Auction offers vacation getaways and gear

From an Amazon River cruise through the Peruvian rain forest to an action-packed getaway in the Smoky Mountains, the Society of American Travel Writers’ annual silent auction offers plenty of ways to get out of town. It runs through Dec. 4, a bit later than usual this year, making it the perfect time for gift-giving.

Who on your holiday list wouldn’t love getting certificates for stays at luxury resorts in the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaii, Alabama’s Gulf Coast or Jekyll Island, GA? As long as the recipient can afford the airfare, that is.

Also up for bid are vacation packages to Toronto, Kansas City, Asheville and Nashville, plus dining and City Pass opportunities in New York City. A Branson getaway even includes airfare.

And I know the golfer in your life would love a trip to Marcliffe Hotel and Spa in Aberdeen, Scotland, complete with multiple rounds of golf on challenging links courses overlooking the Scottish coast. I know this because I won a similar package to this lovely manor hotel in last year’s auction and enjoyed an amazing golf vacation in Scotland in September.

This year’s auction also offers opportunities to be “honorary duckmaster” at the historic Peabody Memphis hotel. taste bourbon in Kentucky and sail away on a Maine Windjammer cruise.

For armchair travelers, there are books, such as “100 Things to do in New Orleans Before You Die” and “1,000 Places to See Before You Die” to whet your wanderlust — as well as a tricked-out duffel bag to take on your travels.

There’s more, much more, all detailed in the auction catalog at

As a longtime member of SATW, I’ve placed winning bids over the years on packages 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 in addition to last year’s Marcliffe and Lochgreen House hotels in Scotland. They were all great vacation getaways that I otherwise may 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 specified time if your bid wins.

Auction proceeds are used for SATW professional development sessions, which helps make for better professional travel writers.


Dinner is served at the Marcliffe Hotel, Restaurant and Spa in Aberdeen, Scotland, one of the vacation getaways up for bid in the annual SATW auction. (Photo credit: 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, Lakeland Boating, Hour Detroit, Prevue Meetings and Group Tour. She has contributed to several books including "Rand McNally 2008 Ultimate NASCAR Road Trip Guide." She also writes for websites including, and