How to Give the Gift of Travel

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Yesterday was Christmas, and I hope you all had a great one.  My little family celebrated at my house (since that is where Santa comes), then my parents’ house for lunch and more presents, and finally at my aunt’s house for dinner with extended family.  It was a great day to be together, and I think my four year old should enter a “fastest present opener” contest.  Wow.


I’m sure some of you are more than over the holidays and just want to get back to the travel deals portion of the website.  I promise, that’s coming.  But today with Christmas still hanging in the air, I wanted to share a little about giving the gift of travel.  I joked in my post yesterday about whether miles fit in stockings.  I actually wouldn’t mind at all if airline miles were put in my stocking, but I like to give the gift of travel a little differently at Christmas as preparing and opening the present is part of the fun at my house.  Giving sweaters or perfume is nice, but being who I am, I think that giving a travel experience as a present is even better.  Some years we go more over-board than others, but these type of presents regularly are a part of our Christmas experience (with a trip to the Master’s golf tournament for my dad about 10 years ago being the BEST EVER).

Anyway, if you are a looking for a way to give a travel experience instead of a sweater or gift certificate next year, then here is how we did it this year.

Unless you really want to go crazy, it is easiest (and most affordable) to give a travel experience on a trip they are already taking, or that can be a part of a future trip.  We gave my dad money toward a trip to see Notre Dame play football for the first time for a number of holidays, but would wrap it up in different fun ways.  However, this year was easy as both of my parents have upcoming trips already booked that were perfect.

In January they have a trip to Las Vegas where they will spend a day or so skiing at the Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort.  It is a pretty small resort just outside of Las Vegas, but they are so excited to have the chance to get back on the snow again after having a blast dusting off skis for the first time in 15+ years in 2013.  I knew which day they planned to ski, so I was able to get them two lift tickets via the Liftopia Black Friday sale that I wrote about here for a pretty good price.  This allows the financial burden of lift tickets to be off of them, and it was a very easy online purchase for me to make.


I think my dad is more excited about the present than my husband!

Just add some cardboard homemade lift tickets and fake snow in a box and this gift is ready to be wrapped up.  The trickiest part of this one is knowing exactly what day(s) they plan to ski as the date cannot be changed.



Think the cardboard lift ticket will suffice?

For my mom, I wanted to give her something for her upcoming first trip across Europe with her sister.  When my husband and I went to London last year, we had a fantastic time having afternoon tea in the The English Tea Room at the historic Brown’s Hotel in the Mayfair area of London.  Not only did you have your choice of tea from 17 different varieties, but the sandwiches, pastries, scones with clotted cream and strawberry preserves, fresh baked cakes, and more were absolutely delicious, and also unlimited.  Prepare to gain a few pounds!  We wrote about our experience in the English Tea Room at “London’s oldest hotel” here.

Brown's Hotel Tea

To give this gift, I made a reservation for my mom and my aunt online here.  I knew their schedule is pretty loose, so picked a time that I guessed would work.  They could always change if it I picked a bad time.  It did have to be secured with my credit card, but the card is just charged if they don’t show or cancel too late.  Of course I wanted to foot the bill since I was giving them the gift, so I put in enough British Pounds to cover the experience for both of them in the present, along with an actual tea cup, some pictures of the experience from when I was there, and the print-out of their reservation.


It took my mom a minute to figure out what it all meant, but hopefully it will be a memorable point on their European journey!  I know it was on mine.


There are almost infinite ways to give the gift of travel experiences to your loved ones, and I personally think these are the best types of gifts.  But, then again, we all know my brain is wired to be a bit biased toward the importance of travel.  I give “normal” gifts too, but most of those aren’t quite as fun.

If you sometimes give the gift of travel, I’d love to hear your stories!

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  1. 2 Christmases ago, my stepfather was in a nursing home with his health quickly declining. I live in Michigan and my parents lived in Florida at the time. Before he passed, I wanted him to meet my newest grandson, who was 8 months old at the time.
    I spoke to my son-in-law about dates and made sure my 2 older grandchildren had babysitting for after school and while he was at work. I bought my daughter a luggage set(covered in peace signs because that’s just so her!). I put luggage tags, sunglasses and sunscreen in her stocking and a children’s “My First Airplane Ride” book in her stocking. She thought I had put the book in the wrong stocking until she found our itinerary tucked inside its pages. She looked at me kinda puzzled and said “Um, mom? what is this?” Then a huge grin spread across her face.
    We spent a very memorable week in Florida that January, visiting a lot of family and soaking in the sun. The best part was our beloved “Papa Chuck” was able to meet his newest grandson before he passed away a few weeks later.
    My mom lives with us now that he has passed. Her 80th birthday gift next year is going to be her bucket list trip to Key West(I can’t believe she lived in Florida for 60 years and never went to Key West). Being able to do those kind of things for my family and friends makes my points and miles hobby invaluble to me!

  2. What is the best way to get tickets to the Notre Dame football games?

    Slightly off topic, but since it is on my husband’s bucket list I thought I’d ask.

    • Ms. M, I think we bought them directly from Notre Dame but it was for one of the less popular games of the year, so it wasn’t too hard. If it was one of the big match-ups of the year it probably would have been tougher!

  3. Mom is an 80 year old who was born in Germany, became an American citizen back in 1965. Her sister, daughter (my sister) and 4 grandkids are all in Germany.

    Growing up she worked part time to be able to fly us to Germany every other year. Great memories.

    The last time she went over was 3 years ago and I was able to get her a cash upgrade on US.

    Just a few days ago I overheard her say that she would go back three times a year if she could fly business class.


    When she opened her Christmas card she found “dummy” 1st class ticket from CLT-FRA. She broke down in tears. Using miles to get her “home.”

  4. Wow! Little C is growing up so fast! I’d have to sya she is pretty willow and tall for a 4-year old, MP! You’ve got to change the website tag soon to reflect this. 🙂

  5. Yes, giving my husband a trip to Austin! (Thanks again, MP!) It’s been on his music bucket list so I knew he’d love it. He’s really excited.

    I think travel is a fantastic gift. For most people, it’s like winning a contest or something. And experiences stay with you for a lifetime. One of my travel “dreams” is to take my childhood best friend to Miraval spa and so we can truly catch up after raising our kids for the past 15 years.

    One of the advantages of having points is sometimes being able to be really generous in a way people usually can’t. It’s a lot of fun!

    Great post!!

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