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Six Ways Travel Gift Cards Are Unlocking Adventure for Consumers

Six Ways Travel Gift Cards Are Unlocking Adventure for Consumers

More than ever, consumers are incorporating gift cards into their travel planning.

In a recent post, we discussed why gift cards are popular among individuals looking to get away. Gift cards are a great way to plan ahead and spread out travel costs. Benefits like budgeting help, flexibility, and convenience make the cards a smart addition to travelers’ wallets.

For many travelers, airline, hotel, and rideshare gift cards help offset the cost of travel to and lodging at any destination. Restaurant reservation gift cards let travelers book dining wherever they may be.

But taking care of the basics is far from the only way to put gift cards to good use. We also wanted to take a closer look at more specific ways consumers are leveraging gift cards to create experiences for memories they’ll treasure.

Why do experiences matter?

In recent years, consumers have shifted toward spending more of their discretionary money on experiences. Rather than simply accumulating possessions, many consumers are looking for ways to spend their time in meaningful ways. These could include anything from dining out to spa weekends to once-in-a-lifetime adventures. 

In a 2021 Accenture survey, 40% of respondents said they were saving for vacations as one of their financial priorities for the upcoming year. A third of Gen Z respondents reported that their wish lists included things like amusement park visits and weekends away.

It may be that we’ve instinctively figured out what objective research is telling us is true: that experiences make us happy. Not only do we enjoy the event or activity itself, but that activity also spurs long-lasting happiness. Researchers say that’s likely because we can continue reliving it through our memories long after it’s over.

That’s why experience gift cards are showing up alongside airline and hotel gift cards on lists of great gifts for travelers. Here are six areas where travel gift cards are enabling users to indulge a wide variety of interests and passions - and possibly discover new ones.

1. Cruises and train travel

Yes, we said we planned to talk about how consumers use travel gift cards beyond simply getting to a destination. And now we’re already talking about ships and trains. But in some cases, the transportation is the experience.

Using passenger train and cruise line gift cards, users can set sail on a cruise to Alaska or ride the rails through New England to catch peak fall color. The journey is the goal for adventurous travelers using these flexible gift cards.

2. Homes away from home

Many travelers are looking for accommodations that take them outside the sameness of staying in a hotel.

Whether they’re longing to hide away at a lake house or lounge at an oceanside retreat, these travelers are looking for a place to establish a base and make themselves at home for a while. This makes vacation rental gift cards a great option for getting away from it all.

3. Adventure packages

Experience packages make planning and executing an adventure easy for the gift recipient. They often revolve around a single activity. (Think: soaring in a hot air balloon, zipping around a track in a race car, or touring a site famous for its haunted history.) Many also include extras such as accommodations, food, and personal guides as part of the package.

The beauty of this type of gift card is that it enables recipients to book excursions they’ve likely dreamed of, but that would take significant time and effort - scarce commodities for many of us - to deliver for themselves.

4. Wellness and relaxation

With daily life as fast-paced as it is, some gift recipients might choose relaxation over adrenaline-pumping action. Experience-based gift cards have them covered there, too, from single spa visits to stays at luxurious resorts.

These gift cards also allow room for customization so the recipient can choose exactly the experience they’re looking for, whether that’s a single service like a manicure/pedicure or a day of indulgence with friends.

5. Concerts and entertainment

Even if you didn’t drive all night to catch a concert on Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour this summer, you probably heard about people who did. For many consumers, live entertainment is an experience worth traveling for.

Gift cards for online ticket sites allow users to see their favorite artist on a long-anticipated tour - or snag great seats at a game between rival teams if that’s more their idea of fun.

6. Outdoor experiences

For the outdoor lover, online booking options enable the traveler to choose from a variety of camping spots or places to park an RV. These are often less expensive than a hotel stay, with many sites going for less than $50 per night.

Gift cards to these sites will allow the happy camper to choose the destination - including state and national parks - and travel dates that suit their needs.

Travel and experience gift cards have something to offer for every lifestyle and interest, from outdoorsy and adventurous to relaxing and homey. This means that almost any user could find something that advances their progress on their bucket lists.   

Today’s consumers aren’t always looking to add more possessions. Adding experience gift cards from the Runa network to your rewards and recognition or loyalty program catalog gives your users a deeper, more meaningful well of options to choose from. It helps you reach them wherever they are, and wherever they want to go. Ready to learn more? Talk with our team to get started.