I absolutely love to travel.
I love the freedom and excitement and adventure that comes with visiting a new place. I sleep better in a hotel room than I do in my own bed. Traveling is, by far, one of my favorite things to do.
When the holidays roll around, I often try to find ways to give the gift of travel to my loved ones.
“The Gift of Travel”, unfortunately, is one of those cute phrases that’s much easier said than done. My in-laws have a pile of unused hotel vouchers and handmade vacation IOUs. Yes, a pile, because I’m still not quite ready to give up on the idea of sharing the experience of travel with people. I am stubbornly trying to learn from my mistakes.
In other words, I am the perfect person to give you advice on how to give the gift of a hotel stay for Christmas. (In the writing world, we call this authoritative writing. Or irony.)
Tips For Making “The Gift of Travel” Work
1. Talk to the gift recipient before spending any money. Don’t put down any nonrefundable deposits unless you are certain that the intended traveler will be willing and able to take advantage of your gift. That means you need to know their schedule and interests ahead of time.
2. Avoid nonrefundable deposits. Most hotels have a 24-48 hour cancellation policy, meaning you won’t be charged anything if your loved one decides not to accept your gift. Rather than buying a nontransferable hotel voucher, make a hotel reservation in their name with your credit card.
3. Start small. Consider how much the gift recipient travels normally. If they haven’t left their hometown in 30 years, buying them a first class vacation to New York City or Paris may not be quite as generous as it sounds. Some people don’t travel extensively for a reason – because they don’t want to. Look for a hotel in a nearby city that they’ve enjoyed before, or venture just beyond their typical vacation radius.
4. Provide a Plan B Present. Book a room at a hotel not too far away, and then think about alternative gifts you can give if your plans fall through.
Reading over this list makes me wonder why I keep trying to give the gift of travel at all. I think my new goal should be figuring out how to get the gift of travel.
Photo Credit: Britt Reints