Travel Loot

10 Very Special Travel Experiences You Can Gift

by Team Popupla
Discover Better than anything you could possibly gift wrap. Photo courtesy of Discover Outdoors.

Whether you've waited too long to buy a present because you wanted something just so — or are merely procrastinating (as usual), you and your special someone will like this selection of specialty adventures, activities, and next-level experiences that don't need to be wrapped and hidden in your closet until Christmas.

Traveling Spoon

Traveling Spoon Culinary Experiences

Your friend travels to Hong Kong for work? Hook her up with a tai tai who can teach her the art of social tea. Brother heading to Bulgaria? Connect him with a local guide who can take him on a market tour and teach him how to make local specialties. The Airbnb for cooking classes and culinary experiences is available in 40 countries with hundreds of local hosts. Select a dollar amount, choose a design, and your gift certificate can be printed out or sent by email to the lucky recipient. (Prices vary.)

700,000 Heures

700,000 Heures

Super chic, mysterious, magical travel experience by Maisons des Rêves founder Thierry Teyssier. Every six months, the hotel moves to a new and exceptional place, a journey-as-destination in which the curators pull out all the stops to organize new and exciting daily (and nightly) adventures. Guests are players in a theatrical performance piece of hospitality — with gorgeous lunches appearing in the middle of a desert, musical entertainment springing up in the garden at sunset, candlelit paths leading to sumptuous villas where guests spend the night. Every day is different and every guest is catered to perfectly. It's called the World's First Wandering Hotel, and it's a trip of a lifetime. (Prices vary.)

Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright Membership

Get insider access, free passes, gift shop discounts, and tours of some of the most interesting buildings in America, all while preserving the life and legacy of an American architectural titan. Get reciprocal access to cool private residences, universities, temples, museums, and hotels from Alabama to Kansas to Oregon to Wisconsin. ($35-$10,000)

Discover Outdoors

Discover Outdoors Experience

Give your favorite nature-starved city slicker the gift of the great outdoors. The adventure outfit offers everything from guided day trips (learn backcountry skills, horseback ride to a winery, search for Russian bears) to multi-day camping excursions across the U.S., with many offerings around the New York tri-state area. On a recent backcountry navigation hike, one of our editors learned the proper way to use a compass, map, trail markers, and other life-saving skills. ($99 and up)

California Dreaming Mediations

Oculus Go: California Dreaming Meditation VR

The standalone Oculus Go device has been dubbed "the headset that will take VR mainstream." It can access Samsung’s Gear VR’s expansive library of games, but its screen and processors are built in, so you don't have to rely on your mobile phone. Once you have your VR, you'll want to subscribe to California Dreaming Meditation, a series of ten-minute guided virtual reality meditations set within (and not digitally rendered or computer animated) such gorgeous California locations as Big Sur, Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Golden Gate Bridge, Pfeiffer Beach, and Limekiln. The videos are complete with original music and cinematic sound design. ($15/month, IDM TV subscription)

Rancho Valencia

Racho Valencia Wellness Retreat

The Southern California resort and spa's Personal Wellness Advisor can craft a multi-day bespoke health program that includes dreamy accommodations, daily food menus and spa therapies, unlimited access to fitness classes, daily private training sessions, and good living nestled on a 45-acre Relais & Châteaux estate and garden. (Prices vary.)

Curated Experiences at Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Chef Dan Barber's gorgeous farm and award-winning restaurant in Pocantico Hills, New York, has a beautifully presented gift package: two guest meals ( tax), including a special course served in the shed or at the kitchen table, beverage pairings, welcome toast, and specialty keepsakes. The whole thing is shipped overnight in a custom Blue Hill wooden crate. ($688-$1258)

Coastal Cruise: Puglia

Coastal Cruises from Butterfield & Robinson

You can go bespoke, private, or with a small group. Any way you slice it, riding around Puglia's sun-soaked shores and through olive groves is a gift that keeps on giving. Five nights and six days of joy rides, rustic meals, and soaking up the sea breeze will do just about everybody some good. ($4,995)

Culinary Walks By Culinary Backstreets

Our favorite street food tour guides offer insightful, tasty, and entertaining scoops on some of the coolest eating cities around the world. From Istanbul to Athens to Naples, and beyond, CB tracks down culinary gems and off-track cultural spots, while giving visitors a dose of real city living. Sign your hungry pals up for a small group tour to whatever city their traveling to next. ($50 and up)

Context Travel Tours

Context Travel Tours

The international indie tour operators launched their first-ever gift card, allowing gift givers everywhere the opportunity to gift their curious friends any of the operator's expertly curated cultural tours in over 50 destinations, at all different levels of understanding, knowledge, interest, and academics. ($250-500 for private tours; $100-$200 for semi-private tours)

Keep the Gifting Spirit Alive

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12 Gifts for Your Favorite Traveler Under $150
14 Gifts Under $50 That Work for Every Traveler on Your List
10 Worthy Causes for End of Year Charitable Giving

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