Marty DeSouto

Marty DeSouto

Are you locked into same old, same old? Caribbean one-week cruise, check. Shopping jaunt to the mall, check. One-day gambling jaunt, check. Hey − it’s time to get out of your rut and try something new!

Granted, there may always be those who want to go to the mall, those who like to gamble, and those who don’t care where they go. But is that your role? To take them to the same tried-and-true place just because you know they’ll go − over and over and over?

I don’t think so. While perhaps we need at least one “tried-and-true” trip on our annual calendar, I think folks look to us for new opportunities…..opportunities to spice up one’s social life, challenge our intellect, or satisfy some hidden yearning. Trips your travelers couldn’t do on their own, trips they’d be afraid to try on their own, trips they wouldn’t even know how to begin on their own. Maybe trips they’d read about or dreamed about or heard about from friends but assumed they’d never get to do such a trip themselves.

So, what kind of new trips could we be looking at for the future? Some far-away destination well off the typical tourist track? An evening pub crawl/dine around to new restaurants right in your home town? Maybe one of these new eco-tourism trips? Perhaps a trip with a focus like gardens, music, cooking or even a gentle hiking tour. Celebratory trips for Mother’s Day or Thanksgiving weekend can often be a draw. You might even consider booking with a family adventure company (example: Thomson Family Adventures’ Costa Rica year-end holiday teen adventure).

Other thoughts might be a cruise with a theme (country-western dancing, Big Band era) or an onboard lecture series. Some of your more upscale cruises often offer a program with intellectual depth. Viking River Cruises offers wonderful “Christmas Markets in Europe” cruises on the Rhine or Danube. You might want to design your own “Big Apple” visit to New York including theater, a United Nations visit, the Stock Exchange or one of the city’s wonderful museums (check dates of special exhibits and make advance reservations for admission and a docent guide).

Lots of ladies on your trips? If so, locate a fashion show; even if your folks aren’t potential buyers, most women like to see what’s new in the world of ready-to-wear. Some department stores offer fashion shows on a regular basis, like Galleries Lafayette in Paris and its Friday afternoon champagne with fashion shows.

Long weekends or four- to five-day spans lend themselves nicely to intensive junkets to our nearby neighbors. For example, a Quebec City/ Montreal combination or a Vancouver/Victoria experience. What about a week in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico − a favorite of American snowbirds looking for Spanish-colonial atmosphere, history, art and architecture, perhaps with a class or lecture or two at the well-known art institute there.

Also, don’t forget our own homegrown spots with a Spanish flavor. Four-hundred-year-old Santa Fe, New Mexico offers colorful open-air crafts markets, fiestas, rodeos and a summer opera season, and is known worldwide for its art galleries. Another attractive Southwest destination is San Antonio, Texas with its distinctive River Walk, the Alamo, Spanish missions, history and fiestas.

Maybe you’ve always wanted to check out a new destination but never had the time, money or inclination to do so on your own to see if it’s a viable future group destination. So why not announce that you’re going on a “scouting trip” and invite a few of your good sport travelers to join you as paying participants. They’ll feel honored to be included in your “inner circle.”

These few ideas should give you food for thought. Now it’s your turn. Let me know what new trips you come up with for your travel calendar!