Great Gifts for Travelers to Spark Wanderlust, Check off that Bucket List



Three people in desert landscapeWhat could be a better than giving someone a part of the world, some memorable, life-enhancing, life-changing experience, something from their bucket-list, perhaps? Give the gift of travel.

Gift of travel can be everything from the trip itself (even create a registry so that lots of friends and family can contribute), to pre-arranging some experience or activity to enhance a trip: a dining experience, a spa visit, visits to a museum or attraction, a cooking, baking or jewelry making class; a hot-air balloon ride (champagne!); rock-climbing adventure; walking tour; bike rental.  And what trip doesn’t require some special gear? 

You can pre-purchase a city-sightseeing pass that provides admissions to the most popular sights in cities like Prague (PragueCoolPass.com), Amsterdam, Berlin, Dresden, Paris (parispass.com), New York City. Check out Go City, which sells passes in over 30 destinations from major metropolises like London and New York to oceanfront oases like Sydney and Oahu (GoCity.com, 800 887 9103).

More and more travel companies – hotels and accommodations, cruises, tours, theme parks, sightseeing, spa visits, restaurants and dining, and even transportation companies from airlines to Amtrak to Uber to a Maine Windjammer Cruise – now offer gift cards, e-gift cards or vouchers. And the beauty is you can give the amount that works best for you and they can be spent in the way your giftee wants.

Gift cards can open up doors to travel, or take the sting out of the pinch to a traveler’s, couple’s or family’s wallet. Gift cards can be that extra spark that gets your loved one to finally depart on their bucket-list experience.

Here are some examples:

A yacht-style cruise to the Mediterranean. A historic stay at the new Maswik Lodge South in the middle of Grand Canyon National Park. A BVT Bicycling Vacations guided tour to New Zealand. These are but a few of the experiences that can be acquired with Xanterra Travel Collection gift cards toward Xanterra’s operations in Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Zion, Glacier, and Rocky Mountain National Parks, and Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Xanterra Travel Collection also owns and operates the Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel in Williams, Ariz., The Grand Hotel in Tusayan, Ariz., The Oasis at Death Valley in Death Valley Calif., Cedar Creek Lodge in Columbia Falls, Mont., Windstar Cruises, Holiday Vacations, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, and Country Walkers. Xanterra is also affiliated with two Forbes Five-Star Resorts, The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, CO and Sea Island on the coast of Georgia. (www.xanterra.com/gift-cards/)

Globus family of brands Gift Certificates, redeemable for tours and cruises, come in denominations of $50, $200 & $500. Gift Certificates may be used in conjunction with any promotion offered at time of booking and they are transferable up until time of application of payment to an existing booking. www.globusjourneys.com/tour-gift-certificate/

Tauck Tours eGift Cards, available in any amount, are valid for any Tauck land journey, river or small ship cruise and Tauck Bridges family adventures. www.tauck.com/guest-travel/egiftcard.

Contiki also offers a travel gift card that can be used on any Contiki trip; the voucher certificates include a personalized message, can be sent electronically or printed, and does not expire.  www.contiki.com/en-us/resources/travel-gift-card 866-266 8454.

Lodging

Historic Hotels of Europe, an exclusive collection of independent and unique hotels, castles, palaces, country houses and other properties handpicked for historic importance, quality and unique story, throughout Europe, offers a gift voucher, valid for five years, in amounts from 50-1500 Euros. voucher@historichotelsofeurope.com, gifts.historichotelsofeurope.com/.

You can purchase gift cards for stays or amenities at Historic Hotels of America (as well as with individual member properties). In addition, Historic Hotels of America has partnered with National Trust Tours, www.historichotels.org/us/national-trust-tours.php (both are programs of the National Preservation Trust) to promote travel offers and opportunities. When booking a tour, mention Historic Hotels of America and receive three $100 gift certificates for a two-night stay at a Historic Hotel. Also check the individual member historic hotels and resorts.

New England Inns & Resorts Association gift cards can be redeemed at 300 lodging properties all over New England and can be purchased in any amount you choose. The cards never expire.  

Make a reservation directly with the property and let them know you will be using a New England Inns & Resort Gift Card. Present the card at check-in. www.newenglandinnsandresorts.com/gift-cards

Want more choices: Hotels.com gift cards unlock hundreds of thousands of places to stay worldwide, including major hotel chains. The gift cards are available in denominations from $10 up to $2,000 and there are no expiration dates or fees. Also, Hotels.com has a secure gift registry where friends and family can contribute toward a Hotels.com eGift Card. What is more, you can trade-in select gift cards (from coffee companies, clothing companies, etc) for Hotels.com Gift Cards. www.hotels.com/page/giftcards/

Who knew you could also get a Camping Gift Card to New York State’s Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation sites, providing access to 8,500 campsites, 850 cabins, 135 cottages and 18 golf courses throughout the state. Purchase online at shop.parks.ny.gov/store/gift-cards/ for any dollar amount and have no expiration date. They can be used with the NYS camping reservation system (Reserve America), www.reserveamerica.com, 800-456-2267.

Cruiselines also make it easy to purchase gift cards, and even gift registries so that family and friends can contribute to purchasing the cruise: Norwegian Cruise Line makes it possible to gift onboard credit, wine, gourmet treats, spa visits. Or create a registry so that bunches of family and friends can contribute to a cruise (www.ncl.com/onboard-gifts). Also: Disney Cruise Lines (disneycruise.disney.go.com/featured/holiday-gift-cruise/); Carnival Cruise Lines (carnival.ourgiftcards.com/); Princess Cruises (www.princess.com/gift-cards); Royal Caribbean (www.royalcaribbeanincentives.com/royal-caribbean-gift-card-program/); Holland America (www.hollandamerica.com/en_US/giftcard.html). 

You can actually buy e-gift cards for Celebrity Cruises, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, even AirbnB from amazon.com.

Maine Windjammer Association is now offering gift certificates toward cruises on any of its member vessels. They can be purchased in any amount and don’t expire. (Save 10% on purchases on Dec. 14, use code MWAWind22). They will send a packet of brochures as well. (800-807-9463, giftcertificates@sailmainecoast.com, www.sailmainecoast.com/windjammer-sailing-gift-certificates/)

Gift of Experience

Give experiences that turn a trip into a wonder that lasts a lifetime.

Gift certificates from Broadway.com can be redeemed for tickets to any Broadway or Off-Broadway show currently playing in New York City (www.broadway.com/gift-certificates/).

Drive an exotic car, learn to fly, rock climb, skydive, bungee jump. Virgin Experience lists some 3000 different experiences in 122 regions from 600 “best in class” partners that their gift card can be applied to (bioluminescent kayak adventure in Tomales Bay, CA; drive a stock car on Thompson Speedway, CT; learn to fly in Mesa, AZ. Easy return, no expiration, free exchange (www.virginexperiencegifts.com/action-and-adventure, www.virginexperiencegifts.com/gift-certificates)

Whether retracing the Revolution in Paris, diving into the ecology of Venetian canals, or exploring Kyoto’s teahouses at twilight, Context Travel offers tours with experts. Context offers personal walking tours in 60 cities across 6 continents.  Skip the line and off-hours access to popular sites in the world’s cultural and historical capitals. Tours range from half-day to 7-days plus.  Context Travel also offers the “gift of learning” – virtual and in-person sessions with top experts– you can explore the Colosseum with an archaeologist, uncover masterpieces of the Louvre with an art historian, or explore the palaces of Istanbul with an architect — from home, or in person (www.contexttravel.com/gift-cards).

TripAdvisor offers gift cards and e-certificates that can be purchased online or over the phone. You can pre-load the card with a set amount of money and then give it as a gift for someone to utilize when making reservations. For more information, visit TripAdvisor.com and chat with a live agent for assistance.

Spafinder, a compendium of resorts, wellness centers and day spas, makes it easy to purchase giftcards.  Take 25% off $200+ with promo code VIP25; get $20 off $80, Spafinder.com

Theme parks can be a very, very pricey vacation for families. Gift cards can put the vacation in reach or enhance the experience. Disney’s gift cards can be used for “practically” all things Disney – theme park tickets, resort stays, merchandise, dining and experiences at Disney destinations.  www.disneygiftcard.com/

There are any number of adult fantasy camps to satisfy, well, every fantasy. If you can fantasize it, there is likely a fantasy camp to realize it.

Want to play baseball like a major leaguer? There are baseball fantasy camps with teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Atlanta Braves (mlb.com).  Basketball: 76ers Fantasy Camp is the inaugural team in the NBA’s first and only fantasy camp of its kind (Aug. 25-27, 2023, www.76ersfantasycamps.com). Hockey (Miracle on Ice Fantasy Camp, Apr 30-May 4, 2023, lakeplacidlegacysites.com ), 

Also: Broadway theater (Broadway Fantasy Camp, broadwayfancamp.com), Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp, an interactive musical event that takes place in various locations worldwide involving various Rock Stars on various dates.(rockcamp.com)

Space Camp, an educational camp in Huntsville, Alabama, on the grounds of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center museum near NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. It provides residential and educational programs for children and adults on themes such as space exploration, aviation and robotics (spacecamp.com).

For many, being able to participate in major science research is also a fantasy. Earthwatch makes it possible to support research that responds to global challenges – from climate change to human-wildlife coexistence to sustainability – while engaging local communities, and offers more than 40 field research expeditions around the world, with opportunities for teens and adults and no prior experience needed (Earthwatch.org).

For the skier/snowboarder, consider purchasing lift tickets, lessons, rentals, perhaps even a multi-day, regional or local pass (EpicPass.com, IKONPass.com, snow.com, ski.com). Get Ski Tickets is an online marketplace where skiers/riders have access to purchase date-specific discounted lift tickets, lessons, rentals, group lift tickets and season passes. www.getskitickets.com/, 970-233-7040, info@getskitickets.com. They also sell gift certificates (www.getskitickets.com/gift-certificates/)

Getting There

The Delta Gift Card is redeemable for any Delta Air Lines flight worldwide and for any Delta Vacations package that includes airfare, delivered to inbox or mailbox. No expiration date. With the purchase of $250 or more on Delta Gift Cards, get a $20 Starbucks eGift. www.delta.com/us/en/gift-cards/overview

Gift a getaway or a portion of it with Southwest Airlines gift card. Personalize the gift card and send by e-card or by mail. No expiration date, fully transferrable. Only usable for passenger travel on Southwest (www.southwest.com/gift-card/).

Prefer riding the rails to boarding flights? Amtrak gift cards are available from $25 to $250 for booking a train journey anywhere in the US and select destinations in Canada. Redeem for travel online, in the app, by phone or in staffed stations; never expires. (May not be used for onboard purchases.)  www.amtrak.com/giftcards

See more at goingplacesfarandnear.com/gift-of-travel-sparking-that-wanderlust-checking-off-that-bucket-list-opening-pathways-to-life-enhancing-experience/.

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© 2022 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved. Visit goingplacesfarandnear.com. 

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