The Best ‘Experiential Gifts’ For The Vagabond In Your Life

While unwrapping a holiday gift is always nice, the avid traveler in your life will likely appreciate something less tangible. Whether they’re a thrill-seeker who wants to go skydiving for the first time or an outdoors-person who wants to try a rock climbing tour, gifting them an activity or adventure will surpass any of the stuff on their holiday list.

Experience-based gifts will give them something to remember, and if there’s anything we all know about frequent travelers, it’s that they want to live life to the fullest. And that’s a yearning that a new watch or high-tech device simply can’t fulfill in exactly the same way. Bonus points if it’s something that you can experience together — whether they’re your friend, your significant other, or your parents.

Read on for the best experiential gifts the adventurer in your life is sure to love.


Cabana Vans Luxury Camper Van

Cabana Vans
Chloe Caldwell

The Gift:

Have you ever wondered about the #VanLife?

Your traveling loved one can take their adventures to the road thanks to Cabana’s luxury camper van rentals. These things are literally like a mini hotel room on wheels — complete with a bed, a full kitchen (including a stovetop and cooking utensils), a shower, convertible seating and tables, and even WiFi and a TV. If that’s not glamping, then we don’t know what is.

What’s more, Cabana offers personalized itineraries and campsite recommendations, so you can leave the planning to their travel experts and just enjoy the ride. Vans are available in Los Angeles, Seattle, Austin, and San Francisco.

Who It’s Perfect For:

Cabana Vans is great for low-maintenance travelers who don’t mind small spaces (they’ll be living out of a van for a few days, after all). It’s also perfect for those who love weekend getaways and staycations, especially if they don’t have a lot of time on their hands for a full vacation abroad.

Learn more and book your Cabana Van starting at $129 per night HERE.

Airbnb Gift Card

Airbnb Gift Card

The Gift:

One of the most important, and often most expensive, parts of travel is finding a place to stay. Help take the stress out of booking accommodations by gifting your favorite vagabond a gift card to Airbnb. Not only will this make their next trip more affordable, but picking out a vacation rental versus a generic hotel will just add to the fun of planning.

Who It’s Perfect For:

This is something that adventurers, budget travelers, and luxury vacationers alike can use and appreciate, as many unique Airbnb properties are an experience all on their own. There’s really no going wrong with this option.

Buy an Airbnb gift card starting at $100 HERE.

Pack Up + Go Surprise Travel

The Gift:

A trip with Pack Up + Go is the ultimate holiday gift for travelers. The up-and-coming travel brand will plan a United States-based trip for you, but the catch is that the destination and itinerary won’t be revealed until it’s time to leave.

All you have to do is fill out a pre-trip survey to share your preferred method of travel (road, plane, train trip, or staycation), the number of travelers, and your budget. The rest is taken care of for you, including the travel and accommodations, all while keeping the destination a surprise.

Who It’s Perfect For:

Spontaneous travelers and those who aren’t afraid to take risks will get a kick out of this gift, as it gives them an opportunity to fuel their free-spirited shenanigans.

Learn more and book a Pack Up + Go trip starting at $400 HERE.

Moonlight Hike With REI Events

REI Events Moonlight Hike

The Gift:

For experienced and leisurely hikers alike, give them a special night under the stars with a moonlight hike courtesy of REI. Available in several locations across the US, the three-hour hiking tour will guide you through the landscape and teach you about the surrounding ecosystem. Plus, REI will provide the headlamps and trekking poles. This is an especially thoughtful gift for those who live in big cities where the stars are rarely (more like never) seen with the naked eye.

Who It’s Perfect For:

Outdoorsy guys and gals will love the idea of getting out into the wilderness after dark. Even if they venture into landscapes and climb mountains regularly, doing it at a night under the stars, with a guide and fellow adventurers, will give them a different experience.

Book a moonlight hike with REI starting at $55 HERE.

Getaway House Rental

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A post shared by GETAWAY (@getawayhouse)

The Gift:

Getaway offers a chance to unplug and get off the grid, even if it’s just a short two-hour drive away. The outdoorsy accommodation brand offers cozy cabins, known as a “Getaway House,” to provide a restorative experience in nature — that means no work or WiFi. They have 26 different Getaway House locations across the US, most of which are located just outside of major cities like LA, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, and more. Plus, Getaway now has two campsite locations with pre-set-up tents and amenities outside NYC and Nashville.

Who It’s Perfect For:

This is another great option for weekend-only travelers, and anyone who needs a break from the busyness of everyday life will appreciate this gesture. This is an especially thoughtful gift for a significant other, as the tiny cabins will give you a chance to cozy up with no interruptions.

Book a Getaway House starting at around $250 per night HERE.

The Adventure Challenge Solo Edition

The Adventure Challenge
The Adventure Challenge

The Gift:

For the one who’s not afraid to fly solo, give them this guidebook that’s designed to bring more adventure into everyday life. It features 50 scratch-off challenges that range mostly from $0 to $50, along with spaces to write notes and paste a photo from the experience. It’s the perfect gift for someone who likes to keep things interesting, whether they’re on the road or at home. There are also Adventure Challenge versions for couples, families, friends, and even “…In Bed.”

Who It’s Perfect For:

Of course, this gift option is ideal for the solo traveler. It’s a simple yet fun way to fuel their wanderlust even when they’re at home in between trips.

Buy The Adventure Challenge for $50 HERE.

Hot Air Balloon Ride With Virgin Experience Gifts

The Gift:

For true adrenaline junkies, a hot air balloon ride is a gift that’s sure to win them over. Virgin Experience Gifts offers rides with experienced pilots all across the US. Whether you opt for a romantic private ride for two or go with a group tour, you can soar through the sky at sunrise and experience the world from a new (and exhilarating) perspective.

Hot air balloon not the right fit? Virgin Experience Gifts offers a plethora of other experiences that any adventurer will love — from sailing to helicopter rides to ziplining and everything in between.

Who It’s Perfect For:

Whom this is not for is anyone with a fear of heights. Floating through the air in a tiny basket with no seat belt isn’t exactly going to grant their Christmas wishes. Keep this gift reserved for the more adventurous romantics in your life.

Book a hot air balloon ride starting at $250 HERE.

Rosetta Stone Language Classes

The Gift:

Help your favorite traveler get prepared for their next big international trip with language classes by Rosetta Stone. The online and app-based language learning platform teaches 25 different languages through a tested and engaging curriculum. Travelers will be able to pick up the need-to-know words and phrases of their destination, making for a smoother and more fulfilling overall experience. Choose from a three-month, 12-month, or lifetime subscription.

Who It’s Perfect For:

If you know someone planning an extended months-long trip to somewhere like Europe or Asia, this language learning subscription is for them. It’s perfect for anyone planning to stay or live in a destination for more than a couple of weeks, as it will help immerse them in the location and get to know the local citizens.

Buy a Rosetta Stone language class starting at $7.99 per month HERE.

America the Beautiful – National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass

national parks pass

The Gift:

Nowadays, most national parks in the US require pre-booked reservations or passes. With this National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands annual pass, your outdoorsy loved one won’t even have to worry about making those reservations ahead of time. For only $80, you can gift them access to more than 2,000 recreation areas managed by six Federal agencies. Plus, up to 100% of the proceeds will be used to improve visitor recreation services.

Who It’s Perfect For:

There’s no better gift than this for an avid US-based road tripper. Whether they’re a proud Van-Life member or they spend their weekends exploring nature, this annual pass will give them even more of a reason to get outside.

Buy a National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass for $80 HERE.

TSA Pre-Check

TSA Pre-Check

The Gift:

If for some reason the traveler in your life doesn’t have TSA Pre-check yet, the holidays are the perfect time to help them get it. Offer to pay for their application fee so they can skip the security lines and make it to their gate with plenty of time to spare. This is a practical (and surprisingly affordable) gift that they’ll be able to use for the next five years.

Who It’s Perfect For:

Of course, this is ideal for anyone who flies often. Think business travelers, digital nomads, or even someone in a long-distance relationship who flies back and forth between coasts.

Apply for TSA Pre-Check for $78 HERE.

EDITOR’S PICK: A Few Days At A Crazy-Nice Rental Property

The Establishment FOXDEN

The Gift:

Admittedly, AirBnB found a home on this list and it can still be a fit at the right price point but… Let’s be honest: Some of the shine has worn off. Basically, its woes can be summed up with this tweet:

Or this one:


It’s kind of fun to post these. I could do more. Lots in fact, because the topic of Airbnb fees is trending on the heels of this announcement. Okay, fine, one more:

While the app is still solid for those looking to visit cities or the countryside in groups, its luster is gone for people who want to make a vacation feel like… vacation (also, I’m not the neatest guy on earth but I am not AT ALL in love with some annoyed guest racing against the clock to wash my forks).

Rental properties are a travel wave that won’t die, though. The market will simply shift. Instead of Airbnb, in 2023 the best rentals will more closely resemble hotels. “A big giant house with a pool but no other guests” is a much better pitch for a group of travelers making low six figures than “someone’s apartment that you will have to clean.”

The new era of home rentals is upon us, friends, and they’re super luxurious without all the hidden fees. Properties like The Establishment in Palm Springs or The Desert Dog House in Joshua Tree. We’re talking about the sorts of places that can arrange a private chef to come cook for your crew; not the sorts of places where you get three texts the morning of checkout to see if you started the laundry. Because after all, that’s what the rental revolution was supposed to be — an experience that could rival hotels by adding in a sexy X-factor: privacy.

The best of these rentals are sure to be incredibly well-appointed (flash enough to appear in Bazaar) without being exorbitantly expensive — typically $300-600 per night and easily able to accommodate up to 10. Trust us, any giftee on your list would be thrilled to visit one of these fly rentals with you.

Who It’s Perfect For:

Stylish travelers who might hire someone like FOU (friend of Uproxx) Hailley Howard to come take pics of them in these uber cool-looking digs. Or just anyone who doesn’t want to face the pitfalls of an Airbnb.

— Steve Bramucci, Editorial Director, Uproxx LIFE

Book an upmarket home like Desert Dog House for a few days HERE.