Adventure Travel Show 2012

Adventure Travel Show 2012

Once again we had a fantastic time at the Adventure Travel Show held last weekend (28th to 29th of January) in London. It had moved to bigger and better premises at the Olympia events centre in the heart of Kensington, a great location which meant that even more people eager for adventure were able to attend.

After an initial bit of confusion as to which part of the Olympia to go into (a Doctor Who exhibition was on at the same time which meant the place was teaming with whatever the DW equivalent of Trekkies is!) we made it up to the exhibition hall and were immediately faced with scenes of Africa, Nepal, Latin America, the Middle East and more!

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As well as the exhibitors all keen to show us what their part of the world could offer in terms of adventure, the show had put on an awesome selection of guest speakers including, Ben Fogle, Charley Boorman, James Cracknell, Benedict Allen, Monty Halls and Nick from the Apprentice! We were at the show for two days so decided to take our time and get a few speakers under our belts before exploring the rest of the show.

First up was Ben Fogle who gave an immensely inspirational and engaging talk to visitors about his first forays into the world of adventure expeditions; his near death experiences and a few words of wisdom for those of us keen to pursue our dreams. We hadn’t actually planned to go and see Ben’s talk but are so pleased that we did. It definitely got us in the mood to seek out some more life changing adventures of our own!

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We also squeezed in a highly entertaining Q&A session with Nick Hewer – Lord Sugar’s faithful sidekick on the BBC’s Apprentice. He showed as all a few clips from his travels during the Mongol Rally, when he set off 3 weeks before everyone else in a classic Renault 4 just so he didn’t have to burden the young’ns with a 64 year old doddery driver! One of his tips for those of you planning to cross Russia – bring plenty of rubles as you’ll have to bribe the officials at least every half an hour to let you through. Failing that, he found that a couple of bottles of French wine also worked a treat!

Walking around the show itself, we were pleased to come across the Flying Kiwi stand where Marketing Manager Neil, who we met a couple of years ago at the 2010 Show, was preaching the virtues of road tripping around New Zealand to visitors. We had a great catch up with him – filling him in on all the things we did whilst exploring the North and South Islands by campervan – many of our best experiences having been suggested by Neil himself! He told us that Flying Kiwi is soon launching a new Winter Brochure which will show travellers an entirely new side of New Zealand – we can’t wait to have a nose at that!

Day two of the show consisted of more guest speakers, including Charley Boorman and Russ Malkin who provided an entertaining yet completely ad-hoc session all about their motorcycle adventures around the world. Despite evidently having no plan in place whatsoever prior to their talk – it was great to watch them spar with each other and take time out to answer any questions from the audience. We even managed to grab a few words with Charley at the end of show.

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After an inspiring day visiting stands and chatting with tour operators like Intrepid, Kumuka, Icefall Adventures, Flying Kiwi, Trek America, Tailor Made Travel and Queensland Tourism we began concocting a list of all those destinations that are ‘next’ on our list. A close call between the States and Latin America, but I think the US of A may just pip the Spaniards to the post!

Before leaving, we popped in to say hi to Dave Cornthwaite who had just finished off a talk all about how to plan a BIG expedition. We just had to thank him for taking time out to give us an interview a couple of weeks ago and are pleased to say that he’s just as cool in person as he sounds on screen!

Next year’s show is set to be back at the Kensington Olympia and if you haven’t had a chance to experience the UK’s only show dedicated to off the beaten track adventures then make sure your earmark next January in your diaries! We’ll be keeping you up to date on the dates, speakers and any special offers planned for 2013. The organisers, Escape Events, have done themselves proud once again and we’re sure that, if it’s even possible, the Adventure Travel Show 2013 will be bigger and better than ever!


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