14 Best Travel Experiences to Give to Your Family This Year

Family Travel Experiences Mother and baby in arms with young girl looking over lake with mountain.

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Are you ready to give experiences over more stuff for Christmas this year? Your children will long remember the things you do together, rather than the things they get. Make 2019 a banner year and plan for these best travel experiences that you can give to your family. There’s still time to plan!

Family Travel Experiences Mother and baby in arms with young girl looking over lake with mountain.

What kinds of things does your family like to do when traveling? Of course, you can give the big vacation items, and I’ll review a couple of popular ones in a moment. But what other experiences can you do that might not be a full vacation. Even if you take a day trip somewhere, or a weekend close to home, these are some of the best travel experiences you can give.

Want to skip ahead? Jump to your favorites here. Be sure to click on some of the links as I have special offers associated with some of these fun ideas!

A Disney Vacation

Perhaps the best travel experience to give to your family is a trip to Disney, wither Walt Disney World or Disneyland. Get some ideas on How to Surprise Your Family here. Plus, no matter how old your kids are, there’s truly something to do for the whole family. I even found that as my kids were older, Disney was more fun.

Check out Vacation Homes with Top Villas

A Harry Potter Vacation

If your kids are more into magic than mouse ears, A Harry Potter Vacation may be just what you need. Of course, you can combine the two with a trip to Orlando and visit Universal Studios and Walt Disney World. But there are 13 other Harry Potter Adventures to consider.

Want to Stay just at Universal Studios? Check out their hotels here.

Head to London and get the ultimate in Harry Potter Tours
Must do when in London! Harry Potter tours

Museum/Zoo/Aquarium Annual Passes

Getting annual passes to your local museum, zoo or aquarium is another type of travel you can give as a gift. I’m big on day trips as one of the ways to spend more time as a family. Plus, many museums, zoos, and aquariums participate in a reciprocal program that allows you discounted or free admission to other museums, zoos or aquariums across the country. Make it a mission to visit as many attractions as possible.

Another option is to get a guided tour in a museum, either nearby or during your next vacation. Viator is a great place to start for behind the scenes, skip the lines, or guided tours. They also offer city explorer passes and other discounted tickets. Even searching kid-friendly will net you a lot of options.

Red Hot Discounts from Viator! Find and book tours and activities ahead and have more time for fun. 

Family Travel Experiences father and son walking on a wooded trail

National Park Pass

Speaking of passes, get outdoors more this year with the gift of travel to the National Parks. If you have a 4th grader, the National Park system has an Every Kid in a Park pass.

Even if you don’t have a 4th grader, passes are reasonably priced and cover a lot! From the website, “A pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. Each pass covers entrance fees at national parks and national wildlife refuges as well as standard amenity fees (day use fees) at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A pass covers entrance, standard amenity fees, and day use fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per vehicle fee areas (or up to four adults at sites that charge per person). Children age 15 or under are admitted free.”

The cost? $80. For your whole family. There is bound to be something nearby you can visit.

Get Your America the Beautiful Pass here.

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    Another one of my best travel experiences to give as a gift is an adventure! REI, the outdoor clothing store, has REI Adventures, both across the US and internationally. Think guided hikes, kayaking, biking and more. Don’t just see the world, experience it!

    Going anywhere along the Gulf Coast this year? From Dolphin Cruises to Parasailing, Tripshock has loads of bucket list adventures for everyone in the family.  Tripshock is also in Key West, Myrtle Beach, New Orleans, and Panama City as well as Gulf Shores, and Destin areas.

    Concert Tickets

    Concert tickets may not seem like a travel experience, but what if you traveled to another city to see your favorite artist? Make a weekend of it and take your teen to see her favorite artist.

    Go to Superstar tickets for popular and trending concerts across the nation.

    Theatre Tickets

    In the same vein as concert tickets, if your family loves live theatre, give the gift of a show this year. While NYC is the ultimate for Broadway tickets, fantastic shows tour all over the country. Think Hamilton, Dear Even Hansen, Hello Dolly on tour this year. TodayTix and the TodayTix app are hands down my favorite way to get theatre tickets. So maybe you didn’t get those Hamilton tickets at your local theater, maybe you search Chicago and make a special trip there this year!

    *personal note – this year my family is getting tickets to see the Cursed Child on Broadway this year, meaning we get to explore New York City.

    Sporting Events

    Maybe you have a sports nut in your family? Ticket Master has college ball Bowl Games, NCAA Final Four, MLS Soccer and so much more. Just like with theater and concert tickets, make it one of the best travel experiences you can give by taking your family to watch their favorite team in another city.

    City Explorations

    See more of a city for less with these city exploration cards. These package deals are often better than the price of individual attraction tickets. Plan an adventure to cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and so much more.

    Save up to 50% on combined prices for admission to must-see attractions! Shop Now at CityPASS.com!

    Save up to 55% with a Go City Card 

    Family Travel Experiences family on grassy meadow overlooking pine trees and mountains with clear sky

    Tinggly Boxes

    Want to give the gift of travel or adventure, but don’t know what to give? Tinggly boxes have exciting and unique travel experiences or adventures for 2 people, allowing you to give stories, not stuff. Choose from dozens of gift boxes. To make a gift for the whole family, you may need to buy 2 boxes as most are designed for 2. Tinggly assures me family boxes are on the horizon

    Travel Surprise

    Really want to surprise your family and yourself? Pack Up and Go is a really cool travel experience for weekend getaways. Simply pick dates, your budget per person, some travel preferences and they take care of the rest. You won’t’ know where you’re going until the day you travel. A week before they’ll send you the weather forecast and recommended items to pack. You can select one for your family, or gift a trip for someone you love.

    Dude Ranch Vacation

    Get away from screens with a Dude Ranch Vacation. Not your typical vacation experience, a dude or guest ranch is more than just heading out west. There are ranches all over the United States. When you give your family a dude ranch vacation, you’re giving them the best travel experiences with horseback riding, hiking, fishing, swimming, cycling, zip-lining, white water rafting, rodeos, campfire sing-a-longs, western dancing, and fine dining.

    Search the Dude Ranchers Association for your family’s next vacation.

    Stay in a Tree House

    Or a boat, or a cave or a train car. When you search Airbnb, you can find incredible and unique homes and travel experiences to give as a gift to your family. Here’s how to book an Airbnb.

    Click here to get started with a $30 credit on your next vacation.


    Have you ever considered volunteering as one of the types of travel you can give as a gift? Some organizations have programs where you can volunteer as a family, while there are others you can send your middle or high schooler off to have an adventure on their own.

    Start your research at these sites

    International Volunteer HQ

    Global Leadership Adventures

    World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms

    What are your thoughts? Do you have one of the best travel experiences that you gave your family this year? I’d love to hear. Please leave a comment below.

    Keep Reading – How to Give the Gift of Travel to your Family

    Etsy Gift Guide for Traveling Families

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