By Cat Zuniga
Sometimes the best travel gift is simply the gift of travel.
Travel is for everyone: parents, grandparents, husbands, wives, friends, and kids. It’s a way to say, “I want to spend more time with you!” Travel is a way of life. It’s the best way to explore cultures, people, food, and places. Traveling shows us that there’s more to life than just our way of doing things.
Travel is also a great way to teach children respect for others and a greater appreciation for life. Children learn how to take care of themselves in new places. Through exploration, children are freed to ask more questions, connect what they’ve learned to what they can see, and even find their way if they ever get lost. (Travel hint No. 1 for traveling with kids: Teach them the name of your hotel and the safest way of getting back if they get separated from you.) Through travel, children learn that life must be lived and not watched on TV or played on a video game.
Travel is one of the greatest gifts one person can give another. In fact, travel is the perfect gift, one that opens up new horizons and provides lifetime memories. The opportunities for adventure and exploration delivered through travel give your loved ones something they’ll cherish forever.
So how do you give the gift of travel? Easy. Here are a few tips on great ways to plan a surprise trip.
- Choose a destination. The destination of your surprise trip is important, and something you want to get right. If you aren’t 100 percent sure of your recipient’s travel preferences, you might want to consider a travel gift certificate towards travel. Also, if you’re making this gift a complete surprise, you’ll also need to consider the weather at your destination so you can pack appropriately. You’re going to need to let the gift recipients pack themselves, but you don’t necessarily have to give away the destination of your surprise trip to do this. Of course, if you’re affluent enough, you could always just skip this step altogether and purchase all your clothes once you arrive at your destination. But for everyone else this will need to be something to consider, since there’s a world of a difference between shorts and sandals and sweaters and snow boots.
- Plan in Advance. Several factors play into this decision: Time of year (high season and low season), schedules (school, work, activities), and babysitters (if you need to work around kids). If you plan far enough in advance you won’t risk compromising on any of these factors that play into your decision-making.
- Budget. If you’ll be keeping this a surprise from your significant other, it could be challenging if they’re in charge of the bills, so you might have to get sneaky about how you go about budgeting and paying for your trip. Some people put aside a little something out of each paycheck for their surprise trip, while others avoid using a shared account or credit card for this. If you’re surprising a family member, how much you want to disclose about the financial aspect of your gift is completely up to you. But deciding on the amount you are willing to spend is absolutely key!
- Limit your accomplices. It’s nice to have a resource to help you in the planning process – just not too many. You need to limit your accomplices to one or two people. Your significant other’s boss, secretary, or anyone who has input on his/her schedule can come in handy, but be sure to divulge your surprise only to the people who need to know. Don’t tell your neighbors, elderly relatives, children, or anyone who could accidentally let it slip.
- Build up to the big reveal. There are several ways to lead up to the surprise. If you’re able to hold it all in and not cave, it’s fun to leave clues to build up to the surprise. If you’re traveling within the States, you might wait to tell them your destination until you arrive at the airport, if you can go that long. International destinations, and some individuals, might require an early release. (For instance, some kids don’t handle some surprises all that well.) Otherwise, build it up for a month until you can do a grand reveal. If you want to announce a surprise vacation at Christmastime, for instance, you could start on Dec. 1 and add a new clue daily or weekly to build up to the reveal. The options are endless with this one. It really comes down to what you’re capable of handling!
- Protection! Protection! Protection! Although not required for your gift of travel (even though it should be), we strongly recommend travel protection. We value your money as much as you do. So when we have clients come to us with their hard-earned money and ask us for the best deal (so they don’t waste their money), we make sure to emphasize the importance of travel protection. We cannot emphasize this one enough!
Use your travel specialist. We think about the things you don’t always think about. It’s what we’re here for. And happy giving!
Cat Zuniga is an award-winning travel specialist. She specializes in tropical vacations for families, groups, destination weddings, and honeymooners. Visit her today at http://www.TarverdiTravel.com.