What are good travel gifts? Experiences that travelers can book themselves

The latest trend in Christmas gifts does not take up space in hand luggage or place emphasis on checked bags.

It does not even need to be packed.

Instead of giving holidaymakers new travel equipment – electronics organizers, Yeti thermoses, another airbag – some travel themselves.

A investigation of more than 1,000 Americans from the computer company Adobe showed that while 51% of respondents plan to buy physical gifts this holiday, 17% plan to give “an experience” instead.

Survey respondents most often mentioned spa treatments (25%) and concert tickets (25%), while others said they planned to give airline tickets (21%) and cooking classes (16%) as gifts.

“Experience Gifts” – as it is called – is not new. But it is to find traction this holiday season as one press for minimalist packing coincides with a pandemic that has made travel a top priority for many in 2022.

More experiences, less “stuff”

Migle Rakauskaite, Marketing Manager at the Travel Experience Website Tinggly.com, said the pandemic is leading to an increase in the purchase of travel experience gifts.

“Gift traditions are changing,” she said. “People seem to value quality time together and to do something meaningful. Experience gifts are so much more valuable than ordinary ‘stuff.’

They are also lightweight. With a few keystrokes, buyers can provide experiences that would once have required time and coordination to complete – a street food tour of Vietnam, a hot air balloon ride outside Chicago or a private gondola ride for two through the canals of Venice, Italy.

Tinggly.com’s travel experience “gift wrapping” never goes out, which played a “big role” in the increase in purchases during the pandemic, Rakauskaite said.

Tinggly.com’s gift box “Bucketlist” ($ 239) lets recipients choose from more than 800 experiences, from a surfing lesson for two in Kona, Hawaii to a “hunt” with the Northern Lights via minibus.

Piriya Fotografi | Open moment | Getty pictures

Perhaps most important of all is that the recipients – not the buyers – get to choose their own experiences at a time and date that suits their schedules.

Tinggly picks up a pendant that some have about giving intangible gifts – it sends a package for the recipients to open. Gift boxes can be sent worldwide, but last-minute buyers can also be sent via e-coupon, according to a company representative.

A weekend trip

For people who prefer to relax and unwind on holiday, it may be a better option to book a weekend away.

Ski huts, lake houses and other homes on the rental website Vrbo can be bought as gifts, says Alison Kwong, a company manager. Once the house is booked, the buyer only needs to add other travelers’ names to the booking.

Even if Vrbo does not have coupons or gift cards, houses like this mountain hotel in Park City, Utah, can be booked for someone else, the company said.

With permission from Vrbo

Kwong advises buyers to start by thinking about the type of home that suits the recipient. It can be a house with a games room or home cinema for families, or a mountain cabin with ski-in, ski-out access for a group of friends.

“When you find a vacation home, you know they will love … make sure the vacation home offers flexible cancellation in case they need to change the dates of their stay,” she said.

Onefinestay rents the “Adobe Old Town Overlook” mountain lodge in Park City, Utah for approximately $ 895 per night.

Courtesy of One Fine Stay

Onefinestay, a home rental website with houses and villas in “bucket list” destinations – such as Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the Cayman Islands and the Amalfi Coast of Italy – lets people book homes as gifts.

Buyers must confirm dates, credit card information and guest information prior to stay, according to a business representative.

Roadtrippers and campers

Those who prefer holidays in nature can get travel gifts booked through campsite.

The site is like an Airbnb for outdoor enthusiasts, connecting travelers with campgrounds, RV parks, ranches and rustic resorts, many of which cost less than $ 50 a night.

Harvest Hosts members can avoid cramped campgrounds by parking their RVs on secluded wineries and farms during their travels.

franckreporter | E + | Getty pictures

Another option for motorhome owners is an additional gift membership Harvest Hosts. Membership is $ 99 per year and provides access to overnight parking, at no extra charge, to more than 2,700 locations across North America. The sites are unconventional and less cramped, according to the website, and include wineries, organic farms and museums.

For $ 40 more, RV owners can also park their vehicles on hundreds of golf courses on the continent as well, according to a company representative.

Splurge gifts

To become great this holiday, companies that combine house rental and concierge services are an option.

The Nightfall Group can arrange exotic car rentals, such as a Ferrari 488 Spider, during the holidays.

Agoes Rudianto | Anadolu Agency | Getty pictures

The Nightfall Group Rent a house from Beverly Hills, California, to the French Riviera.

Travelers can use services from airport transfers and stocked groceries to jet and yacht charters. Drivers, cooks, babysitters and butlers can also be booked through the Los Angeles-based company.

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