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Experience over Things: The Trend of Giving Travel Gifts

In recent years, there has been a significant shift in the way we approach gift-giving during the holiday season. More and more people are prioritising experiences over actual physical possessions in an attempt to escape the carousel of consumption – and travel gifts have emerged as a prominent trend. Instead of traditional gifts, like the odd pair of socks or fun gadgets, many are choosing to give away an actual experience and memories to be created. But why?

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Christmas Train Travel

What’s the Appeal of Travel Gifts?

Research done by the University of Toronto has shown that giving an experience is better than giving a thing: “An experiential gift elicits a strong emotional response when a recipient consumes it – like the fear and awe of a safari adventure, the excitement of a rock concert or the calmness of a spa – and is more intensely emotional than a material possession”, says Cindy Chan, an assistant professor and responsible for the study. And it makes sense – travel gifts offer the opportunity to create lasting memories and cherished moments – unlike physical gifts that can quickly lose their lustre over time.

More individuals than ever are additionally increasingly conscious of the clutter that adds up from accumulating possessions – especially when the festive season rolls around and there is more kitsch to be found than ever. Experiences, obviously, don’t add to it and, In fact, can help recipients declutter their lives by focusing on meaningful adventures instead. By encouraging them to step out of their comfort zones, discover new places, and immerse themselves in different cultures.

How to Give the Gift of Travel

There are several ways how to prepare a travel gift – and it really comes down to what you’d like the giftee to get. Instead of specifying a particular destination, for example, you can give the recipient a travel voucher – allowing them to choose their own dream location. Airlines, hotels, and travel agencies often offer gift certificates that can then be easily redeemed for flights, accommodations, or tours. If your loved one loves to travel anyway, this might be a good idea! You can also simply already plan a surprise trip for your loved one. This could involve booking flights, accommodations, and activities in advance and creating a thoughtful and stress-free travel experience for them – or you could gift a planning session together if you want to give them more say over things.

Image credit: igorovsyannykov

Gifting tickets to cultural events such as theatre performances, concerts, or visiting specific monuments at a destination of the recipient’s choice can also add a unique touch to their travel experience – but we recommend, for the more adventurous traveller, to book adventure tours – such as hiking holidays, scuba diving, hot air ballooning or something extravagant like sailing holidays. Luxury retreats, like upscale resorts, boutique hotels, or private villas additionally add a fantastic touch of comfort and relaxation.

And what about Sustainability?

Christmas Decorations

Another reason for the growing popularity of experience gifts rather than material items is the emphasis on sustainability. More individuals are becoming environmentally conscious by the day – rightfully so! – and are looking to reduce their carbon footprint. Especially when choosing locations close to home and supporting local communities a minimal impact on the environment is ensured. So, this year, consider trading material possessions for unforgettable journeys – and make Christmas the time it’s it meant to be for cherished memories that will be treasured for a lifetime!