A gift of travel may be the best possible present for any occasion. I know I’m not the only one who thinks so. Wouldn’t you like to open a package that sent you on an adventure?
Maybe it’s the obvious gift for the nomad in your life. Or maybe you love someone who needs a little financial boost for their dream adventure. Or perhaps there’s someone who wants to travel, but doesn’t know how…and needs the teeniest nudge to get started.
Ideas and Tips for the Gift of Travel
How exactly do you give the gift of travel? You have a spending limit, too, so it has be within your own budget. Here are a few tips to help you plan and surprise them.
Don’t give a booked trip…unless you are 1000% certain that they are able to take it. If you’re giving a trip to your partner or spouse, you probably have access to their calendar. Even then, you might be in for disappointment, both emotionally and financially. Better to wait. Consider getting a personalized calligraphy card or certificate to announce the trip, then booking it when you have rock-solid information.
Think it through. If the recipient is on a tight budget, a plane ticket may not be enough. There will be ground transportation, hotel, meals, tips, attractions, etc. Your gift of travel could inadvertently cause stress–the last thing you intended. Maybe a less expensive local getaway is more appropriate. How about an overnight in a nearby city or a day trip to a performance, museum, or landmark?
Gift cards are good. Very good! Contribute to their travel plans with a gift card for an airline. Southwest Airlines cards start at $10 for print-at-home. Nearly every airline has a $25 or $50 gift card. Nearly every airline has a gift card: click here to see how to get a gift card for American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines.
How about a gift card for that cool restaurant in their destination city? EatWith.com offers unique dining, in-home, and cooking classes around the world. Maybe a Viator City Pass or Tour, so they choose whichever attractions they want? Make sure there’s not an expiration date before you buy.
Be careful about cash. A few crisp bills may seem like the easiest solution. And if they’re leaving the next day, it can be ideal. But…cash is too easily used for something else that seems more urgent. Like pizza. Or a tank of gas. Or their kid’s lunch. Cash can also seem too abstract to motivate a would-be traveler. That’s why your gift of travel should be something specific to their dream.
How about TSA Pre-Check? For the next five years, your traveler will thank you each time they breeze through airport security. For just $85, TSA Pre-Check, one of the government’s “Trusted Traveler” programs, will automatically allow them to hit that short line. Every flight. If they like to travel internationally, Global Entry is $100. Note: This does involve an online application and then a drive to a government facility for an interview and fingerprinting. But it is so, so, so worth it!
Get them inspired. Maybe they need help deciding: where to go, how to plan, what to see…people can create barriers that prevent them from getting off their sofa. Just a couple of guidebooks or how-to books can stir their imaginations. I always start with Lonely Planet. They have an instinct for publishing what’s needed.
There really isn’t anything better than the gift of travel. Your gift, truly, will be the memories they make. Isn’t that better than anything Amazon can provide?
You may still want to provide a gift to unwrap. Here are some ideas–budget-friendly, of course!