Top Picks: Vancouver Travel Show

outdoor travel and adventure show vancouver 2011[trip style = multiple]

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This past weekend I paid a visit to The Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show at Vancouver's recently-built convention centre {west}, which happens to sit right on the water. Gorgeous. Bonus, my fave Vancouver cafe and hotel are conveniently located right beside it: The Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel {see my review here} and Giovane Cafe.

The Goal I attended the convention with a four-fold objective: a) look out for travel trends; b) see which destinations and tour operators are currently targeting the Vancouver market; c) observe who was attending; and d) sleuth the booths that had it going on. With these goals in mind, here are some of the show's opportunities I wanted to pass on to you...

Honorable Mentions Northern Canada [trip style = adventure] Visiting northern Canada has always been on my travel to-do list, but it's been an I'll do that one day type of desire. Yet, visiting the show a few days ago, reps from the Yukon and Northwest Territories drew me in beyond the famous aurora borealis. Many Vancouverites don't think about visiting the North, yet it's as close as a 2-hour flight away. They say "North of Ordinary" and I'd have to agree. Where else can you experience arctic tundra and snow-capped peaks, 24-hour sunlight and an instant gateway to wilderness?

If anyone wants to weekend up North this spring or summer, here's a great taster: Air North is offering air and hotel packages for $575 {all in} including round trip airfare to Whitehorse and two nights accommodation.

Tacoma [trip style = weekending] In Vancouver, we're all about weekending in Seattle. The only time we mention Seattle and Tacoma in the same breath is when we're referring to the airport {ie. Sea Tac Airport}, but there's more to Seattle's southern sister than the airport, casinos and the Tacoma Dome. On my next trip across the 49th, I'm heading to the Museum of Glass. Located right on the waterfront, this contemporary building is famous for attractions like the Chihuli Bridge of Glass, its outdoor glass art, and live indoor glass blowing. Next time you visit Seattle, check out Tacoma, and if you go in mid-September, "do the Puyallup"...Fair.

Note: if you've ever been to Vegas and seen the glass installation in the Bellagio's lobby ceiling, consider this your taster for what you'll see at the Museum of Glass.

Philippines [trip style = sun] You hear a lot about Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, but not much from fellow travelers about the balmy Philippines, comprised of 7,107 islands. I'd like to visit Samal island and stay at a pearl farm-turned-beach front resort, the Banaue Rice Terraces, and other locations soaked in natural beauty.

Iceland [trip style = adventure + spa] If this doesn't make you want to go to Iceland, I'm not sure what will: soaking in a geothermal pool by day, eating a gourmet meal in the eve and watching the northern lights by night. Nature and culture at its best. You'll also be interested to know that you can get a direct flight from Seattle to Reykjavik, and by flying IcelandAir to Europe, you can stop over for a thermal bath at no extra cost.

No Limit Expeditions [trip style = adventure] The above picture is taken of a tent on top of a Land Rover Defender, your partial accommodation for a No Limit Expeditions trek. Cool. Makes my walking trek to Machu Picchu seem pretty basic. Specializing in boutique overland travel in Central America and beyond, No Limit combines hands-on adventure with luxe lodges, gourmet fare and safari-style camps. They had me expedition + boutique + luxe lodge + gourmet... I'm so in. Check out upcoming journeys to Alaska, Guatemala and Belize.

PS - The Whistler Bungee exhibit was lively, fun and interactive. No, I've never considered bungee-ing, except maybe for a milestone birthday, but don't hold me to that.

[photo by @tripstyler of the No Limit Expeditions exhibit]