Experience gifts have been all the rage these last few years. And no wonder; why wouldn’t we want to buy experiences and the memories that come with them rather than things that end up just gathering dust. Why not help a loved one cross something major off their bucket list, and maybe even tag along and enjoy it with them?
In fact, Forbes recently reported that according to research from San Francisco State University, those who spent money on experiences over material gifts felt happier, and felt that their money was more well spent. The thrill of buying something an expensive watch or diamond earrings will quickly fade, whereas experiencing something new and exciting with a loved one will give you a longer lasting and deeper feeling of satisfaction.
With hundreds of pre-packaged experiences out there, it’s never been easier to give someone a unique, thoughtful and joyful gift. However, while it may be worth it from a psychological standpoint, are the monetary costs actually worth it? They always look like a fantastic bargain, but are gift experiences as good value as they seem?
How much is typically spent on gift experiences?
The prices of experience days range from £15 towards a comedy night into the hundreds for more extreme activities like skydiving.
The UK Gift Card and Voucher Association claims that people spend around £50 on average on gift experiences. On the surface, this is great news. It means you can find a great experience gift like paintballing for two or even a tour visiting Game of Thrones filming locations at the Giants Causeway no matter what your budget is.
However, seemingly great deals don’t necessarily mean you’re getting your money’s worth.
What to watch out for when looking for experience gifts
The key is to check the fine print. Look past the promising title and check the terms and conditions to find out what’s actually included.
Sometimes fantastic looking deals only look so great because they’re available at low peak times or are vague about what’s included. Take the supercar racing experience as an example. Will the giftee get a real experience talking with expert drivers and make some amazing memories with a jam-packed day of driving? Or will they be driven around a course for 10 minutes after long queues and leave feeling disappointed?
Here are a few key details to watch out for before you buy:
- Is the experience gift for two people or will you have to buy yourself one if you don’t want the giftee to go alone?
- Factor in potential additional costs for necessary extras such as insurance, travel and overnight accommodation.
- Is the offer valid on any day of the week? Experiences that are only valid on weekdays would probably require the giftee to book a day off work.
- Will your gift experience be affected by the weather or other such unforeseeable events (especially relevant for gifts such as hot-air ballooning.)
- Check reviews from other users for an honest and firsthand account of what you’ll be getting.
Any of these factors could quickly bump up the real price with stacked unforeseen costs, lowering the real value of the gift experience.
Are gift experiences ever worth the money?
Just because there may be hidden costs to be aware of doesn’t mean there aren’t any truly exceptional bargains out there. Take fine dining as an example; you can enjoy three-course meals at Michelin Star restaurants for two people from just £46 – and that’s including a glass of prosecco each! Usually, meals like this can tally into the hundreds easily.
So yes, you can absolutely find great ways to enjoy the finer things in life without splashing out if you find the right experience deal. And it isn’t just food you can find great deals on. Enjoy nights out at the theatre, discover great workshops like cocktail masterclasses or take advantage of weekends away in exciting locations for a fraction of what it would usually cost. Sometimes you’ll even get more freebies thrown in, like a complimentary glass of champagne, expert insights or souvenirs to remember the day.
If you’re happy to compromise by booking a few months in advance or for off-season periods, you can enjoy these experiences for even less. Sometimes a variety of locations or dates are offered so you can choose which is most convenient for you. You just need to know where to look.
Where can I find the best value for money experience gifts?
Shop the special offers sections of gift experience websites to find loads of fun days out to enjoy for less. Always check how much it would cost to book without the pre-packaged experience to see how much you’re really saving.
To state the obvious, it’s best if you don’t pay full price for an experience gift. You can find most experiences at discounted prices, meaning you can double down on savings. Explore Savoo’s selection of the latest tried and tested discount codes and offers on hundreds of exciting days out and experiences from top brands like Virgin Experience Days, Groupon, Red Letter Days, Wowcher and many more. With these vouchers, you’ll guarantee you’re getting even more for your money.
Ultimately, in this day and age of vouchers, discounts and fierce competition the old phrase ‘you get what you pay for’ doesn’t ring so true. Whether you’re shopping for an adrenaline junkie, foodie, wine connoisseur, animal lover or an adventurer, you genuinely can find fantastic experiences for a fraction of the price – you just need to know where to look and what to watch out for. So read the small print, check reviews, find yourself a bonus discount and enjoy an amazing experience with a loved one that they’ll remember for years to come.