suitcase with map, camera and glasses

Why You Should Give the Gift of Travel

09/12/2020

Over the past few decades, extensive research has shown that experiences bring people substantially more happiness than material possessions. Whether it’s this 2020 University of Texas at Austin study stating that consumers are happier when they spend their money on experiential purchases versus material ones or figuring it out yourself in everyday life, we can all easily conclude that experiences > things.

This principle, of course, applies to daily life, but nowhere is it more applicable than the holiday gift-giving season. Instead of cramming dozens of presents under the tree or worrying about where you're going to store more toys, consider giving the gift of travel this year. Material objects lose value over time, both financially and intrinsically. They age, fade, break, and stop working. Experiential gifts, such as travel, do not. In many ways, experiences are far more valuable than "stuff."

We live in an extremely busy world these days. Most people feel that they don't have enough quality time with loved ones or downtime for themselves. The gift of travel provides a solution to both of those problems, and let's be honest – your kids probably don't need another toy or video game. If you're already sold on the idea of gifting holiday travel this year, great. But if not, here are all the reasons why (and how) you should do it.

Why give travel as a gift?

A vacation is the ultimate one-size-fits-all gift. Whether you're a couple, a family with children of different ages, or even exploring on your own, literally everyone can reap the benefits of travel. It can also give you and your family something to look forward to or perhaps even create a new tradition.

Create a new tradition

Speaking of tradition, some people worry that it might be difficult to give up their regular gift exchanges, especially those families with young kids. If you're concerned about this, focus on how wonderful it will be for you and your entire family to enjoy a relaxing, fun-filled holiday vacation together. Plus, think about birthdays and other holidays throughout the year when there are opportunities to open gifts.

Memories that last a lifetime

The truth is that kids likely won't remember the pile of gifts they open on Christmas morning, and many of the presents won't even be around a year from now. But they (and you!) will remember a vacation forever. Think back on your own childhood. Sure, you remember some gifts – but how many, really?

Reinforce that experiences are more valuable than things

When you ask any parent what they most want for their children, the answer will likely not be "more toys." They will almost certainly say happiness, and vacations are a wonderful way to literally gift them happiness. Deciding to forgo traditional presents in favor of travel instills in children at a young age that your family values experience more than things.

You won’t be adding to the clutter

Strong research proves that clutter goes way beyond just being an annoyance. A current Psychology study shows that “clutter can negatively impact mental well-being [...] Clutter can also induce a physiological response, including increased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.”

Human beings naturally accumulate things that, truthfully, we don't really need. This is where Marie Kondo’s concept of “sparking joy” comes into play. Choosing vacations – which unquestionably spark joy – rather than gifting material objects helps you reduce the clutter in your life, literally and figuratively.

Potentially save money

Although it may sound completely contradictory, gifting vacations may actually help your family save money. It’s easy to go overboard with holiday shopping, even for families who stick to a budget. According to the National Retail Federation, the average adult American will spend about $650 on gifts this season. When you factor in items such as food and decorations, that figure jumps to $998.

On the other hand, ValuePenguin data shows that the average cost of a trip for U.S. households is $1,306. Considering the fact that many gifts will be long-forgotten, broken, or lost in just a few months, it's clear that the better investment here is holiday travel.

How to give holiday travel as a gift

If you’ve decided to gift your loved ones a trip this year, you may be wondering how to go about actually doing it.

Do your homework and be flexible

The COVID-19 pandemic has truly shaken up the travel industry. As local restrictions and guidelines continue to evolve, traveling during COVID remains somewhat unpredictable. Make sure you understand cancellation and change policies for holiday vacations, and patronize companies offering worry-free booking options.

Shop around for gifts & gift cards

There are lots of all-in-one travel packages, particularly centered around holiday destinations, but don’t just assume that those are the best value. Price out flights, hotel, and rental car separately, and play around with dates to see where you may be able to save money. Flights are often deeply discounted if you can travel on a major holiday and remember, your gift doesn't have to be immediate.

Use websites like Skyscanner to search for last minute vacation deals and monitor flight prices. If it’s substantially more affordable in the spring, go on your holiday vacation then. You can make the big announcement with photos printed out and tucked into cards or fun little gifts that give hints about your destination.

Gifting holiday travel to people other than your immediate family

Giving your own family the gift of vacations is easy. You know the timeline, what activities everyone enjoys, and you can essentially create the travel itinerary on your own. Gifting travel to others, though, is not nearly as straightforward. Consider getting airline or hotel gift cards, or even giving cash to be put toward activities or dining.

Where to stay while travelling

As you research holiday destinations, consider staying with Coast Hotels. With nearly 40 properties across western Canada and the United States including beachfront hotels and resort-style properties in the mountains, there’s truly a place for every taste and budget.

Coast Hotels understands that traveling during COVID-19 is a different experience. We offer flexible, fully-cancellable bookings, as well as last minute vacation deals. If you know you want to gift holiday travel but don’t yet have a date or destination in mind, consider giving a Coast Hotels gift card. Through the end of the year, you’ll receive a $20 bonus card with each individual $100 gift card purchase. Happy holidays and safe travels!