Smithsonian Journeys Dispatches

Perpetuating the State of Travel


If the truth be told, my travel adrenaline starts pumping at the slightest provocation. Even a drive beyond Washington’s infamous Beltway causes me to sprout little beads of excitement, eager for whatever small adventure lies ahead.

So imagine the swell of excitement that preceded our journey to Italy and Croatia this year – an adventure that started in January with our decision to book, propelled us through a winter and spring of reading and musing, transported us there, literally, in June, and remains vivid with our expanded knowledge, photos, memories and new friends.

A travel marketing guru I heard speak earlier this year explains the 40/20/40 equation of travel: 40% anticipation/ 20% trip/ 40% echo.

By that measure, we are still in that long stretch of our Italy-Croatia afterglow, even as we luxuriate in the first 40% of our upcoming trip to New Zealand! With lots more journeys on our wish list, I’m hopeful that we’ll be living in a perpetual state of travel –- anticipated, experienced and recalled — for a long time to come.

Catering to that ‘perpetual state’ provides unique opportunities for non-profits in travel to brand and enrich the before and after phases of educational tours. Carefully selected articles, for instance, curated by your study leader, and sent via email links, can provide a common context for travelers, helping to build a virtual community, and preparing eager lifelong learners like Larry and me in ways that go beyond the standard tour bulletins and reading lists. And afterwards – why stop the learning? A travel summary penned by your expert or institutional representative, a photo journal, and a means by which to stay in touch with fellow travelers are just some of the many ways to brighten the afterglow. What better way to remind travelers of your unique educational advantages, and how much you value them as part of your ongoing learning community.

Amy Kotkin was the Director of Smithsonian Journeys, the educational travel program at the Smithsonian Institution, from 1994 until her retirement in 2013.