger Park in South Africa, is absolutely enormous – about the size of Wales, to be not-so-exact – and it’d be high on my list for a safari experience. I definitely wouldn’t be able to afford to do one this year, and probably not next year either – but it’s something I’d definitely look into in a few years time when I’ve got more spare cash.

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As I talked about in a one of my Travel Bucket Lists last year, the Northern Lights are a bigtime ‘must see’ thing to do for me, and I found quite a few stalls advertising amazing Scandi trips. Best Served Scandinavia had THE CUTEST CUDDLY LIL HUSKY TOYS EVER (I wanted to steal one so bad), and I also checked out Hurtigruten Cruises. Their Arctic Highlights trip is totally topping my list right now – mixing a cruise with the beautiful sights of the Arctic? Amazing. And the perfect chance for my first snowmobiling experience…

Some of the companies exhibiting had some really interesting ideas – I was particularly excited by TrustedHousesitters, and not just because the lady at the stall was surprised I was over 21. The baby face strikes again! Even with the likes of AirBnB available to travellers, accommodation can be pretty costly – but TrustedHousesitters offer a way round it. A bit like a cross between AirBnB and BorrowMyDoggy, pet owners across the world sign up to find someone willing to look after their home and pet, in return offering them a place to stay free of charge. As a big fan of both travel and cuddling other peoples’ dogs, this is totally something I’ll be looking into for future travels!

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Although I only spent two hours at the Telegraph Travel Show, I managed to take in a lot during that time – and definitely think it was worth the tenner I spent on entry (yep, I’m a blogger paying for these kinda things myself. Groundbreaking eh?). I have loads of ideas for future travel now – as well as lots of entries into competitions and plenty of leaflets and brochures that’ll be great for making a travel inspiration scrapbook.

Have you ever been to a travel show? What destinations are you thinking about heading to in the coming year(s)?