Why experience gifts are the way of the future

Finding the perfect gift for anyone, and any occasion, would be a pretty good super power, right? It’s more achievable than you might think.

The way that we give gifts is changing. More and more people now say that they would prefer to receive an experience rather than a material item. But some gift experiences have more value than others…

Since 2015, Tinggly has been on a mission to change the way we give gifts. Our dedicated team scours the globe to track down the world’s most original and exciting experience gift ideas, and bring them all together in one place. However that’s far from the only reason that our gift cards are the best option for experience gifts. 

Why should I buy experience gifts?

Adaptation is the enemy of happiness, found a 2010 study from Cornell University. It found that the positivity we feel towards a material purchase quickly fades as we become used to it and consider what we might have had instead, whether that be a later model of phone, or a better deal. But experiences don’t suffer in the same way. In many cases, happy memories about those experiences can last for a very long time, sometimes the rest of our lives. 

Little surprise, then, that there is such growing interest in giving experiences as gifts. A survey of professionals by LinkedIn discovered that almost 80% of respondents would prefer to receive experience gifts. And a study by Deloitte in 2017 of more than 5,000 Americans found that over a quarter liked the idea of giving experiences as gifts instead of tangible items.

Here’s why you should be thinking of experience gift cards next time you have an occasion approaching where you need to buy a present:

Experience gifts make people happier

Research shows that giving experiences, especially to people we’re close to, is more emotionally rewarding than a material item. The anticipation in the days and weeks leading up to an activity we’re looking forward to can be intense, and the happy memories that are associated with it afterwards can last for years. 

Put it this way: if someone gives you a new tennis racket for your birthday, will you still be talking about it with your friends at parties 10 years later? No. But if someone gave you an experience gift box that you used to go swimming with sharks off Australia, or sand-boarding down an active volcano in Nicaragua, you’ll be telling those stories forever. 

Less waste

If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ve all got pretty much everything we need in terms of material items. Many of us live in homes that are full of clutter, things we don’t use, didn’t want in the first place, and would be happy to get rid of if we could be bothered. And much of that comes in the form of gifts.

It’s been estimated that every year Americans alone waste around $16 billion on unwanted gifts, and 7% of people do so knowingly! With experience gifts, there’s no clutter, or waste, taking up space in your home. At the very most it’s framed photos of an experience to be treasured.

Useful gift ideas

The best experience gifts aren’t just fun, but useful too. They might serve as hobby gifts, allowing someone to develop an existing interest or skill, or find a new one. And they will often give back to the local community they take place in. For instance, many of the experience gifts in the Tinggly collection make use of local guides and chefs. Others see you exploring more remote, less-touristy areas that really benefit from additional income, such as staying the night in a Cambodian village to learn about Khmer culture.

Fantastic travel gift ideas

It goes without saying that experience gifts are great for friends and family who love to travel. Not only do they allow you to get deeper insights into a destination, but they can fit in perfectly with existing or future holiday plans. And if nothing else they’ll give some extra zing to your Insta account.

These are fab gift ideas for gap year travelers of course. If you want to reward your kids or grandkids for their hard work and achievements as they head out into the world on their own, then gift experiences are a brilliant way to do it. There are exhilarating experiences to be had across familiar Gap Year trails from Australia and New Zealand, through Southeast Asia and South America, and 100s of amazing experiences in Europe

Any excuse to celebrate

You can buy experiences for literally any occasion. An experience gift box looks enticing under the tree at Christmas, it makes a brilliant idea for Valentine’s Day, and it’s also a solution for anyone running low on inspiration for LGBTQ wedding gifts, unique birthday gifts or milestone anniversary gifts. You might get experience gifts for him on Father’s Day, or experience gifts for your daughter on her graduation day. 

Whatever the reason for the celebration, you can expect yours to be the most talked-about gift of all, so maybe don’t mention that it took you just five minutes to organise!

What are the different types of experience gifts?

There is a great variety of gift experiences out there, but typically they’re going to fall into at least one of three categories:

  1. Bucket list experience gifts: or, 1001 things to do before you die. Many of us keep a personal bucket list of activities we’d like to try, long-held dreams and ambitions that are often hindered by lack of time or money. Experience gift cards can help people to tick something off their bucket list. 
  2. Hobby gifts: whether it be sport fishing in Florida, SUP tours in Sweden or a craft brewery tour in Prague, hobby gifts allow people to develop their passions and interests, or get inspiration for new hobbies. 
  3. Travel gifts: gift experiences are fantastic for travelers that aren’t content with spending their holiday by the pool. They allow people to see a different side to the destination, to encounter local people and explore traditional ways of life. 

There are 1000s of unique experience gifts in the Tinggly collection ensuring that, whatever the personality of the recipient(s), there’s going to be something, somewhere, that they would love to try.

Different types of gift experiences include:

Romantic experience gifts: Experience gift ideas for couples might include a guided tour of New York landmarks with a professional photographer by their side to capture special moments, or a fiery tango lesson in Buenos Aires. And there are abundant hot air balloon sightseeing flights above iconic cities to choose from, often at sunrise or sunset, and with a glass of something bubbly waiting for them on landing.

Adventurous experience gifts: There are practically endless adventure experience gifts available for people that like to walk on the wild side of life. Breathtaking bungee jumps and giant swings, ziplining circuits, canyoning, 4×4 off-roading, go-karting on ice, snowmobiling through wintery landscapes – and that’s just the start of it. 

Pampering experience gifts: From luxury spa sessions with treatments including massages and skin rubs, to learning how to make your own perfume or soap, there are no end of pampering experiences available. These tend to be classic experience gifts for her, that moms and daughters love to share. 

Wildlife experience gifts: Ethical wildlife encounters might include snorkeling beside manta rays in Hawaii at night, helping out at an elephant sanctuary in Malaysia (truly magical), swimming with wild manatees or dolphins, Arctic whale-watching tours off the coast of Iceland, or watching monkeys and birds among the treetops at Nigeria’s Lekki Conservation Center.

Driving experience gifts: Thrill-seekers rejoice, because when it comes to driving experience gifts the choice is vast. Everything from taking laps of a circuit in a range of incredible supercars to learning how to race dragsters and stock cars. A day behind the wheel of a tank and other military vehicles might make a good experience gift for a husband. You can pick up tips on drifting from the pros, or opt for a more sedate touring experience, riding around Havana in a classic car, or exploring Tuscany on a stylish Vespa.

Cultural experience gifts: If you want to pick up a little of the local culture on your travels then experience gifts are a great way to do it. You might be taking in an Aboriginal dance show in Australia or enjoying a traditional Maori welcome in New Zealand, discovering the art of the Japanese tea ceremony in Japan, or exploring the spectacular ruins of Angkor Wat with an expert local guide in Cambodia.

Foodie experience gifts: For friends and family that have a taste for the finer things in life you might gift an experience for foodies. There are fascinating tours of famous markets around the world, mouthwatering cookery lessons and shared meals led by local chefs, and decadent delights ranging from waffle workshops in Belgium to wine-and-cheese pairing lessons, or guided tours of craft breweries and boutique wineries. 

Water experience gifts: For those who feel more comfortable in a wetsuit than a business suit, there are plenty of splash-tastic water experiences available. From scenic cruises to guided kayaking, snorkeling and SUP tours, to surfing, flyboarding and scuba diving lessons. And then very exciting water-based activities including white water rafting (plus black water rafting in New Zealand), or coasteering in Ireland.

Flying experiences: Your loved ones can take to the skies with a fantastic range of flying experience gifts including sightseeing flights by helicopter and plane over destinations such as Peru’s Nazca Lines, or Hawaii’s beautiful Big Island. Those who have always dreamed of becoming pilots can take a thrilling flight simulator experience. And for the really intrepid there are masses of white-knuckle tandem skydives to enjoy. 

Family experience gifts: Some experiences will be expressly designed to be enjoyed by couples or even the whole family, others will allow you to book friends and family members on for a supplement so they can share the fun. Family days out at America’s legendary Six Flags theme park, parents and kids cookery classes in Italy, and family rafting trips in New Zealand, are just a few examples of how family experience gifts can work.

And the really great thing about Tinggly experience gift cards is that whichever collection you choose, there is bound to be a mix of different experiences included. So whatever kind of mood the recipient is in, they’ll find something to match.

What makes Tinggly experience gifts better than the rest

Hello you. Remember back up there, right at the very top, we mentioned that some experience gift cards have more value than others? When it comes to the best experience gifts, you should be thinking Tinggly. And here’s why.

Giving the gift of choice

With most experience gifts, you’re buying a specific activity for someone based on what you think they’d like to do. Tinggly travel gifts are the opposite – the recipient gets to choose, from literally 100s of experiences according to their own interests, travel plans and availability. When you gift an experience of their choice, satisfaction is pretty much guaranteed. 

Global availability

Our unique experience gifts are available in over 100 countries around the world, and counting. They are naturally exceptional travel gift ideas, but global availability means that the recipient will often find something close to home too, if they don’t get around much.

No expiry dates

Here’s a big reason why a Tinggly experience gift box is so special. There are NO expiry dates to worry about. So if the recipient loses their gift card for a while, or their travel plans have to change, it’s not an issue.

Eco-friendly experience gifts

Our experience gift boxes are ideal for travelers. And while the amount of international travel is part of the problem when it comes to climate change and other environmental issues, we believe it can be part of the solution too. That’s why we launched our innovative Tinggly Activist program. There are more details below, but when you buy our experiences as gifts, you’re making a positive difference through our various environmental initiatives. 

Can gift experiences be sustainable?

Growing numbers of people are now wanting to give, and receive, sustainable gifts. They’re tiring of single-use plastic waste, and junk that takes up space in their homes. And they want to know that when they buy something, it’s an ethical purchase that is making a positive contribution to people or the environment. 

Experiences are gifts that can’t be wrapped up in a bow. They don’t get buried at the back of a closet for years, and, done right, they can be of benefit to communities and the environment. 

When you buy an experience gift box from Tinggly we enrol you automatically in our Activist program. There’s no extra cost involved and nothing more for you to do. But every time we sell one of our experience gift cards we pledge to do the following:

  • Offset the carbon footprint of the average experience in our collection by a huge 200%, through our partners at Climate Care. We appreciate that carbon offsetting is not the full answer to climate change, but we believe it’s a step in the right direction.
  • Send all customers experience gift boxes made entirely from recycled, or recyclable, materials, to reduce our impact on the environment even further.

So if you’re looking for eco-friendly gift ideas, consider an experience gift box from Tinggly. You can have confidence your gift is helping preserve the planet for future generations to experience and explore.

How do gift experiences work?

When you decide to buy experiences as gifts, it becomes incredibly quick, easy and satisfying to find the perfect present for anyone, and any occasion. If you’re new to gift experiences, here’s how they work.

How to buy gift experiences

  1. Browse the various experience gift cards online. There are gift experience boxes to suit different budgets, and while some are ideal for Valentine’s Day, weddings, birthdays and gap years for example, there are other gift boxes such as the Ultimate collection that are suitable for anyone and any celebration.
  2. When you’ve chosen the best experience gifts for your budget and occasion, you’ll be asked to purchase using our secure online payment system. 
  3. Next you need to add an address for your experience gift box to be sent to. We can send our gift experiences anywhere in the world, and they arrive in a stylish presentation box. Have it sent to yourself, if you’d like to hand it over in person. And for instances when the recipient is already traveling, remember that we can also send our travel gift cards by email.
  4. Add a personal message to the recipient, such as to wish them a happy birthday or fun vacation. This is also a good time to recommend an experience you might have seen in the gift box you just bought them.
  5. That’s it! Sit back, relax, and wait for a happy phonecall to thank you.

How to redeem gift experiences

Once they’ve got their hands on their gift card, the recipient(s) can start looking through our online map to see the many different experiences available to them around the world. This is where the fun really starts and it’s not unusual for some people to spend hours researching and making up their minds.

Because Tinggly experience gifts have NO expiry dates, they can really take their time. They can also think about possible future travel plans and whether their gift card can fit into them.

Booking an experience is simply a matter of getting in touch with the friendly Tinggly team. We’ll take care of the reservation on their behalf while they can anticipate the exciting times to come. We do recommend booking at least a week in advance however, to ensure the best time slots are available.

And remember, sharing is caring. If you’re buying experience gifts for Dad on his birthday, and he’s like to share it with your Mom, a friend or one of his kids, there’s nothing to say he can’t pick an experience for two. And in many cases, he can also add someone on to solo gift experiences by paying a supplement. The pleasure of experience gifts is even more intense when two or more people can enjoy and reminisce about them afterwards.

Experience gifts can be used to mark any occasion

Whether you’re looking for experience gifts for men to celebrate a bachelor party, experience gifts for women when there’s a baby shower, or experience gifts for grandparents to mark a 40th wedding anniversary, Tinggly gift cards are perfect to mark any occasion.

Experience gifts are inspirational and useful, and fantastic gift ideas for people who love to travel and see the world differently. Plus with such a huge variety to choose from, there is something for everyone to enjoy no matter their personality.

These are eco-friendly gift ideas too, reducing the clutter in recipients’ lives, and reducing the amount of plastic waste in the natural environment. They’re easy to buy, and with no expiry dates to worry about, they offer you complete peace of mind that they’ll be of use to the recipient at some point.

Here at Tinggly, we think the best experience gifts are like a ticket to adventure. New destinations, new discoveries, new memories to form, and new stories to tell. 

So whatever the occasion you’re celebrating, use gift experiences to give stories, not stuff, and watch someone’s face light up with joy.