Christmas gifts when you’re a couple can be tricky, especially if you share finances. It can feel a little like, “If I wanted to go buy a sweater with our money, I would have just bought a sweater.” In order to make things special, you have to up your game. It takes serious thought to find a gift that sparks genuine surprise and joy.
That’s why we love giving the gift of travel and adventure. There’s no price tag you can put on making memories together, and experiential gifts will almost always spice things up, shake your routine, and remind you to slow down to enjoy one another.
An experiential present is one of the best ways to say, “I’m invested in this and ready to make some lasting memories”, or at the very least, “I’m in this until February, because these tickets were non-refundable”.
Here are some of our favorite experiences to surprise her with this holiday season.
Sign up for a class where you’ll learn a skill together.
One of the secrets to being a successful couple is not to expect that you won’t change, but to find ways to grow and change together. A great way to do this is to expand your knowledge and skill base as a team. Signing up for a fun class will not only give you a great date night activity but a chance to bond at home while practicing your skills.
We’re not talking about a paint by the numbers wine class, but actual skills that will make you both cooler people. Try a pasta making class or learn how to roll sushi. Become experts on mixology (which leads to tons of tipsy at-home practice). You’ll build memories, skills, and have built-in ideas for your next date.
Head out to a surf camp for a week.
Whether you’re an expert surf duo or beginners, a surf camp is a great way to combine a tropical vacation with adventure. Nicaragua has some of the best surf camps in the world and they’re insanely affordable, especially when you consider most of them are all-inclusive. One great option is Two Brothers Surf in Popoyo. It’s more villa than bunk beds (which is nice for a couple) and the all-inclusive experience includes full meals made by a private chef, access to a private beach, and some of the best surf in the area. End your trip with a few of the all-night parties in nearby San Juan del Sur for a trip that oozes fun and romantic connection.
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SRI LANKA SUNRISE SURF 🇱🇰 . We went with an open mind and left Sri Lanka so full of happiness and energy. The last month has by far exceeded all expectations 🙌🏽 . Sri Lankan people are so beautiful, even through tough times they are so generous with their time and words. We enjoyed the yummiest foods and got to learn a different way of living with multiple religions living in harmony👌🏽 . We surfed some sick breaks, went on a safari to hunt down wild leopards, met Ellie the Elephant, caught a blue train through lush mountains and tea plantations and trekked with our newest fur friend Rosie 🐶 Best of all we got to hang out with some legends and made life long friends 👨👩👧👦 ps. Thanks for the boards @lordfrothwizardkeno 😉 . Sri Lanka you get 10/10 veggie rottis 🥟 we’ll be back next year!! . . #srilankatravel #srilankatourism #discoversrilanka #srilankanstyle #srilankanpeople #multiculturalism #arugambay #surfingcouple #surfingmagazine #surfingworld #couplesinlove #coupleswhotravel #adventurecouple #countryhopping #ellarock #backpackerlife #backpackingasia #sunrisehike #southeastasian #createexplore #travellingtheglobe #enjoyingtheview #sunrisesurf #firstlight #exploringtheworld #favouritecountry #travellingcouple #nextadventure #holidayspam
Give her a monthly pass to a day spa.
Our lives are hectic. Whether you live together and are now dealing with the unromantic arguing over who cleans the bathroom or whose turn it is to walk the dog or are newly dating and finding time to spend the night during the week (lugging your stuff back and forth) — day-to-day relationship drama is sort of a hassle and very un-sexy.
Getting a Korean spa monthly pass will give you moments to get away and just totally relax, away from the grind. Slipping off to be naked in separate group baths, meeting to hold hands in a sauna, napping side-by-side, and just chilling for a few hours, all allow you to decompress and remember why you like each other so much in the first place. Giving her the gift of relaxation will also set you up to be a little more zen during those times you’re not lounging in robes by a fountain.
Book a trip to a place where you can adventure while giving back.
If you want those feel-good vacations vibes to feel even better, give her a trip to an amazing location where you can also give back. Pretty much any of your dream destinations will have a volunteer opportunity you can get hooked up with — whether it’s volunteering at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand or passing out water filters on a surf adventure in Ecuador. And think about how much sweeter the fun parts will be, lounging on the beach, chilling in a nice hotel, hitting the waves, after a fulfilling day of helping others.
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“My friend Yehuda and I raised enough money to acquire six filters though the Courier Program during our spring semester this year. We installed two of the filters in a village in northern Nicaragua and we delivered four of them to Bastimentos Island, Panama. That was probably one of the greatest experiences of my life," said @tiannadisalvo, courier in our Courier Program. “There are 27 indigenous families living entirely off-grid on Bastimentos Island. They use a 300-gallon tank to store rain water but, when it doesn’t rain, especially during the dry season, they have to take water from the creek and filter the water through a towel. They’ve lost two infants in 9 months from waterborne illnesses. These kids live the hardest life but they were still so gentle and kind. I felt so welcomed by them. We installed the filters and explained how to efficiently clean them every week. I am beyond grateful to have been in the presence of those people. Thank you guys for such a rad experience.” | Photo: @tiannadisalvo | #wavesforwater #regram
Rent a tripped out van to travel up the coast for a week.
We love the van life and there are few ways more romantic to travel than a van with a cozy bed. You can drive up any coast for cliffside views, camping, and opening the back to stargaze, but one particular van route we’re loving these days is Australia’s Sydney to Byron Bay route. Filled with cozy beach towns and great surf, Uproxx Life Editor, Steve Bramucci just returned from a couple’s adventure in a van there and can’t recommend it highly enough.
Buy her a projector for romantic outdoor movie nights
This is more of a physical gift than the others, but an outdoor movie projector will lead to tons of great experiences and date nights that feel special even when they’re at home. Movies projected in your yard or while camping suddenly make throwing a blanket on the ground and a cheap bottle of wine feel like an elevated experience. Plus, there’s no one to shine a flashlight on you when you start making out.
Buy one here.
Plan a weekend getaway to an isolated hot spring.
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I was granted the opportunity to capture a beautiful couples engagement day. We snowmobiled to #burgdorfhotsprings and I had my beautiful assistant @demek_threed to drive for me while I snapped photos, and spice up the party! Ahh it was amazing #idahophotographer #boisephotographer #burgdorf #burgdorfhotsprings #thisisidaho
Truly get in on that cabin life by heading to Burgdorf Hot Springs in Idaho. Located outside of McCall, this rustic collection of cabins and hot springs are totally inaccessible by car in the winter, So, you have to rent snowmobiles and adventure out there. Once there, your weekend will be spent either chilling in the warm water or in your cabin by a woodstove.
Bring your own food, stuff for hot toddys and plan to spend lots of time snuggled under the covers. Want more hot springs to choose from? Here are the 25 best hot springs on earth.
Give her a scuba certification class.
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It’s warming up (FINALLY) in Sydney! ☀️ Where are you diving right now? Throwback to the Gili’s (take me back rn) 😩😩 📍 Gili Trawangan — Lombok, Indonesia 🇮🇩 🐳 Diving with @mantadivegilit 📷 @alfredminnaarphotography . . . . . #scubadive #staysalty #divemaster #scubadiving #uwphoto #girlsthatscuba #uwphotos #greenturtle #scubacouple #divecouple #underthesea #scubadive #eatsleepdiverepeat #gilitrawangan #gilit #underwaterphoto #couplegoals #feelingsalty #wonderfulllombok #tauchen #padi #ssi #scubadivergirls #angelsofthesea #mantadivegilit #wonderfulindonesia #originaldivephoto
Pretty much every city will have lessons for beginners that you can hop in on, but if you want to go super hardcore (and combine it with an incredible vacation), hit up a resort in Belize’s Caye Caulker to get scuba certified in one of the best scuba and snorkeling destinations in the world. And then you’ll be that couple who scuba dives all over the world. Not a bad thing to be known for? It’s a present that makes you both cooler.