Christmas is a week away, and if you’re like me, you have plenty of shopping remaining. I’m not much for the latest gadgets or new trends. I drive a 10-year-old car, half of my clothing comes from thrift shops, I refuse to replace my 3-year-old iPhone even though the home button barely functions, and I’m OK watching my old-school big-screen TV that can only be seen when sitting way back from it. So let’s be clear: I’m not the person to offer advice on the “top five gifts of 2013.” Some people might call me cheap. What I can provide assistance with, however, is fulfilling a Christmas travel wish list. If you are looking for a gift for someone who loves to travel, maybe these ideas can help you fulfill an awesome Christmas travel wish list, even if it’s one that hasn’t been written down or requested.
I’ve received practical gifts related to travel in the past: luggage, a new digital camera, guidebooks, items of clothing and shoes meant for a future trip. I appreciated them all. This year I don’t have any one big trip planned, meaning a guidebook probably won’t be under the tree. A gift card to buy said guidebook? Sure, that could work. But where’s the fun in getting a gift card? Here are a few thoughts on fulfilling your Christmas travel wish list.
I love planning trips, but the idea of someone planning a trip for me as a surprise is pretty cool and appreciated. Last Christmas, my wife gave me a surprise trip as a present, although she still left the details to me. Under the tree were two tickets for The XX concert in Atlanta in early February.
So the location and date was set, but the details of lodging, where we would eat and what we would do in addition to the concert was still up to me. Atlanta is only a six-hour drive from home, so it’s a great three-day weekend. Since we enjoy taking getaway weekend trips to regional cities we can drive to, the trip wasn’t an expensive gift. Chances were high we’d end up traveling to a city like Atlanta during the first few months of the year anyway. So the only real gift expense was the tickets.
My wife and I have been married for 14 years. One of the many ways we are able to have a happy marriage is by not holding each other back from spending time with our friends. My wife has been great through the years about supporting my desire to go on sports trips with my friends. And I’ve been supportive of her going on shopping weekends with her girlfriends. It’s something that takes much more planning after having children, but it is something every couple can and should do.
But how do you “give” a girls’ getaway to your girlfriend or wife or a guys’ weekend to your husband or boyfriend? I would advise against planning the trip for them, for starters. But speaking for myself, if my wife went behind my back to get in touch with the wives and girlfriends of my friends so they could coordinate the “idea” of the gift, that would be pretty cool. I might not open a planned three-day itinerary to Las Vegas, but I’d be thrilled to open a card that says something like this: “My gift to you is a weekend away with your friends this summer. You have my support to plan a weekend with your friends.”
I will say if you know your wife has been talking about visiting a certain spa, or really has a favorite hotel somewhere, you could buy a gift certificate. Just be certain she wants to go there. And it might be good to make sure the expiration date is far into the future.
Before having our son, my wife and I celebrated Valentine’s Day by spending a weekend away at a B&B no more than two or three hours from home. We don’t do the trip as much as we’d like, and that’s why a planned B&B getaway could be a great present for my wife. I think it’s important for couples to experience time away together, but it’s especially true for parents. We enjoy traveling with our son, but sometimes we just have to spend a night or two away to enjoy time together with all the freedoms we took for granted before starting a family. If you want to give a romantic getaway as a gift but not plan the actual location or inn, craft a homemade certificate that gives the recipient the right to pick their favorite B&B or hotel within a three-hour radius of home.
A couple of years ago, my wife and I didn’t give each other as much for Christmas because we were saving for a big trip later that year to Europe. When taking a big trip, every dollar can count. We had a few less presents to open on Christmas morning, but we knew we’d have plenty of awesome experiences that spring in England to make up for it. But who says you shouldn’t still be able to open a present just because you technically aren’t opening a present? The next time we forego Christmas presents for a big trip, I think we should still get a present to open. I think I’ll print out a map or two of destinations from the big trip, or maybe type up an agenda, then wrap them and put them under the tree.