Give an Adventure: Experience-Based Gift Ideas for Travellers

Share this:

Instead of buying more ‘stuff’ this year, how about giving someone a travel gift experience they won’t forget instead?

Whether you’re sick of buying friends and family presents which they might not even want or are considering making more eco-friendly purchase decisions, I can assure you that ditching physical presents in favour of experiences is the way to go! They need not cost a bomb either.

I’m a big advocate of minimalism, buying less and instead consuming more experiences. And there’s nothing more rewarding than giving someone memories that may last a lifetime, or even better, sharing those memories with the people you care about the most.

To give you some inspiration about some travel-related experiences you could give someone this year, here are 10  gift ideas for anyone who loves travel or simply doing something fun!

Suitable for him, her, couples, kids and the whole family – I hope you find some suitable alternative experience gift ideas within this list.

This post may contain affiliate links meaning should you purchase a product via this link, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. See my privacy and disclosure policy for more.

A Tinggly experience box

looking out the window from a helicopter cab
Image by Epicurrence via Unsplash

For those with an adventurous spirit, no gift is better than a memorable day activity experienced from anywhere in the world. 

Whether it’s a VIP helicopter experience over glaciers in New Zealand, a hot air balloon ride over Napa Valley, swimming with sharks in the Maldives or a gourmet food tour around Florence, Tinggly offers some of the world’s most exciting experiences from over 100 countries. There are loads of cool experiences you can do near home too.

All you need to do is buy the Tinggly box online and it will be posted or emailed in the form of vouchers to the receiver. They then have a generous two years to pick the activity they would like from a vast array of experiences, for the value you selected.

What I love about this company the most is that with every eco-friendly box you purchase, they invest some of the profit into sustainable charity projects. For buying just one gift experience, Tinggly removed 5kg of plastic and offsets 200% of CO2 emissions produced during the chosen experience. A company with a conscience!

There’s even a free travel box packed with inspiration, or adventures start from $20.

An accommodation voucher

For world travellers, there is nothing more useful than a voucher which can be spent on major budget and luxury hotel brands all around the world.

Hotelgift.com claims to be the world’s number 1 provider of accommodation gift cards for brands such as Hilton, Marriot, Novotel, Shangri-La, Travelodge and more! In fact, gift cards can be redeemed at over 270,000 hotels across 71 countries!

The best bit is you can personalise them with images and messages, send physical gift cards with free postage, or opt for digital versions, sent instantly via email directly to you or the recipient.

An Airbnb Experience

ariel shot of girl and lady cooking in kitchen
Image by RODNAE Productions via Pexels

Not only do Airbnb do accommodation, they also offer locally led tours all over the world and virtual experiences in the form of online masterclasses

The virtual experiences are especially ideal if you want to gift someone living in another country and also do it with them!

There are so many cool online experiences. I love the sound of Indigenous cooking classes, an intro to meditating with a Buddhist Monk and the funny ‘true or false’ history game which would be great for a group. 

For in-person experiences I’d choose glamping under the Northern Lights, a safari with a Maasai guide or horse riding with a local cowboy in the Andes!

Airbnb have made it even easier to send someone their experiences by introducing gift cards (currently only available in the US).

Airline vouchers

view over airplane wing in the clouds
Image by Ross Parmly via Unsplash

For travel lovers, what better gift is there than simply the gift of travel?

OK, so you can’t exactly buy all your friends and family a flight or a holiday. But if you want to treat your loved one to something extra special, how about booking them flights or giving them some airline vouchers? It’s an especially memorable gift for a ‘big birthday’ celebration such as a 50th or 21st.

FlightGift are a super cool company who offer one gift card redeemable against flights from hundreds of different airlines. It’s the perfect gift for someone always on the go!

You don’t have to buy the full value of a flight, even a $20 or $50 gift card would make a very nice discount on any future flight.

To get an estimate of how much flights to various destinations cost, have a search on SkyScanner by selecting flights to ‘everywhere’ and a month (or even the ‘cheapest month’ option).

A membership pass

large art gallery with people at the back
Image by Riccardo Bresciani via Pexels

The best gift I have ever received in my life was a lifetime membership for the National Trust from my grandma. I’ve had years of pure joy from exploring historic houses and areas of outstanding beauty for free. And did you know you can use a National Trust membership abroad too?. And there are many more years of this to come!

Although the National Trust Lifetime memberships are expensive (they have gone up since I got given mine), yearly passes are available.

If you are in the US, annual National Parks passes are a brilliant gift idea. At only $80, you are not only able to access some of the most stunning parks all over the country for free, you are contributing towards the preservation of these beauty spots.

For those people who are more city slickers, how about buying them a membership pass to a local gallery, gym, fitness class, theme park, museum or theatre? A membership is one of the best travel gift experiences out there!

Couple’s adventure inspiration

The concept behind the Adventure Challenge is simple: date inspiration for you and your loved one.

Fun date night ideas can either be delivered to you in the form of a monthly subscription, or there’s the adventure book and camera containing a years worth of adventurous dates to tick off plus a cute instant camera to document your experiences together.

The Adventure Challenge is a super adorable idea to help you to spend more quality time with your number one travel buddy, perfect for an anniversary or birthday gift.

Local tour or attraction tickets

ATV group day tour
Image via Canva

Whether it’s a walking, brewery, distillery, history or a gourmet food tour, it’s super easy to be a tourist in your own city and view it from a new perspective!

There are loads of cool private and group tours on Viator which are often discounted from the RRP if you went direct to the tour company.

If you’re in the US, check out CityPASS for huge discounts on big attractions all across the country.

It’s a great excuse for the receiver to do the ‘must do’ things near them that they haven’t got around to yet!

A hobby course

camp fire in the snow
Image by Kezadri Abdelhakvia Unsplash

Whatever hobby the person has who you’re buying for, I can almost guarantee there will be a course for it.

For outdoor enthusiasts, an education or skills-based course may well be the ideal gift. There are many outward bound companies all across the world who can offer a range of fun but educational day classes.

If you’re in the UK, check out survival and bushcraft courses with Woodland Ways. For Australian’s look at the Adventure Merchants or for US citizens, Survival School.

For creative arts such as painting, photography, videography, Photoshop or writing, check out the vast catalogue of online courses run by CreativeLive.

Don’t forget there is always Rosetta Stone for that person who has always dreamed of learning another language!

A photoshoot

hand holding camera with couple having a photoshoot
Image via Canva

Ideal for some cute new photos for the ‘Gram, to send loved ones or just to make some fun memories – a photoshoot with a professional photographer makes a fantastic gift.

Flytographer pairs you with local photographers for vacation shoots all over the world in places such as London, Paris and New York. Sessions can be 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Gift cards with no expiry date are available. You can get $50 off by clicking here.

A mystery flight

plane coming to land in Switzerland
Image by Pascal Meier via Unsplash

For some, this may be the idea of hell, but for serendipity-seeking adventure junkies, a mystery flight is quite possibly THE best adrenaline-inducing gift you can give! 

The idea behind a mystery flight is quite simple. You choose the budget, fill out a quick survey, pay and then your destination is a surprise until you get to the airport!

For US-based citizens you can buy gift vouchers for loved ones with Pack Up + Go, for UK citizens and Aussies, Virgin Australia.

Adventure sport experiences

Want to gift an experience they’ll never forget? How about booking a bucket-list worthy extreme adventure sport?!

Whether it’s jumping out of a plane for a sky dive, a super car driving experience for petrol heads, or a sunrise ride in a hot air balloon, you’ll be able to find endless thrilling activities on Buy a Gift UK. Or if you’re not in the UK, from Virgin Experience Days.

Once purchased, the receiver typically has at least a year to redeem it.

Or, not sure exactly what they’d like? Get them an adventure box so they can pick.

A charitable donation

army planting trees in field
Image by Dmitry Dreyer via Unsplash

If you’re really stuck about what to get someone, you can’t go wrong with a charitable donation on their behalf. It’s especially an ideal travel gift experience for the person who has it all, or does not want for anything.

One of my favourite things to do is purchase trees to be planted somewhere in the world for someone.

I’ve previously bought my mum 5 trees to be replanted in Brazil after deforestation devastation from One Tree Planted. It’s kind of a cool to think that even though she’ll never go there, she’s made a positive environmental impact somewhere else in the world. 

You can also sponsor vulnerable children across the world with fantastic charities such as Unicef or Save the Children.


I hope these travel gift experiences for travellers have given you some inspiration about what you can gift your loved one, be it for a birthday, Christmas or any other special occasion. As you can see, there are many ways to add more adventure to life, without buying more material goods.

If you have bought any of these experiences before or have any more ideas you’d add to this list, I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below!

Going travelling Soon? Don’t forget these essentials!

Flights: compare and search for the cheapest flights using Skyscanner

Accommodation: hotels to hostels, glamping to apartments, I always use Booking.com

Travel insurance: to cover yourself for any unplanned situations, I use and would recommend World Nomads

Tours: to find the best group tours and activities worldwide (with up to 20% off), use Viator

Visa: don’t forget to check the entry requirements for the passport you are travelling with

Inspiration: to kick-start your next adventure, how about Lonely Planet’s top 500 places to see… ranked?

PIN ME FOR LATER:

the best travel gift experiences
Gift experience ideas for travel lovers
travel adventure gift ideas you cant buy in a shop


*This post may contain affiliate links meaning should you purchase a product via this link, I’ll earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. These are still products I use or believe in regardless. See my privacy and disclosure policy for more.*

Share this:

23 thoughts on “Give an Adventure: Experience-Based Gift Ideas for Travellers”

  1. Yes! I absolutely love this! Giving experiences as gifts is something I absolutely love – Airbnb + airline vouchers are such an amazing idea!

    Reply
    • I know, I always choose experiences over gifts where ever possible! I think I’d cry with joy if someone gave me airline vouchers!

      Reply
  2. Oh, I absolutely ADORE all of these ideas! I may be completely biased about the photography idea too, being a photographer haha. I love all these ideas and think they are great gift options for those hard to buy for people, um, myself who rather have an experience!

    Reply
  3. Love this! I prefer experiences as gifts rather than a product. It’s memorable and unique way to show your appreciation to someone. Great guide!

    Reply
  4. These are fantastic ideas!! I have to admit, all of my favourite gifts recently have been experiences rather than things. The best was a mushroom foraging tour. 🙂

    A hobby course is SUCH a fun sounding gift (although, I guess that could be super pricy…)

    Reply
  5. I am all about the experience gifts. Every year my boyfriend and I share experience gifts for upcoming trips, things to do in our hometown and online experiences. I love all your ideas and although we don’t have any trips planned, because…well 2020, this is great to keep in mind for the future and instead concentrate on things here. I never thought about the Airbnb experience gift though. That’s a good one

    Reply
  6. Experience based gifts are the best! Every year I make a donation to a charity of choice on our anniversary. Feels really great! Thanks for putting this post together!

    Reply
  7. I love these suggestions so much. We started giving experiences several years ago and our family loves it! I have never heard of Tinggly box. I’m going to have to check them out 🙂

    Reply
  8. These are amazing! I think I will send this to others just to gift me, they look so much fun, especially this mystery flight! Would love to be surprised like that 😀

    Reply
  9. I would like to say that this list of gifts is really useful for me, it gives me a clear idea of what I should give to my favorite person. I think a power bank can be a great option for my friend. I’m sure your post will help most people to select the right gift for their belongings.

    Reply
  10. Really nice post. I learnt a lot from you. I appreciate your efforts and all that you did on this webpage. Best of luck for future.

    Reply
  11. Yeees these are all fantastic ideas! Honestly all the gifts I have appreciated the most over the last few years have been experiences rather than things. 😀

    Reply
  12. We are surprising our girls with a travel gift for Christmas and looking at ways to make it adventurous just to open the package.

    Reply
  13. What a great idea! Experiences are both my favorite gifts to give and get. A photoshoot is the perfect example – something that everyone would enjoy but don’t often splurge on for themselves. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  14. I actually prefer to be given experiences rather than physical gifts, so I’ll be passing this along to a couple of family members as a hint!

    Reply
  15. Really love these ideas! I’m a much bigger fan of experiences than things. I’ve donated to charities before on behalf of others as a gift, but I had never considered any of the others ideas you mentioned here. Thanks for sharing this! Xx Sara

    Reply

Leave a comment