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Travel resolutions for a new year

New Years is just around the corner. The 2011 travel season is complete, and you’re preparing for the trips to come in 2012. The season lends itself to both reflection and anticipation.

As you prepare for what your New Year brings, I hope you’ll join me in a few resolutions for faith-based travel:

1. Make travel a ministry. You may be just beginning your adventure as a church group travel leader, or you may have taken people on tours for decades. Either way, you will gain a lot by recognizing the ministry potential of the trips you plan. People who travel with you are trusting you with days or weeks of their lives — take advantage of that time to make a positive impact in their lives.

2. Enlarge your territory. Many groups have traveled to the same handful of popular tourism destinations for years, and I think it’s time to widen the net. There are hundreds of great places to see in this country of ours, and you’ll find wonderful, surprising experiences outside of our borders, as well. Tried-and-true destinations will always have a place in your travel program, but you can’t imagine the wealth of wonders you can see until you travel outside your comfort zone. (We’ve included resources to help inspire in this issue, with travel features covering Branson, Cincinnati, Washington’s Puget Sound and the fascinating country of Jordan.)

3. Engage your youth group. Travel is a staple of many church youth groups, and many young people have dynamic faith experiences on youth group trips. From retreats and camps to adventure trips and service projects, young people have a wide range of exciting travel opportunities at their doorsteps. If your church youth group hasn’t done much travel, encourage it to give travel a try. You can share the resources in this magazine with your youth leaders or even offer to lend your expertise in trip planning.

Happy New Year, and happy traveling in 2012!