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some hints for finding a winner

“Experience is one thing you can’t get for nothing,” Irish playwright Oscar Wilde once said. But Wilde, for all his wit, probably never envisioned the modern practice of giving an experience as a gift.
“For all the reasons to give an experience as a gift, perhaps the most popular is the desire to give a loved one a once-in-a-lifetime moment that will become a lifelong memory,” says Rob Wilkinson of Soaring Adventures of America, Inc., a company that specializes in arranging airborne adventure experiences.
Also, an experience gift that takes into account the recipient’s interests can seem more personal and thoughtful than a generic gift like a certificate or gift card. It’s important to keep three factors in mind when considering an experience gift:
1. Budget – Obviously, the gift must be something you can afford to give. But just as important, it should be an experience that will not cost the recipient anything to enjoy. For example, if you’re thinking of giving ski lessons, be sure the price of the lessons includes use of all equipment the learner will need.
2. Proximity – Is the experience one that the recipient can get to reasonably? Flying lessons will be much less fun if the recipient has to drive two hours to get to the airport. Likewise, a beach party in Key West doesn’t do much good if the recipient lives in Minnesota and you didn’t think to include airfare to Florida in your gift.
3. Personality – Does the experience mesh with the recipient’s personality and interests? If the recipient is an adventure hound, you might opt for a glider ride rather than dance lessons. Or, if the recipient is afraid of water, a hot air balloon ride might be more appealing than whitewater rafting.
Once you’ve answered these considerations, you’ll need to choose just the right gift. Popular experiential gifts include:
Hot Air Balloon Rides
Hot air balloons are a unique combination of exciting and peaceful. The thrill of flying high into the air is balanced by the tranquility and silence high above the treetops. Soaring Adventures offers hour-long ascents to 500 to 1,000 feet, covering 5 to 10 miles. Rides end with a celebration of champagne or fruit juice upon landing, an old French tradition. Each ride is led by a commercially certified, FAA-trained pilot and balloon gondolas can hold up to six passengers. Visit www.800soaring.com or call (800) SOARING (800-762-7464) to learn more.

Fantasy Sports Camps
Whether your sports fan prefers baseball or is a tennis devotee, you can find a sports camp to appeal to him or her. Camps not only give sports lovers the opportunity to improve their own skills at a sport they love, they often afford participants the chance to rub shoulders with sports royalty. To find a sports camp that’s right for your sports fan, go online and seek out sporting associations in your area.

Dance Lessons
TV shows like “Dancing with the Stars” have rekindled Americans’ interest in dancing. Across the country, dance studios have sprung up and it’s possible to find reasonably priced lessons for virtually every style of dance from the classic waltz to salsa. Dancing is great exercise, so dance lessons can also help improve the recipient’s health. And, if you’re giving the experience to your partner, it’s a great way to spend quality time together.

Soaring Glider Rides
A soaring glider ride is a great option for someone who seems to have everything already. A professional pilot accompanies one or two passengers into the sky for a quiet, peaceful and silent glide above the clouds. Soaring Adventures’ glider rides also afford passengers the opportunity to take the controls and fly the glider if they wish.
Soaring Adventures of America, Inc. offers gift certificates you can use for up to two years at any of their 200 locations in the United States.
Courtesy of ARAcontent, Photo courtesy Shutterstock

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