We all know giving gifts can be just as exciting as receiving them. So what about giving the gift of an experience? According to Forbes, the secret to happiness is spending money on experiences rather than things, so surely gifting experiences is the best thing you can do!
As someone who loves to travel and take advantage of opportunities, I love giving and receiving gift experiences. One of the big things I try to promote on Migrating Miss is travel doesn’t need to be a big, grand gesture. It can be as simple as taking time out to have a new experience closer to home, like a boat trip, going cycling somewhere new, an afternoon tea in a fancy place, or wine tasting at an estate. And gift experiences are a great way to do that!
I still remember the feeling of excitement I had one Christmas when I was about 18 or 19 and I had bought my parents a voucher to spend the night at a lovely hotel in the countryside. It was the first time I’d ever tried gifting something like that. I wrapped the voucher in a box, then put it in an even bigger box so they wouldn’t be able to see the size of it.
Their surprise and happiness when they opened it is something I’ll never forget and we got to relive it all again when they actually went away for the weekend. They sent me photos and we talked later about what a lovely time they had, plus they were able to recommend nearby places for me to go in future! That’s the thing about gifting experiences, the excitement lasts a lot longer.
That’s just one of the reasons why, for me, giving experiences wins over giving things!
It’s something I’ve thought about a lot, as someone who has had to limit my possessions as I’ve moved country multiple times, and who for a long time valued spending money on travel above all else (I still like to spend as much money on travel as possible, I’ve just also learned that treating myself at home is important too!).
When my husband and I got married we agreed that what we cherished in life are the things that we get to do together. He’s gifted me some amazing experiences since, and even when he gives me an actual thing, it’s usually related to a hobby or something I want to do! We also often celebrate a birthday or anniversary with a trip somewhere, rather than a physical gift.
In the leadup to Valentine’s Day, our joint love of trying new things got me thinking about why we enjoy them so much, and I decided I wanted to share with you all why giving a gift experience is an amazing idea. Whether you’re wondering whether to get someone an experience or if you want to share with your family and friends why that’s what you want, this is for you!
Experiences create lasting memories together
Do you remember what you got given as a gift for your last birthday? What about 5 years ago, or 10? Sure something extra special or that you really wanted might stand out, but for the most part, it’s probably a bit hazy. The joy of receiving something to do together means it’s a lot less likely it’ll be forgotten!
Whatever the experience may be, it’s an opportunity to create memories together. Even if you’re not involved in the actual day, the choosing of it and then talking about it later create valuable shared memories.
Learning lasts longer
Learning a new skill is something that can last a lifetime, generally a lot longer than an object these days! Attending a cooking class means being able to keep making those recipes for years to come (or maybe avoid them!). A first surfing lesson could be the start of a lifelong passion and a foundation to keep learning more (or maybe just a fun day of laughing as you fall into the sea!).
Experiences can be inspiring
Doing new things widens our horizons and adds to our world view. An experience can be the inspiration to make a change in our lives or to start doing something new. Maybe someone you love has always wanted to go horse riding but never taken that first step of booking a lesson, or maybe they never take time out to treat themselves to a spa and afternoon tea break, but now they’ll realise how important a bit of self-care can be.
You’re basically gifting someone an opportunity they might not have otherwise had, and who knows what might come of it!
An experience can be priceless
You can put a price on how much it costs to do something, but actually having an experience is often a priceless moment. Firstly, there’s the opportunity to do something you may not have otherwise done, then there’s the ability to grow from it. Maybe it’s facing a fear, or fulfilling a dream.
The feelings associated with an experience aren’t quantifiable. I couldn’t tell you how much it cost to go black water rafting in a cave in New Zealand, but I can tell you all about how epically amazing it was and how it made me feel.
Some people are hard to buy for
We all have loved ones who seem to have everything or are hard to buy for and we never know what to get them. When I’m struggling with what I want to give someone I always seem to turn to doing something rather than finding something I’m not certain they’ll like.
There are always things that we want to do but just never seem to get around to. Somehow they always get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. A gift experience is an opportunity to remedy that!
They bring us closer together
Shared experiences have a way of bringing people closer.
Maybe it’s just the extra time set aside to actually do something together. With our hectic lives, it can be hard to do! But when you have the opportunity to go to the spa with a friend or have a fancy dinner out, you make sure to do it.
It could also be the thrill of an experience that you can share and talk about over and over again. Phil and I often talk about when we flew in a helicopter and went glacier hiking in the South Island of New Zealand!
Experiences are more interesting
When we talk about a new possession we got, like say a watch, for example, it can be interesting to a few people for a little while. But talking about an experience can be far more engaging and give you many more stories to tell.
The anticipation and planning become a part of the gift
Gifting an experience lasts more than that the present on the day. The planning when to do something and the lead-up to it can add to the experience itself. You can also make it a part of an even bigger experience, like when Phil gifted me snorkelling between the tectonic plates in Iceland for my birthday! I know not everyone likes planning, but I LOVE IT so it’s a big plus for me!
I also like the way of giving gift experiences that you can do on Tinggly, where you choose a “box” to give and the person chooses their own experience. But more on that later!
It’s environmentally friendly and sustainable
Giving stuff generally means more packaging and usually more plastic. Gift experiences avoid that, as most actually have options for electronic vouchers. It’s especially important if the person you’re buying a gift for is passionate about this, but to be honest, it’s something we all need to be mindful of and could do better at!
Where to buy gift experiences
So now hopefully you’re convinced that gift experiences are the best kind of gift you might be wondering where you actually buy them. I recently discovered Tinggly, a gift experience company whose tagline is “Give stories, not stuff”.
They organise their gift experiences a little differently than most other experience companies. Rather than listing all the options and you choosing one to gift, they organise things into a “gift box”.
So you can choose a box “for him” or “for her”, or you can do it by occasion, like a “Valentine’s Day box“, or a “Bucketlist box”. The person you give it to then gets to choose what they want to do from all of the gift experiences included in the box. This makes it even easier to buy for someone that’s impossible to buy for. Plus they have a lifetime validity and include experiences in 100+ countries within each box, so there will be no excuses for not finding something to do eventually!
Also importantly for me, part of the profit from each gift box goes into sustainable projects, including removing plastics from the environment, rather than creating more through possessions.
And with that, my mission to share a bit more about why giving someone an opportunity rather than a possession can be really fun and rewarding is done.
Disclaimer: This post is in collaboration with Tinggly, but as always, all opinions are absolutely my own.