It’s time for XTRORD.com’s first-annual holiday gift guide. And, if you’re a regular follower of this space, you probably already know how I feel about giving and getting more stuff that, let’s face it, none of us really needs. But giving someone an extraordinary experience? Ah, well, that’s a different story altogether.
So with a nod to the dark clouds that seem to be hanging over the global economy in general and many folks personal finances in particular right now, I thought I’d focus on extraordinary experiences you can give that will blow the recipient’s socks off without breaking the bank (herein defined as under $200).
In no particular order then, here are my Eight Great Extraordinary Gift Ideas:
If you give this gift to someone and they’re not completely wowed, well, I suggest you immediately check them for signs of a pulse. And even though the idea of running off the edge of a 300-foot cliff may sound a little daunting, you can rest assured knowing that paragliding is actually one of the safest and most serene forms of flight.
If you’ve got someone on your list who’s in good shape and likes a challenge, six hours of climbing, crawling, and squeezing through impossibly tight cracks in the depths of Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave will give them a spelunking experience they won’t soon forget.
From personal experience I can tell you there’s no more moving interspecies encounter than coming face-to-face—literally—with these gentle creatures in the crystal-clear waters off Florida’s west coast.
Know someone with a lead foot? Here’s your chance to feed their need for speed by allowing them to set their own personal land speed record on the world-famous Bonneville Salt Flats.
C’mon now, what kid (of any age) wouldn’t like to spend the night in a really cool treehouse? Add the fact that most of the over-the-top “rooms” at this arboreal bed-and-breakfast have a long list of grown-up creature comforts and your gift-givee may not want to come down.
I like historical attractions as much as the next guy. But, let’s face it, some can be a little dull. Petersburg, Virginia’s Pamplin Historical Park changes all that with a 24-hour program that gives participants the chance to live the life of a civil war soldier right down to firing actual muzzleloaders!
To a sailing aficionado, being allowed to take the wheel of an 80-foot America’s Cup contender is like being handed the keys to a Ferrari. Add the warm sunshine, cool breezes, and stunning scenery of San Diego Bay and you have a great way to spend the day.
When it comes right down to it, who couldn’t use a little extra walking around money right now? Which is why we love the idea of spending the day panning for gold—which is still going for around $800 an ounce—in the creeks of California’s gold country.
If none of these tickle your fancy, you’ll find lots more ideas on our Xperiences page.