Wednesday, April 15, 2015


I enjoy planning my journeys almost as much as taking them. I guess this is why I never miss a nearby travel show and wasn't about to miss an opportunity to interview John Golicz, CEO and founder of the Travel & Adventure Shows. They are the largest series of travel shows in the United States and are held annually in seven major cities. After producing more than 60 events that have brought together millions of attendees, Golicz is one of the top experts in the field of travel.

My Vintage Journeys is pleased to share this exclusive phone interview with John Golicz on April 8, 2015:

Good Morning, John. I'm glad to have this opportunity to visit with you. I love going to travel shows, and a chance to interview the guru of the trade is an honor.

Let's start with how it all began—what originally lead you to create the popular Travel and Adventure Shows?

I was always an adventure traveler and enjoyed the boating and other sport shows that were available. However, I couldn't find events specifically for the consumer traveler. This was about 14 years ago, and Europe already had a lot of them. I decided that there was probably a market in the US as well and decided to test it.

Our first show launched in January 2003 in New York City with attendance of over 26,000. They have been growing ever since—booming in the last few years.

How much time do you spend traveling throughout the year?

We do seven shows across the country in the first quarter of the year, which means I am traveling 40 plus days during that time. The rest of the year I travel throughout the world interfacing with ministers of tourism, tourism officers, and travel directors.

I just returned from a nine day multi-generational family vacation in the Dominican Republic where we stayed at Casa De Campo. There was something for everyone, including, beaches, golf, tennis, fishing, horseback riding, scooters. It was wonderful.

What changes do you foresee in the travel industry in the upcoming year?

Self-directed travel is growing: a recent poll of our travel show attendees indicated that 80% are not using a travel agent.

Europe is red hot. The euro is at recent historic lows. Airfares are dropping, and Europe is experiencing a recession so accommodations are more readily available and rate-friendly.

What are some of your favorite European destinations and tips for families traveling together?

We've traveled multiple times with our kids and we try to make the trips kid-directed, as much as possible. For example, when we went on a family trip to Paris and London about four years ago, we gave each of them an opportunity to chose two things that they wanted to do in each city. In Paris, my son wanted to see the catacombs and do the sewer tour. My daughter wanted to go to a museum related to her interests in medicine. They all found something, and we separated at times if necessary.

We also hired a guide for a private walking tour of Paris. We had a three-hour introductory tour of the city, visiting the major sights and neighborhoods and learning how to get around. Now we're acclimated to where we want to go on our own. Later, we did a tour of the Louvre, which was also very helpful.

We are finding that a lot of families come to the travel and adventure shows together in order to plan their next trip. It gives the kids a chance to meet people from other countries, hear the local music, and even taste some of the local food.

We all love travel gadgets and apps. What are the top ones for 2015?

I like the HeadDEFENDER which is a headrest cover for the airplane, train or bus seat. Your head is resting on a clean fabric that feels good and prevents germs from spreading. It comes in a nice carrying pouch, and I always travel with it.

I used the NapAnywhere on my last trip and I plan to use it again. It is an ergonomically-stable neck support that is covered with a foam padding that molds to you and allows for a good sleep while sitting up. I tried it on my last trip, and it really worked—I plan to use it again. .

Another trend I'm seeing is “on demand travel.” I'm coining that term right now because you're really set free on how you travel these days. With apps like, for example, you can just show up in a city and open your app and find a hotel that matches your preferences at discounted prices, in just about any city in the world. Now think about that: I don't have to preplan where I'm going to go. Now there are apps. I can just show up and get a hotel room, and I'm guaranteed it at a good price. I can make restaurant reservations at I can use Uber to get my ride. I'm kind of set free. I can also get train and airline tickets. RickSteves also has free on demand walking guides on his website for many cities in Europe.

Do you have a favorite travel gadget that you never leave home without?

I always travel with an iPad and iPhone.

Do you like to take photos when traveling? If so, what camera do you use?

I use my iPhone for photos rather than a camera. It's more convenient and I can send them anywhere.
Another tip is to copy important docs and credit card information onto your iPhone in case of emergency—just make sure you have a security code on it.

As the founder and editor of, tell us about the website?

It was launched in February, and I'm really excited about it. We're asking travel experts and others to contribute concise and simple travel tips on a wide range of travel topics. There are a lot of great ideas out there. Our goal is to provide our readers with the most up-to-date travel advice available.

MyVintageJourneys is a website for those of us who like to travel the vintage way, often one month at a time, which leads to my final question: If you could choose one place in the world to spend a month, where would it be?

Italy, I love Italy. We'd like to take a trip for a month where we will spend a week in four different spots. We're thinking about Tuscany, Venice, Sardinia, and Sicily.

Thank you, John—this was very informative. I'm already looking forward to attending the next San Diego Travel & Adventure show January 16-17, 2016. 

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