The Best Last-Minute Travel Gift Guide

by | Dec 24, 2021 | Family Adventures, Travel Tips

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It’s down to the wire for the holiday season — are you still shopping for last-minute holiday gifts? We’ve all heard about the supply chain issues at this time of year, and many of us are seeing them firsthand as we wait and hope for holiday gifts to arrive in plenty of time. Or perhaps you’ve had a last-minute addition to your gift list, leaving you wondering whether Amazon Prime can deliver an Apple device or cocktail kit with one-day shipping in time for your family gathering.

 

Fortunately, last-minute holiday shopping for the best gifts for your favorite traveler doesn’t have to mean picking out a dopp kit at the pharmacy store down the street. Thanks to internet magic, you can find the perfect gift without ever leaving home. Whether you’re looking for luxury gifts or a good deal on some budget ideas, use our gift guide to find the best last-minute gifts for the ones you love – no wrapping paper or gift box required.

 

 

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America the Beautiful Pass

 

The America the Beautiful – National Parks and Federal Recreation Lands Pass will give your favorite travel lover access to all the national parks and recreation areas with no admission fees. The list of places included is expansive. Not only will your gift recipient gain access to Yosemite and the Grand Canyon – the pass also includes access to other federal lands including Alcatraz and the Mount St. Helens observatory. The passes are non-transferable, so be sure to include the gift recipient’s name when you purchase online. $80.

 

 

An America the Beautiful Pass will give you free admission to National Parks across the U.S. It's a great last-minute gift.

An America the Beautiful Pass is perfect for millennial travelers who love cross-country adventures. Photo by Rakshith Hatwar on Unsplash.

 

 

Subscription to Universal Yums

 

With each box featuring snacks from a different country or region, a Universal Yums subscription is perfect for a family that loves to travel. Subscription boxes are always one of my favorite last-minute gift ideas because they provide an amazing experience all year long. My own family subscribes to this box occasionally, and it’s always a hit with our kids (yes, even when we tried the Fresh Shrimp & Mayo Seaweed Roll from Thailand). We love the included trivia game and facts that help us learn about new cultures and places. However, the boxes are extra fun for us when they feature places we’ve already visited and we get to remember our favorite spots. The small size offers plenty of fun, but upgrade to larger sizes to share with a group. Starting at $19.

 

 

Universal Yums subscriptions make great last-minute gifts for travel lovers.

A Universal Yums subscription provides travel-themed fun all year long. Photo by Christy Nicholson.

 

 

Science Museum Membership

 

Buy a membership to a local museum that is a member of the Association of Science and Technology Centers, and you’ll be giving someone a key to museums all over the entire country. For example, $85 will buy a family membership to the outstanding California Science Center, and the membership card then will provide free or discounted admission to over 350 other museums. (When we’re on a road trip, we always check to see if our destinations have ASTC member museums.) Price varies.

 

 

The Perot Museum's collection of fossils. Gift someone a science museum membership, and they can get free admission for museums all over the country.

Get a family member an ASTC science museum membership that provides access to museums all over the country. Photo by Christy Nicholson.

 

 

Tentrr Experience

 

Got an avid outdoor fan on your list, or know someone who has camping aspirations? Give them a glamping experience with Tentrr, who will provide a canvas tent, adirondack chairs, and a queen bed with a memory foam mattress for a hassle-free adventure at locations all across the United States. Some Tentrr destinations offer additional amenities, such as the ability to pick your own vegetables or order farm-fresh eggs. For a more rugged experience, campers can pick private backcountry sites and opt to bring all their own supplies. $16 and up.

 

 

A girl glamping with a picnic and a canvas tent. Tentrr gift cards for glamping are good last-minute gifts.

Tentrr will set up everything a traveler needs for picture-perfect glamping. Photo by Lucija Ros on Unsplash.

 

 

Outstanding in the Field

 

Do you have a foodie family member who loves beautiful, Instagram-worthy locales? Give them a gift certificate for Outstanding in the Field, a pop-up restaurant that takes meals to exotic locations. The gorgeous, outdoor dinners are hosted at farms, beaches, and vineyards to connect diners to food at its source. A gift card allows your loved one to pick where they will experience their special dinner, whether down the road in Santa Barbara or at a secret location in Tulum, Mexico. Starting at $100.

 

 

 

CLEAR

 

A CLEAR subscription is a great gift (and a practical gift) for a frequent traveler who hates to wait in line. (I live with one of those!) Give them a subscription to CLEAR, an app for mobile phones which serves as your ID, wallet, and health information card at airports and venues around the country. The app gives travelers access to special lines at airport security and events to keep them moving quickly.  $79 for 6 months.

 

If the biometric scans offered by CLEAR aren’t really your family member’s style, no worries — you can still give them smoother travels by offering to sponsor the cost of TSA PreCheck or Global Entry.

 

Don’t Miss! Best Gifts for Family Travelers

 

 

Travel Points

 

Do you let your travel miles or credit card points sit in your account, always intending to do something with them and then accidentally letting them expire? Put those points to good use by using them to give the gift of travel to a best friend or family member. Someone once used their travel points to give me my first overseas experience with a first-class plane trip to London, and I will always remember that wonderful gift. With little to no extra cost to yourself, you can give someone the extra miles they need to get a great deal on their next trip or an upgrade to better airplane seats. Free.

 

 

The food is better in business class, and you can upgrade your travel buddy by gifting them travel points.

Gifting your airline miles allows your travel buddies to upgrade to comfier seats and gourmet food. Photo by Christy Nicholson.

 

 

Admirals Club Membership

 

An American Airlines Admirals Club membership is a luxury gift for the special traveler in your life who needs some self-care. I used to wonder why anyone would spend THAT much money on access to an airplane lounge, but it turns out it’s a great way to stay sane in between long flights. I once got stuck in an airport where the only food available in the terminal was in the lounge, and I’ve never been so relieved to see a buffet. So if you have a loved one who travels a lot, give them peace of mind (plus access to gourmet meals and hot showers) by springing for an Admirals Club membership. $650.

 

 

A frequent traveler rests in airport seating. Airport lounge access is a great gift for the travelers in your life.

Give your favorite traveler the gift of stress-free travel with airport lounge access. Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash.

 

 

Airbnb Gift Card

 

Give the wanderers in your life the gift of travel in any style with an Airbnb gift card. Whether your friends and family prefer city apartments, country farms, or luxury accommodations with private pools, they can travel their way to any destination with an Airbnb gift card. And the best part is that these gift cards can be used for way more than lodging — the credit also can be used for experiences like a photoshoot, a spa day, walking tours, and more. Starting at any amount.

 

Don’t Miss! Best Travel Gift Ideas for Tweens

 

Mix Tape

 

Remember the days of recording songs off of CDs or the radio to create perfect playlists for your best friend or boyfriend? It’s even easier these days with digital downloads. Create a list of songs for a special person to use on their next road trip, and then send them a gift card to purchase the songs for themselves through their music service of choice (like iTunes, Amazon, or YouTube Music). Bonus points if you hand-draw an album cover and liner notes. $5 and up.

 

 

A phone with a lock screen that's a picture of a cassette that says says "Mix Tape."

Mix tapes look a little different these days, but don’t let that stop you from creating the ultimate playlist for someone in your life. Photo by Felipe Pelaquim on Unsplash.

 

 

Hopefully, these last-minute travel gift ideas can make this time of year stress-free and full of fun. But remember, no matter which special occasion you celebrate, and whether your budget is extravagant or non-existent, there is no better gift than time with the people you love.

 

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Best Last Minute Gifts. The Perfect Gifts for Travelers. No Wrapping Required!

 

Christy Nicholson is a writer, editor, and recovering perfectionist from Nashville, Tennessee. When not traveling with family, she enjoys cozy days at home reading, gardening, making music, and wrangling two awesome kids. Christy writes at Any-Worth.com about travel and sustainable living.

 

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