For my birthday last September (2016), I asked Peter not to buy me anything; rather, I asked him to give me something travel related as a present. Modern norms tell us that anything that marks an occasion in our lives be it a birthday, an anniversary, or holidays, a present is expected. The thing is, in this world of consumerism, we end up buying more and more stuff as presents, and do not put enough thought into the meaning of it.
Which is why for my birthday, instead of getting something wrapped in a piece of paper and trying to guess what it is, I asked him to just cover my ticket to the Dry Tortugas as part of our Key West getaway. While we do have a tradition of going traveling to celebrate our respective birthdays and our wedding anniversary, we decided to just give each other gifts of travel or of knowledge: be it tickets to a destination, a book which we can read, or something we can definitely use.
Why do we do it? Why give the gift of travel?
First off, Peter and I both love to travel – we feel that it helps broaden our mind in a way that we see new destinations, eat various food, and experience new things. By giving the gift of travel, we are giving ourselves the power to grow into better people, we give ourselves the power to learn more without having to step foot inside a classroom, and most of all, we give ourselves a unique experience to experience with each other, something that we’ll both remember (and blog about).
A gift for your significant other
If you are part of a couple, giving the gift of travel can help you learn more about the other person. Staying in a hotel (or hostel) room and learning to be with each other all the time for a few days (weeks, months, or years, for others) can help you see if this person is really the one for you. It tests your relationship and also helps you decide if you jive. You don’t really touch the gift of travel when you give or receive it, but you see it and feel it, and have wonderful memories of it.
Well, you can eventually make it into something tangible if you convert your photos into photo books but that’s besides the point. You also lessen the amount of stuff that you are potentially getting (and which you potentially may not like).
A gift for your family
You are not limited to giving the gift of travel to your significant other, you can also do it to your family members. With the advent of low-cost carriers who are able to fly you from Point A to Point B, you can give the gift of travel to your parents, who may not have experienced travel because at the time, travel is a luxury that is reserved for the affluent and wealthy. Your parents helped to bring you into the world, and may have sacrificed a few things for you monetary wise so it’s time to pay back and indulge them! I took my mom on a few trips mainly because she was game to go to new places when she got older (and semi-retired). Of course, most of these tickets were on low-cost airlines (if we were to fly my mom for a long-haul, we’d probably be using travel hacking techniques). Then again, your parents must be game enough to go with your plans. Not everyone likes to travel, though, and we get that. But you be the judge if they will like the gift or not.
When it comes to siblings, you can also invite them to come to your travels. Peter and I travel occasionally with his brother (I don’t have any siblings), and we have used a couple of our travel hacking techniques to help secure great rooms in higher-end hotels for free, which Peter’s brother would never have dreamed of happening. See the power of travel hacking? Your family may not do it themselves but they can definitely experience the perks of it!
What we’re trying to point out here is while giving physical gifts is good if there is a meaning behind it and if it’s a useful object, one of the best gifts to give and to receive is the gift of travel. Be it to see relatives who are based in a different city, or just a mini break with your significant other, or just be with your family in general, it creates memories for all the people involved and that’s what matters. You remember more with experiences than with stuff anyway, and physical things tend to break, get lost, or damaged in the process. Your memories on the other hand, will stay with you until you live.