Looking back at my 2013 travels

Look back at 2013

I took a break from blogging in the past two weeks because I read a blog post that holiday web traffic is slower (an interesting follow up is this post by Alexis Grant).

I did thought about taking a break until 2014 but then I would be leaving 2013 hanging. Strangely, I do not feel an urge to look back, like I did in 2012.

Maybe it’s because I’ve been updating you guys about my RTW along the way and I feel bad about repeating whatever you will have read by now. Maybe it’s because there are just too many places to write about that it gives me blogger’s block.

Still, let’s take a look at what happened in 2013.

Wait, there is more…!

Why I changed my mind about travel fairs

natas travel fair haul

I used to think that travel fairs are only for people who want to buy packaged tours. Personally, I do not like packaged tours because all activities are packed too tightly and I feel that I am shepherded around. But there are times when tours make sense.

Instead of continuing my bias about travel fairs, I visited the NATAS Travel Fair last year to see if travel fairs are useful for the independent traveller. Kind of surprisingly, my answer then was “yes” since the fair helped me with two out of three questions that I had about travelling.

This year, I visited the NATAS Travel Fair again but this time without any real goals.

Surprisingly, I found the visit even more exciting. Even though there were a lot of people, it was really fun seeing people getting exciting about travelling.

I wandered around the booths and spotted Travel Guard travel insurance’s booth. They were having a 40% promo then. After asking for a quote, I did an Internet check and found that it was slightly cheaper than World Nomads. I did buy it in the end.

I also found many booths of hotels selling vouchers. If you are planning any trips, it’s good to head down to a travel fair and see which hotels are selling rooms at high discount.

In the end, I managed to grab a lot of travel brochures for China, a few tour ads for a colleague and loads of Japan-related leaflets from the Japan booths.

natas travel fair haul
Natas Travel Fair haul

Have you been to a travel fair recently? How was your experience?

Are travel fairs useful for indie travellers?

When I hear the word “travel fair”, I usually think of crowded exhibition halls where travel agencies peddle toured packages. How useful could such a fair be for indie travellers like me?

In the name of research, I decided to pop by the NATAS Fair at expo last weekend. (NATAS is the National Association Travel Agents Singapore.) Held each quarter, the fairs are so popular that people (like me) don’t mind paying S$4 just to get in.

After you pay S$4, they tie a paper tag around your wrist which allows you to enter the halls again on the same day.

So, how useful was the fair? I had three things I needed help with:
1. Information for my March Yogyakarta trip
2. Explanation about a cruise
3. Find a tour agency to help with a round-the-world ticket

I decided that if all three simple problems were solved, then travel fairs can be useful for indie travellers.

Continue reading “Are travel fairs useful for indie travellers?”