A Different Kind of Gift Giving
Sick of sweaters, socks, and soap? Try experience gifts this holiday season.
As much as I like the tradition of exchanging brightly wrapped baubles with the people I love, I have way too much stuff. Assuming my family felt the same, I started giving experience gifts like theater tickets, golf lessons, and food tours a few years ago.
Then, unfortunately, I ran out of ideas. Which is why I was delighted to hear from a company that specializes in this kind of thing. Cloud 9 Living offers everything from hot air balloon rides and hang gliding lessons to the slightly more sane sailing trips and urban adventures. They invited me to try it and write about it.
You can browse their website by activity or occasion, or (like I did) navigate straight to one of their 42 geographic regions. After briefly considering a flying trapeze lesson, I decided on a Segway tour of Golden Gate Park with my 12-year-old daughter.
The booking process is painless. You can choose a specific experience or an open ended gift certificate. You purchase and send it (a beautiful boxed gift certificate package is included), and the recipient can book at their convenience. The best part? All purchases are completely exchangeable and refundable (exchangeable any time, refundable within 30 days of purchase).
The Segway tour
Cloud 9 Living vets experience providers carefully, and chooses only the best ones. I can’t speak for every experience obviously, but our Segway tour of Golden Gate Park was definitely first class. We received detailed information by email (where to park, what to wear), and a follow-up call the day before the tour offering to answer any questions.
We arrived slightly nervous, but the comprehensive safety training had us feeling ready to roll in no time (though it actually took the better part of an hour).
The tour itself was great fun. Our guide passed along park trivia while we rolled past monuments and hundreds of bemused tourists. My daughter loved it and is already plotting an encore.
Win your own experience
Want to try it? Enter the 9 Days of Christmas Experience Giveaway. Cloud 9 Living will be selecting a winner every day between December 16th and 24th. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you could win a dinner cruise or a rafting trip. You might even win the chance to be a fighter pilot for a day. Hey, better you than me!