Doesn’t matter who I ask these days, buying gifts is getting increasingly difficult in an age where people seem to be purchasing whatever it is they need or want at any given point. Maybe online retail has made everything just a little too accessible – whereas once we couldn’t be bothered to go the shops to buy stuff, now we can do it on-the-go with such ease, and have items delivered quickly, that we’re just too impatient to wait.

So buying ‘things’ as gifts is proving tricky. But how often do people treat themselves to experiences? Buying an experience can open up a whole new realm of options when buying a gift. Perhaps there’s something that someone you know has always wanted to do? Here’s an opportunity to help fulfil a dream.

Rally Driving

Let a friend know how to corner a car like it’s on rails! (Only me that’s watched Pretty Woman a thousand times?!) Get them behind the wheel so they can burn round some tracks without fear of being pulled over. They may even get to perfect their handbrake turn!

Cooking

Got a friend you seem to be doing all the cooking for and never get the favour retuned? Perhaps drop the hint with the gift of a cooking class. Have them learn to roll some pizza dough, perfect paella, or transform cocoa beans into chocolate. Whatever the cuisine, this experience is sure to draw out their inner domestic goddess.

Abseiling

Sure, this isn’t for everyone. But if someone you know fancies themself as a bit of a Spidey, then why not get their heart pumping by throwing them down a mountain? Ok, that’s not exactly how to sell the idea, but rappelling down rock faces from dizzying heights taking in stunning scenery is any adrenalin junkie’s dream.

Flight Simulation

“I feel the need, the need for speed.” Yes, Top Gun is also in the collection! Take someone you love to the skies with a flight simulation experience. Let them get behind the controls, take off and land, all in the safe knowledge the wheels are never going to leave the tarmac! Gift should come with a turbulence warning.

Photography

Taking a photograph with an actual camera has become a lost art. Why not encourage your loved one to put down the selfie-taking iPhone and pick up an SLR to shoot some great shots? Not only could you turn them into a pro, but it’ll make viewing their Instagram page a whole lot more interesting!

First Aid

Get a friend trained in life-saving skills so they can be your emergency contact! They’ll learn a range of skills so if disaster strikes they’re at the ready to give CPR or dress a wound. This could be an ideal experience to share together – depending on the recipient you could really bond over some mouth-to-mouth resuscitation!

Barista

Not all gifts have to be adrenalin fuelled in nature. Sometimes the simple art of creating the ultimate cup of coffee can be enjoyment enough. If you have a caffeine aficionado in your life, this could be the ideal gift to allow them to learn the science behind an espresso and to perfect their own latte art. And after the course they can practice their art on you!

Pole Dancing

Believe it or not, pole dancing isn’t all about strutting some sexy moves. It’s a great way to keep fit. So give some inspiration to someone you know who’s looking for a fun way to get active. This experience will allow them to master some acrobatic moves and strike some poses they never thought possible! But be warned, it’s known to be addictive.

Sharing The Experience

Ideas for experience gifts are endless, from wine tasting, to horseback riding and pamper weekends away. Your recipient might not be able to physically unwrap your gift, but you’ll be giving something they’ll have the memory of forever. And if the gift is one you can share, like a hot air balloon ride or romantic dinner, then it’s something you can look forward to together. Check out Groupon, Living Social and RedBalloon for some more ideas on experience gifts.