Are you looking for an inspired and memorable gift for the globetrotter on your list? Then consider travel gift cards, which have proliferated in recent years. They’re now available in every sector of the travel industry, from hotels and airlines to tour companies and theme parks to cruises and even national park lodges.
From contributing to the expense of transportation to covering the cost of lodging to enriching the experience on the ground, nothing can compete with the gift of travel. Just load up the card with a dollar amount—as affordable as $25 or as insanely generous as the highest possible amount we've seen, $11,500—that the recipient can use for future trips. Save a few trees by sending a digital voucher or give a physical card if you prefer something gift-wrapped.
Here are some great card options in the travel space that are good for lodging, air travel, tours, attractions, activities, theme parks, national parks, and cruises. Time to send someone packing—but in the best way.
Note: Frommer’s does not receive commissions if you click the links in this post. Our list is based on our expert opinions and it was created independent of any partnerships.
With accommodations often the priciest part of a vacation, help your recipient cover their lodging expenses or score an upgrade. Many hotel chains sell their own gift cards. But the following ones are good for properties across many brands around the world, from money-saving budget rooms to extravagant high-end lodging.
Roomcard: A global hotel gift card, it works at 1 million properties including 990 global brands such as Hilton, Marriott, Accor, and InterContinental, as well as thousands of independent hotels, apartments, vacation homes, cottages, and more. This card has no expiration.
Hotelgift: This card covers 550,000 hotels from low-cost to luxury with 140-plus brands in more than 170 countries. Choose from a customizable digital card to a handwritten message or even a video greeting with the e-card. Cards are valid for two years from date of purchase.
Hotels.com: Lets you book hotels and packages for less at hundreds of thousands of properties worldwide. Cards have no expiration dates or fees.
Airbnb: It’s good for 5.6 million home listings in 100,000 cities around the world.
What could be more welcome than the gift of flight? Not every airline offers a gift card, but many do, including top picks Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, Norwegian and Southwest Airlines. Be sure to check for expiration dates and fees.
Flightgift: Leave the choice of airline to the recipient with this cross-airline card good for 300 domestic and international carriers to more than 980 global destinations. Cards are valid for two years from date of purchase.
Whether by land or by sea, on an island or in the mountains, in an iconic city or on backcountry trails, a guided tour offers a no-brainer vacation. Many major tour companies sell their own gift cards or vouchers, including Classic Journeys, Exodus Travels, Globus, Intrepid Travel, Liberty Travel, Lindblad Expeditions, and Thomson Family Adventures. Each company has its own rules for what its card covers.
Attractions & activities
Enrich your giftee’s vacation by covering a travel experience or attraction.
Activitygift: Redeem it for more than 50,000 options at 680-plus locations in 160 countries, including museums and art, tours and attractions, performances, food and wine, sports, and nightlife. Cards are valid for two years from the date of purchase.
GetYourGuide: This card is good for more than 60,000 guided local tours, activities, and attractions in 3,600 global destinations. For example, in London 741 tours and activities participate; in New York, 481; and Rome 1,370. The card is valid up to three years from the date of purchase.
Travelzoo: The travel deals website sells time-specific gift vouchers for experiences ranging from wine tasting to sunset sails and museum admission. Select your gift by category from "Awesome Adventures," "Epic Escapes," "Zen Moments," "Memorable Meals," and "Experiences for All".
XperienceDays: The recipient can choose from 1,500 experiences ranging from gourmet food tours and cooking classes to golf lessons and skydiving in 50 U.S. cities. The certificates are valid for 12 months from the date of purchase.
Disney and Universal Orlando: Theme parks aren’t just for families. Honeymooners and new graduates may enjoy gift cards redeemable for park tickets, hotels, food, and merchandise purchases (both in-person and onlne). Both cards have no fees and never expire.
Give the gift of "America’s best idea"—our country’s national parks.
Xanterra: Cover park expenses with this card from the Xanterra Travel Collection, the concessioner for the lodges, restaurants, and retail outlets at the following national parks: Death Valley, Glacier, Grand Canyon, Mount Rushmore, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, and Zion. The card has no fees and never expires.
The cruiser on your list will thank you for a prepaid shore excursion, spa treatment, or even a free cruise. These six major lines make covering expenses and pre-booked cruises easy: Carnival, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Princess. Each line has its own rules for what its card covers.