Ideas to Gift an Experience

Use these experience gift ideas to give your friends and family members long-lasting fun this holiday season.

Crowd cheering at sporting event iStock

Move over possessions—experiences are likely what your friends and family really want for the holidays. This recent study from The University of Texas at Austin found that people are happier when they spend on—and consume—experiences versus material things. 

Think about attending a concert with your partner, taking a cooking class with a friend, or attending a sporting event with your kids.

These meaningful experiences have a lasting impact.

Here are ideas for ways to use your AAA Membership for hundreds of discounts on gift experiences for friends and family.

Gift the experience of travel.   

As people adjust their spending habits to account for inflation, many are prioritizing travel—and research backs this up.

See the city.

Explore a new city or even your own with Go City and CityPass. Find loads of information about attractions, sporting events and more—plus special member discounts.

Man with backpack and binoculars looking for birds Getty Images/Eugenio Marongiu

Park it.                                                                     

Surprise your family with a fun road trip to a scenic national park, where you can engage in recreational activities such as day hikes, water sports, birdwatching and camping. For what to do, where to go, and even what towns and cities to visit along the way, consult the tried-and-true AAA TripTik Travel Planners and digital AAA TourBook Guides.

Make waves and memories.

Take your family on a perfectly relaxing cruise this year. Sail away for a four-night jaunt to the Bahamas, where you can stop over at one of the cruise lines’ private islands featuring white-sand beaches and gentle turquoise waves.

Or take a longer journey in Europe to Italy, Greece or Spain, where each day brings unforgettable new sights and tastes.

Gift the experience of fun.

Kids of all ages—and kids at heart—love theme parks and attractions

Thrill them at theme parks.                                                              

Theme parks offer a great experience for the whole family, whether you want the thrill of riding a roller coaster or the enjoyment of taking in a live performance. Your friends and family will log many hours of togetherness when you gift the experience of time at their favorite park.

Find discounts for popular destinations from coast to coast, including SeaWorld (multiple locations); Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida; Universal Orlando Resort; Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; and many more.                                                                                                                                                                        

Play head games.

Interested in having a more chilled-out day of fun at home? Encourage reading with a gift card to Barnes and Noble. You’ll find discounts and rewards when you shop online at stores such as Books-A-Million, Alibris, AbeBooks, Better World Books and more.

Gift the experience of cooking at home—or dining out.

roller coaster high in the summer sky iStock

Give friends and family a leg up on home cooking with gifts that include artisanal ingredients or  everything they need to create an entire meal. Then, plan to join them for a convivial night of cooking and fun.

Find discounts or gift cards for delivery services, ingredient purveyors, and restaurants at

The holidays are a time to fortify our connection with others. When the gift is an experience that can be shared, it’ll also be remembered for years to come.

Close up of a young family making breakfast in the morning Getty Images/Marko Geber

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