In modern society, there seems to be a shift lately from the acquisition of possessions in our modern culture and a move toward the rewards of experiences. For a long time, millions of people aspired to buy more expensive and exclusive products – from a bigger house to a faster car, to a designer watch. These were badges of success, something that demonstrated success and wealth.
Well, it turns out that after acquiring all these expensive items, their owners weren’t a whole lot happier than they’d been before. Over time people began to realize that what you do in your life has much more meaning than what you own. So began the rise of the experience package and minimization.
What Are Experiences?
On a basic level, they’re just the things that happen to you and that you do every day. What marks out lifestyle experiences is that you are doing something new, or memorable, in a different location and very often sharing it with other people.
Imagine your partner has a passion for the ballet; they would be pleased to have a DVD set of performances by the Bolshoi Ballet for their birthday. Now imagine how your partner would respond if you gave her tickets to go and see the Bolshoi; the DVD set is a lovely gift, but seeing a real performance would be an unforgettable experience.
Choosing the Right Experience Package
Choosing the right experience package depends almost entirely on your familiarity with your partner’s interests and passions. Everyone has things they would like to do in an ideal world, but if faced with the reality at a particular point in their lives would fill them with dread.
Your partner might have said how beautiful it would be to fly up to the clouds in a hot air balloon. If you don’t know them too well, say in the first few months of your relationship, you might think you’re on to an excellent idea for a surprise gift. Unfortunately, you’re not aware of your partner’s paralyzing fear of heights and will be shocked when she bursts into tears on arrival at the launch site.
At the other end of the spectrum, there’s the complacency of thinking you know someone so well you can almost tell them what they would enjoy. If your partner makes a passing comment about having a go at snowboarding, you might dismiss this in your mind because you know they can’t balance to save their life and they don’t like the cold. What you’re not taking into account is that picking up on casual comments like this gives you the opportunity to show your partner that you listen to everything they say and think carefully about giving them something they would enjoy. Even if you hit the slopes and she hates every minute of it, she’ll still be happy that you tried to give her something thoughtful – and she’ll know that snowboarding isn’t her thing!
Perusing the Options
There are any number of different experiences available nowadays. Anything you can get tickets for or travel to take part in qualifies as an experience. Tickets to see your partner’s favorite band, or the NBA team they support, or booking a weekend getaway are all experiences, so you can be inventive and find options to suit most budgets.
You can also go for pre-packaged gift experiences that you can buy online or at the store, and often include extras like travel, refreshments or a dining experience, lessons, printed clothing, and other gift items to make them more personal and unique for the recipient.
Some experiences that are bought as a package can turn out to be more expensive than the individual components they contain, so if you’re having to watch the dollars, see if you can buy the equivalent of the experience package more cheaply by going direct. You could always add your extras in, like a trip to a nice restaurant after the show, or getting t-shirts printed with a personal message on them, for example.
The experience market is one that is expanding rapidly as people come to understand the enjoyment in amassing treasured memories. It’s worth having a look for the new and imaginative experiences that are being put together, especially if you haven’t got a bright idea of what your partner would enjoy.
A good example is the Boston Escape Game, where you participate in a live action story in which you play characters that must get out of high stakes situations, such as kidnappings or the world of espionage. Great for thrill seekers and those who love a mystery. All major cities seem to be jumping on board with these types of experiences so look for one in your city or gift destination.
Watch Out for These Things
Like almost everything in life, there are those who try and profit from scams or jump on a bandwagon without offering value for money. Always check the provenance of the experience you are buying to make sure it is genuine and that you will ultimately get what you paid for.
Check the small print, too. For example, supercar track days are a favorite gift, and if you look at the glossy advertising blurb, you’ll imagine that your loved one will spend the whole day racing around in a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. You may spend most of the day learning the basics of race technique and safety, or learn hown how to drive the track and practice the theory in a modest vehicle. At the end of the experience, you may drive around the circuit with an instructor before possibly having a couple of laps driving a Ferrari right at the end. Such an experience could be perfect, but make sure you know what’s in store to avoid disappointment. You also need to be careful when buying tickets, as to control the resale market, many venues are insisting that only the person who purchased the ticket can attend the event.
Experiences make lovely gifts, providing enjoyment and fulfilment during the event and leaving you and your partner with some extraordinary memories to share. Find the perfect experience, and you will both be delighted.