Skift Take

Skift staffers weigh in on their travel resolutions for 2019. Prepare to be inspired, both by their goals and by the work they will continue to deliver in the new year.

Skift staffers are an ambitious bunch, especially when it comes to travel. That’s only fitting for a company that seeks to define the future of travel; we have to know what we’re talking about.

What struck me when my colleagues shared their travel resolutions for the new year wasn’t just that they had big goals — a surprising number of them are planning trips to Japan in 2019 — but that they are thinking hard about how they want to travel,  experience a place, and how they want to feel when that trip is over.

And what made me laugh was the wide range of answers, some of them contradictory. Many colleagues want to embrace loyalty programs fully, though one wants to break out of loyalty confines altogether. Several are eager to travel with their kids, except for those looking forward to child-free getaways. And while multiple Skifters resolve to relax on trips, at least one wants to “master winter camping and bushcrafting.”

The common thread: everyone wants a richer, more meaningful travel experience — whatever that means to them. The travel industry is forever trying to unlock the secret of meeting customers’ shifting demands. Maybe a few keys can be found here.

Be More Loyal (or Maybe Less)

A plane at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. Flickr/Gordon

My first resolution will be to break out of the confines of travel loyalty programs whenever possible and try as much as new as possible with a super open mind. My second is to focus on more Africa stories from unexpected angles and spend as much time as I can there.
— Colin Nagy, Columnist
This year is going to be the one of traveling bachelorette parties for me, so my resolution is get a credit card with travel reward points so that I can treat myself to an international vacation using those points once all of these trips are over!
— Gianna Greco, SkiftX Project Manager, Digital & Events
In 2019, I’d like to use my airline miles to fly first or business class. I’d like to travel somewhere for a more cultural experience versus relaxation and sun, and lastly I’d like to travel abroad strictly for personal fun instead of for business purposes.
— Natalie Bonacasa, Vice President, Marketing
I swear in 2019 I’ll stick with my hometown airline, United, as often as possible, and avoid playing the field. This way when I fail to rack up enough miles for free flights and upgrades, and when I see 75 elite flyers board before me even though I bought priority boarding and wait impatiently in Group 2, I’ll know that I fought the good fight.
Dennis Schaal, Founding and Executive Editor
My main resolution is to take loyalty programs more seriously. I have miles with some major U.S. airlines, but I tend to assume I’ll never see dividends, and therefore don’t try very hard to accumulate status, which is a self-fulfilling prophecy. My secondary resolution is to visit the Dakotas as part of my dorky mission to visit all 50 states. Shockingly, I have had memorable experiences in 48 of them, and only these two remain.
— Sarah Enelow-Snyder, Assistant Editor
1. Talk to a fellow passenger on a plane because even though it’s against my principles I find the few times I do I’ll meet someone with an interesting story to share.
2. Take lessons from airline reporter Brian Sumers on how to use my million plus miles and become a master of points.
3. Get to Australia so I can check off “Been to all 7 continents x 2”
— Carolyn Kremins, President

See New Places

Tokyo in June 2015. Flickr/Yoshikazu Takada

My travel goal for 2019 is to stop being a chicken, and be more adventurous in my travels. I plan to visit at least five new destinations by the end of the year and do something I have never done before in each of these places. I also aim to spend at least one day as a tourist in my own city every month. NYC has so much to offer, and I kinda take it for granted.
Sonali Sen, Strategist, SkiftX
In 2019, I’ll look to go to at least one country I’ve never been to. It’s been my “resolution” for the last five or so years to go to one new country every year. So when I’m old and gray, I’ll also be considerably well traveled :)
Daniel Calabrese, Enterprise Sales Director, Skift Research
My travel resolutions always involve an activity first; there is a purpose before location. Planning a trip will start from checking out my favorite band tour, music festival, museum exhibitions, or local holiday festivals to experience different cultures. My next travel goal will be to join a group trip to Egypt; I’m so obsessed with their ancient mythology and dying to see the Pyramid and the Sphinx.
 Andrea Yang-Yanez, Designer
Our plan for 2019 is to make more road trips and continue to explore the USA. We are big history buffs with a minor in water parks so are looking forward to Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, and the Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Texas. Our goal is to complement their in-class learning with the “up close and personal” sensory experience.
Deborah Knudsen, Executive Sales Director
I’ve only visited a small slice of Asia, and I aim to correct that in 2019 with a long swing through spots like Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand in the coming year. And as long as I’m there, might as well see Seoul and Tokyo, too, right? For me, 2019 is gonna be the year of the noodle.
Paul Brady, Editorial Strategist, SkiftX
I find that I’m starting to enjoy my travels outside of big cities more than ever. Increasingly, at least for me, a lot of big cities are starting to feel more and more the same. So, my objective for 2019 is to spend more time in second-tier cities, towns, and villages and soak up the local flavor.
Joanne Laipson, Events Editorial Producer
I aim to haul my ass to Japan after years of dreaming about it and saving up frequent flyer miles. It’s a cliche, but I want the full Tokyo: noodle shops and neon-lit nightlife, karaoke and tea ceremonies, mountain trails and Shinto shrines.
Sean O’Neill, Travel Tech Editor
I want to see a great deal on a ticket to some overseas place I’ve never been and book it on the spur of the moment. This will also be the year I finally visit my mom’s birthplace: Niagara Falls. And after a dog-friendly road trip in Maine last year, I want to find an equally pup-accommodating state nearby to explore with my husband and two dogs.
Hannah Sampson, News Editor
Master winter camping and bushcrafting; visit Nepal Everest base camp; live, work, play for a period of time like the locals in whatever country I travel to.
Richard Chen, Video Producer
My travel plan for 2019 is to visit friends and family in Hong Kong then reroute to Japan for my honeymoon. My goal is to spend as little as possible on accommodation in Japan so we can use the money on food. So we might try capsule hotels! Anything with a roof works!
Ping Chan, Senior Designer
2019 will be a departure from a normal travel year for me, since I’m getting married this summer and budgeting my time and money around that. My main focus will be a honeymoon (weighing Japan vs. Bali. And yes I realize these are trending). I’m also taking a lot of the wellness and self-care trends I’ve been reading about to heart, so considering doing a solo trip pre-wedding to spend some zen’d out quality time with myself.
Alison McCarthy, Editor, SkiftX

Explore Close to Home

Manhattan as seen from Brooklyn. Flickr/ilirjan rrumbullaku

As a newcomer to the east coast, I’ll be taking advantage of the proximity to other cities that New York offers. For a longer trip, I will be traveling to India for the first time at the beginning of the new year.
Alex Winkler, Support Associate, Skift Research
Working in New York City, I spend way too much time on trains in crowded tunnels or battling tourists on crowded sidewalks. On good days, I do get the chance to commute on a ferry, and those days are just the best. So for 2019, I want to spend as much time on the water as humanly possible. A sightseeing cruise up the Hudson River? Yes please. A sailboat along the coast of Maine? Book it. A lazy day on a great lake? Hand me the life jacket. A two-week jaunt along Turkey’s Mediterranean coast? Hand me your credit card.
Jason Clampet, Co-Founder of Skift, General Manager Skift Table
In 2019 I’d like to see more of the U.S. and travel smaller and smarter. This past year I went to Greece, and while it was beautiful and exciting, it was also exhausting (and not cheap). I’ve recently realized how much beauty there is to be seen without having to go international. Some mountains on the west coast are at the top of my list!
Lindsay Bashan, Account Manager
My resolution is to go somewhere new in the NY Metro area one time per month. I’m starting with Brooklyn — there are so many great spots that I still haven’t been to in the boroughs. Lots of places on my list to explore upstate too!
Amy Cogan, Sales Director
I want to start doing more weekend trips across Southeast Asia! I used to do this a lot when I first moved to over here but I’ve become really lazy when it gets to the weekend and usually opt to stay in Singapore. But there are so many cool places nearby which only require a couple of hours travel time. It’s time to take advantage!
Joey Kukielka, Asia Sales Director

Travel With Family — or Without

A family traveling in Shanghai. Flickr/Lawrence Wang

Put my phone down and disconnect — especially when with the kids. Dive in to travel loyalty programs/points head first; I travel so much at the moment for work and leisure and not taking advantage of the kick backs that are out there. Buy a decent camera to capture our adventures.
Kate Irwin, Sales Director – Europe
My travel resolution for 2019 is to get more efficient at hauling a baby around; whether it’s by car, bus, train or plane. I would also love to take my daughter out of the country in 2019, preferably somewhere in Europe, but may have settle for a tropical destination (read: shorter flight).
Danielle Wagstaff, Advertising Director
In 2019, I’m looking forward to traveling to India for a friend’s wedding without my 2-year-old daughter. I love her, but a 10.5-hour time difference with a toddler is not an ideal vacation.
Mike Linden, Developer
I love to travel with my daughter, age 20 months, and I think my wife and I are above-average airplane parents. But neither of us have ever traveled alone with our daughter. We are intimidated by the prospect of it, and we wonder how we can can get all the gear from point A to point B without adult help. We know parents do it all the time, though. So my New Year’s travel resolution is simple: In 2019, I want to travel alone with my kid. Wish me luck.
Brian Sumers, Senior Aviation Business Editor
In 2019, my travel goal is to take my family (husband + kids age 7 and 9) out of their comfort zone. I resolve to visit places near and far where we spend time with people who look, talk, eat, and live differently and we see things (wildlife, landscapes, art!) we’ve never seen before. I resolve to better understand the world and my place in it.
Lisa Weier Parilla, Director, Business Development
My resolution: as a busy dad-of-a hyperactive-toddler and an entrepreneur, I have lost a bit of my single-days travel mojo the last few years, in 2019 want to do at least one longish solo trip to rejuvenate. Need to work on my wife on how to pull that off :)
Rafat Ali, CEO and Founder

Strike a Balance

A man waits for sunset on a beach. Flickr/RV_Navigator

My travel resolution for 2019 is to find a better balance between relaxation and activity. I don’t travel a ton, so when I do, I feel pressured to pack as much activity in as possible and to stick to a tight itinerary. This has resulted in some unforgettable experiences, but I have learned that there is just as much to gain from taking it slow and hanging out at the beach or a local cafe. Plus I don’t feel like I need a vacation to recover from my vacation.
Meghan Carty, Research Analyst
I resolve to plan less and experience more in 2019. I love planning vacations, as I plan everything else in my life. But the best memories often come from serendipity. Like the time my boyfriend and I were kicked out of our Uber on the side of a mountain road in central Costa Rica and we had to hitchhike and get a ride from a truck driver. Hoping 2019 will bring more adventures!
Gabi Donchez, Digital Marketing Manager, Events
I want to check in to an Austrian sanatorium and spend 10 days sitting in a chair outdoors covered from head to toe sipping hot cocoa.
Andrew Sheivachman, Senior Editor
Travel more deliberately. In a world of low-cost flights, bucket lists, Instagram photo tagging, and weekend escapes, it’s surprisingly easy to turn travel into the equivalent of eating fast food: something consumed quickly, but with minimal appreciation. My goal in 2019 will be to travel to fewer places, but to enjoy those destinations for longer periods of time.
Jeremy Kressmann, Research Editor, SkiftX
Go abroad. I didn’t make it out of the country at all this year! When traveling, spend more time on airplane…mode, that is. Pictures only. Sharing memes can wait until I’m home.
Dust off my hiking boots. (This one is not going to happen. I don’t even know where they are.)
Rachel Bronstein, Developer
I resolve to do more breathing exercises during “down” vacation times (ha ha isn’t vacation a downtime?) Queuing at immigration, breathe. Waiting for boarding to be completed, breathe. Can’t stand the person who is in my way because he/she is reading whatever on the phone, breathe. May be I’ll be a more patient person in 2019.
— Raini Hamdi, Asia Editor
Since I’m working remotely for Skift, I know what it’s like to run around the planet, trying to see everything you can in a short amount of time, wearing yourself thin. My resolution for 2019 is to relax into travel more. Journal more regularly in cafes, do more yoga, climb more mountains, chat leisurely with locals more, embrace different cultures more.
Rebecca Stone, Senior Research Analyst

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Tags: destinations, loyalty

Photo credit: Skift staff in Puerto Rico at the annual retreat in 2018. Resolution: Go somewhere just as great in 2019. Skift

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