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What are good travel gifts? Adventure travelers can book themselves

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The latest trend in Christmas gifts does not take up space in hand luggage or increases the weight of checked baggage.

It doesn’t even have to be wrapped.

Instead of giving vacationers new travel gear – electronics organizers, Yeti thermos flasks, yet another airplane pillow – some offer to travel themselves.

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

Respondents most often said they gave spa treatments (25%) and concert tickets (25%), while others said they gave away airline tickets (21%) and cooking classes (16%).

“Experience Gifting” – as it is known – is not new. But it’s catching on this holiday season as the urge for minimalist packing converges with a pandemic that has made travel a top priority for many in 2022.

More experience, less “stuff”

Migle Rakauskaite, chief marketing manager of the travel experience website Tinggly.com, said the pandemic is driving an increase in gift purchases for travel experiences.

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

They are light too. With a few keystrokes, shoppers can experience experiences that previously would have required time and coordination – a street food tour in Vietnam, 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 “played a big role” in the surge in purchases during the pandemic, Rakauskaite said.

With the Tinggly.com “Bucketlist” gift box (US $ 239), recipients can choose from more than 800 experiences, from a surf lesson for two in Kona, Hawaii to a Northern Lights “hunt” by minibus.

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Perhaps most importantly, recipients – not buyers – can choose their own experiences at a time and date that suits their schedules.

Tinggly addresses a hanger some people have when giving away intangible gifts – it sends a package to recipients to open. Gift boxes can be sent worldwide, but last minute buyers can also be sent via e-voucher, according to a company representative.

A weekend getaway

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

Ski lodges, lake houses and other homes on the Vrbo rental website can be bought as gifts, said Alison Kwong, senior manager of the company. Once the home is booked, all that remains for the buyer to do is add the names of other travelers to the reservation.

Although Vrbo doesn’t have coupons 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 advises buyers to first think about the type of home that will suit the recipient. This could be a house with a playroom or home cinema for families or a mountain hut with ski-in-ski-out access for a group of friends.

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

Onefinestay rents the Adobe Old Town Overlook mountain chalet in Park City, Utah, for around $ 895 a night.

Courtesy of One Fine Stay

Onefinestay, a vacation rental website that features homes and villas in “bucket list” destinations – such as Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the Cayman Islands, and Italy’s Amalfi Coast – allows people to book homes as gifts.

Buyers are required to confirm details, credit card information, and guest details prior to their stay, according to a company official.

Roadtrippers and campers

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

Like an Airbnb for nature lovers, the site connects travelers to campsites, RV parks, ranches, and rustic resorts, many of which cost less than $ 50 a night.

Harvest Hosts members can avoid crowded campsites by parking their RVs on remote wineries and farms during their travels.

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Another option for RV owners is a gift membership to Harvest Hosts. Membership costs $ 99 per year and provides overnight access to more than 2,700 parking spaces across North America with no additional fees. The spots are funky and less crowded, according to the website, and include wineries, organic farms, and museums.

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

Giving gifts

To make this vacation big, 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.

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The Nightfall Group rents homes from Beverly Hills, California to the French Riviera.

Travelers can avail of services ranging from airport transfers and assorted groceries to jet and yacht charters. Chauffeurs, chefs, nannies and butlers can also be booked through the Los Angeles-based company.

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