The Day Trippers

Day trips and awards that offer powerful incentives on a smaller budget.

With smaller budgets, smaller staffs, and larger looks of worry across the faces of employees, the importance of strengthening the team and motivating the workforce has never been more critical. A day trip or experiential reward is an effective way to reconcile these needs with a strapped budget. Here are three ideas to get you started.

Gotham Dream Cars

Gotham Dream Cars' Dream Tour offers a day of driving six exotic cars including the Lamborghini LP640 Roadster and Ferrari F430 Spider. The company has locations in New York and Florida, but can provide cars from Boston, to Washington, DC, to Philadelphia from New York, and Orlando to the Keys in Florida. Tours include breakfast or lunch, and amenities include a certificate of completion.

Noah Lehmann-Haupt, Gotham Dream Cars' CEO and founder, says the Dream Tour is "such an adrenaline rush. I get letters from people that say, 'this was the greatest event of my entire life,' because it's such a raw, emotional, fun experience."

Gotham Dream Cars' Dream Share is another distinctive option—a planner can purchase a share to give to a colleague or associate. "You tell someone that he's got 25 to 50 days behind the wheel of a $4 million collection of sports cars and he feels like a millionaire," says Lehmann-Haupt. The package can also be doled out piecemeal to numerous individuals.


The company in charge of providing The Discovery Channel Experiences offers thousands of experiential and day trip options from driving a sailboat for a day, to shark diving, to beauty lessons. Its appeal lies not only in the vast menu of options, but also in how easy it is for corporate and incentive planners to provide their employees with the gift of choice at a selected price point.

With eight "Choice Packages" available from $75 to $500, a planner can pick a price point, which is color-coded so recipients do not see the cost. Recipients have the flexibility to choose from dozens of options at that price.

Kim Crisp, project specialist/human resources for GTSI Corp., an IT company that provides services to federal and state governments, says they have used the program for years. In addition to the variety of choices, she says people love it because, "With our $500 awards, you don't actually have to spend the whole thing at once; you could actually do it in $100 increments, for five experiences."

Dragonfly Expeditions

Like the idea of worldly adventure but can't leave the country? Dragonfly Expeditions offers dozens of historical adventure experiences including a Miccosukee Indian Heritage Airboat Tour that takes participants into the depths of the Florida Everglades, to remote islands once occupied by Seminole and Miccosukee Native Americans—now home to alligators, great blue herons, wood storks, and countless other rare animals.

The adventure company offers visitors an experience that many would not typically associate with domestic destinations, providing a quality trip without the higher expense of traveling abroad. The tours are also a unique option for planners looking for activities within the realm of sustainable travel.

Originally published June 1, 2009

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