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New Ideas for a New Year

What will you do new in 2023?

You’re probably well on your way to finalizing your group’s travel plans for next year. But as you think about destinations, attractions, itineraries and logistics, this is a good time to stop and consider something more fundamental: What will be new about your approach to your church’s travel program in the new year?

Consider these five ways to inject some new life into your travel program next year.

1. New Places

If your travel program has begun to feel stale or your participants are losing interest, exploring new places might be the key to spark a new passion for travel. If your group typically travels domestically, consider adding an international trip to your agenda for next year. And if you’ve only traveled abroad, this could be a good time to find a destination closer to home.

2. New Experiences

The prototypical group travel itinerary has a familiar rhythm to it: museum, shopping, meal, repeat. But the travel industry has been hard at work developing new experiences that will delight and surprise your travelers. If you have never tried an outdoor activity, a cultural exchange or a food tour, maybe this is the year to give it a shot.

3. New Foods

As a group, American travelers have some bad habits. Among them is a tendency to look for food we’re familiar with, even when we travel to faraway places. This is a shame, because trying local cuisine is one of the most effective ways to connect with a new culture. To breathe some new life into your culinary routine, try branching out to some ethnic restaurants, food halls, food trucks, farmers markets or cooking classes on your next trip.

4. New Tools

The world of travel planning and promotion has changed substantially in recent years. If the methods and tools you use to plan and market trips haven’t kept up, you could be missing big opportunities. So why not make 2023 the year you try some new tools? Explore some of the apps, websites and other technology that can help you work smarter as you put together itineraries, request information from suppliers and keep records for your upcoming trips. And experiment with new communication channels as you promote travel in your community.

5. New People

It’s a story we hear all too often — a group travel program closes because its members age out of the market. Although nobody can travel forever, your church’s travel ministry should continue even as individual travelers can’t. Just like a healthy church, a healthy travel program should be constantly recruiting new members. If your group numbers aren’t what they used to be, perhaps you should spend 2023 inviting new, younger people to join you on your trips. Chances are you’ll enjoy traveling with them as much as they enjoy traveling with you.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.