The AAA Great Vacations Travel Expo Brings Travel Inspiration to Columbus, Ohio

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With the holidays drawing to a close—and the cold, grey, Central Ohio weather settling in for a few months, our dreams turn to sunny, warmer days and fun-filled travel plans.  If you need a little inspiration, the annual AAA Great Vacations Travel EXPO is right around the corner!   

The AAA Great Vacations Travel EXPO runs Friday, January 16-Sunday, January 18th, at the Greater ColumbusConvention Center in Downtown Columbus, Ohio.  The annual EXPO offers a one stop shop for everything travel related and this year’s Great Vacations Travel EXPO is no exception.    

Visitors to the EXPO will find everything from family friendly entertainment, travel experts, vacation information, and celebrity visits to special EXPO only discounts and deals.

What will you find at The AAA Great Vacations Travel Expo? 

Vacation Marketplace: The EXPO has assembled an incredible lineup of hundreds of the world’s top travel destinations.

Paradise Pavilion: The Paradise Pavilion transports guests right out of the cold to warm, tropical vacations at extraordinary resorts throughout the Caribbean and Mexico.

Lake Erie Shores & Islands: Guests can set sail for Lake Erie Shores & Islands at this special feature area.  From Cedar Point, to Put-in-Bay, this fun-filled beach environment boasts interactive activities that bring the unique Lake Erie Shores & Islands experience to life.

AAA Explore Store: Packed with free travel guidebooks, maps and brochures, the Explore Store is where guests can receive expert advice and great deals on the perfect vacation.

AAA Kids Day:  Kids Day, jam-packed with kid-centric entertainment, activities and workshops, takes place on Saturday, Jan. 17 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.   These special kid-friendly activities are designed to entertain youngsters while providing useful tips and advice for Mom and Dad.  Some Kids Day highlights include:

§         The EXPO's popular "Passport for Prizes” game which offers guests a chance to win a family getaway to sunny Myrtle Beach. 

§         The Great Outdoors area, presented by Metro Parks, gives Mom and Dad a chance to take a breather while kids enjoy interacting with wildlife, a putting green and other outdoor-related activities.

§         Exotic animals transform the Travel Stage into a full-on menagerie at Noon with The Farm at Walnut Creek.

§         A costumed General Sherman re-enactor brings history to life at 10:30 a.m. with kid-friendly tales of the Civil War, presented by Fairfield County Visitors and Convention Bureau.

§         Well-known hiking expert, author and speaker Jeff Alt offers his tried-and-true tips for hiking with kids at 1 p.m.

§         Guests can meet and have family photos taken with everyone’s favorite cartoon character, Snoopy, and fish for fun prizes all day long on the sandy beach, courtesy of Lake Erie Shores & Islands

AAA Travel Stage: Appearances, live entertainment, events and workshops are led by leading travel experts and well-known celebrities.  Travel Stage higlights include:

"1,000 Places to See Before You Die" author headlines Travel EXPO
Patricia Schultz, Three-time New York Times bestselling author, is scheduled to appear at the Great Vacations Travel EXPO on Friday, Jan. 16, at 2 p.m..  Shultz will share adventures from her 25 years of travel writing; detailing insider travel secrets and taking audience questions during an open Q&A session.  She will also be available after her appearance to chat with visitors and sign copies of her books of her books and chat with guests.   In addition to her writing, Shultz is the executive producer of the popular Travel Channel Show, “1,000 Places to See Before You Die,” which was inspired by her book. 

Esquire restaurant editor & James Beard Award winner to appear

Josh Ozersky, the editor of the esteemed Esquire magazine’s food and restaurant coverage, will appear on the AAA Travel Stage at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 17, and will answer audience questions about the best food cities and restaurants for travelers.   Ozersky was recognized for excellence in food writing with the prestigious James Beard Award for his work on New York Magazine's "Grub Street," Ozersky received additional James Beard nominations for his work on New York Magazine's "Grub Street," Ozersky received additional James Beard nominations for his writing in Time, The Wall Street Journal and OzerskyTV.

Travel EXPO hosts renowned daredevil Nik Wallenda

Celebrated daredevil and high-wire artist Nik Wallenda, representing the seventh generation of the legendary Great Wallendas, will also headline at the EXPO. Wallenda takes the AAA Travel Stage on Sunday, Jan. 18, at 2 p.m.  Wallenda’s presentation will detail the experience of walking a tightrope, what makes him do it and how travelers can see the world from a different angle. Wallenda also will answer audience members’ questions and pose for photos. 

The AAA Great Vacations Travel EXPO is always a great spot for travel inspiration and resources--as well as loads of discounts and special travel deals.  Since many of the discounts and offers are only available at the EXPO--and booking is even available on the spot from some vendors--plan to bring along your calendar and means of payment!

About the AAA Great Vacations Travel EXPO
The Great Vacations Travel EXPO, presented by AAA, opens Friday, Jan. 16, and runs through Sunday, Jan. 18, at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Downtown Columbus.   EXPO hours are: Friday noon to 7 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are available at the door or at any AAA Ohio Auto Club store for $8.  AAA members who show their AAA card will receive 50%-off on admission.  Children ages 16 and under are admitted at no charge.  For additional event details, or to purchase tickets in advance, visit

Disclosure:  This is not a sponsored post--simply an event that we have attended, enjoyed and wanted to share!

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