I read that people get more satisfaction over experiences than things so I like the idea of trying to give experiences over stuff that will just end up in a basement someday. Here are some ideas for ten experiences that you can give. Some are big ticket items but others just require you to reserve in advance or do a little digging.
1. Tickets to a Lecture Series $20
San Francisco has the Commonwealth Club where they bring in really interesting people to speak about smart topics. It’s one of my favorite things to do. You can research for interesting lectures in your area or at a local university.
2. A Hot Air Balloon Ride $200
I love hot air balloon rides! They are usually really peaceful because besides the occasional sound of the gas it is really quiet out way up in the sky. It’s such a neat experience to fly over a beautiful valley early in the morning. (Little known fact: My brother is a hot air balloon pilot so I used to work on his chase crew in college.) photo from here
3. Reserve a Campground About $25
Camping is inexpensive but usually the best spots are reserved way in advance. Do the dirty work and get the reservations and tuck them in with a new led headlamp. My favorite spot is Kirby Cove beneath the Golden Gate Bridge.
4. A Train Trip $200
Americans don’t travel by train vary often but it can be a great way to travel. You can get tickets from San Francisco to Seattle for $75. It takes 24 hours and the seats are fully reclining so you can sleep. It’s a cool adventure where you can see a part of America you’ve never seen before. No one has to stay awake to drive so you can read, eat, or just look at the beautiful scenery.
5. Stay in the Human Nest $100
The Human Nest is a treehouse on the California Coast. It overlooks the ocean and is $100/night. It’s not much fancier than camping (you bring your own sleeping bag.) But you get to wake up overlooking the ocean. It books up way in advance so make reservations for sometime in the future and then wrap up a picture for Christmas Day.
6. A Class price varies
A letterpress class, a floral design class, a pasta making class. Give a gift certificate and sign someone up for a class they’ve been meaning to take.
7. An experience about $70
Vayable.com allows you to buy experiences that you wouldn’t normally get. Like a Vespa tour around Paris, a Locals Eating tour around San Francisco, or learn to surf in Santa Cruz. I love this idea and I can’t wait to try out this site.
8. Eating at a Great Restaurant price varies
When I first moved to San Francisco I was really poor and never ate out. One year for Christmas my boss gave me a meal for two at a very fancy restaurant. It’s something I never would have considered doing on my own but felt so luxurious when someone else was paying for it. It’s one of my favorite memories.
9. Anything Where you say “Go Pack Your Bags, We are Leaving in Two Hours!” price varies
Paul surprised me a few years ago with a night stay down at Half Moon Bay on the coast. He could have just told me that he wanted to take off for a few days after Christmas but instead he made it a surprise and it is one of my favorite gifts he has ever gotten me. It doesn’t even have to be anywhere really fancy but the element of surprise makes everything better. My favorite thing to do when I’m procrastinating is look up tickets on Travelocity with the “flexible dates” option. I got tickets to Paris for $400 and Thailand for $600 this way. Keep your eyes peeled and you can get some great deals.
10. Tickets to a Concert or Show
Nothing makes me happier than going to a good concert. It seems like when I was younger I would travel great distances and spend any money I had to go to a great concert. Now I live in big cities where the best artists play and I never make time to go. Buy tickets for their favorite artists and wrap them up with a new cd.
I’d love to hear if you have any suggestions or ideas of experiences to give!