Trying to find the perfect gift may seem like an impossible task. It gets even harder as you get older because when you’re an adult, you just buy the stuff you need as you go along.
Kids are no easier to buy for because they are inundated with stuff every holiday and birthday. Parents often run out of room to put toys that only get played with for a few minutes or hours.
Instead of adding more stuff to your friends’ and family’s homes, try looking into experience gifts!
Stuff wears out, but memories last a lifetime. The best experience gifts will be things that someone has always wanted to do but won’t buy for themselves. Getting someone an experience gift that’s already paid for will help guarantee that they will finally get to do the things they’ve always wanted to do.
Check out our favorite experience gift ideas the next time you need something special for your family, in-laws, friends, or anyone else. There’s an experience for everyone on this list!
Exploring the Wide World of Experience Gifts
What are experience gifts?
Experience gifts are when you buy an experience for someone rather than a material gift. They can take many different forms, from grand adventures to self-care appointments. Think massages, skydiving, cooking classes, tickets to a show, or practically any other gift that consists of time spent on an activity rather than a physical gift wrapped with a bow.
There is a wide range to choose from, which guarantees you can find an experience gift for just about anyone. You just need to know their interests and what adventures they might want to try.
How can I give experience as a gift?
If you want to give someone a truly remarkable experience gift, it is pretty simple. Many places have gift cards or gift certificates that you can purchase and then give to your friend or family member. You could also buy memberships, subscriptions, or tickets for different experiences.
Why are experiences the best gifts?
Experiences are really the best gifts. People have so much stuff that they don’t need, and too soon, gifts get forgotten.
Experiences have been known to be more fulfilling than stuff. As time goes on, we tend to favor memories more than material things. Experiences are great for bonding and getting to know people better.
Looking back, I don’t remember all of the things I received as gifts, but I do remember the family trips we took. Nothing my husband ever gave me was as great as the gift we gave each other of going on a tropical vacation together. The memories formed through experiences hold much more value than stuff.
Experience Gifts for Women
1. Superwoman Experience Options
It’s no secret that women do so much for everyone around them. Many of us know at least one woman in our lives that could be considered a Superwoman.
That’s what makes this gift box so clever. Once you send this box, your recipient will get to pick from over 1400 experiences in over 100 countries. This arrangement puts all the power in her hands, so she can pick something that she actually wants to do! She’ll love that she gets all the power over her own experience gift.
2. Surprise Trip
by Pack Up & Go
If you are looking to surprise her with a special present, check out the experience gift options from Pack Up & Go! All you need to do is complete a survey and select a budget. This website will arrange all of the plans, including the destination. The company sends you your tickets and itinerary, and you don’t know where you are headed until the day your trip begins!
This one is the ultimate surprise experience because she won’t know where you are going on vacation. This gift idea is great for the adventurous types who love to be surprised!
3. Wine Experiences
If the woman in your life is into wine, this experience present will be a hit. No matter what level of commitment you want to give this one, there is something for everyone. Whether you want to give a gift of an in-home tasting or tours of wineries and vineyards, you can book it through here. There are even wine cruise options! Talk about a fun time for wine lovers.
4. Flower Arranging Class
Nothing can brighten up a room quite like flowers. They can make us smile and feel good through their amazing colors and scents.
This 90-minute virtual class is about more than just arranging flowers. It is also about relaxation. Maybe pure meditation isn’t your jam, and you want to actively work on a task at the same time. The activity is both creative and helps to quiet the mind. You get to choose whatever arrangement you like for a custom gift she will truly love.
5. Food Tour in France, Spain, or Italy
At least half, if not more, of the vacation experience is about the fabulous food you get to eat. Trying new flavors is one of the joys of going somewhere new with authentic cuisine.
The food tours through Do Eat Better Experience are ideal for finding the best food spots in Europe. She will love this gift as you eat your way through some of the best restaurants in the France, Italy, or Spain and get to experience the culinary talents these regions are famous for.
6. Spa Experience
Trying to find time to get away and relax can be so difficult. But if you get her this gift card, making an appointment will be impossible for her to resist.
Spaweek makes it so easy even if you don’t know what spa or type of treatment she’d be interested in. Their gift cards cover over 9000 locations that offer massages, manicures, facials, and more! She’s sure to get the rejuvenation she needs.
Experience Gifts for Men
7. Magic & Mixology Class
For the man in your life who likes experimenting with drink mixing and has an appreciation for magic, this is the perfect gift. This 75-minute virtual magic and Mixology class will teach him how to make a Gold Rush cocktail and a magic card trick. This unique gift is sure to make for an exciting evening.
8. Race Car Driving Experience
with Golden Moments
If he is super into cars and all things fast, consider this awesome race car driving experience. You get to choose from a variety of cars to find just the right one that he will love. The gift vouchers are also good for three years, so even if he’s not ready to partake in this exciting experience right now, he has some time to plan it out and make it worthwhile.
9. Best Bungee Jumps Experiences
If jumping off stuff is more of his thing than cars, check out the best bungee jump experiences out there. You purchase the voucher, and your recipient will get to pick the place. There are more than 40 locations to choose from, so he is sure to find somewhere he will love. This experience gift is ideal for thrill-seekers who have always wanted to give bungee jumping a try.
10. Flying Experiences
For those men who like to take to the skies, Virgin Experiences has many options to get you up where the birds soar. Whether he always wanted to take a flight lesson or just wanted to ride in a helicopter or hot air balloon, there is something for everyone. These are great once-in-a-lifetime experiences that the man in your life will love but probably not buy for himself. These exciting experience gifts will score you some major points.
11. Fishing Experiences
Fishing is one of those activities that many men look back on fondly. Maybe he went with his dad, or perhaps fishing is one of his lifelong hobbies.
Take things up a notch with this experience gift, where you can choose from various options, such as fly fishing in Connecticut or New York or going on a private fishing trip. This one is a great way to encourage your husband, dad, or grandpa to get back to something he loves.
Experience Gifts for Kids
12. Magic Show & Lesson
with Uncommon Goods
Experience gifts are ideal for kids because these memories will last for a lifetime. This great gift is the perfect option for those who enjoy magic – and really, what kid doesn’t?
This entirely online experience is an hour long with the first 30 minutes being an entire magic show with illusionist Ming Da. During the second half-hour, he will teach simple magic tricks that you can do with everyday items. Your kids will love being able to show off their new magic skills!
13. Cooking Classes
Do you have a future chef or baker on your hands? This subscription to the Raddish Cooking Club for Kids is a great way to help your child learn more while encouraging them in something that they love.
You can join on a month-to-month basis or with a three, six, or twelve-month commitment. Each month your child will receive a box with a shopping list, recipes, kitchen skills instruction, hands-on experiments, and creative games and projects. This gift is a great way to bond with your child as you create delicious foods together.
14. Online Art Classes
If your child is more into art, this elementary-level class will encourage them as they practice their artistic skills. Weekly lessons include working with different art mediums along with some history, literature, math, or science material. All of the lessons are pre recorded, so you can do the lessons at your own pace and whenever it works best for you and your child.
These lessons are a great way to add some fun and messy projects to your child’s schedule – the perfect experience gift for a budding artist.
15. Online Skateboarding Lessons with Tony Hawk
Who knew you could take classes online to learn skateboarding? What a cool time we live in!
Not only that, but your child can learn from one of the best: Tony Hawk. There are 16 online lessons that feature information about the instructor, tips and techniques, beginning, intermediate and advanced skills, and vertical skills. This class will help your child learn more about skateboarding and take them to the next level in something they love.
16. Amazon Explore Gift Card
It can be hard to travel the world right now, especially for a child. Instead, you can get a kid this gift card and bring the entire world right to their fingertips.
There are walking tours of amazing cities, holiday options with meeting reindeer, and other experience-based options like making holiday cookies or your own snow globe. If your kid is curious about the world around them, this gift card can help them learn more about whatever they are interested in.
Experience Gifts for Parents
17. Hot Air Balloon Ride
with Golden Moments
Taking a ride in a hot air balloon is a romantic venture that makes a memorable date.
Whether you are looking for a gift for your parents or friends who have kids and need something fun to do, this one is a great choice. It will give them breathtaking views and a chance to step away from the world for a bit. This ride is a great opportunity to spend time with a loved one and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
18. Romantic Mapmaking Experience
with Uncommon Goods
When a couple has kids, life becomes so chaotic. It can be hard to think, let alone get to spend time together.
This mapmaking experience gift is not only a great way to spend a date but to remember the important times in your courtship. The map itself is designed by using milestones in the couple’s history. This one is a great bonding experience for a couple who may need help reconnecting and spending an unforgettable 90 minutes together. They will end up with a beautiful fantasy-inspired map to hang proudly in their home.
19. Scenic Flight
Finding opportunities to get away with your spouse is essential when you’re a parent. A scenic flight is a fun option for a couple and will give them a chance to get away and experience some fantastic views. There are options for helicopter and plane rides and flight lessons. With choices in many cities, you are sure to find something for your favorite couple.
20. Airbnb Experience for their City
This experience from Airbnb takes the concept of a staycation to the next level. We often forget all of the cool stuff to do in our own towns. If your mom and dad have lived in the same place for a long time, they have probably experienced this themselves!
This experience gift package will help your favorite couple rediscover their town and find some new fun things to do without traveling far. This idea will help maximize their vacation, and they may just find their new favorite spot just around the corner.
21. World’s Best Free Experiences
This gift is an innovative option when you are on a budget but still want to inspire others to enjoy some new experiences for free. When you send this gift, it is free to you and includes a list of free experiences for your recipient. It is like you are doing all of the research for them without really having to take the time to do it because Tinggly does it for you!
Experiences for Everyone
We all receive way too much stuff that we may care about for a short time and then never use again. This concept is especially true for kids.
Why not make your gift stand out this year by providing someone with an experience gift? There are many options for all of the different people in your life at all different price points.
Make their holiday season bright this year by giving them an unforgettable experience gift. They’ll make memories to last a lifetime!
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Kristen Winiarski lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two children. She loves to play with her kids, read, and watch classic movies. Kristen specializes in writing about parenthood, products, history, entertainment, and self-care. You can often find her writing on her phone or battling her kids' hangry moods with bacon and Cookie Monster impressions. Being a freelance writer and stay-at-home mom can get pretty crazy, but coffee sure helps. At least she gets to wear unicorn leggings whenever she wants!