Experience Gifts: Great for the last-minute shopper, the person who has everything, and the minimalist at the same time. These affordable ideas for experience gifts under $50 make memories they’ll keep forever! Skip the stores and the stuff altogether!
Give Experience Gifts Under 50 Dollars
This year for Christmas, hubby and I were coming up empty for ideas for our Christmas wish lists. Generally, we’ve reached a point in our lives where we have
enough too much stuff, we’re not into collecting things, and we generally buy our own clothes. So…
To reduce the clutter and reach our 2017 goals of spending dedicated time together, we decided to give experience gifts this year! (Exception: We still do stockings with fun treats). We’re hoping this could be a fun new tradition for our family!
Our shopping “rules” for affordable experience gifts.
- We did a random draw of the 12 months of the year, each drawing 6 months. Then, we each gave the other an “experience” for the months we drew. I drew 5 months in a row, so we decided to do one “exchange” to even out the streak! ha!
- The experience had to be something we can do together or with family. (Which, sadly, eliminated spa days, but…)
- The gift had to focus on what the OTHER person would enjoy most. (So… maybe a spa day?!)
- We set a cap of $50 per experience but aimed for less (for 2! yes, it was hard!). Savings on one month’s gift could roll over to another month.
- The experience couldn’t require a SET date, since weather and illness might prevent scheduling. (negotiable, but worked for us).
Affordable Ideas for Experience Gifts Under $50
Indoor Experience Gifts
A cooking class or show – Decide whether you want a demo class, or a hands-on experience. I found Romancing the Pan, a live cooking show and class! The show is taped separately, but sat in on a class experience with the show’s star, Chef Sandy. She shared her favorite dishes let the audience get involved. We had fun, although I thought there wasn’t enough food served at the family-style tables, and dessert/coffee was minimal and rushed. Google for cooking classes in your area, and check Groupon to get the best deals on experiences like this.
Indoor mini golf – Get a taste of summer fun… any time of year! Indoor mini golf (often paired with a bowling or other arcade game type fun), is a great option for any age group. Groupon is an excellent place to pre-pay for activities like this.
Escape Room adventure – The ultimate experience mystery lovers and would-be detectives! You’ll piece together clues to gain your final objective (unlocking your room!). A variety of companies offer “escape room” adventures, and most seem to be played with 2-8 people. Tickets run about $30 / person. I found the escape room experience so mentally stimulating and thrilling because you work against the clock, and your logic and reasoning are mind-blowingly challenged! We loved our experience SO much we bought another set of tickets.
Indoor (or outdoor) Ropes Courses – An active adventure fun for two or a group! There are indoor, outdoor, treetop, and even in-store ropes and climbing courses all over Connecticut and likely in your state too! Average ticket prices run between $18-30. We did this one with our kids and all had a good time; I did not feel brave enough to take on the upper level course though, so consider whether you’re afraid of heights on this one!
Dinner at a national heritage society – Explore family heritage and culture! Look up the local “home” or “society” for your giftee’s nationality. Often these spots offer membership for a reasonable rate, and sometimes hold dinners or have restaurants on site that feature authentic regional cuisine!
Experience Gifts at Home!
Date Night Boxes – Sometimes you just can’t go out. When that happens, gift a box that contains an experience to enjoy from the comfort of home. A Date Night Box will usually have some treats, games and activities centered around a theme for you and your special someone to enjoy together!
Food Tasting Experience – Create your own experience at home with a food tasting night (or find a local artistan farm!). Maybe you try different kinds of cheeses, coffees, chocolates. How about a Honey Tasting Kit? Our family really enjoyed the honey tasting at Red Bee Farm this summer, and it would be an experience gift to remember!
Outdoor Experience Gifts Under $50
A walking tour of a nearby city – You could learn a little history in a really different way… go for a Wacky Walk! Wacky Walks turn your city into a giant board game, and you’re the player! Use your smartphone to navigate, visit the checkpoints to answer questions and perform zany tasks. Work together with your team to solve a puzzle using all your answers! Each walk takes about 2 hours, and it’s a great couples or family experience. There’s no need for a tour guide, so go whenever you like. During certain hours an online tour guide chat is available. You’ll learn more about your city, at your own pace. We toured Hartford on a quiet Monday and had a blast finding various statues and points of interest I didn’t know much about. Wacky Walks has tours available in 100 cities, so this is a great option for a vacation adventure too!
Visit the Wacky Walks website to order tickets (look for a coupon code for an awesome discount!).
Boat tour of a local spot – Do a bit of Googling to look for nearby lakes and islands of notable history. Chances are, there’ll be a boat tour of it! (Google boat tours + your state). When we went on our honeymoon in the U. S. Virgin Islands, we took an awesome boat tour of Virgin Gorda, a big rock pile island in the middle of the Caribbean! It was lovely! In Connecticut, the Thimble Islands are tiny islands off the coast of Branford that often hold just one house! You can use any of three boat tour companies to take a 1 hour tour and learn about the Islands history and lore! Prices will vary depending on your location.
Whale Watch (or other water adventure trip!) – I have to include this because we are New Englanders. Going on a Whale Watch has been on my bucket list for some time, and if you’re in New England, it’s a great pick. Other states may have their own ocean adventures to explore. Check out Groupon for experiences like this to find great pricing.
Give Experience Gifts Under 50 to Your Friends and Family!
It’s not just Christmas where an experience gift would be appropriate: birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day… think of all these gift-giving moments as an opportunity to grant an experience instead! All these experiences are perfect for couples or adult groups, and most of them are awesome for families with young children or teenagers too!
What kinds of experiences gifts have you been given? Or would you like to receive?