Travel

Auction offers dozens of vacation getaways and gear

From the Alabama Gulf Coast to Zihuatanejo, Mexico, the Society of American Travel Writers’ annual auction offers dozens of options to get out of town —  or out of your comfort zone — in the coming year.

Through Nov. 8 at 11:45 p.m., you can bid on dozens of travel-related items, including domestic getaways in the Florida Keys, Smoky Mountains, Santa Fe, and, in Texas, a world championship rodeo in Amarillo and three days at Deer Lake Lodge & Spa, a wellness resort.

Or, you can challenge yourself in various locales with kite-boarding lessons, scuba-diving sessions, whitewater rafting, skiing and zip-lining.

The auction’s headliners are a wildlife safari in southern India, featuring three nights in a tree-house hotel; a 7-day Rick Steves’ European city tour, and a round-trip Canadian rail adventure between Toronto and Vancouver.

Just as dreamy are Caribbean getaways in the Bahamas, Trinidad, and Turks & Caicos, golf and other adventures in Scotland, and cruises on a Carnival ship and a Maine Windjammer.

You can even bid on luggage to get you there.

“Indian Mother and Child” is in a sculpture garden at the world-class Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, WY.,  one of the items in the SATW auction. (Susan R. Pollack)

“Indian Mother and Child” is in a sculpture garden at the world-class Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, WY., one of the items in the SATW auction. (Susan R. Pollack)

Having recently visited Yellowstone National Park, one of this year’s auction gems, I think, is a goodie bag of passes to attractions in Cody, Wyo., a Wild West-flavored town that’s a gateway to the park. The Cody package, valued at $215, includes two summer-season passes to the world-class Buffalo Bill Center of the West, Dan Miller’s Cowboy Music Revue, the Cody Nite Rodeo, Heart Mountain Interpretive Center, Old Trail Town and the Cody Trolley Tour — enough activities to fill three or four days. And what better time to visit than 2016 when Yellowstone and other parks will celebrate the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary?

A winning bid in a past Society of American Travel Writers’ auction was my ticket to Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos in Mexico. (Steven R. Pollack)

A winning bid in a past Society of American Travel Writers’ auction was my ticket to Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos in Mexico. (Steven R. Pollack)

As a longtime member of SATW, I’ve bid on and won packages over the years to St. Simons Island in Georgia, a luxury b&b in South Carolina, several hotels in Florida and the Hyatt Ziva Los Cabos in Mexico — all wonderful vacation getaways that I otherwise might not have considered. As in any auction, though, be sure to read descriptions carefully regarding restrictions on availability, and make sure you can get to the destination during the desired time if your bid wins.

With proceeds used for SATW professional development sessions, the auction’s 81 items are detailed in a catalog that’s entertaining even for armchair travelers. See for yourself at http://events.readysetauction.com/satw/2015

Tickets to Cody Nite Rodeo near Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming are among  items in the annual Society of American Travel Writers’ auction,  through Nov. 8. (Susan R. Pollack)

Tickets to Cody Nite Rodeo near Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming are among items in the annual Society of American Travel Writers’ auction, through Nov. 8. (Susan R. Pollack)

Susan R. Pollack
Globetrotting journalist and former Detroit News staff writer Susan R. Pollack has covered travel since 1985, visiting scores of countries on five continents, 49 states, six Canadian provinces and hundreds of cities, islands and outposts along the way. From Alaska, the Galapagos and New Zealand to South Africa, Thailand and Wales, she has suffered the occasional lost luggage, jetlag and Montezuma’s revenge but still delights in sharing travel adventures with readers. In addition to The Detroit News, her award-winning stories and photos have appeared in major newspapers including the Dallas News, Toronto Star, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Chicago Sun Times; and magazines including Delta Sky, Midwest Living, Long Weekends, Experience Michigan, Jetsetter, Home & Away, Hour Detroit, Prevue Meetings and Group Tour. She has contributed to several books including "Rand McNally 2008 Ultimate NASCAR Road Trip Guide," and is the copy editor for secondchancetravels.com. She also has written for websites including gardendestinations.com and travelingmom.com.