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How To Give Experiences Instead of Stuff

The Gift of Travel

It’s gift giving season once again! And while we all like getting gifts, I’d venture to guess that many people actually find more magic in giving gifts than in receiving them. The wonder in your child’s eyes, the warmth in a thank you embrace, the joy in knowing how much someone loves what you gave them; these are the moments that make the holidays sparkle with magic. 

But, being a thoughtful gift-giver doesn’t always come easily; it takes work to think of the perfect gifts for everyone on your list, and sometimes the struggle to figure out what to get each person is very, very real. 


This is where your favorite team of Travel Advisors comes in! There are SO many ways to give travel experiences as gifts, whether you can afford a full blown vacation or a smaller-scale excursion in your hometown, wherever that may be. Your favorite Love of the Magic Travel Advisor can help you find a gift for everyone on your list, whatever your budget. 

Wondering how to give the gift of travel experiences instead of stuff this year? Check out a few of our favorite ideas for giving “experiences, not stuff” in the list below!

Our Favorite Experiential Gift Ideas:

Christmas Backpacking

1. Vacation Excursion

For many of us, giving an entire vacation as a gift is probably not within our budget. BUT, that doesn’t mean you can’t give someone a gift that enhances an upcoming vacation! Though many people think of excursions in terms of cruises, there are excursion options for every destination and type of vacation you can think of! 

If someone on your list has an upcoming trip that you know of, you can subtly inquire about their plans, and book them a private tour, or a stargazing adventure, or a photo shoot, or almost anything you can imagine in the location where they’ll be traveling. In addition, if they haven’t booked their trip yet, you can even just let them know that your gift will be a fabulous experience no matter where they go! 

And, if you’re not sure about what kind of excursion to give, your favorite LOTMV Travel Advisor will be able to help you choose the perfect addition to your loved one’s upcoming vacation.

Waiting at Airport

2. Vacation Upgrade

Again, once you reframe the “gift of travel” as more than just giving an entire vacation, there are so many possibilities that open up! Vacation Upgrades are a fabulous way to take someone’s vacation to the next level. If someone on your list already has an upcoming vacation booked with the options they can afford, think about how excited they’ll be to actually be able to stay in that balcony stateroom or waterview suite that they really wanted! 

Mickey Holiday Parade Disneyland

There are a bunch of different ways to upgrade elements of someone’s vacation, too. You can upgrade their room, or their airline tickets to a higher class, or even their theme park tickets to include more park time or VIP Tours! All of these options are especially easy if the person on your list has already booked through their favorite LOTMV Travel Advisor!

New York City Christmas

3. Local Excursion

What if some of the people on your list don’t have any upcoming vacations planned? Or you just don’t know how to ask about it? No problem! As mentioned, there are excursions and experiences available in almost every place you can think of, and that includes wherever the people on your list live, too! 

Gingerbread House

Many people put off experiencing some of the trademark attractions in their own area because they figure they’ll get to it eventually by living there, but then people move or attractions close, and those opportunities disappear! If people on your list live within a few hours of any major city, there are TONS of excursions in cities, from ascending the tallest buildings to private museum tours; and if a city isn’t close by, or isn’t of interest to the people on your list, there are plenty of nature excursions, too, like tours of National and State Parks, boat rides around a nearby harbor, and adventurous options like mountain biking and kayaking, too. 

The loved ones you have on your holiday gift list don’t have to travel far to have a phenomenal or even life-changing experience; and what a special thing to be able to give someone, right? And as always, your favorite LOTMV Travel Advisor can help you find just the right excursion for everyone on your list. 

Christmas Market Lights

4. Staycation

Staycations are an extremely underrated vacation type, so you should start taking them (and giving them, since that’s what this blog is all about) ASAP. Think about it: you get to skip all (or at least most of) the transportation (which we all know can be brutal around the holidays), and soak in the peace and quiet of a luxurious hotel room without worrying about taking time off work or even packing! 

Disney Resort Tree

Whether you are super in love with where you live or not, chances are there’s an incredible place to escape to that’s less than an hour away, and the same goes for everyone on your list. Maybe you have a family member who would love nothing more than to fall asleep to the sound of the ocean outside their window, or a friend who would appreciate a night out in the nearest city without having to worry about getting home in the middle of the night. No matter where the people on your list live, there’s surely an oceanside escape, or a mountain retreat, or city night out, that isn’t too far away, and that would make for a most amazing Staycation. And as always, if you’re not sure, your favorite Love of the Magic Travel Advisor can help you find the perfect Staycation location for anyone on your list!

Bonus Staycation Tip: This makes a fabulous gift for your significant other (especially if you can get someone to watch the kiddos for the night)!

Holiday Family

5. Full Vacation

Before you dismiss this one as out of your budget, hear me out: you’re probably going to take a family vacation this year, right? And you’re probably going to consider everyone in your family (or at least in your immediate family) when deciding where to go, right? And there’s a good chance at least one of your family trips for the year will be in either winter or spring, without having to wait all the way until summer, right? 

So, why not plan for it now (as you should be anyway, according to Your Vacation Planning Timeline: A Guide on What to Book When); this way, you’re booking at the right time to get the best rates and availability for wherever you choose to go AND you’re giving your family (yourself included) the BEST Christmas gift EVER. 

Christmas in Paris

And if you don’t like the idea of your kids not having anything to open Christmas morning, never fear! Don’t you usually buy a whole bunch of vacation stuff anyway to prepare for wherever you’re going? If you give your family a Disney Vacation, you can buy everyone matching shirts, or ears, or if it’s a Disney Cruise, fish extenders (see what they’re all about here); if you’re going to a National Park, maybe some binoculars or a new camera; if you’re going to Europe, maybe some books or movies set wherever you’re headed, or even new luggage! 

There are SO many ways to pair presents to open with the huge gift of a Family Vacation. Plus, you can even come up with a fun way for your family to “open” the news about the vacation, such as wrapping letters and clues for everyone to put together to figure out where you’re going! 

Minnie at Castaway Cay

Giving a Family Vacation as a Christmas gift can actually save you money (since you’ll likely be taking a vacation at some point in the new year anyway), AND can provide you with other gift ideas for each member of your family. And it doesn’t have to be a huge vacation to a far-off destination either; it could be a ski weekend, or a trip planned around an event, like a concert (I see you Swifties)! 

Remember: just because the trip may not happen on Christmas Day, or even the next day, it can still be a gift you give for Christmas. Think about how much time your whole family will get to enjoy looking forward to it and getting excited about it!

Christmas in London

And, if giving Full Vacations to anyone outside of your own immediate family is within your budget, you’re sure to win Christmas by giving the best gift ever! And of course your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor can help you figure out the perfect place for your own family, and for anyone else on your holiday list, too!

Ready to Plan?

Happy Holidays

Giving Experiences instead of stuff is always a wonderful idea: it’s creative, it’s thoughtful, and it’s often remembered for far longer than any other type of material present you can give. The memories made during meaningful experiences truly last a lifetime; can you imagine giving someone a gift that priceless? And all of us here at Love of the Magic Vacations are here to help you turn your imagination into reality, not to mention helping you whittle down that gift list, too! 

Whatever kinds of experiences and vacations you’d like to give this year, I would love to help you choose and plan the perfect gifts for everyone on your list! Email me today at to get started planning, or click here for a free quote from me or your favorite Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor! 




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