Experiences can make incredible gifts - if you get them right. I like to give and receive experiences as presents and I find gifting them to be super useful when I really can't think of anything else to get someone. Of course, there are a few cons to experience gifting but the pros massively outweigh them! Let's look at each in detail.
Pro 1 - An experience gift is memorable
If you get creative with your experience gift, you could be giving someone one of the best memories of their life. More than giving someone a present, when you gift an experience, you're also gifting fun, memories, sometimes a learning experience, and so much more. Plus - if it's a gift for a partner or a close friend or family member - you could always go and share the fun with them! Win-win.
Pro 2 - Experience gifts are unique and can't be compared to other gifts
Anything can be made an experience gift in theory - you've got extreme sports like sky-diving or rock climbing - and then on the other end of the spectrum, you have less intense experiences like theatre shows, pottery or cooking classes.
If you're gifting someone the opportunity to do something they've never done before - that is unique! A friend once treated me to afternoon tea on my birthday. That was something I'd never done before so I really enjoyed it. But even if it is something someone has done before - the experience is still unique for a variety of reasons. They could go with someone different, the weather could be different - there are many factors in the day itself that could affect the experience that someone has.
Con 1 - Once it's over, it's gone
Although you can take pictures or film videos, an experience gift is not a keepsake. You can treasure the photos and memories, but once the experience is over, so is the gift. The flip side of this is that experience gifts leave no clutter or clean-up, you don't have to wrap them (something you'll know I'm awful at if you follow the blog) and you definitely don't have to worry about duplicates taking up space!
Con 2 - Experience gifts can be pricey
But remember, not all experience gifts have to be. Once you've set a budget of how much you want to spend, it's easy to find the perfect experience gift that meets it. They are also extremely easy to find at a discount price on voucher websites like Wowcher or Groupon.
I once used this method to book my Mum a surprise spa day for her and her best friend as a birthday present. She had a wonderful day, there were no issues, and it wasn't expensive at all.
Also remember that no matter what your budget is, it will always be worth it to see your close friend or family member enjoy a new experience that you have given them.
Con 3 - The person may not enjoy the experience
With any gift, there's always that risk that the recipient may be less than impressed. But a little bit of thought and consideration eliminates this con completely.
It's certainly easier to buy an experience gift for someone you know well. If you know your friend is scared of heights, you'll know that a zip-lining day or bungee-jumping experience may not be the best bet. If you want to guarantee that the person you're buying for will enjoy your gift, it's best to not try to push them out of their comfort zone on this occasion.
If you're buying for someone you don't know so well - I recommend asking them questions, really listening out for the kind of things they like and don't like to do for fun. And if you can't do that, go for a dining experience like afternoon tea or a set meal at a nice restaurant with drinks included - everyone likes food and drink!