Guest Author - Christine Wilcox
Some people are notoriously particular about planning for Christmas. They buy presents year round, wrap and tuck them away in corners of their houses and when the big day arrives, they are already thinking beyond it to the Christmas list for next year - after all, the Christmas sales are right around the corner.
I am not one of those people.
As I write this, it's officially less than one week until Christmas. How much Christmas shopping have I done? I've bought about 3 gifts - all shipped straight from Amazon.com and UncommonGoods.com to the recipients that live elsewhere. I'm thinking two things for next year: first, I enjoyed the vacations that I took last year immensely, both solo and with others; and second, I want to give that same gift to the people I love, whether they travel with me or not.
So how do you give the gift of travel without going bankrupt or taking out a loan? Here are some options:
1. Consider airline gift cards plus a travel journal
You don't have to give an entire ticket to someone to make a travel gift card valuable. Check out Southwest.com to purchase gift cards that can be emailed or sent to the recipient (sending an actual card incurs a small fee - so just know that). You can pick a denomination from $10.00 to $1,000.00 - the choice is yours. Travel gift cards can be packaged creatively with small travel journal
like the Vacation, The Travelers Journal - MINI Blue Hard Cover at Amazon.com
2. Give the city - sort of
One of my favorite gifts is to give a Moleskine City Notebook like this one for New York. They have lots of cities that they've published guides for. When you give a gift like this, it shows you're paying attention! Sometimes, all someone needs is a little motivation to put their plan together to go.
3. Set up your own vacation savings account
Vacations do have a way of getting expensive and sometimes, that expense keeps us from even trying to go in the first place. Set up a vacation savings account through your bank or a bank like ING Direct. Don't go crazy - even just setting aside $10 every paycheck can get you started. And if you plan your vacation in advance and set up some fare watchers, you can get a great ticket to that dream destination.
Just remember, ditch the excuses and go! You'll be glad you did.