If you’re like the average household, you have roughly 300,000 things inside your home. Why add to that clutter?

Finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list can be stressful. You walk down the aisles hoping for inspiration.

But most people on your list don’t need more things that’ll collect dust or get used only a handful of times. Skip the physical gifts in favor of experiences.

Enjoying experiences often provides more happiness than material possessions. You create memories you can share over and over. Some experience gift ideas might spark a new passion or teach you a new skill.

Check out these gift experience ideas if you need some inspiration for birthdays, holidays, or other gift-giving situations.

1. Season Tickets or Memberships

Give a gift that continues throughout the year with a season ticket or annual membership to a favorite spot. This option gives the recipient free access to venues or events.

Consider season tickets or annual memberships to one of these options:

  • Local sports teams
  • Museums
  • Orchestra tickets
  • Theater season tickets
  • Amusement parks
  • Aquariums
  • Zoos
  • Historical sites
  • National parks
  • Batting cages
  • Rock climbing gym

Consider the type of activities the recipient likes. Search the local options that match. Many entertainment and cultural groups offer season tickets or annual memberships.

2. Date of the Month

Plan a year of dates with a date of the month experience. Choose a different activity for each month. Make reservations, buy tickets, or purchase a gift card for each experience.

Then, put those items in separate envelopes with the corresponding month written on the outside of the envelope. Each month the recipient gets the surprise of opening the envelope to see what you’re doing.

This also works for your kids or other recipients. Plan something they would like to do each month, and give them the gift cards, tickets, or other items for those things.

3. Animal Interaction

Do you have an animal lover on your shopping list? Consider gifting an animal encounter.

Zoos and similar facilities usually offer a behind-the-scenes package where you can see certain animals up close. You might get to see how the keepers prepare food or care for the animal. A true animal lover will appreciate that up-close experience with a favorite animal.

4. Souvenir Plots of Land

A unique gift option is to buy a small symbolic plot of land in a nature preserve. Highland Titles Nature Reserve offers a unique experience gift idea in the form of souvenir land plots.

Buy your loved one a plot, and then go visit it. Each plot is uniquely identified so you’ll know which ones is yours. 

5. Hobby Class

Encourage a new hobby or support a budding interest with a fun class. You can find lots of class options through local businesses, community centers, and parks and rec departments. 

Look into these options for classes:

  • Cooking
  • Dancing
  • Pottery
  • Painting
  • Wine tasting
  • Trapeze or circus
  • Gardening

The type and length of classes vary. You might have a one-time wine-tasting course, or you might buy a set of dancing or cooking classes that meet weekly for several weeks.

6. Weekend Getaway

Travel always turns up unique and memorable experiences. It’s also a versatile option since you can fit in a trip with any budget.

For low-cost trips, plan a staycation and act like tourists in your hometown with the recipient. Check out local hot spots or tourist destinations you’ve never seen before. Eat at a locally owned restaurant you’ve always wanted to try.

If you have a little more to spend, plan a weekend getaway for the recipient. Grab cheap plane tickets, or stay closer to how with a weekend road trip.

7. Job Shadowing Experience

Has the recipient always wanted to be a police officer, radio DJ, or baseball announcer? We don’t always end up getting our dream jobs. But you might be able to arrange a (blank) for the day experience for your special someone.

Say your boyfriend has always dreamed of being a police officer. Check with your local police department to see if they allow for civilian ride-along experiences. It doesn’t cost you any money, and he gets to live out his dreams for a day.

Maybe you know someone who’s always wanted to be a race car driver. Some race tracks offer a racing experience on the actual track.

8. Useful Services

If you know someone who could use a break, give the experience of a useful service. Meal subscription services and cleaning services are two examples for busy parents who need a break. For the car lover, you might gift a full car detail. 

9. Local Tours

Many factories and breweries offer special tours for a free or low cost. For an adult gift, check out local breweries, distilleries, or wineries for tours and tastings. For all ages, check out a local candy factory or other kid-friendly spots.

These tours give you a look at how your favorite things are made. They usually involve some sort of tasting or sampling.

You might even get to help out making whatever the venue produces. Wineries sometimes let people pick or stomp grapes as part of the experience.

10. Day of Favorites

Set aside a day to do all of the recipient’s favorite things. This experience gift idea looks different for each person since everyone has unique tastes.

Plan meals around the recipient’s favorite restaurants or homemade dishes between activities. Make reservations at an upscale restaurant they’ve always wanted to try. Or sign up for a progressive meal or pub crawl.

Try to do a mix of small things and one big bucket list item. Maybe your loved one has always dreamed of going skydiving or riding in a hot air balloon. Help check that item off the list on the day of favorites.

Explore Experience Gift Ideas

When you give experiences instead of gifts, you fill the recipient’s heart instead of filling the house. With so many experience gift ideas, there’s something for all ages and interests.

Looking for more fun ideas? Check out our travel and entertainment section for more articles.

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