The Best Experience Gift Guaranteed They'll Really Love: Easy Ways To Fulfill Travel Dreams This Holiday

Aloha Melani

Experiences Over Things Holiday Gift Ideas Vol 3: Travel is the Ultimate Memorable Gift

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Travel Is a Gift That Lasts Forever

In my opinion, a trip is an ultimate gift. If your gift recipient can get up and get out there is an itinerary that can be tailored into a lasting memory. Gifting travel as an experience can be attainable even if it doesn’t sound like it.

The gift of travel can be as far as a trip abroad where you can experience an entirely different culture that includes language, food, and history. A travel gift can also be to another region of your country to discover a different way of life. You can gift a trip that can be as close as within your state, county, or city, even.

Giving a trip away from the everyday routine, which is likely considerably different than it was a year ago, is just what is needed for the psyche. The trip doesn’t even need to be taken right away.

The anticipation of an upcoming trip or a trip to be taken in the future is enough to instill the spirit of optimism during this pandemic. Once that trip is taken, the memories will last a lifetime.

Anticipating Travel is Healing

I am an avid traveler, but as someone who has taken the COVID-19 pandemic seriously, I refrained from traveling. I flew back to the US from a trip on March 1, 2020, only to be faced with the US lockdown a few weeks later. I canceled five planned trips in 2020. For a while, the gratefulness that I took a trip abroad in 2020, a Costa Rican road trip in February, along with being busy with work kept me from being discouraged about not traveling.

The pandemic, civil unrest, and the election year all took a toll on what I thought to be my impermeable mind. I have always seen myself as mostly optimistic. Any sadness I feel usually doesn’t affect me for long periods. This year it did.

As someone who believes in living with the spirit of aloha, I am habitually optimistic but also extremely empathetic to others. Watching people die from the pandemic and racial injustice, along with witnessing divisive and careless US leadership overwhelmed my emotions and I started undergoing feelings of despair.

Photo by Gabriele Chalon on Unsplash

Looking forward to my next trip has always kept me stable when facing life’s challenges. Family, friends, food, and travel have always brought me joy. Those delights of life were taken away from us all in one way or another in 2020.

After the US election, I was astonished by just how divided we are in the US and decided to move up my plans to live abroad. Once I convinced my husband that living abroad at least part-time could be done before retirement, I started feeling more positive. I needed this for my mental state.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

I finally booked a trip set for January 2021 to a country with much better pandemic restrictions than the United States has. I will be scouting the country for the best place to live. I must get tested before I leave and will be tested again when I land. This country will not allow anyone into their borders unless they have tested negative for COVID-19, which was a requirement of mine.

I am nervous that I will be flying during a pandemic. I also won’t care if my hazmat suit offends anyone on the plane. Booking this trip has given me my life back. That is how powerful anticipating a trip can be even if I feel I’m taking a risk with contracting the virus.

Moving abroad is the answer for me only because I had planned on it for the future. It also just makes sense for my family right now due to the changes we made for COVID-19 safety. I am not suggesting this path for anyone else because moving away is not the answer to happiness. It was the act of booking the trip that allowed my mental state to revert to being optimistic, almost immediately. I hope that this holiday you can gift the same optimism to someone who needs to get out of the 2020 pandemic funk.

Ways to Gift a Trip

Even if your gift recipient isn’t an obsessive wanderlust, the anticipation and excitement of a trip, something to look forward to will be a bright spot when they are down. Once that trip is finally taken won’t they be relishing in every moment? What a memory this trip will be.

If you have the means to get away, your loved one will appreciate a trip and it’s an easy gift that can be set up in just a few minutes online or over the phone. I would suggest making every possible check to ensure that this gifted trip can be booked at a future time when your loved one feels comfortable to travel.

Trip to a Resort

A weekend at a resort can be near or far. Resorts are like living in a bubble that’s filled with relaxation and activity. If the resort you gift has safety protocols in place this can be a great way to get away as everyone in the resort would be under the same rules. If you will be booking dates before this pandemic is over ensure that the resort will operate under reduced capacity as well to ensure social distancing can actually be practiced in this bubble.


Retreats occur at resorts, vast land spaces, and even mansions. Retreats have a purpose. It can be yoga, food, wine, health, writing, and even business. A relaxing stress-free retreat concentrated on whatever your recipient is into is a perfect post-pandemic escape.


Whether it’s pitching a tent in a local state park, or glamping in a cabin, unplugging from the world and existing with nature is a beautiful gift to quiet the mind. Camping can be done in your own backyard or across the country in a national park. It’s one of the most versatile travel gifts monetarily and taste-wise.

Road Trip

You can plan a day trip to a nearby city or a trip in an RV across the country as a road trip. Road trips can be a fun and safe adventure. A trip by car is so appealing because of the spontaneity of it all. You can go as fast or as slow as you want, make all the stops you want, and change your itinerary based on your discoveries or comfort level. You definitely have the opportunity to see and experience more of an area when you are in a vehicle as opposed to flying in and catching a cab or rideshare to get around.

Photo by Leio McLaren on Unsplash

I have been to 47 of 50 of the United States of America due to road trips earlier in life. When abroad I prefer to road trip so I can immerse in the culture, explore and go further. I long for another US road trip as there is so much I still haven’t seen. My husband happens to hate road trips, so air travel has been the only way we have left our state together. If he gifted me with a road trip, then I know he’s doing it just for me and it would mean the world.

Airline Tickets

If your gift recipient is like my husband and has no patience for a road trip, then a plane ticket is the way to go. If you have control over your gift recipient’s schedule and have the means to book tickets to get away, go for it. Airline travel is more affordable now.

Following travel safety protocols is imperative. Getting tested for COVID-19 is crucial if you will travel by plane during this pandemic. Unfortunately, most US states do not require a negative test before getting on a plane or entering the state, but many countries outside of the US do.

I honestly feel more comfortable traveling abroad than interstate by plane at this time. There are US states like, my hometown Hawaii that do follow strict testing and quarantine protocols, so those states are the ones I would trust traveling to if I had to in this pandemic.

Photo by Atoms on Unsplash

Note that the gift of airline tickets doesn’t have to be actual tickets. It can be a gift card for purchasing airline tickets. My best friend understood my love for travel so much that for a birthday gift one year she gave me a Delta Airlines Gift Card. That gift card had enough on it for a ticket to a close state, but since I tend to travel abroad it helped bring down the cost of a pricier ticket to another country.

Purchasing an airline gift card that can be used at a later date is a better bet right now especially if you do not have control over your gift recipient’s schedule.

If you can keep from traveling until the rising COVID-19 case numbers trend down, please do. Thankfully, vaccines have rolled out so there is more hope for less spread of the virus in 2021.

In the end, there is no experience as fulfilling as traveling so why not gift a future trip that ignites hope. Traveling opens the mind and provides lasting nostalgia well after the trip is over.

This is Volume 3. If you haven’t checked "Experiences Over Things Holiday Gift Ideas” Volume 1 for the intro and Gifting Indoor Experiences and Volume 2, Experience Gifts for Foodies, please read those articles for more ideas to give experiences over material things this holiday season.


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Multicultural lifestyle content creator focusing on Food, Travel, Tampa Bay, living life with the Spirit of Aloha, and striving to transfer that sentiment to readers.

Tampa, FL

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