What are good travel gifts? Experiences that travelers can book on their own

The new trend in Christmas gifts doesn’t take up carry-on baggage or add weight to checked baggage.

It doesn’t even need to be packed.

Rather than giving vacationers new amenities for travel – electronic organizers, Yeti thermos, yet another airplane pillow – some offer the trip themselves.

A survey of more than 1,000 Americans by computer company Adobe showed that while 51% of respondents plan to purchase physical gifts this holiday season, 17% plan to give “an experience” instead.

Respondents most often cited spa treatments (25%) and concert tickets (25%), while others said they planned to offer airline tickets (21%) and cooking class (16%) as a gift.

“Experience gifting” – as it’s called – is nothing new. But it is finding ground this holiday season as a push for minimalist packaging converges with a pandemic that has made travel a top priority for many in 2022.

More experiences, less “stuff”

Migle Rakauskaite, chief marketing director of travel experience website Tinggly.com, said the pandemic was leading to an increase in purchases of travel experience gifts.

“The traditions of giving are changing,” she said. “People seem to enjoy the quality time spent together and doing something meaningful. The gifts of experience are much more valuable than the usual “stuff”. “

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

Tinggly.com’s travel experience “gift boxes” never expire, which has played a “huge role” in increasing purchases during the pandemic, Rakauskaite said.

Tinggly.com’s “Bucketlist” Gift Set ($ 239) lets recipients choose from over 800 experiences, from a surf lesson for two in Kona, Hawaii, to a “hunt” for the Northern Lights by minibus.

Photograph by Piriya | Opening moment | Getty Images

Perhaps most important of all, recipients – not buyers – can choose their own experiences at a time and date that suits their schedule.

Tinggly responds to a problem some have about offering intangible gifts – he sends a package for recipients to open. Gift boxes can be shipped worldwide, although last-minute shoppers can also be sent via an electronic voucher, according to a company representative.

A weekend getaway

For people who prefer to hide and relax on vacation, booking a weekend may be a better option.

Ski cabins, lakeside homes and other homes at the Vrbo rental site can be purchased as gifts, said Alison Kwong, a senior executive at the company. Once the house has been booked, the buyer only has to add the names of the other travelers to the reservation.

While Vrbo doesn’t have vouchers or gift cards, homes like this mountain retreat in Park City, Utah, can be booked for someone else, the company said.

Courtesy of Vrbo

Kwong recommends that buyers start by thinking about what type of home is right for the recipient. This could be a house with a games room or home theater for families, or a mountain lodge with ski-to-door access for a group of friends.

“When you find a vacation home you know they are going to love it… 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 cabin in Park City, Utah for about $ 895 per night.

Courtesy of One Fine Stay

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

Buyers should confirm dates, credit card information and guest details prior to stay, according to a company representative.

Roadtripers and campers

Those who prefer vacations in the great outdoors can receive travel gifts booked through Campspot.

The website is like an Airbnb for outdoor enthusiasts, connecting travelers to campgrounds, recreational vehicle (RV) parks, ranches, and rustic resorts, many of which cost less than $ 50 per night. .

Harvest Hosts members can avoid crowded campgrounds by parking their RVs at isolated vineyards and farms while on the move.

franckreporter | E + | Getty Images

Another option for RV owners is a Harvest Hosts gift membership. Memberships cost $ 99 per year and provide overnight parking, at no additional cost, at over 2,700 spaces across North America. The spots are unconventional and less crowded, according to the website, and include wineries, organic farms, and museums.

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

Crazy gifts

To see the big picture on this vacation, companies that combine home rentals and concierge services are an option.

The Nightfall Group can arrange exotic car rentals, such as a Ferrari 488 Spider, while on vacation.

There is Rudianto | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The Nightfall group rents homes in Beverly Hills, California, on the French Riviera.

Travelers can add services ranging from airport transfers and catered rides to jet and yacht charters. Drivers, chefs, nannies and butlers can also be booked through the Los Angeles-based company.

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