Looking for that great last minute gift? Why not give the gift of travel this holiday season? Here are a few tips to help you out.
Keeping a secret is never easy, but with a little planning and creativity, you can get the job done. First of all, it will help to work with the recipient’s family, friends and even co-workers. They’ll likely be more than happy to be “in on the secret” and help you out. Bosses and co-workers can help with ensuring the recipient can get the time off, while friends and family can give you insight into what dates may not work. They can also find out if there are any trips already planned and can also help you obtain things like passport information. Let your trusted accomplices in on the plan and fingers-crossed, the reaction when you give the gift will be well worth the sneaking around.
But regardless of who you’re going to work with, don’t communicate with them through a method that the recipient can find out, like a shared email address, Facebook, or any other social media.
Here’s a few other handy tips for giving the gift of travel:
Do your homework
Knowing the type of traveller the recipient is will help you to choose the right destination. For example, ooking your favorite ski bum a 1-week trip to a beach destination during prime ski season, may not be the way to go. And a 1-week Caribbean cruise, however lovely that is (trust me, they’re LOVELY!!), may not be the right choice for someone highly prone to motion sickness. Consider a trip to Italy for the foodie in your life. Or perhaps a relaxing week on the beach for you and your overworked other half.
Flexibility isn’t the key
While hotels are more lenient, most airlines and tour operators charge fees to make changes to a trip (sometimes as much as $150 per person) in addition to any differences in airfare for the new dates.So make sure that the recipient’s schedule allows and firm up your dates before booking.
Keep your budget in check
Nobody likes a show-off. Giving too generously can make the recipient feel uncomfortable as they might not be able to reciprocate.
Give with a personal touch
Gift cards are nice, but putting thought into the gift and planning a great trip can mean so much more. If you plan to travel with them, consider booking the main components of the trip, like the flights and/or hotels, to give at Christmas. Then, once the cat’s-out-of-the-bag, you and the recipient can research further and personalise the trip by choosing the restaurants you’ll dine at, the attractions you’ll visit, and maybe even the spa treatments you’ll pamper yourselves with. Then the trip is still a gift, but it also becomes something special that you planned together.
Make it usable
Don’t buy only part of a vacation gift, such as a 4-night hotel stay in London, because then the recipient feels obligated to use it and then has to pay for flights, meals, and other incidentals, which can add up. Instead, if you know the recipient has a trip to Europe already booked, then picking up a part of their already planned trip is a nice touch and will be highly appreciated. So be sure to inquire about any plans the recipient may already have before you buy.
Lastly, here’s a few things you should consider before making the booking.
- When a flight is involved, make sure you have the correct spelling of the recipient’s name, as it appears on their identification, along with their birthdate. A name correction can be considered a change by the airlines and that means a change fee. Also the TSA’s SecureFlight initiative requires that the traveller’s date of birth be provided at time of booking.
- If you’re travelling outside of your own country, make sure the recipient has a passport or has ample time to get one before the trip.
- Can the person take time off from work or school? For many, vacation time is precious. So if you know the person has limited vacation days, booking a trip that uses up a lot of their alottment may not be realistic or fair, unless you can get a hint from them somehow.
- Lastly, if traveling with kids, check the school calendar. If you’re planning to pull your child from school, be sure to check with the teacher, to work out a plan so that the child isn’t too far behind when they return.
Happy Holidays and safe travels!