Skift Take

Skift staffers weigh in on their travel resolutions for 2020. Prepare to be inspired, both by their goals and by the work they will continue to deliver in the New Year.

As the new decade fast approaches, Skifters took a moment to contemplate where their travel adventures would lead them. With the mindful travel movement gaining momentum and the rise of flying shame, there’s no doubt that many Skift staffers are reconsidering how they approach the ways in which they connect with the world. Global travel helps define who we are, but it also transforms us and those we care about in ways we least expect.

Explore New Places

The Old Quarter in Hanoi, Vietnam. Alexey Pelikh/Adobe

I got a shiny new passport recently — this time with extra pages. Technically it’s good for the next decade ahead, but my resolution is to fill it up with 33.3 percent of the places I’ve never been to before within the next five years. And, by the way, just in December, I got five stamps already Nice, London, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Costa Rica so I’m feeling optimistic about achieving this goal. — Carolyn Kremins, President
My 2020 resolution is to make good on my promise to my wife to take a trip in celebration of our 25th wedding anniversary. Our destination will be somewhere we have not been before where we can soak in new topography, culture, and cuisine. I’m thinking about a nice big bowl of pho in Hanoi. And, of course, I will endeavor to use those accumulated points so we can fly in style. — Michael Cunniff, Chief Financial Officer

In my early teenage years, I was fortunate to visit some incredible and remote destinations. My mom developed a travel website and hired me as her still photographer. My pay? Visits to destinations throughout South America, including Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands, Peru’s Urubamba Valley and Machu Picchu, the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil, and even the Falkland Islands. Those experiences taught me the value of travel.

Between then and now, I’ve visited most of Europe, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Singapore, Vietnam, Canada, and Indonesia. I’ve been up and down the Eastern Seaboard and taken road trips through the middle of the United States. And, though I’ve spent time on the West Coast, I’m embarrassed to say: I’ve never been to Los Angeles. For me, 2020 will mark 10 years of living in New York City, and, since moving here from Miami, I’ve lost at least twice that number of friends to L.A. That number includes my colleague Matt Heidkamp, who is now based in L.A. with my colleague Jeremy Kressmann. It’s about time I figured out what all the fuss is about. Watch out, Matt and Jeremy — my travel resolution for 2020 is to visit L.A. — Kat Townsend, Vice President, SkiftX

I did not achieve my goal of staying in a Swiss sanatorium this year, which was a major personal disappointment. Maybe this year I can find one closer to home. In 2020, I’d like to finally drive through the American Southwest for days at a time, stopping to eat giant steaks and sleep in crappy motels. — Andrew Sheivachman, Senior Enterprise Editor
I am making it my mission to travel to Dubai next year to live the life of luxury that I know I deserve. I’ve seen too many of my peers go there this year, and now it’s my turn! The World Expo 2020 will be hosted in Dubai so it’s the perfect time to go and experience the Emirati hospitality! — Amy Dame, Marketing Associate, Events
My travel goal in 2020 will be to go to South America — completing touchdown on seven out of seven continents. Speaking primarily English, Polish, and French, I have always been intimidated by language barriers. After traveling all across Asia, however, I realized locals are willing to point you in the right direction when they see that confused, “I know the place is in this area somewhere” look on your face. If all else fails, I can always resort to Google. — Jennifer Kedzierski, Sales Coordinator
Where do I begin on that list? Okay, in order of importance: Bahia — for the learning journey for culture and history. Vietnam — because my brother and his wife will be moving there to live when they retire in a few years. Hawaii — to avoid the Americanized mainland. I would thank the good Lord above for any one of those trips! — Jacqueline Smith, Office Manager & Executive Assistant
Not sure where work and vacation will take me in 2020. But one goal I have is to see more of South America. My family and I almost booked a trip to Iguazu Falls last year but wound up going to Europe instead. Perhaps this will be the year! — Jay Shabat, Skift Airline Weekly Senior Analyst

Quality Family Time

Hikers in the Cotswolds, UK. Fas Khan/Unsplash

My travel resolution for the year: Now that my son will be five years old next year, I would like to do some dad-son trips next year, starting with long weekend trips. We haven’t yet tried that as a family, and the ability to bond one-on-one as a parent, one at a time, is an experience I want to have in my travels and share it with my son. — Rafat Ali, founder and CEO
My 2020 New Year’s resolution is to surmount my fear of traveling with an infant, now that I actually have one for the first time. In March I wrote a Skift company blog post concluding from numerous interviews with Skift parents that traveling with young kids isn’t as grueling as it looks. But I still don’t believe it, especially with air travel: schlepping with extra gear, the hassle of security, the buffer time for diaper changes and feedings. Like so many Americans, however, my family is spread out and I want to go see them. I live in New York; my in-laws live in Washington, D.C.; my father and brother live in Texas; and my cousins are anywhere from Detroit to Seattle. I can only stay put for so long. — Sarah Enelow-Snyder, News Editor
My travel resolution: To show my young daughter a new country to experience its language and culture. She’s just at the age where she’ll be able to remember family adventures, ask “why?” when she sees something new, and have that experience shape her future. I also want to pack for trips in a way that is designed for low waste, specifically to avoid the need for any plastics. It’s a problem none of us can ignore any longer. — Brian Quinn, Editorial Director, Events
My 2020 resolution is to kick off a lifetime of travel with my family. After moving a few times and having two kids, this is the year that we settle in the New York City metro area — and also start getting out of town! Ideally the first stop is teaching our three year old to ski, the second is a warmer break from winter, and the third … I’m not sure yet, but hopefully it’s not too far behind one and two. — Rebecca Hochreiter, Vice President, Marketing
In 2020, I’m looking forward to a possible trip to Italy with my husband and daughter her first international trip! but I’m equally excited to plan some group travel with our extended families and friends: a trip to the mountains and/or renting a big house near a beach. It’s a great way to spend quality time and has the added benefit of free babysitting! — Danielle Wagstaff, Director, Emerging Brands
Now that we have a puppy, we are all about finding ways to travel with our dog. Our 2020 resolution is to find great road trips to enjoy with a pup. — Deborah Knudsen, Executive Sales Director 

Engage More Deeply

Donje Celo beach on Kolocep Island, Croatia. Harlequin9/Adobe

Our resolution for the New Year is to be smarter travelers. So what does that mean? Be deeper researched. Feel like we are transported even before we board the plane. Read more books (fiction, nonfiction) and local press, blogs. Watch movies. Listen to music. And remind ourselves that it’s not worth making the trip if we aren’t constantly curious. Tom Lowry, Editor-in-Chief
I’m looking forward to returning to Whidbey Island in Puget Sound, Washington, where you can spot bald eagles and stop at farmstands along the meandering roads. And there’s nothing quite like walking down toward the beach, surrounded by the scent of Douglas firs, at Deception Pass. But this time, I’ll convince my family to take an extended nature walk, and if we’re lucky, we might just spy some orcas. — Faye Chiu, Assistant Managing Editor
In 2019, I set foot on two continents I’d never been to with trips to Asia and South America, one of which was largely interrupted by a serious knee injury. Mostly, that’s just bad luck — but it also got me thinking about how I approach travel: self-pressured to see and do absolutely everything. There will always be 100-plus things to do in every new place, but there’s also sitting in a coffee shop for three hours with free cake from the owner, new friends who take you to their favorite restaurant, and having your lazy Sunday somewhere else. I think living like a local is a lot simpler than the planning we tend to put into a trip. My resolution for 2020 is to travel a bit more like this, wherever I go next. (I’ll also probably never skip travel insurance again.) — Dawn Rzeznikiewicz, Brand Strategist, SkiftX
In 2020, I’m looking to travel off the beaten track with my family — to purposely stay in places with no Wi-Fi and no TVs! Our goal is simply to connect with nature, spend quality time together, immerse in local life, and enjoy dining spots serving freshly caught fish, with a token glass of wine, of course! Everyday life is hectic, and we will never be as young as we are today — so I’m looking to make my holiday time count. My family will start with a trip to Kolocep Island off the coast of Dubrovnik, Croatia, accessed by boat only, with no Wi-Fi. — Bev Bailey, Sales Manager, Europe
After spending most of the second half of 2019 taking it easy and recovering from shoulder surgery, my 2020 travel plans will prioritize getting outside and being active. I want to make time to do some skiing this winter, plan at least one good wilderness backpacking trip in the summer, and look for more opportunities to stay active any time I’m on the road. — Jeremy Kressmann, Research Editor, SkiftX
Unplug when I am on vacation. I know it’s impossible to fully enjoy the destination with a glowing screen in my hands. I aim to put down my smartphone to experience new places and engage with new cultures while disengaged (at least on some days) from the virtual world. — Paige Lee Peiqi, Strategist, SkiftX 

Commit to Sustainable Travel

The garden at Bangkok Tree House. Bangkok Tree House via Agoda

My new year’s resolution will be to be a more conscious traveler, everything from who I book with to mode of transport, vacation experiences, or food choices. Oh, and travel lighter. — Kate Irwin, Commercial Director, Europe & Middle East
Climate change has been on my mind. So my travel resolution for the New Year is to make up for my travel-based carbon emissions by cutting back elsewhere. I’ll avoid eating meat for breakfast and lunch, for example. Beef production rivals air transport in amplifying climate change. The clearing of carbon-absorbing trees to raise cattle is one reason, says a powerful new book, We Are The Weather. — Sean O’Neill, Travel Tech Editor
I spent a night recently in a small resort in a jungle called Treehouse Koh Yao, an hour’s boat ride from Phuket, Thailand. Ninety-five percent of the staff are from the village, the motto is “Plantastic” (using non-plastic substitutes), and visitors include hornbills and other species that thrive because the hotel has a program to maintain the surrounding jungle habitat. I’ve been on the lookout for another treehouse and found one that’s right in the city. The Bangkok Tree House says it’s not for everyone; I read the whys and it’s for me.

I’m also in the mood for voluntourism. I did a deep dive on elephant tourism, and I might join a seven-day program by the Save Elephant Foundation where volunteers help with tree planting and restoring a jungle habitat an hour north of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap, Cambodia. — Raini Hamdi, Asia Editor

This is an easy one: fly less. Europe is blessed with an extensive railway network, and even though plane tickets are on the surface pretty cheap, once you add on extras such as baggage or seat selection plus the journey to the airport, it’s comparable in price. When you factor in all the elements of the trip together, travel times can be remarkably similar as well. Add in the fact that you can get much more work done at the same time, and it’s a no-brainer. Oh, and it’s way, way better for the environment. — Patrick Whyte, Europe Editor

Connect With Roots

The Caribbean town of Santa Marta in Colombia. Mehdi/Adobe

I intend to reconnect with the country that gave me citizenship: Colombia. Even though I was born in the United States, I qualified for a Colombian passport because my father was born there. The last time I was there was for a milestone birthday a couple of years ago, and I managed to convince 10 friends to go with me. The people are warm. The food is delicious. The music is intoxicating. The history is fascinating. I’ve already been many times to most of its major cities, including Bogotá, Medellín, and Cartagena. But next year, I want to explore other parts of the country such as Tayrona National Park near the Caribbean town of Santa Marta, Mocoa in the Amazon, and Salento in the Coffee Triangle. It’s time to get back to my Colombian roots. — Nancy Trejos, Hospitality Editor
Small town America is a fascination of mine, and I’d like to do more random weekends to them in 2020. It’s an ecosystem of down-to-earth vibes that remind me of the humble roots I was born into. Going back to that world helps me appreciate where I am and where I want to go. The stories of those small towns and their residents are often forgotten because they aren’t flashy or loud. On another note, Ireland is international trip numero uno for me in 2020. — Sean Willey, Subscriptions Sales Director, Skift Research
Travel priority No. 1 for me in 2020 is to get a German passport based on the fact that both my parents were born there but fled Hitler. That would get me easy access to the European Union — what’s left of it if Brexit happens — and perhaps my kids could inherit these passport rights as well. If the politics in the U.S. gets too horrid, I’d have an option to get set up elsewhere. — Dennis Schaal, Executive Editor
My travel resolution is to connect more with history via travel. That starts simply enough with reading up on the places where I already have trips scheduled. But I would like to start planning more travel from the get-go with the purpose of touching a specific place in time. I’m thinking that might mean visiting important world sites, such as battlefields, or on a more personal level, connecting with my family’s heritage in Eastern Europe. —Seth Borko, Senior Analyst, Skift Research

Try Backyard Travel

Great Western Railway class 57 diesel. The 57603 Tintagel Castle works the Night Riviera. Geof Shepphard/WikiMedia Commons

My 2020 travel resolution is to travel more in the country I live in. This has less to do with the reality of Brexit and lowering my carbon footprint — though the latter is a nice bonus — and more because I have historically been very bad at this. Specifically, I’m keen to visit the Lake District for a walking holiday — and let’s be honest, to visit as many old pubs with roaring fireplaces as possible. I also am keen to go on any trip that starts with a sleeper train. In the UK, I’ve got two options for that: the Night Riviera Sleeper from London to Penzance, Cornwall, or the Caledonian Sleeper Train, from London to several cities in Scotland. — Rosie Spinks, Global Tourism Reporter

Tens of millions of tourists from all over the world visit California every year, and some days I think I’ve heard from all of them about places in this state that I, a resident, have never been. I’ll start with corners of the city I live in, San Francisco, that I’ve never seen and resolve to visit as much of this beautiful part of the world as I can in 2020. — Madhu Unnikrishnan, Editor, Skift Airline Weekly

I just moved to California last year and have so much to explore. My travel resolution for 2020 is to take more road trips, weekend adventures, and nature hikes around the state on a more frequent basis. Japan and Hawaii are also top of my list for longer getaways. — Matt Heidkamp, Creative Strategy, SkiftX

My travel resolution for 2020 is to take more weekend getaways. Having grown up in the sprawling Midwest, I sometimes forget how many cool places are accessible from New York City by train in just a few hours. I want to challenge myself to take advantage of this more! — Meghan Carty, Analyst, Skift Research
This year was the year of travel for my family and me — lots of local and international trips. So next year my travel resolution is to actually explore New York City a bit more and travel to visit family. — Sonali Sen, Brand Strategist, SkiftX

Reap Rewards … or Break Free

Edinburgh Airport runway at sunset. Chris Fleming/Flickr

My travel resolution is to get a handle on all of my travel points and miles before they expire! — Amy Cogan, Sales Director
Like most road warriors, I have a favorite airline. I’m not sure I love this airline, but I’m stuck in its ecosystem, so I can gain the perks that come with loyalty, including upgrades, extra-legroom seats, and checked bags. But I cover this industry, and I realize my loyalty is irrational. I spend more money on this airline each year, and each year I earn fewer perks. I resolve in 2020 to try the competition. — Brian Sumers, Senior Aviation Business Editor

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Photo credit: The Skift team on a beach in Easthampton, New York, during the company annual retreat in June 2019. Skift

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