What is an Experience Gift?
An experience gift is a gift that provides not just a physical gift, but an experience, a memory, or a delightful emotion.
Do you remember an experience you had that you would like to share with someone special? Did you eat at an amazing restaurant or pub? Visit a place that took your breath away?
Share that feeling by gifting something that creates memories, education, and excitement all in one thoughtful gift.
An experience gift = No waste, no space, and no regrets!
By gifting an experience instead of a material gift, you not only retain the value of that gift (I'll explain below), but you also reduce the waste generated by giving something that probably will never get the appreciation you think it deserves.
Experience Gifts Are Less Wasteful
Just imagine all of the gifts you have both given and received over the years, and then think about how many are of them are probably currently sitting at the bottom of a landfill?
How much of your hard-earned money, time, and effort have you contributed to these items, buried in some landfill?
Giving gifts is a strange thing. We shop for other people and hope that we choose something they REALLY like!
The reality is, that in most cases the gifts we give others do not have the same perceived value for the recipient, as they do for the gift giver.
In other words, your thoughtful physical gift is worth more to you than the person you give it to in many cases. This an INSTANT waste of money and finite resources!
Let me explain. When you buy a gift, say a nice framed picture for $100. That picture might have inspired your emotions when you bought it and that made the $100 price worth it to YOU.
But does that picture generate the same emotions for the recipient?
If not, the value of your gift automatically becomes devalued the moment you give it away..
That $100 you paid for this sweet gift may only be worth, say $40, to the person you gave it to, based on the need for the item or the sentimental value it holds. If their need for the item is low, or even a burden, it is not worth even the average market value to them.
Sure they might have told you they love it, but in their mind, they wouldn’t pay more than $40 for the same thing. That is because they don’t feel the same emotions for it as you did when you bought it.
Now your thoughtful $100 physical gift is only worth a perceived $40 to whomever you gave it to. Where did the other $60 in value go?
It straight-up disappeared! Gone. Into the either it went. A waste of $60.
Not only is this a waste of money, but it also has a good chance of being a waste of time, materials, transportation, and space!
Many gifts never get used because they are not valued and sit in a box, or worse, thrown away without ever being used.
If that happens, that $100 you spent on that gift is now a complete loss. You would have been better off giving a crisp $100 bill as your gift instead.
But that’s no fun!
Instead, think about giving a gift of an experience. Give a gift that builds memories, unlike anything you can buy at a store.
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Best Experience Gift Ideas
Below are some of the most popular experience gifts that will provide priceless memories instead of devalued, wasteful, and unwanted physical gifts.
Plays, comedy shows, concerts, sporting events, and any other live performance is always an excellent gift. Not only are you supporting the local arts, but your gift also builds anticipation as the show gets closer. After the show, the recipient can reflect on the performance and will likely mention their experience to you in a positive way. Many local art performances can be bought cheaply using websites like Groupon.
Cost Cost $50-$150 per person
It’s hard to turn down a free dinner! Give a gift card to a local restaurant or offer to pay for an in-person dinner. Another great option to save some money is to host a dinner at your place! It’s perfect for students, stay-at-home moms/dads, and anyone who could use a nice meal without having to clean up after. Visit OpenTable.com to make reservations.
Cost $10-$200 per person
This is a fun gift as it’s unique and challenging without any dangers. Escape rooms are usually played with four or more people, so they are perfect for a family experience gift or a larger group. Basically, you get locked in a room and have to figure out how to escape using only your logic and problem-solving skills. Visit worldofescapes or Groupon for escape rooms near you.
Cost $25-$50 per person
A tasting of fine wine or handcrafted beer is always a good gift for the connoisseurs out there. Head to the local winery or brewery and see what they offer for a tasting. Usually, you can get a great deal on these events because businesses want you to try all their products, knowing there is a good chance you will like one or more and become a return customer. Some wine tasting are traveling tours where you are bused around to different wineries for several hours. For tasting events near you, google beer and wine tastings.
Cost $25-$100 per person
Almost everyone loves a good full body massage! If you are looking for the perfect gift for a particularly stressed-out person in your life, consider buying a gift card to a local masseuse or masseur. Better yet, find a massage therapist who does house calls! Check AMTA for referrals near you.
Cost $40-$150 per hour
A photoshoot is a great experience gift because it is professional and focused on the art of photography. The results are memorable and last forever! Want to get a gift for the whole family? Hire a photographer and plan out a fun outing near a river or in a local park. Contact your local photographer or find one at findaphotographer.com
Ziplining is fun and exciting for those of us who can do it. Giving the gift of a zip line experience will last a lifetime and can be a great way to get someone out of the house and out of their comfort zone. Many zip line companies have a course that starts at the top of a hill or mountain and requires several “zips” to get to the bottom. See what is available near you at Ziplinerider.com.
Cost $60-$150 per person
This gift can be anything that is of interest to that special someone. Music lessons, photography, dance, painting, or anything a professional can teach someone. A few face-to-face lessons can inspire a lifetime hobby and might be the best gift to an up-and-coming artist you can give. Best of all, it is an experience they will never forget!
This is a gift that can be given to anyone who needs a night away from home every once in a while. It could be a hotel voucher or a B&B gift card. It just needs to be close to home, but away from normal life. Staycations usually don’t involve a lot of travel, so make sure it is an easy trip and relaxing. If you need some ideas, click here.
Cost $100-$200 per night per person
Game of Golf
For the golf lovers out there, consider giving a game of golf. It is a unique gift that will also give the gift of being outdoors and maybe some exercise. Most golf course sell gift cards for a 9 or 18 hole game. Again, try using Groupon to get the best deals and search for "golf course deals"
While not for everyone, a tandem skydiving experience is an extreme gift that will not be forgotten… EVER! Not only is this a fun gift, but you can invite friends and family to come to watch the big jump. There is also the added option to pay for a video of the jump so everyone can see the jumper’s reactions! Groupon also has some great deals on jumps.
These types of classes are perfect for couples or a bunch of friends to get together and learn how to cook new dishes. They are usually held in a commercial kitchen with a group of people and is a great hands-on experience to remember. It’s fun and entertaining to cook with each other and maybe sip on some adult beverages at the same time. The best part is there is no cleanup and they get to eat their meal after cooking it! Search
Cost $50-$100 per person
A Day Hike
For the budget-minded gift givers, a planned day hike is a great experience! Get the trail maps out and plan a hike together. Make it even better by packing the lunch and making a picnic out of your hike. It may not cost much, but by doing all the planning and packing, it will be an amazing gift.
Parents, especially new parents, need a brake every now and then. And a trusted babysitter is priceless. Give the gift of peace-of-mind and volunteer to sit the kidos for a night or weekend while the parents go enjoy themselves. If you think this is a lame gift, you’ve never raised kids! It is one of the best gifts you can give to stressed out parents! The best part, it costs you $0 and is worth so much to parents.
Nothing beats that new car smell! Time is precious and many of us spend far too much of it in our cars, so giving a car detail for a gift is both unique and appreciated for the commuters in your life. Find a local detail shop and coordinate with them about getting a detail done. In many cases, the detail shop can pickup and return the car back while the owner is at work.
Yoga can be enjoyed by anyone, no matter their physical limitations. There are all types of classes for all types of people. It provides a relaxing experience and teaches important breathing techniques that can be used in many ways. Even elderly and challenged people can participate in yoga. Find a local studio and talk to them about gift cards and any limitations your gift recipient may have.
Give the gift of flying away for the weekend! Use a travel site to find a sweet deal on a flight and a hotel or Airbnb. Often you can find a round trip flight and room for under $200/per person. It may require some planning on your part, but this can be a trip to remember for a reasonable price. Combine this gift with a babysitting gift and you have the best experience gift ever!
Cost $200-$500 per person per day
This experience gift is perfect for the computer savvy. It can be any online membership. Some great examples are: commercial-free music subscriptions, paid access to websites like news sites or discount clubs, technical training, or any other paid subscription services your gift getter may like. Ask a few questions about what they are interested in and research what types of online memberships may be of value to them. Make sure when you gift these types of memberships that you buy a set time period so you don’t pay for it forever.
Rent a Cabin
Give the gift of seclusion! A couple of nights in a cabin in the forest or coast is unforgettable! A cabin rental is also a great gift for larger groups of friends or family as the cost is usually lower than camping or hotel stays, per person. Many cabins are family owned and are designed to sleep large groups. It’s the best bang for the buck when if you do it right. Visit com for cabin rentals near you.
Cost $100-$500/ night
Volunteer Your Time
This may be the most valuable and the cheapest gift idea ever! For the special person in your life, your time together is important. Give your time to them to help finish a project, clean the garage, cook, or just to hang out and talk. By offering to help someone, you are giving them the most precious gift in the world, your time. Make sure to set a date and time so this gift gets used!