Infectiously Happy

Inspiring Travel for the Holidays

Me and Santa sharing a rather blah moment. circa 1981

So suddenly I realized the holiday season is here. Maybe it’s time to give you some great ideas for inspiring travel in the lives of those you love.  As I get older I am growing to prefer experiences over things because things break and get old but life changing experiences… Well they will always continue to inspire you and the ones you love. So here is my list of great gifts that can change the way you give this holiday season and all year really.

1. Give them papers.  Hopefully you and the ones you love already have one but if not, $100 is much better spent on a passport than a pair of sneakers or a sweater that will be out of style by next Christmas.  Traveling outside of your country of origin or residence is an opportunity to experience new foods, cultures and landscapes.  I have seen a lot of pretty things in the mall, but nothing to top what you could learn about yourself or another culture when traveling. Giving someone a passport is a great push towards a life of exploration and education.  For more info on applying for a passport and fees check out: Passport Info.

2. Teach them how to talk. I meet people all the time who complain that when they left the United States for vacation, the people of whatever country they visited  had an attitude about speaking English. Imagine that?!  Taking time to learn basic phrases for the place you plan to visit can create a more enjoyable experience. Why not gift the ones you love with the tools to prep for their upcoming vacation?  Rosetta Stone is my favorite recommendation.  I own the french version, a gift from Frenchie many moons ago.  It was valuable in preparation for my first visit to France.  I honestly need to pick it up again because my french is past rusty, but let’s move right along…

3. Finance their fun.  Let us all be honest. Nothing gets a great vacation going like greenbacks, pesos, euros, dollars… You get the drift. There are these amazing sites that allow you to send money to those you love and they can then use that money to finance some world wide adventure.  Our Wishing Well is one option, but there are plenty out there.  You don’t have to leave home to go buy a gift card, or send real money through snail mail.  Plus others can easily contribute, you can use it as a way to keep giving throughout the year and the recipient can easily transfer the funds into their own account.  If someone you know is saving for a big trip I can’t think of a better way to help them make that dream come true.

4. Check off thing on their bucket list.  Everyone has one, formal or just a mental note.  A running list of things to do before they die.  It’s so morbid and inspiring at the same time. Why not make some of those items attainable for people who just won’t make the investment in their own life experience?  Gift certificates are available for everything from rock climbing and zip lining to dance lessons and cooking classes.  One year I bought Frenchie a gift certificate for a sculpture class. He hated it. He told me so. One year later he decided to go and now he is a not yet discovered, world-famous, sculptor named Barrington Steed.  It is the single best gift I have ever given him.  He told me so.  My point is you never know how a gift like that can change a life.

5. Give good gear.  Sometimes gear can add to an adventure.  I always appreciate something that will make my travel easier, more stylish or fun.  A new backpack for your friend’s hiking trip to Machu Picchu, an underwater camera for a friend going snorkeling in the coming year, even a cute passport cover or luggage tag can be great swag for a seasoned or newbie traveler.  Flight 001 is one of my favorite sites for travel swag, but as travel goodies are everywhere!


I hope this is helpful to anyone looking for ways to give great travel gifts.  :-)


P.S.  Along with Christmas and Kwanzaa , I will be celebrating my 32nd birthday on December 26th (hint,hint.)!!!

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