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Bon voyage: Travel Extravaganza showcases vacation opportunities

People browse a booth and peak into a treasure chest of prizes during the 28th annual Travel Extravaganza at The Landing’s ballroom Feb. 24. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

People browse a booth and peak into a treasure chest of prizes during the 28th annual Travel Extravaganza at The Landing’s ballroom Feb. 24. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: March 3, 2016

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (March 3, 2016) -- More than 1,000 people had the chance to escape the drudgery of a normal work day to examine the vacation possibilities offered by companies both near and far during the annual Travel Extravaganza Feb. 24.

The 28th annual Travel Extravaganza brought 60 vendors to The Landing’s ballroom where people were able to win door prizes, which ranged from free hotel stays and gift baskets, and browse for their dream vacations all without having to leave Fort Rucker.

People were able to browse vendors that provided vacations that kept them stateside, such as Panama City Beach, Destin and Orlando, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana; Atlanta, Georgia; or those that let them venture into international waters with Caribbean cruises or all-inclusive vacations.

“We want to provide Soldiers, family members, retirees, civilians and the surrounding community an opportunity to learn about the various leisure time options in and around the southern U.S., as well as additional travel options all around the globe,” said Savery Wile, MWR Central business manager. “Our goal is to show some of the amazing, hassle-free and affordable travel options that MWR Central can help to provide and has to offer.”

For Hunter Dalton, civilian, the event was one that was able to give him a glimpse of where he might want to take his next vacation all in one place.

“I think this is a great place to come and check out all different kinds of vacation ideas that you might not normally think of,” he said. “Everyone always thinks about going to the beach for a vacation, but you don’t think about things like the space center or even things are farther away. A lot of times you can stay in a local mindset, and I feel like something like this helps to broaden your decision.”

Dalton also said that the extravaganza can take a lot of the stress of planning a vacation out of the way, too, since there are representatives from each potential vacation spot to help with any questions.

“When you’re planning a vacation on your own, you’re not always going to know who or where to go to get the information you need,” he said. “Searching things on the Internet is convenient, but sometimes nothing beats being able to ask an actual person about what you might be able to experience, or what the best package would be for your family. The person-to-person interaction is really one thing you can’t find when looking online.”

While patrons are browsing for their potential dream vacation, people were also participating in a passport scavenger hunt, where people had to get their special passports, which were handed out for the occasion, marked by as many vendors as possible. Once they filled their passport, they were eligible to enter to win one of many door prizes, including gift baskets, amusement park tickets and hotel stays.

“I thought the passport scavenger hunt was a cute idea,” said Cory Partner, military spouse. “It turns the experience into kind of a game, so even if you don’t find a vacation or if you do, it still makes it a little bit exciting.”

“We just want to be able to offer events like this, so that people know what is out there for them to explore,” added Wile.

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