Giving the gift of travel is a wonderful way to share the world with your loved ones this holiday season. But as with any other gift, it can be overwhelming to select one that’s just right. There are so many travel styles and preferences to consider, and you want to make sure they truly enjoy the experience.
Our Holiday Gift Guide will help you decide which trips would be the best gifts for travelers with their particular strand of wanderlust.
We know you can’t wait to see the look on your friend or family member’s face when you give them the gift of travel! So let’s make sure that gift is just right…
Gifts for The Solo Traveler
The solo traveler has an adventurous spirit. They don’t need a friend to join them when checking out the newest restaurant in town, and if no one is available to join them when the travel bug bites, they’re just fine with going alone.
Southeast Asia is a hopping destination for solo travelers, thanks to its well-defined backpacker trail where solo travelers can easily meet like-minded new friends. It’s also very easy to travel without concrete plans here, as public transportation is cheap and accessible.
Trekking into lush mountains to meet the hill tribes of Northern Thailand is a highlight for many Southeast Asia travelers, and the solo traveler will revel in the remote beauty of this region.
South America is another popular destination for solo travelers. It’s considered a more challenging region to explore, as the infrastructure is not as reliable as Southeast Asia’s and crime can be a bigger concern. But for the adventurous traveler, South America offers thrills of every kind, from modern cities to barely touched deserts, salt flats, jungles and beaches.
Trekking to Machu Picchu is on virtually every travel lover’s bucket list, and solo travelers might enjoy the opportunity to join a group for this life-changing excursion. The ancient city is best approached by hiking the Inca Trail, arriving at sunrise on the final day. That’s a travel story they’ll share for years to come, and you could help them get there!
Gifts for Baby Boomers
The baby boomer traveler likely has a little more spending money than the younger people on your list.
They’re looking for comfort and adventure, with a touch of class. Maybe they’re a seasoned traveler, or maybe they’re finally finding the free time to see those destinations that have always been on their travel bucket list. Either way, they know what they enjoy and they’re willing to put a little extra leg work into planning their trips to make them just right.
A recent study by AARP revealed that 99% of Baby Boomers are already planning to travel in 2016, and 75% of them have already picked a destination.
If the person on your list has already booked their travel, perhaps you could add a tour, a spa day, or a unique cultural experience to their trip. If you can find out where they’re heading, the baby boomer traveler might enjoy a special treat along the way.
The Caribbean and Mexico top the list of the most popular international destinations for baby boomers, while Florida and Las Vegas come out on top of American’s domestic travel destinations.
A snorkeling day trip would be a fun addition to a trip in the Caribbean or Mexico’s coast. A show in Las Vegas or a day trip to the Grand Canyon could be a memorable addition to a trip to Sin City.
Gifts for the Family Traveler
Whether we’re buying a gift for our own family or another, pleasing everyone in a group is always a challenge.
Interestingly, 2016 marks the centennial of America’s National Parks. Trips to the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Mt. Rushmore and 55 other national parks make for iconic family experiences. It’s a chance for family members of all ages to share in the gift of travel, and potentially begin a new family tradition for the holidays. Perhaps consider purchasing a National Parks pass for the family traveler in your life.
Volunteer vacations could provide a bonding experience for families as well. Introducing children to the importance of helping others and the joy of experiencing new cultures can instill a passion for travel and goodwill that lasts a lifetime. Pre-organized volunteer vacations also have the added benefit of a well-planned itinerary that can relieve the stress of traveling with younger children.
Gifts for Animal Lovers
For diehard animal aficionados, travel often means escaping into the beauty of nature. Give the wildlife lover in your life the gift of fresh air, invigorating physical activity, and the thrill of seeing wild animals in their natural habitat with a wildlife-focused trip.
Costa Rica is a popular destination that exposes travelers to all kinds of wildlife, from stunning coastline to jungles teeming with plants and animals.
For the traveler who likes to lend a helping hand in protecting wildlife while they travel, volunteering with sea turtles in Costa Rica is a joyous experience. Leatherback turtles lay their eggs on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica from January through July, and volunteers can work with conservation organizations to help protect this threatened species.
East and South Africa offer myriad destinations that can make a wildlife lover’s dream come true, and an African safari provides close-up encounters against postcard worthy backdrops. A trip based in South Africa or Tanzania offers access to once-in-a-lifetime safaris and gorgeous coastlines.
Gifts for Cultural Connoisseurs
The cultural connoisseur is interested in art, museums, theater, food, wine, and the many cultural intricacies that can be uncovered in new places.
New York City is considered the cultural capital of the world. With its expansive options for exploring unique local culture as well as other cultures from around the world, it’s hard to argue with this distinction. A trip to New York could include a Broadway play, an authentic Chinese meal in Chinatown, a boat ride to Ellis Island, and a late night jazz show… all in one day!
It seems like every cultural connoisseur is captivated by Cuba lately, especially as Americans will soon gain full access to travel there. For now, Cuba remains a time capsule of culture where music, dance, and food are celebrated.
For Americans who still face travel restrictions, an organized cultural immersion trip to Cuba is one of the few ways to gain access to this remarkable country. Your gift could be the ticket to experience a culture that may soon look very different, offering a priceless experience for the cultural connoisseur.
No matter what type of trip you choose, you can be confident that these gifts for travelers will leave an impact on your loved ones that lasts well beyond the holiday season, and even beyond their trip. And don’t forget, travel is a great gift to give yourself, too! –Britany Robinson
BIO: Britany Robinson is a freelance travel and culture writer based in Portland, Oregon. Her works appears in BBC Travel, Mashable, Green Global Travel, and more. Her blog, Travel Write Away, shares advice and musings on travel writing. When she’s not planning her next big trip, she’s scoping out Portland craft beers and local hikes.