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Travel Trends for 2018

December 27, 2017
Whether 2017 was filled with good times and perfect vacations, or existential dread and airport delays, it’s time to put the year in the rear view and take a look at the next 365 days. No year is more promising than when you’re booking your travel for it: Wide open schedules, endless possibilities, and big, big dreams.

For 2018, certain trends in travel are already starting to make themselves known. If you want to know the types of trips about which your donors might be thinking, you may think about it through the lens of one of these inclinations we’re seeing for the new year.

Relaxation and Rejuvenation

The AARP puts together its own list of travel trends each year, taking into account the whole range of travelers, but focusing on seniors. For 2018, the organization says that more of its members will be traveling for relaxation (49 percent) than in 2017. Similarly, “get away from everyday life” also saw a bump in percentages, with 47 percent of respondents mentioning it as a reason for hitting the road.

Heading Abroad

American Express’s travel unit is reporting a 44 spike in international booking for the first quarter of 2018, according to a company press release. A potential reason: More and more travelers (72 percent, in this survey) say that they enjoy learning about different cultures while on vacation, and 25 percent say that learning about history, art and culture is the most important travel goal for 2018.

Multigenerational Travel

Families traveling together will still be popular in 2018, and its joys aren’t limited to the grandparents. Pop culture website PopSugar, which aims at teens and twentysomethings, put together its own top 10 travel trends list, and multigenerational travel took the second spot. Trips like cruises or accommodations like villas make for great family reunion staging points – there’s something for everyone, and enough room for everyone to have some privacy, too.

American Cities, for the Locals

Those not interested in traveling abroad are seeking out American cities, but not just for the major attractions, according to the Editor-in-Chief of National Geographic Traveler. Instead, vacationers are looking for those locals-only secrets: the hole-in-the-wall restaurant with gnocchi to die for, or that speakeasy with the secret entrance. It gives the visitor to meet locals and chat, learning about a new place through its people and not just its buildings.

Culinary Travel

Hitting the road for the perfect slice of pizza or an amazing wine is not going out of style in 2018. According to Rezdy, an app that works with tour providers, winery tours made the top ten of tour categories for 2017, and with the increasing importance of food culture, 2018 may be a banner year for those brewery crawls, restaurant tours and even dinner cruises.

We’ve got non-profit fundraising auction travel packages to take advantage of each one of these trends. Reach out in the new year to find out how!

Racing Down the Slopes

December 20, 2017

In less than two months, the nation will watch as America’s top skiers compete at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. Every four years, the sport takes a prominent position not just in the sports landscape, but that of pop culture, as well; television ratings spike as year-round sports fans and novice viewers alike cheer on the United States through the television.


To coincide with the Olympics, this might be the right time to offer a skiing travel package at your next non-profit fundraising auction. Want to send your donors down the slopes? Here are some of the places where we can help send them:


Telluride, Colo.: This small mountain town may not get the attention of glitzier neighbors like Aspen and Vail, but its bucolic nature has its own charm. The gondola that takes visitors from the Mountain Village to the town itself is the only one of its kind in the country, for instance. But you’re hear for the skiing, and that is plentiful; Telluride Ski Resort has more than 2,000 acres of runs for amateurs and experienced skiers alike.


British Columbia, CA: Whistler might be best known as the home of many of the skiing events of the 2010 Winter Olympics, but hosting the games is not the only honor that’s been bestowed upon the resort. Whistler Blackcomb in consistently ranked as one of the top ski resorts in North America, and with our trip, you have ski-in, ski-out access.


Lake Tahoe, Nev.: It would be hard for any skier to run out of powder in the Sierra Nevadas, thanks to multiple resorts within just miles of the front door. Last winter, Tahoe ski resorts got more than 500 inches of snow, meaning there was always a fresh layer upon which to ski.



Stowe, Maine: The state is Maine, but at the Trapp Family Lodge, there’s more than a taste of Austria. It was the home where the real-life Trapp family settled in 1950, and after a fire thirty years later, the lodge was rebuilt into a 96-room stunner. Backcountry and cross-country skiing are the kings of winter activities, but there’s plenty of room for snowshoeing and hiking within its 2,500 acres.

Use Them!

December 13, 2017
Almost half of Americans reported that they did not use all of their vacation days in 2016, according to a survey done by Project Time Off. Last year, that translated to more than 660 million days left unused. Even worse, 206 million of those days could not be “banked” or converted into money at the end of the year. Those hours were forfeited completely, meaning that the American workforce essentially “gave up” $66.4 billion worth of compensation.

We’re biased, of course; our work here is to partner with non-profits to offer fundraising travel packages for auctions and raffles, and if your donors are staying in the office all year, that means fewer bidders. But there are plenty of other reasons to make sure that you encourage your donors to (and that you yourself!) take their vacations as seriously as they take their work.

First, there’s the health benefits. They may be the most often-discussed positives to vacations, but they’re worth emphasizing: Getting away from work, even for a short period, decreases stress, decreases the risk of heart disease, and improve sleep patterns. That’s before factoring in mental health benefits, too. It’s not the proverbial apple that keeps the doctor away, but that feeling of wellness that often comes after a break isn’t all in your head.

Vacation days can also be used as a point of contention during contract negotiations. The easiest way to make it appear that you need that extra week of vacation time is to have actually used your days off in the previous years. If you don’t, bosses may want to trim them back, under the idea that you’re not using them anyway.

Ever get the best idea for solving a challenge at work while in the shower? Or at post-work happy hour? The rest and recharge of a vacation can often help you be more effective upon returning to the job, as well. A 2014 study says that “cognitive flexibility” increased in a sample of workers after returning from a break. That distance from the day-to-day grind, the emails and meetings of office life, can relax the mind and free it up to make associations and connections it might not make while stressed.

Finally, human beings just need rest. Study after study shows that workers are more productive after returning from a vacation, especially one that is stress-free (like our turn-key trips). “"If people are overworked, they're surfing the Internet," author Christine Louise Hohlbaum tells CNN. "They're not contributing to the bottom line." If guilt of not helping the company is why your donors are trudging along in the office, point out that they might be doing more harm than good to the business.

Award-Winning Travel

December 06, 2017

Somehow, beyond all reason, it’s already December, making 2018 just around the corner. With the end of the year comes a barrage of top 10 lists, awards, and other forms of rankings.


We could never rank the non-profit fundraising travel auctions in our Destinations of Excellence catalog, but we do love awards. They make for easy selling points for an auctioneer, a bullet point on a lot listing, and one more reason for your donors to want to go from watching to bidder.


We’ve picked out three different awards to give you a taste of what others are saying about these terrific destinations, while also hopefully giving you a chance to add another bullet point to the lists of each city’s charms.


Charleston: This southern charmer is a big hit over at the offices of venerated travel magazine Travel and Leisure. The editors released their Worlds Best list of 15 cities earlier this year and not only was Charleston the only American destination in the top 10, but it finished second overall. It’s easy to see why: Between the great food, the beautiful downtown district and its temperate climate through the winter, the city has a lot going for it.


Las Vegas: The World Travel Awards have been promoting the tops in the travel industry for more than 20 years, and while there are seemingly enough categories to recognize every city in North America, one name kept popping up. According to the awards, the leading tourist attraction in 2017 for the region was the Las Vegas Strip, while the city itself also won as the leading destination, as well. There’s a reason that the city saw more than 42 million visitors in 2016, a record high according to the Las Vegas Sun.


Chicago: Not every travel-worthy award has to be directly tied to travel, of course. The James Beard Foundation recognizes the best bars, restaurants and chefs throughout the country each year. In 2017, Chicago’s Topolobampo took the crown with its Rick Bayless-led Mexican food (Sarah Grueneberg of Monteverde also took home the prize for Top Chef of the Great Lakes region). It’s not a fluke; Chicago is an underrated foodie paradise which deserves to be known for much more than pizza (though we love its pizza, too!). If you’ve got donors who are big fans of the newest and greatest restaurants, mentioning the Beard Awards is a sure-fire conversation starter.