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Why Trips Are The Best Presents

The holiday season has been upon us for quite some time now and many of us have seen the media outlets plugging wish lists and new products, the best gifts and the must-have gadgets. And while I have worked hard to buy meaningful gifts for others this year, I have found myself shunning the ideas of things in return for the promise of places.

I have my parents to thank for this wonderful outlook on gifts. Quick to turn a special event into a reason to celebrate together, I have long learned that the best way to celebrate is through experiences, togetherness and memories.

For my college graduation, my parents gave me the choice of a big party or a special family trip. Which one did I choose? Most definitely the latter and two weeks after graduation my family and I packed our bags and traveled across the country to Alaska for a twelve day trip packed with dog sledding on a glacier, whale watching, off-roading and sailing through Glacier Bay. Our days were filled with fun, laughter and adventure and we came back with unforgettable memories.

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Two years later, my brother was given the same choice for his college graduation and after threatening him that our future relationship depended on his choice (kidding), we flew over the Atlantic Ocean to explore our family’s heritage in Ireland. For two weeks we drove around the country, singing along to the Irish CDs we had purchased from local musicians. Together we saw the country and culture of our ancestors for the first time and shared some laughs over pints in the pubs. What else did it spark in all of us? The desire to return! We are all itching to get back to the Emerald Isle. Ireland, you have succeeded in inciting more wanderlust!

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I have begun to carry the ritual over to my birthday as well, forgoing things for a chance to see more of the world. Last year, my mom and I spent a long weekend in New Orleans celebrating my 25th birthday, and taking in the culture, spirit and culinary delights of this Southern gem far surpassed any material gift I could have received.

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This year the birthday destination was Portland, Maine where I once again spent the weekend exploring, indulging and enjoying the experience.

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My list of examples could go on, but I think everyone gets the picture – I am all about the trip and less about tangible things.

So what does this Christmas season bring for me? My present from my parents promises to be a trip. Also, Max and I have chosen to skip presents this year in exchange for plane tickets to a bucket list destination next summer. Where will I be going? Stay tuned to see which trips I find under the tree! And in the meantime, wishing everyone a safe and happy holiday season!

Do you agree with my mentality that trips are the best kind of presents?  

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19 Comments Post a comment
  1. I totally agree with you – the memories made on trips last a lifetime. Happy Christmas 🙂

    December 23, 2013
    • Thanks, Suzanne – same to you! The memories made from trips really are the best. Looking forward to making some new memories in 2014!

      December 23, 2013
  2. Megan Quail #

    I could not agree more! I’m most excited for our roomie weekend in NYC right after the holidays this year- it’s definitely the best gift I could have ever asked for 🙂

    December 23, 2013
    • I am so excited too, Meg! It is definitely better than any present I could have asked for as well. It will start my 2014 traveling off on a great note!

      December 23, 2013
  3. Pretty sure we have a trip promise/gift exchange to cash in 🙂

    December 23, 2013
    • Yes, we most definitely do! This is also my favorite time of year because planning for the next year is so fun 🙂

      December 23, 2013
  4. Nancy #

    I whole heartedly agree! Most of my friends asked for larger wedding rings or new jewelry for their anniversaries, Michael and I celebrated with our trip to Italy. A much better gift of togetherness and memories to share. I did spend one Christmas traveling and had a fantastic adventure. I began in Frankfurt, Germany to meet up with friends stationed there. We took off for Munich and enjoyed the christkindl markt. What could be better than perusing the market stalls with a hunk of fresh bread and sausage slathered with spicy mustard in one hand and a warm cup of gluhwein in the other! And, watching the Glockenspiel “perform”. Next stop, Innsbruck, Austria. Christmas Eve we strolled the town square admiring the most beautifully decorated Christmas tree and enjoying the Christmas carols being performed by a small band on a balcony above. Dinner was Christmas goose in a small cozy restaurant. Old world perfection. Driving on to Italy in the morning we giggled as the village Christmas trees looked as if all the towns people came out and each threw something on the tree. A far cry from the organized Austrian trees! We has a Christmas picnic in Pisa while visiting the leaning tower and then wended our way to Venice. Christmas evening we strolled in St. Marks Square and sang Christmas carols in the alley ways as we searched for our hotel! The trip continued on to Nice for New Years Eve, but that is a story for another day. Exploring how others celebrate the holidays is fun! Merry Christmas fellow travelers!

    December 23, 2013
    • I love that you took a trip to Italy instead of a gift. Such a wonderful experience that you will remember forever! Your Christmas adventure sounds spectacular and one that I would love to do myself! Those are some of my favorite places and I have heard great things about Innsbruck. The Christmas markets are high on my list, I just need to plan accordingly so that I still have vacation days left come December…it is a tricky thing for me! Merry Christmas to you and Michael!

      December 23, 2013
  5. I agree completely! Skipping gifts to see places is something me and my husband always try to do these days. Memories can be so much more rewarding!

    December 23, 2013
    • That is so nice! The memories remain long after the “things.” Glad to see you do it too, Clare!

      December 23, 2013
  6. I totally agree with you. There is nothing better than giving someone a flight ticket as a birthday or Christmas present! I hope to get one tonight :-).

    December 24, 2013
    • I’m glad you agree, Agness! I hope you get one tonight too!

      December 24, 2013
  7. I completely agree, me and my other half do this every year. We love buying each other weekends away and activities like scuba diving. How many necklaces/gift sets etc. can one person have? Memories over gifts any day 🙂

    December 24, 2013
    • That is fantastic! I love hearing stories like this. Hope you get some good trips and memories this Christmas!

      December 24, 2013
  8. Trips are indeed the best presents.
    No material stuff can compare with the experiences, connections and learning that come with traveling!

    December 26, 2013
    • I agree! The intangible lessons far outweigh the material things. Each time I travel, I learn something new from the people, the region and the experiences. Thanks for reading!

      December 27, 2013
  9. So true! My mum and I are going to Norway for her Christmas present and I just went to Paris with my husband for his birthday – there’s so little ‘stuff’ that I want these days that travel is the best present anyone could get me. Here’s to lots of travels in 2014!

    December 27, 2013
    • Norway sounds like a fantastic Christmas present! Your Christmas pictures in Paris were great – that is such a nice way to spend a birthday! Looking forward to seeing where you travel in 2014, Lucy!

      December 27, 2013

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