Bucket-List Travel Experiences That Make Great Gifts

Treat the adventurer on your list to a unique experience like racing BMWs, staying in a Scottish castle or scuba diving in Honduras.

Moulin Rouge, photograph by Stephane Franzese.

Not all presents need to be wrapped and placed under a tree. If you’re looking to give the adventurer on your list something unique this year, consider an experience gift.

Helicopter Tour for the Adventure Seeker

US $349 per person, leaving from Las Vegas

Photograph by Gary Ladd.

The best way to fully appreciate the Grand Canyon’s sprawling magnificence is from the air. Papillon’s Grand Celebration helicopter tour gives guests stellar views, not only of the Grand Canyon, but of the Hoover Dam and the Grand Wash Cliffs. There’s also a stop on a plateau 4,000 feet below the rim of the Grand Canyon, overlooking the Colorado River. —SG


Moulin Rouge for the Cultural Connoisseur

Tickets from €87

Photograph by Stephane Franzese.

The sound of popping champagne corks fills the room before, and during, performances of Féerie, the cabaret at the Moulin Rouge, Paris’ iconic red windmill-topped dance hall. Prepare to be dazzled by a sea of dancers—clad in feather, sequin and rhinestone costumes—who perform alongside international acts. The cabaret consists of four distinct themes (think pirates and the circus) but it’s the high-energy French cancan that truly steals the show. —DB


Scuba Diving for the Water-worshipper

Prices start at US $40 per person, plus equipment rentals

Photograph by Robert Herb.

Roatán, Honduras, is surrounded by the world’s second-largest barrier reef and its temperate waters are home to several shipwrecks, making the country a popular scuba diving destination. Subway Watersports offers a variety of dives to island hot spots such as the Prince Albert shipwreck or the Garden of Eden. They also provide lessons for newbies. —SG


Staying in Scottish Castles for the History Buff

Self-Drive Castle Trail, includes six nights’ accommodation, starting at US $1,778 per person

Photograph by David Robertson/Alamy.

Sleeping in castles in the Scottish countryside is about as dreamy as it gets, so a tour with Clans and Castles is perfect for the romantic historian on your list. Itineraries vary, but the Self-Drive Castle Trail includes six nights at some of Scotland’s most historic properties, including Traquair House, which has been visited by 27 Scottish kings and queens. The company also organizes daytime activities such as a wildlife tour and afternoon tea at Inverlochy Castle. —SG


Racing BMWs for the Designated Driver

PC Drive two-hour experience, US$299

Photograph courtesy of BMW Performance Center West.

Those feeling the need for speed will love the BMW Performance Centre West located in Thermal, Calif., 45 minutes from Palm Springs. Here, a high-speed driving class takes place in a top-of-the-line M-Series BMW. Drivers take a few practice laps where skidding and tire-squealing is encouraged, followed by timed laps. Finally, the instructor will treat pupils to an extreme “hot lap,” so they can experience the true power of these vehicles. —DB


Read more: 2019 Traveller’s Gift Guide

[This story appears in the December 2019 edition of WestJet Magazine.]