Each year, around September or so, my mom will start asking us what we want for Christmas. When I was a child, I had the JCPenney catalog marked up with corners folded over and all my favorite toys highlighted. I even made a list each year for my parents that detailed the item name, page number it could be found on, the price, and … I think I even put them in order of importance. (I think it's safe to say that my attention to detail was extremely evident early on.) I assumed that #1 on that list each year was a sure thing.
I don’t think I ever received a gift from the JCPenney catalog, not from Santa Claus and not from my parents.
I’m not sure when the shift occurred exactly, but since I entered adulthood, I became really weird about gifts. I went from one extreme of “I want everything in the catalog” to “I don’t want anything unless it’s super personal and it’s something that I’ll really be able to appreciate and enjoy. And I really don't mind if that happens at Christmas or on my birthday or in the middle of July.”
Last Christmas we received a Shun knife. You know those really high end Japanese made-from-layered-steel knives? This knife is my favorite thing in the whole kitchen. We use this knife multiple times throughout the day. I find such great pleasure slicing through my lemon each morning to make tea because it feels like I’m cutting through butter. And chopping tomatoes...these knives are pure bliss for anyone who enjoys cooking!
Travel + cooking, my two great passions, the secret’s out!
So, what to get for the traveler’s in your life? If they travel often, it’s likely that they already have all their “necessities” (i.e. luggage, weekend bag, external batteries, selfie sticks, etc)
This year, we’ve requested a contribution to our stay at Under Canvas Zion next Spring to celebrate our one year anniversary. (Isn’t this place incredible?) While my family admits that it looks awesome, it’s not something they can wrap up and decorate with a beautiful bow under the tree. But, they’ve obliged anyways, because they know how much we’re looking forward to this weekend getaway for our anniversary. (Thanks Mom & Dad!)
If directly contributing to a trip isn’t possible, I’ve put together some ideas that the traveler’s in your life are sure to love!
Undiscovered Sunsets Research & Design Gift Card
This has been such a popular wedding gift this year! To begin the design process of a honeymoon, I connect with the bride and groom (in person if possible, otherwise over the phone) to talk about the honeymoon they’re envisioning and to make sure we’ll be a good fit to work together. To get started researching options for their experience and the design of an initial proposal, I charge a Research & Design fee of $250. Close friends and family of engaged couples have contacted me in advance to pay for this Research & Design fee so that we can jump right in on the design of bride & groom's honeymoon. I’ve seen firsthand the bride’s relief when she realizes I’ll be able to take all this off her plate and the result of their honeymoon always feels a little more luxurious because they’re welcomed as VIPs from start to finish.
Whether for a honeymoon or a big family trip, we can apply this Research & Design fee to any trip the gift card recipient would like! Contact me to arrange your Undiscovered Sunsets Gift Card! (Or email me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Context Travel & Urban Adventures
These two companies offer small group tours in destinations around the world. Context Travel specializes in tours led by PhD and MA level scholars who specialize in history and culture. These tours are for the travelers in your life who really love to dig in to each destination they visit. Urban Adventures is a little more widespread, offering small group tours in a wider range of destinations. Their tours are authentic and engaging and are sure to enhance an experience that a traveler might otherwise plan to visit on their own.
If the travelers in your life already have a trip planned, we can pre-pay one of these tours for them during their trip, making sure that it fits in with their dates and their overall itinerary. If they haven’t yet planned their trip, this would be a wonderful gift card option!
This is for the foodies in your life who also love to travel. One of the first questions I ask all my clients is how important food is during their trip. Some people's main motivation to travel is food! I definitely fall into this category and have gone as far to say that local cuisine is a solid 75% of my overall experience. VizEat usually involves a home cooked meal in a local’s home along with a small group of other like-minded travelers. It’s generally a similar price to eating in a restaurant, but it is so much more engaging and authentic!
If this is your person, we can pre-pay an authentic food experience for their upcoming trip according to their dates and itinerary, or we can purchase a gift card for them to use on their next trip.
A fun photoshoot with your friends + family in a beautiful destination during your vacation sounds so magical and luxurious, and it really is, for about an hour. Antonio and I had so much fun receiving our photos from Florence, Italy only a few days after our Flytographer photoshoot and now the majority of them are framed around our home. We definitely took some stellar selfies in front of the Colosseum in Rome, but they’re not impressive enough to print them out and frame them! It’s so amazing to have photos of us around our home that we really love, and also because each time I see our photos, it takes me back to our amazing honeymoon in Italy.
Whether a solo traveler, a group of friends, a couple celebrating their honeymoon, or a family with small children, a Flytographer photoshoot is always a good idea. We can schedule a photoshoot for an upcoming trip they already have planned or we can purchase a gift card for them to use on a future trip.
If you’re looking to really surprise a traveler in your life with a trip they’re dreaming of planning, G Adventures is a great place to start. They cater to travelers from all over the world and design itineraries for small groups of 12-16 people. I’m a big fan of G Adventures because they prioritize authentic experiences and itineraries over luxury. They offer such a wide variety of tours that no matter how far off the grid a traveler is hoping to go, they can likely find an impressive variety of options with G Adventures.
If there is a specific itinerary you know the traveler in your life is considering, we can secure a space for them on that specific departure. If you know they would love to travel with G Adventures, but you’re not sure of when or where, we can purchase a gift card that they can use on whichever itinerary they prefer.
Download this list of gift ideas for the travelers in your life by entering your name and email below!
Whitney’s love of experiential travel began when she studied abroad in New Zealand. Upon returning home, this seemingly small decision led her on an unpredictable path to do everything in her power to continue exploring the world. Within one year, she headed to Africa for one month to visit a friend who was volunteering with animals in need of rehabilitation support, and upon graduating only 6 months later, she moved to France for no other reason than the study the language and experience the culture firsthand. Fast forward 8 years, 2 languages, and 20 countries later, Whitney has successfully combined her passion for foreign languages and experiential travel with her professional experiences and launched Undiscovered Sunsets, a bespoke, experiential travel agency.