2020 — the year we all wanted to end almost as soon as it began. It’s a year marked by unknowns, Zoom calls, cancelled plans, and waiting — so much waiting. But even in the midst of a chaotic year, we’ve seen so many good things as well. We’ve seen people rise to the occasion and get creative on how they can help others or bring a little joy to someone. Remember the Italians taking to their balconies every night during lock down to clap for the healthcare workers? Or what about those birthday parades? How many of those did you see, hear, or participate in this year?

While we know we are still in the midst of this pandemic, we wanted to take a moment as 2020 draws to a close to look back and reflect on all the good that has come out of this unprecedented year.

Road to Mandalay - Luxury Travel

Award Winning Tour Operator

Topping our list of good things to come out of 2020 is undoubtedly winning Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Tour Operator this year. In addition to winning World’s Best Tour Operator by Travel + Leisure, we were also ranked in the top ten tour operators by Condé Nast in the 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards.

In a year marked by cancelled and postponed trips, winning these awards from the readers of the top travel publications not only bolstered the confidence of our staff, but it is a reminder to you, the traveler, that when you travel with Ker & Downey, you are in the absolute best hands in the travel business. Whether you’ve booked your next trip after this long hiatus from travel or are just thinking about it, rest assured that your health and safety are a priority to us. We take the worry out of travel and provide ease and confidence in travel that you can depend on.

Giving Back Locally

At Ker & Downey, we have a goal to make lives better, one trip at a time. So how do we do that when the world stops traveling? We looked locally this year. Our employees are scattered throughout the United States and found ways to give back in their own communities. Some made and donated masks while others helped feed the hungry or bring groceries to the elderly. There are lots of ways to make a difference. Even the smallest act can ease a big burden for someone else.

Continued to support Ker & Downey for Africa

Because of COVID-19, we were not able to send people on our yearly mission to Uganda to assist with medical exams and hand out insecticide-treated mosquito nets. But that didn’t stop us from assisting those in the communities where we travel. One such instance is helping the pastor in Uganda that is instrumental to our yearly trips. He helps us find people in the rural areas during our mission trips that need surgeries in hospitals. While most surgeries are not too severe, it is beyond what our team can provide while we are there. Without this pastor’s help, we wouldn’t be able to provide this service.

Nets for Africa 2019 - Philanthropy Travel - Ker Downey

But now the pastor is the one in need of help for cancer treatments. We are fortunate that even through the pandemic, we have been able to financially assist with his medical treatments because of our continued support of Ker & Downey for Africa.

Ripples Foundation

This year we also started supporting the Ripples by Diane Kwesiga, an organization with the goal to help vulnerable children such as orphans, the sick, needy, and disabled. Our goal is to pay for a number of children to attend school. Because school is not free in Uganda, parents often choose to keep children at home because they cannot afford school. We hope to ease that financial burden so that more children can attend school.

On the Horizon

This year we also started “On the Horizon,” a monthly webinar series seeking to keep you informed in the rapidly changing world of travel. In this series, we chat with our experienced travel designers and staff about travel trends, up and coming travel destinations, and destinations that should be on your bucket list. We created this series as a resource for you to ask questions, learn about travel restrictions and traveling during a pandemic, and share valuable information. If you aren’t already subscribed to our newsletter, sign up so you can find out when our next webinar comes out.


Here’s a few other highlights from this year:

  • We donated money to the Australian Rural Fire Service to assist with their wildfire relief
  • We gave away a free flight to one lucky person and their guest, to anywhere in the world
  • Added a digital itinerary through Vamoos that enhances our client experience and ability to connect with us from all over the world

It’s been a big year and we have you to thank. For your continued support through every email you’ve opened, Facebook or Instagram post you’ve interacted with and shared, or inquiry submitted, we are truly grateful. We know not everyone is ready to travel. And that’s ok. When you are ready to travel again, contact us. We’ll be here to plan a journey unique to you.