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88 Ways to Give the Gift of Travel

My good friend and colleague, Grace Cular Lee with Pineapple7 Travel wrote this great blog post about the Gift of Travel and was nice enough to add some of the ideas I gave her to her list. Please read below for some incredible ideas and inspiration that I would love to help plan for you and your family, friends, colleagues and events.

"If happiness is a journey, shouldn’t you plan more journeys? Studies continue to reveal that experiences bring people more joy than material possessions. So the secret to happiness really isn’t a secret after all… it’s about enjoying the gift of time.

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Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University, has been studying the question of money and happiness for over 20 years. “People often think spending money on an experience is not as wise an investment as spending it on a material possession,” Gilovich points out. “They think the experience will come and go in a flash, and they’ll be left with little compared to owning an item. But, in reality, we remember experiences long afterward, while we soon become used to our possessions. At the same time, we also enjoy the anticipation of having an experience more than the anticipation of owning a possession.”

Vacation memories are easy to recount – even if they occurred years ago. It’s part of the magic of travel. And those moments linger throughout our lifetime and shape us. The memories we collect become a source of happiness to re-live whenever we want.

Troy Yenser, Financial Advisor, Raymond James, recently wrote an article about Maximizing Your Return on Life. “The truth is that happiness over material items will fade away over time. Think about how exciting it is to get a new car, iPhone, or big-screen TV. At some point that excitement will fade away and those items just become part of your every day. Now think about your honeymoon or that trip to the beach you took with your children and/or grandchildren… which makes you smile more today?”

Last year, I surprised my Dad with the gift of an Alaskan cruise. I’ll always remember the look of joy on his face when he saw an Alaskan glacier for the first time. Earlier this week, we met for coffee and we reminisced about riding a float plane over Juneau to view the glaciers from the sky.

Not sure what to give your elderly parent? Give them the gift of your time and surprise them with a trip! An investment in experiences is an investment in yourself. We’re all working longer hours and earning PTO that’s being wasted. The decade is ending soon. How many experiences have you captured? How many memories have you collected?

“We can choose to spend our money on an endless supply of things or we could choose to spend the money we have on experiences with our families, friends, and those closest to us, maybe even improving our lives along the way,” Troy pointed out.

Together with Carissa Gulyas, Your Wish Travel Co, and several of our travel partners, we have identified 88 Ways to Give the Gift of Travel to inspire you to collect a lifetime of memories.

Give the gift of travel and unwrap the world one journey at a time!

1. Charter a yacht for your family, wedding or corporate event in the Caribbean or Mediterranean.

2. Make French Macaroons with a Parisian Chef in his commercial kitchen apartment. Get the macaroon recipe and make enough desserts for the flight home. 3. Enjoy a (120 minute) Turkish Hammam in Cayman at the Seafire – Paola 4. Bicycle through the French Countryside 5. Experience St Patrick’s Day in Dublin 6. Soak in the mineral-rich baths in Budapest. 7. Scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef. 8. Go “Gramping” – take your grandchildren on a trip to Europe or go on a cruise. 9. Pick lavender in Provence and take a family picture in the blooming purple fields.

10. Shake for Champagne: when you open Virgin Voyages’s Sailor App and shake your phone and hit push me, a bottle of Moet & Chandon will he delivered to your exact location on-board the Scarlet Lady ~ Rosalynn Domdom, Virgin Voyages 11. Kayak to calving glaciers in Alaska 12. Go Castle hopping in Ireland and Scotland 13. Learn to play the ukulele in Hawaii 14. Attend the World Expo 2020 in Dubai 15. Indulge in the gold mask treatment of Venetian golden leaves, Merchant of Venice Spa, San Clemente Palace Kempinski – Caroline Robin, Kempinski 16. Hike the Canadian Rockies. Soak in the Banff Hot Springs. 17. Celebrate Beethoven’s 250th Birthday in Vienna where they already have events planned 18. Heli-hike and walk atop Franz Josef Glacier, NZ 19. Give the Gift of Digital Detox at Castle Hot Springs. Since you can get away from it all, literally, in the Bradshaw Mountains, the hotel does offer wifi but prefers all phones stay in the room for a true experience for getting away from it all. ~ Tara, WanderLuxe 20. The Knickerbocker Hotel at Times Square, NYC has the perfect outdoor patio for spending New Year's Eve. You have the best view of the ball dropping from their rooftop restaurant/patio. Be sure to get tickets way in advance. 21. Trace your roots. Walk in the footsteps of your loved ones on your own ancestral vacation. 22. Go truffle hunting in the Piedmont region of Italy. Truffle hunt with a local truffle hunter, dog and pig. 23. Sail along the Amalfi Coast via private yacht. Enjoy a four-course lunch featuring fresh fish dishes and a vertical wine tasting of 10 selected reserve wines. 24. Visit an orangutan sanctuary and jungle trek with a veterinarian in Borneo. 25. Go white water rafting in Costa Rica. Stay in a remote property that it is not directly accessible by car or public transportation, but you can white water raft right up the resort!

26. Get revved-up during a private tour of Italy’s fast cars. Race in a Ferrari.

27. Look for gorillas in the wild in Rwanda. 28. Look for the Northern Lights in Norway. 29. Stay at Kimpton Hotel Eventi and be in walking distance to the Highline and Hudson Yards, as well as the original Macy’s at Herald Square. 30. Follow the Great Migration in Tanzania. See the Serengeti by hot air balloon. 31. Go waterfall hunting in Grenada. 32. Couples: Explore the 7th Continent through the spectacular wilderness of the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula. -Chris Hanna, Quark Expeditions. 33. Sail America's Cup while in Auckland, NZ. 34. Snow-capped mountains, frozen lakes and magnificent lights - Discover St. Moritz in winter and let yourself be captivated by the beauty of the snowy landscapes and colorful sunsets! 35. Stay at the Ferragamo Estate in Tuscany. Enjoy a private wine tasting in their private wine cellar. 36. Knit in the Shetland Islands 37. Experience Kobe beef in Kobe, Japan. 38. Foodies: Attend the Annual World Gourmet Festival at Anantara Siam where we feature between 15-20 Top Michelin star rated chefs from all over the world. Next year is the 21st year and we are always the venue. This is the most visited gourmet festival in Thailand.~Myra 39. Watch the sun rise over Angkor Wat, Cambodia. 40. Play the Green Monkey Course at Sandy Lane, Barbados 41. Greece is the word: When in Mykonos, arrive in your yacht at the dock of Kensho Psarou. Stay in a beautiful white stone matched with natural woods villa overlooking the Adriatic. 42. Hike around the Swiss Alps with a St Bernard. You get a hiking companion for 90 minutes and these sweet gentle giants get to socialize and enjoy a scenic workout. 43. Antarctic Highlights: Imagine cruising in a Zodiac through crackling sea ice like shattered glass, witnessing penguins building their nests, or navigating through a maze of icebergs, each one uniquely shaped by its journey through the sea. ~Chris, Quark 44. Enjoy the Summer Olympics in Japan 2020. 45. Sip on Champagne in Champagne, France. 46. Go on an Early VIP Access Tour of the Vatican to see the Sistine Chapel before the crowds; Have breakfast in the Vatican. 47. Hike Around Machu Picchu.

48. Visit a Lanna family’s house in Northern Thailand. Go on a garden tour to select fresh ingredients for your Thai cooking class and meal. 49. Travel with purpose: volunteer and immerse yourself in the daily activities of a local community. 50. Camp for a night in Antarctica. As you drift to sleep, you’ll listen to the bray of penguin, the ethereal calls of the Weddell sea – even the exhalation of a humpback whale. ~Chris Hanna, Quark Expeditions 51. Visit the local floating markets of Bangkok and discover the way Thailand used to be.

Floating Markets of Bangkok

52. See the Passion Play in Oberammergau.

53. Skydive in Bora Bora. Afterwards, relax from your overwater bungalow. 54. Spend the week with your family in a fully-staffed waterfront villa in Barbados. 55. Skip the Crowds in Paris: Enjoy private Tours of the Louvre and Eiffel Tower 56. Sip Your Way across Napa + Sonoma. Dine at French Laundry (we have connections) 57. The gift of a baby moon - with Ventana Big Sur, there is no Zika on the West Coast, and Ventana offers the romance and relaxation for new parents-to-be. 58. Enjoy Afternoon Tea in London at the same place where The Queen takes her staff. 59. Europe’s Christmas markets are magical. Stay warm with glühwein and hot chocolate. 60. Go Whale watching in Maui in the winter-early spring. 61. Join a small group on a private jet whiling staying at Aman properties around the world - mostly inclusive with food, beverages and one of a kind experiences. 62. Dive the Blue Hole in Belize. 63. Shop the souks in Marrakesh. 64. Soak up the sun in any of the 8 different beaches of St. Barths. 65. Get a Behind-the-Scenes look at Harry Potter’s World in the UK. 66. Take a walk on the wild side. Hike through the glaciers in Patagonia. 67. At Fregate Island Private, give the gift of sponsoring on the the 4,000 giant tortoises on property to assist in the conservation of this non-predatory island in the Seychelles. ~ Tara, WanderLuxe.

Fregate Private Island, Seychelles

68. Visit the planet’s northernmost point: Push the limits of sailing on a NEW 16-day expedition cruise to the Geographic North Pole. Reach the planet’s northernmost point, 700 km away from any emerged land, on-board Ponant’s Le Commandant-Charcot, the first hybrid electric polar exploration vessel. ~Dale Woods, Ponant

69. Experience the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade without all the crowds or having to fight for a space and instead being able to relax while sipping on a mimosa and enjoying delicious food. We have access to a VIP section where all you have to do is show-up and enjoy the festivities.

70. Swim with the sharks in Cabo – Wendy Blandon, UJV. 71. Enjoy culture, food and entertainment in Cartagena. 72. Visit the Strahov Monastery in Prague and gain exclusive access to the 800+ year old libraries, the Theological and Philosophical Halls, and see some of the ancient tomes. 73. Catch rays and enjoy world class surfing by attending the Vans Triple Crown on Oahu’s North Shore. 74. Experience Milford Sound, New Zealand.

Kayaking Milford Sound, NZ

75. Tour Edinburgh Castle. Blend and bottle your own Scotch Whisky in the Highlands.

76. Ride the red rocks, mountain bike or hike the beautiful red rock trails of Boynton Canyon while staying at Enchantment Resort. 77. Experience Oktoberfest in Germany. 78. Embrace the art of aperitivo with an Aperol Spritz in Sardinia or Rome or Naples. 79. Celebrate Mālama Honu at Mauna Lani for releasing turtles aka Turtle Independence Day on July 4th. Mauna Lani’s turtle program cares for endangered sea turtles and releases them back into the wild. 80. Explore Zion National Park with your private guide. Explore cool grotto's, hike up narrow passes, and go to a remote area for afternoon canyoneering. 81. Delight your palate at Cayman Cookout where the worlds most talented chefs, food and wine experts converge on the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman. 82. Experience the F1 Singapore Grand Prix, Asia’s first street circuit. 83. Running with the Bulls in Pamplona: partake in the fun OR enjoy the festivities from your private balcony with your guide who will share the event’s history and explain what’s happening. 84. Stay at Richard Branson’s Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco. Stay in a luxury tent with private pool. Hike the Atlas Mountains with a stop for tea and lunch at a Berber family's home.

85. Kayak through Abel Tasman National Park out to Tonga Island and kayak past their seal population. 86. See Stonehenge at sunrise before the crowds get there and the dew is rising from the grass. Get an authentic feel when your guide is explaining the history and stories of the past. 87. Get a dose of Bavaria’s iconic beer culture with a guided food and beer tour.

88. Learn to make pizza and gelato with your kids during your private cooking class in Rome.

"Keep in mind these are only 88 ideas, but there are many more fantastic experiences to be had. Let's discuss what your ideas and passions and plan the perfect trip together. A bonus is with my agency relationships with hotels, resorts, charter and jet companies I can offer several extra perks. Let's work together on your travel wishes. Carissa"

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