Gift giving is one of many holiday activities that, for many of us, can be both rewarding and stressful.
While we all enjoy the look of appreciation on our loved ones’ faces when they unwrap something we’ve hand-picked just for them, finding a gift that will inspire joy rather than thinly veiled disappointment is tricky. Do they already have it? Will they like it? Will it fit?
But there’s one gift that won’t involve any of those questions. Here are a few reasons why the Gift of Travel is among the best gifts to give for the holidays…
1) They’ll Have Stories to Share
Every trip we take is different, and every travel experience is special. Consider a favorite destination you’ve been to over and over again: Each visit is probably full of unique details that you can share with friends and family for many years to come.
To give someone the gift of travel is to offer up an endless platter of memorable experiences. Maybe they’ll have the trip of a lifetime. Maybe they’ll get lost in a new city, and an exciting adventure will ensue. Maybe the trip will be nothing like what they expected, but it will be special nonetheless.
Whether you’re introducing your loved ones to a completely new place or bringing them back to one they already know well, the gift of travel almost always leads to the type of experiences that we want to share. And when was the last time you told a fascinating story about your new tie or fruit basket?
2) No Chargers Required
We’re all drowning in gadgets these days. Do you really want to add another piece of technology that will malfunction, run out of batteries, or become obsolete when the next version comes out in 6 months?
When you give someone the gift of travel, not only are you NOT adding an additional cord to that tangled mess on their desk, but you’re giving them a chance to escape tech overload altogether.
A break from technology, social media, and everything that beeps at us throughout the day can be a refreshing way to reboot during (or after) the holiday season. Travel is one of the greatest gifts we can give because it reminds us how rewarding it can be to step away from our growing screens and immerse ourselves in the moment.
And when we travel, those moments can be truly breathtaking.
3) Travel is ALWAYS in Style
Those trendy boots your daughter is dying to flaunt this season might keep her fashionable for a few months. But what about next season, when they’re collecting dust in the back of her closet?
Traveling the world is one trend that never goes out of style.
Whether they use your gift of travel next week, next month or next year, your loved ones will get to explore the timeless food, music, art, clothing and culture of whatever country they visit. A globetrotter is always cool, because they’re constantly expanding their awareness of the world around them and discovering new sides to their own personal style.
4) Memories Are Gifts That Keep on Giving
You’ll forget most of the gifts you receive this year. But travel tends to be something we remember for the rest of our lives.
There’s something about being immersed in a foreign place that makes everything more vivid. We’ve all had coffee at different coffee shops in our lifetimes. But a cup of coffee sipped on a farm in Costa Rica– with the palm trees waving in the breeze and the smell of freshly roasted beans in the background– is something that sticks with you forever.
Not only will your loved one never forget your gift of travel, they’ll never forget that you were the one kind enough to give it to them.
5) Travel Reminds Us That Experiences> Things
Packing a suitcase and hitting the road is a great way to gain much-needed perspective on how little we actually need.
Why do we have closets, garages and attics stuffed to the brim with stuff we hardly ever use, when we can obviously survive (and thrive) just fine with the things we can pack in a suitcase or backpack?
The increasingly consumption-focused holidays encourage us to accumulate even more stuff. We buy gifts for others, gifts for ourselves, decorations, wrapping paper, baked goods, fancy platters to serve those fancy cookies on… the list goes on and on!
But the holidays shouldn’t be focused on accumulating more stuff. The holidays should be about gratitude for what we already have and recognition of what’s really important, like friends, family, and a big, beautiful world that’s just waiting for us to explore it.
The gift of travel will remind your loved ones that experiences will always be better than things.
6) You Can Start a New Family Tradition
It’s great to have long-standing family traditions, passed down through the generations.
But starting a new tradition offers an excellent opportunity for family members to bond. Travel is a wonderful way to spend time together, experience something new as a family, and make magical memories that will be passed down… just like the new tradition.
Traveling as a family allows kids and parents alike to see the world from a new and exciting angle, and to share in that excitement together.
Sometimes it can feel like we’re very different from the people we call family. But in sharing travel experiences, we can discover things that we all enjoy and learn new things about each other.
7) Traveling Allows Families to Learn Together
You can have an even greater experience by finding ways to travel responsibly as a family.
Learning how to reduce your impact on the planet as you explore it is a great lesson for all ages. These lessons we learn about caring for the world we love to travel can be brought back home with us, too.
Plus, traveling as a family ultimately brings everyone closer. And isn’t that the best gift you can give each other this holiday season?
The holiday season is a great opportunity to give the gift of travel. You could change someone’s life simply by giving them an opportunity to see more of the world. Why not join them, and give yourself the gift of travel, too? –Britany Robinson
Learn more about Discover Corps’ holiday trips!
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.