The TravelLatte Un-Gift Holiday Gift Guide

TravelLatte’s Un-Gift Holiday Gift Guide

The holidays are here, and you are no doubt asking yourself, “What kind of holiday gifts am I going to get my traveling friends and family?”

Here’s the thing: In today’s world of nomads and downsizers, gift giving is getting complicated. We still enjoy the simple act of giving someone a present – and of getting a gift, as well. The problem is that many people are actively reducing the amount of stuff in their homes and lives. It can be a challenge to find just the right gift while honoring, if not helping, their drive to declutter.

The luxurious gift of airport lounge access on the TravelLatte Un-Gift Holiday Gift Guide

Once you’ve tasted the sweet life of airport lounges, it’s hard to go back to waiting at the gate. It’s a great gift for frequent fliers.

The Un-Gift Holiday Gift Guide

This year’s gift guide is here to help! We’re calling it the Un-Gift Holiday Gift Guide because, while still gifting our traveling friends and family, we’re not adding to a pile of presents. Instead, we’re rounding up gifts that can help our travelers go farther, go easier, or just plain go! No wrapping, no shipping, just giving. It’s a minimalist win-win Christmas!

Side Bonus: Minimalist gifts such as these are also great for last minute shoppers. (Like our Rob, despite his best intentions.)

The Holiday Gift of Entertainment

Once upon a time, we loved getting new books and movies for Christmas. As we traveled more and more frequently, we realized that it was impractical to bring our DVD collection (and impossible to bring those old VHS tapes – yes, we’re that old!). Though inconvenient, we continued to lug around our beloved bulky, heavy books.

Slowly but surely, PDAs evolved into tablets and smartphones that grant access to more books, movies, and music than we ever imagined, without packing anything more than our phone and a few cables. While a digital subscription may seem like the obvious gift, any traveler or downsizer would appreciate the thought, and not having to lay out the cash themselves.

Sending iTunes on the TravelLatte Un-Gift Holiday Gift Guide

Sending iTunes is always a welcome gift, and isn’t so hard to do.

  • iTunes is the king of the hill here. Conveniently, you can pick up an iTunes gift card just about anywhere if you really want something to stuff in their stocking. You can also send the gift of iTunes electronically, with a few caveats. By the way, this works with iBooks and the App Store, too.
  • Let’s say there’s an Android user on your gift list. (No really, it happens!) Google Play lets you gift music subscriptions and books. Although not as ubiquitous as iTunes gift cards, you can also find physical Google Play gift cards, which can be used to pay for movies, music, games, and books.
  • Amazon Prime is coming on strong in the entertainment field. As part of Prime, members have access to Prime Video to stream thousands of titles, and Prime Music with two million songs. Prime Reading lets members “borrow” books and magazines, including some with Audible narration. Members also have access to Audible Channels, though that’s not as complete as a separate subscription to Audibles. Finally, Prime also includes Prime Photos, which has unlimited secure photo storage. You can either send the gift of Prime membership (for which you will be endlessly thanked), or an environmentally-friendly Amazon e-Gift Card.
  • Spotify is one of the best loved and most popular streaming music services, with both a vanilla and Premium version. If you have a Spotify fan on your gift list, you can give them an upgrade to Spotify Premium (ranging from $9.99 for one month, to $119.88 for a year). You can choose to have a physical Spotify gift card delivered, or do a solid for the environment and have their gift emailed.
  • We can’t talk about entertainment without mentioning the king of streaming movies and shows, Netflix. Even if your giftee already has a Netflix subscription, an e-Gift Card is the way to go. They can apply the balance to a new or existing Netflix account, and you both can chill.
Tiny House lovers will appreciate the TravelLatte Un-Gift Holiday Gift Guide, too!

Un-Gifts are not just for nomads and frequent fliers. Downsizers will appreciate the un-clutter, too!
(One of our favorite tiny houses, the Escape Vista Go

The Holiday Gift of a Hotel

Hotels can take a big bite out of a travel budget. Branded gift cards (think Marriott, for example) are handy, but there is the limit of only being usable at that brand. Instead, we like gift cards from Hotels.com that can be used pretty much anywhere. They’re easy to give, and shipping won’t break the bank.

Side Note: If you find yourself with a few unwanted gift cards after Christmas, you can trade them in for a Hotels.com gift card! They don’t transfer dollar-for-dollar, but it may be more useful than a card for a store you never visit.

The Holiday Gift of Experiences

An Airbnb experience in Paris on the TravelLatte Un-Gift Holiday Gift Guide
So you’ve a Millennial on your gift list. Surveys and stories tell us repeatedly that this age group prefers experiences over objects. Oddly, as we get further from being Millennial-aged ourselves, we’re the same. The gift of an experience also fits well for nomads and downsizers who don’t have room for more stuff, but would enjoy more memories.

So…how does one give an experience?

  • Tinggly is our favorite purveyor of experiences because they package it as a gift, if you prefer. The idea is simple: You purchase a gift box, they choose an experience. There are literally hundreds of experiences to choose from, but the beauty is that you don’t have to choose for them. You just have to pick a gift box; there are a variety available at pricepoints as low as $79. There are even themed experiences, such as Super Woman, Fun Together, or Dream Wedding. Something for everyone, is what we’re saying. (There is also an e-Voucher version available.)
  • We love the idea of gifting someone someplace to stay on their travels, but Airbnb has gone one better: they now offer curated experiences around the world. The idea is much the same as their accommodations: Local people host you, and you get to live like a local. Prices are as varied as the experiences: Surfing in Bali for $9, to flight lessons over Los Angeles for $125, and pretty much anything in-between. Once again, you don’t have to choose for them; just send them an Airbnb gift card, and they can spend it on any experience or accommodation they choose. (If you or they don’t have an Airbnb account, you can set one up using our link and get $40 in travel credit!)

The Holiday Gift of Airport Luxury

Perhaps the worst tactical mistake we ever made while traveling was checking into an airport First Class lounge. Once you’ve breathed that rarified air, spending time in the terminal is just passé.

Of course, flying First Class to get that lounge access is an expensive proposition, even if you’re paying with points. Another way in is by using independent airport lounges. More and more airports are seeing lounges operated by people besides the airlines and, while still not cheap, getting in can be much easier.

Priority Pass is our favorite, with more than 1,000 lounges around the world. Just flash your pass, and you’re in! Have a snack. Have a drink. In some locations, you can have a spa day!

There are various membership options, starting at $99 (then $27 per visit) up to $399 for all you can lounge. (In all cases, accompanying guests are $27.) You can save 10% on a Priority Pass Membership using our link.

Note: Be aware that, when you sign your loved one up for a membership, you’ll need to enter their shipping information because they do send out physical membership cards.

Isn’t the Un-Gift Impersonal?

The TravelLatte Un-Gift Holiday Gift Guide

If you like the Un-Gift Holiday Gift Guide, you can Pin it for later & share with friends!

The debate rages on: Christmas gifts are meant to be personal expressions, and a gift card is so impersonal. We can see how that might be true. It doesn’t take a lot of thought to get something vague that someone might use.

On the other hand, sometimes a gift card is the perfect gift. It lets the receiver know that you’ve considered their lifestyle choice, whether that’s downsizing to a tiny house, living out of a suitcase, or somewhere in-between. It shows that you’ve considered their needs, and chosen something they can actually use.

We hope you’ve gotten some gift ideas here that you can use. Whether as a gift or for yourself, we’ll leave that up to you. Either way, Happy Gifting!

30 comments on “TravelLatte’s Un-Gift Holiday Gift Guide

  1. Good ideas. I tell my family not to buy us anything for Christmas because we live on a boat where space is precious, and we will have to take what ever they buy us back to Thailand, or where ever our boat (home) may be at the time. Your ideas of gifts for the nomads and down-sizers is excellent!

    • Thanks Kelly! Your situation (and similar) is exactly what we had in mind. Though we haven’t made any decisions yet, we were looking at both boats and RVs last year, and there is just no room for stuff! Even gifts with the best intentions can be a problem. That’s where the idea started, and the more we looked, the more we found gift ideas for travelers and down-sizers. And for us! (We’ll have to leave that list around for Santa next Christmas, too. 😉 Thanks for your comment, and Happy New Year!

    • Thanks Lyn! Birthdays are another great time to give the gift of an experience – great suggestion there. We have started doing that for family and friends ourselves. So far, nobody has complained about NOT getting another gadget. If this keeps up, we may never buy wrapping paper again – bonus! Happy New Year to you and yours!

  2. This is brilliant. If someone gave me any one of these “un-gifts” I’d be ecstatic! We may be of the same era because I can remember VHS too so watching movies/ TV series on my ipad through Netflix felt like the Jetsons at first but with that and my kindle I have every possible entertainment option with my book case thrown in too. I love the idea of gifting experiences too. I’m pinning this so I can refer to it every year for “un-gift” giving! 🙂

    • The Jetsons!! Hehehe…we know what you mean. We’ve really come to rely on our smartphones and tablets as entertainment centers, at home and when traveling. So glad you like the ideas – thanks so much for your comment and for sharing! Merry Christmas, Shona!

  3. This is a great list! I recently moved and had to throw out so much stuff, it really convinced me of the need to declutter my life. I’d honestly LOVE a gift card far more than yet another photo frame, bookmark or calendar… And Tinggly sounds so good! Thanks for putting it on my radar 🙂

    • We hear ya, Michelle! We’re working on decluttering ourselves – that’s part of what inspired the post. And honestly, all of that decluttering is hard work! Much better to have to wonder what you’ll get with that gift card. 🙂 Thanks for your comment, and Merry Christmas!

  4. To be honest, I would rather get any of the gifts you mention instead of the conventional stuff that you tend to get around this time of year! Giftcards are cool and you can really get what you want! A subscription to Amazon Prime would be an amazing gift for me as would an airport lounge visit! Really cool list! Now to hint at friends and family

    • Hehehe…just print it out and casually leave this post lying around when you visit people. Maybe circle the airport lounge pass. 😉 Hmmm…maybe we’ll do that, too! As always, thanks for the comment, Lexx, and Merry Christmas!

    • The airport lounge idea…that’s definitely one for our list to Santa! We really like the idea of building up those memories instead of trying to make room for more gifts. It can be done! Thanks for your comment Elaine, and Merry Christmas!

  5. I love the idea of a holiday (un) gift guide! Especially since we are empty nesters and downsizing so I’d rather have experiences instead of things! Especially the Escape Vista Go pictured above!

    • We are in the same spot – empty nesters trying to downsize. Or, at least, declutter. We’re also trying to get the next generation (and others!) to think about NOT accumulating clutter instead of memories and experiences. And yes, if Santa were to drop a Vista Go on our doorstep, we would be seriously happy campers! Thanks for your comment Jill, and Merry Christmas!

  6. Your guide is right up my alley! We’d much rather receive these sorts of gifts than stuff that’s just going to pile up in our house! I think I’ll send this list out to everyone who’s been asking what we want for Christmas!

    • That’s an awesome idea, Jenn! Dear Santa – these, please! 🙂 Happily, we always get that sort of response when giving gifts from this list, too. Merry Christmas, Jenn, and thanks for your comment!

  7. That’s such a great list! We would love to get any of these rather than generic gifts. I love getting Amazon gift cards. They are so useful!

    • We’re with you – some people think they’re impersonal, but gift cards are awesome! We’d rather give (and receive!) something so useful instead of something that’s cute but just takes up space. Thanks for your comments, guys, and Happy Holidays!

  8. I love the idea of un-gifting. We all have too much stuff around the house already and come Christmas, even more stuff piles up. I love to give people edible gifts, or entertainment gifts, like you suggest. Hope you guys will have a Merry Christmas.

    • Ooh! We completely forgot about edible gifts! That’s a great idea, too, and something we routinely give to friends and family. It’s also a great way to share your world travels by sending sweets and treats from different countries. Thanks so much for your support and comments, Anda. Merry Christmas to you, too!

    • I hope you’re having more success than we are in clearing out the clutter! Glad you like the ideas; hope you can use them – or maybe get them! 🙂 Thanks for your comment, Anisa, and Merry Christmas, y’all!

    • Thanks Anna – glad you like the ideas! A lot of us have so much stuff that we use once or twice, and then it sits there. Or that seemed like a good idea at the time. We sincerely appreciate gift cards and vouchers, ourselves, and they’ve been well received as gifts. Thanks for your comment, and Merry Christmas!

    • That was our thought – declutter, and at the same time, gifts that are thoughtful and useful. One of our favorite gifts to travelling friends is a hotel or Airbnb stay. One less thing they have to think about/pay for. Hmmm…maybe we should put that on our list for Santa, too. 🙂 Thanks for your comment, and Merry Christmas, Lolo!

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