Family Travel Files Ezine Family Vacations Resource
Put Family Travel Fun in a Gift Box. Giving travel experiences rather than material things makes the value of the gifting priceless because a gift of travel results in not just fun during the experience but memories and stories to be shared and cherished.

I like to think of travel gifting as a way to share the real world with family or friends. The gift can be as simple as a day at San Diego Zoo for (with) an energetic 10-year old or a night with Blue Man Group for a temperamental teen. Of course I like the idea of giving a car, beach house or apartment in Paris. Why not if it includes time to be shared with family? 

Here’s the scoop.
Giving a gift of travel has become more popular in the last three years as parents and grandparents step away from things made of plastic, things that require batteries, or things with a limited warranty and look for ways to connect with family. What better way than to give one-of-a-kind travel experiences. In support of the trend museums, theaters, hotels, restaurants, resorts, tour companies, airlines, and cruise lines are making the travel giving part easier. 

I have assembled my notes on how to give a gift of family travel and I have also included a few specific ideas perfect for families who love to travel and create their own amazing vacation experiences.

Travel in a box. I am aware that some just post gift announcements on Facebook but I still like a more hands on approach like wrapping the gift card or certificate in a box along with related items. For Blue Man Group the box might include blue glasses, blue soap, blue paper or blue tortilla chips along with several Blue Man links to follow just for fun. For San Diego Zoo (or any zoo gift) I would definitely include a storybook perhaps An Elephant Called Slowly or The Rhino with Glue-On Shoes, animal crackers and perhaps a subscription to Ranger Rick magazine. Watson Urban Adventures in NYC

Gift a ticket to hunt:
My new favorite travel gift idea is a Watson Urban Adventure. I love the ideas of exploring a city with kids – exhausting at time it is always rewarding. Naturally, how to do it right makes all the difference in the outcome. The city guides at Watson Adventures have mastered the fun. The company offers public scavenger hunts in seven US cities. Their city adventure concept of fun enables teams of two to six people to become hunters following clues to explore fascinating places. The hunt locations include museums and historic neighborhoods where participants answer fun, humorous questions and discover surprising details and remarkable secrets. Gift certificates are available for Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Bonus points: The scripted urban adventures have been created for all ages from seven to 87. The selection for families is inspiring created with pure cleverness. Details at Watson Adventures.

Give discoveries.
Museums when shared with children can be great mini vacations and whether it’s a hometown favorite or part of a family vacation the experience. Most museums have ways to give tickets enabling the recipient to share a day with a loved one. Even better, consider a museum membership which gives many days of enjoyment at not just one location but hundreds of affiliates across the country. Zoos have night safaris and science museums have dino digs – travel adventures loaded with fun and memories. 
Tickets to applaud. Think about unique family vacation activities including live theater events, Renaissance fairs, and popular music festivals like Kidpalozza in Chicago, KidFest in Pigeon Forge or the inspirational Smithsonian Folk Festival in Washington DC. Tickets make terrific gifts with the added benefit of anticipation. It’s great to include a calendar countdown and perhaps music or a video to sizzle the gift.  Concordia Language Villages Weekend Family Adventures

Give passports to the world.
 Concordia Language Villages in Minnesota offers weekend language and cultural immersion programs during the winter months. The experiences provide an ideal opportunity to share an "international" experience together complete with comfortable lodging, homemade country cuisine in a full-immersion setting. The programs are designed for all family members including parents, children, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Current language workshops include Norwegian, Finnish, French, German, Russian, and Spanish. Family programs can for a family trip abroad or help a child feel comfortable about a future summer experience at the Villages. Explore family heritage or learn about an entirely new culture. Details at Concordia Language Villages.  

Fly away gifts.
Airline tickets are always appreciated but naturally each airline has its own version and those who travel often have a favorite airline. Giving flight time is easy and an appreciated way to jumpstart a vacation.  For example: Southwest Airlines gift cards may be purchased in any amount between $10 and $1,000 online or through the reservations. At American Airlines AAdvantage members may buy up to 40,000 miles for a gift of travel. Frontier Airlines gift cards (virtual cards via email, or as physical) may be purchased in amounts spanning $25 to $1500. Best bet is to select the ideal airline for the recipient and make it happen. Wait for it! If you are one of the lucky ones with excess frequent flyer miles don’t let them collect dust.  Cash in or transfer frequent flyer miles as a gift. 

Gift some fun.
A friend of mine recently used the services of a “fun” website to enjoy time with her 20-something granddaughter. She gifted a shared spa day and shopping at North Park Mall in Dallas. I checked the website and while it does not have an official family activities category it does present oodles of great activities for families all easy to gift with a voucher or in a gift box. The activity choices span 12 cities in the US and include Anaheim Flightdeck, undercover in Washington DC or a day at Portland’s Children's Museum plus a nice selection of classes in photography, cooking, art, and dancing. 

Content researched and posted by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files. Images provided by Watson Adventures, and Concordia Languages Villages. Copyright updated 2016.