“Many of us haven’t traveled in years, so it’s something that everyone’s really looking forward to, and people are excited to get it [as a gift]," said Sally French, a travel expert at NerdWallet.
Plus: “These are great gifts that won’t cause more clutter.”
Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Travel Deal Tuesday offers make travel an even better gift option. Here are some tips to get your brainstorming for presents started.
There is a deal for every travel style
Airfare. Group travel. Amusement park entry. Cruises. Ski season passes. Whatever kind of travel your loved one is interested in, there’s a deal out there.
“After many months of increasing bookings, the travel industry is readying itself for a rush of demand and providers are ready to respond with fantastic deals planned for tickets and add-ons like luggage and upgrades,” Mark Crossey, U.S. travel expert at the booking company Skyscanner, said in an email.
For example, on Black Friday, travel booking site and app GetYourGuide is offering 15 percent off tours, activities and attractions with the code BLACKFRIDAY21.
JetBlue Vacations is offering deals until Nov. 30 on hotel-and-flight combos and flight-and-cruise packages (like $50 off when you spend $500, or $500 off when you spend $3,000) for travel between Dec. 8 and Oct. 15, 2022.
Cruise line Hurtigruten, which sails to places such as Norway and Greenland, is offering savings up of up to 50 percent on almost all of its destinations (including up to 40 percent off its 16-day Antarctica and Falklands expedition. The company also lowered its deposit requirement to 10 percent from Nov. 22 to 30.
Intrepid Travel’s Cyber Sale is offering up to 25 percent off select trips worldwide and 15 percent off domestic tours in the U.S. and Canada. For example, that means you can save almost $400 on a five-day “Kentucky Food Trail to Nashville” tour.
Not all travel is fun, so consider gifts that will help take the financial edge off someone’s trip. While not the sexiest gift in the world, Booking.com is offering Black Friday deals that include up to 20 percent off car rentals booked through the site. That is in addition to deals on participating accommodations that start at 30 percent off.
Give a gift that gives back
If you’re looking for not just a gift to give, but also a way to give back, look no further than Give a Mile. The nonprofit organization raises miles and money to help people travel to see loved ones receiving palliative care or with a critical illness for a “final goodbye.” You can visit the Give a Mile website to make a monetary donation or give airline frequent filer miles that you have saved.
To offset some of the environmental toll of travel, give a sustainable gift. Climeworks develops, builds and runs direct air capture (DAC) machines in Iceland, which physically capture carbon dioxide from the air and store it safely. The company offers travel-themed packages to remove various amounts of carbon dioxide, like the Nordic Explorer, which removes 55 pounds of CO2 for $28.
Give flexible travel
Gift cards can seem like a cop-out present, but they offer the receiver loads of flexibility. Parents love to fly? If you know they like prefer a certain airline, get them a gift card that can be used toward flights, upgrading seats or in-flight food and drinks.
Some travel brands will be offering holiday sales on gift cards. For a limited time on Black Friday, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts will be selling e-gift cards with a 20 percent bonus for purchases up to $5,000. Participating Virgin Hotels are offering gift-card deals from Nov. 26 to Jan. 3, 2022; gift cards start at $250 with a bonus $50.
But beware: Watch out for travel-deal red flags
Don’t get scammed in the spirit of gift-giving. If a deal looks too good to be true, pass on it, said Jeff Sakasegawa, a trust and safety architect at the digital security company Sift. Go with brands you trust, and opt for buying deals directly from the source.
Sakasegawa also warned of the rise in phishing scams — cyber attacks via emails or text messages attempting to get victims to click on links or attachments. If you get an email with a subject line like “There’s a problem with your recent [Expedia/Spirit Airlines/Hilton] order,” think twice before opening.
“The fraudster is banking on at least some of the victims having ordered from that merchant and handing over their username, password or credit card information,” Sakasegawa said.
Sakasegawa said red flags include emails sent from public domains, domains that are misspelled, poorly written email content and a message that requires urgent action. If you’re not 100 percent sure if the email is legitimate, you can call the merchant directly before opening it.
Read the fine print on what you may need to pay for later
Whatever you buy, make sure you know what the deal covers, when it can be used, if it expires and if there are additional fees to come later, such as dreaded resort fees.
“Often a lot of these Cyber Monday deals don’t account for resort fees at all,” French said.
Now that we are a year and a half into the pandemic, many travel companies are returning to their pre-pandemic policies. Don’t assume that the deal you’re getting is flexible or refundable. There is still a pandemic to account for, so make sure the gift receiver is comfortable with travel and that it fits their timeline.
“If we’ve learned anything in 2020 and 2021,” French said, “it’s that as soon as we think the covid restrictions will end, they start to come back.”