First time Overland Expo question

#1
I plan on going to my first Overland Expo (West) this year, and have a question. This being my first time, what are your opinions on getting the regular tickets vs the full experience tickets? I read somewhere (can't remember where) that someone suggested just going the first time, and taking the whole thing in. My thinking is, if I am going to take the 2 or 3 days off of work, then I should get as much out of it as I can, and go with the experience package and take as many classes and seminars as possible. Thoughts from expo veterans are appreciated.
 

Andy

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#2
I paid for the experience the first time (that sounds awkward) and was left feeling like I wasted the money (not getting better)...

Jokes aside, I felt that half of the classes or seminars were from people trying to sell something (“I cover this in detail in my book, available today for a discount...”) and the other ones were things I had already learned myself. I’m not suggesting I got nothing out of it, I did learn some new things, but I felt the return on investment wasn’t there. The biggest benefit was the ability to ask questions from knowledgeable and experienced individuals.

My experience was 6? years ago so I can’t comment on the current lineup. On that, ensure you register for classes as early as possible, they fill up fast!
 

buckwilk

Adventurist
#3
I plan on going to my first Overland Expo (West) this year, and have a question. This being my first time, what are your opinions on getting the regular tickets vs the full experience tickets? I read somewhere (can't remember where) that someone suggested just going the first time, and taking the whole thing in. My thinking is, if I am going to take the 2 or 3 days off of work, then I should get as much out of it as I can, and go with the experience package and take as many classes and seminars as possible. Thoughts from expo veterans are appreciated.
I've done both and will tell you that it depends a lot on you. If you like to immerse yourself in experiences then go for the full boat. If you mainly hit the surface and move on the daily visit may be your ticket. Regardless, you will have a good time and learn lots. Hope this is helpful.
 

smlobx

Adventurist
#4
I'm sure others will chime in shortly.
The way we approached it is if you want to take part in some of the actual driving events I believe you have to purchase the "Experience" ticket. If you don't want to do that then just the regular ticket should be fine.

Keep in mind that there is more offered than you can possibly do in one weekend so choose your events carefully.
 

Andy

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#5
I'm sure others will chime in shortly.
The way we approached it is if you want to take part in some of the actual driving events I believe you have to purchase the "Experience" ticket. If you don't want to do that then just the regular ticket should be fine.

Keep in mind that there is more offered than you can possibly do in one weekend so choose your events carefully.
Anyone can sign up to drive one of the JLR vehicles on the test track, but only experience package customers can take their vehicles on it.
 

Dave

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#6
Keep in mind that there is more offered than you can possibly do in one weekend so choose your events carefully.
This.

I’ve heard lots of people say this. There is SO MUCH going on at an Expo that you really need to pace yourself.

If you’re going to take classes, you’ll need to put on the blinders as you walk to class because the shiny squirrels are everywhere... :lol

Experience or day pass you’ll have a great time.
 

Doug

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#8
All are great options. When I first bought the full experience, it was only a couple of months before the event. I learned the hard way that class registration is released in groups, with the earliest registrants offered first. I can’t fault the decision to do that but by the time it came for me to pick classes, several were full. Had I known I wouldn’t get some of the basic classes I was seeking I would not have purchased the full experience until the next year and registered at my earliest opportunity for priority selection the following year.
 
#9
I would echo the thought that it depends on you and particularly your level of experience and then added to that your desire to learn more about all that is overlanding. If you are comfortable behind the wheel on the trail and in other "overlanding" situations, you might just be fine with the camping only option. If you are truly new to the whole concept of vehicle based travel on and off road, consider the "experience" as money well spent.
 

TangoBlue

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#10
All good observations but there is much accuracy in the information submitted by one member who has posted twice so far. You get to figure that out. I am a big advocate for at least attending an Expo event once in your life for the exposure to the activities, community, and market place. That being said, much can be learned here without even enrolling in a class.

If you should choose to purchase the "Experience" package please add a very large grain of salt. There are some really good instructors and some not so accomplished; some information is spot on, some is subjective and opinion-based, and in a few circumstances a fabrication of the truth. Some of the best experiences can be gained by simply walking around the camping areas and initiating a friendly dialog. There is absolutely no reluctance from "Overlanders" to talk about their project vehicle, trailer, or motorcycle.

If you are a complete "noob" to this activity please don't take everything you learn from the "Experience" package as "gospel". It's good information but do dig into the activity of interest to learn more. Especially when seduced by the "farkles". Even among the hundreds of vendors and some of the products offered for sale... do your research before handing over your personal treasure. Remember, "spend your money wisely, once".
 
#11
Thanks for the info everyone. My friend and I both decided to sign up for the experience package. We were # 217 & #216, not sure how many experience packages they sale, but hopefully we are not near the end. Also, my friend paid for the paid camping spots..... anyone know if they will let 2 vehicles park in one space? I know it says, 1 vehicle, 1 trailer, and 1 motorcycle, but do they enforce it?
 

Andy

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#12
In the past camping was included with the experience package? Might want to double check. Also, camping is usually tight quarters with each vehicle admitted to the camp ground with a pass.
 
#13
In the past camping was included with the experience package? Might want to double check. Also, camping is usually tight quarters with each vehicle admitted to the camp ground with a pass.
Non- reserved camping is included with the pass. He got the reserved camp site in the Fort Tuthill Campground, with water, bathrooms, camp showers, etc. He said he will call this morning. I get part of the experience is camping "primitively" in the woods next to thousands of other people, but I also always camp on snob hill at Mountain Rendezvous, away from everyone.
 

Dean

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Founding Member
#17
Overland Expo West 2019 will mark my 7th expo (four easts and 3rd west). It will also be my 6th as an instructor.

As echoed by previous statements, there is a LOT going on at expo. There's a social layer (the people), a trade show layer (the vendors), and the educational layer (workshops). No single human can do all of one area let alone the whole show. What you'll need to do is decide what you want out of expo. There is no one right way.

I can say the classes are well worth it. Lots of great information. However, as some as mentioned, there's some misinformation in some of them too, however In my opinion that's gotten less so over the years. The bar has slowly gotten higher each year. I'd say do you homework and do a quick google each of an instructor if you're interested in their class.

That said, there's also a lot to get out of it from the trade show aspect. There will be tons of vendors and if you manage to visit them all you'll probably have blisters by the end of the event (bring good footwear, extra socks, and lots of foot powder). Don't let the commercialism get you down. Yes there will be tons of people selling you their wares, but there will also be a lot of great people with great companies making great products who clawed their way passed the big corporations to carve out their little corner of the market. Those are usually the best ones to talk to.

Socially, well, after hours at expo is something that can only be experienced. No story, photo, or video will accurately capture happy hour, post-happy-hour, and the post-post-happy-hour life at expo. Not to mention all the fireside chats in the camping area.
 

Doug

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Founding Member
#18
Thanks for the info everyone. My friend and I both decided to sign up for the experience package. We were # 217 & #216, not sure how many experience packages they sale, but hopefully we are not near the end. Also, my friend paid for the paid camping spots..... anyone know if they will let 2 vehicles park in one space? I know it says, 1 vehicle, 1 trailer, and 1 motorcycle, but do they enforce it?
Good for you! Go and get as much out of it as you can. When I bought the experience, a bicycle was great to have. They have no way of knowing which classes you’ll sign up for so no way to coordinate the time and distance between. A bicycle was very helpful. Unless you think this will be your only trip, don’t stress too much about getting everything in or you’ll not enjoy the experience. Be sure and stop by our booth at some point after hours, chances are we’ll have a frosty beverage to share.
 
#20
The first year I went it snowed. The next year cool, dry, windy dusty. The next time hot dry dusty. This will be my fourth. I am going on the GS. I did the Experience package so I can get the moto classes. It still gets into the 30's at night. A private camp site is nice to get some quiet, I did that the first year at Fort Tuthill. I am camping with the masses this time.

The , non moto, vendor area usually seems like the Wrangler/Tacoma/Land Cruiser show.

As others have stated, there is a lot to take in.
 
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