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Every item we feature is objectively selected by our editorial team. If you purchase an item through our links, we may earn commission. Departures and American Express do not provide, endorse, or guarantee any of the items, and the sale of such items is governed by the third-party seller’s policies, terms, and conditions.
Editors’ Picks

Our Favorite Giftable Experiences of the Year

Our editors’ picks for the person who has everything.

A photograph of Astrea Caviar Shop at Astrea Caviar

THE QUESTION OF what to give the person who has everything is a quandary almost as old as the idea of gifting itself. At a time when so many people are hypercognizant of not wanting to simply fill their lives with more things, the question becomes even more onerous. How do you give someone a gift that is not only perfect, but also meaningful? For many, the answer to this question also neatly reflects our changing attitudes around travel — it’s all about the experience. Rather than flood the homes of your loved ones with luxury tchotchkes or tech gear that will invariably become obsolete, why not give them (or yourself) something more ephemeral and impossible to duplicate — an incredible experience. Whether this means a quiet getaway, a bespoke culinary offering, a thrill-seeking adventure that gets the blood pumping, or a globe-trotting once-in-a-lifetime splurchase, helping someone create an indelible memory is the gift that keeps on giving.

Shop at Black Tomato

The Assignment: Europe

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of James Bond, the folks at bespoke luxury travel company Black Tomato have teamed up with British luggage company Globe-Trotter to create the ultimate 007 travel experience. The trip includes unique 007 experiences in London, Paris, Monaco, Lake Como, and Venice. Full details of the spy-tastic experience — including the price — will be released in March 2023. To sweeten the deal, gifters will receive a custom attaché case to slip under the tree, which includes the trip number and details regarding the particulars of the assignment. James Bond aficionados will appreciate that the case is adorned with black, silver, and gold dots inspired by the work of Maurice Binder, creator of the famed opening title sequence of “Dr. No” — Bond’s first foray onto the big screen — which was released 60 years ago. SHOP NOW

Shop Polaris Adventures

Polaris Adventures Select Membership Program

Polaris is famous for inventing their first snowmobile back in 1955. And in the years since, the company has continued to innovate within the adventure space, creating a wide variety of high-performance snowmobiles, as well as a variety of ATVs, off-road vehicles, and most recently the Slingshot, a three-wheeled sports car/motorcycle hybrid that most closely resembles the Batmobile. For the adventurer in your life, you can now offer a membership to Polaris Adventures, a club that gives members access to the full spectrum of Polaris’ fleet (including motorcycles), as well as curated outdoor adventures across the United States — all of which provide the perfect terrain for driving one of Polaris’ high-performance machines. SHOP NOW

Shop at Safrans du Monde

Safrans du Monde: The World Tour Grands Classiques 2023

If you've ever dreamed of going on your own personal world tour, the folks at Safrans du Monde can help you do so in grand style. Billed as an “air cruise by private jet,” this 22-day travel extravaganza includes stops on every continent and visits to the likes of Machu Picchu, Easter Island, French Polynesia, Sydney, Hanoi, Angkor, the Taj Mahal, Petra, and a stop in the Wadi Rum desert. In addition to top-tier dining and amenities on your private flights, the all-inclusive package (which can be organized for groups of up to 25 people, in case you want to bring your friends) includes stays at five-star hotels and special add-ons like balloon excursions and helicopter flights. A true once-in-a-lifetime way to see the world. SHOP NOW

Shop at Edge

City Climb: The Ultimate Skyscraping Adventure at Edge

If you really love someone, why not gift them with a potential moment of abject terror? This perfectly giftable experience allows participants to experience what is described as the “highest open-air building ascent in the world.” Located at the top of NYC’s 30 Hudson Yards, City Climb allows very securely harnessed climbers to scale the outside of a skyscraper more than 1,200 feet above the ground, only to then literally lean out and look down from the highest outdoor platform in New York City. As someone who recently experienced this, I can say that it’s not for the faint of heart or those averse to heights; however, it was one of the most surprisingly affirming and perspective-shifting experiences I’ve ever had, and one I would gladly give to a friend (assuming they didn’t kill me for making them do it). SHOP NOW

Explore Las Qolqas

A Tour of Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley

When we speak of experiences, what could match a visit to Machu Picchu? This mysterious Inca city tops many bucket lists, and with good reason. Following a work trip to report on the food scene in Lima earlier this year, our editor in chief extended her stay to see it, and returned extolling not just the splendor of the “Lost City of the Incas,” but the otherworldly beauty of the entire Sacred Valley. Las Qolqas, an eco-resort in Ollantaytambo, provided both a jumping-off point for the visit and a respite of its own, with luxury tents, mature trees, and flowering gardens — all tucked between the cliff faces of the mountains the region is known for. Book a tour from Kuska Expeditions through the resort: The spectacular beauty of the place and the incredible feats of engineering used to construct these mountaintop citadels (Ollantaytambo has an impressive site of its own) will make any visitor feel humbled as they contemplate their own small place in the world. EXPLORE MORE

Shop Eleven Madison Home

Eleven Madison Home

The culinary world was rocked last year when Eleven Madison Park, one of NYC’s most celebrated restaurants, made the transition to a totally plant-based menu. When one of our editors spent time with chef Daniel Humm earlier this year to discuss the shift, he described the decision as being both an ethical choice and a kind of creative motivator to see just how far one could push things using only plant-based ingredients. Anyone looking to bring the flavors of the famed restaurant into their own kitchen can look no further than Eleven Madison Home, a collection of prepared snacks (granola bites, nori bar nuts), immaculately pickled foods (beets, shishito peppers, eggplant), and high-end pantry staples (coconut curry sauce, shio kombu sea salt, spiced oil blends) — all perfect gifts that can be purchased in tasteful, prepacked gift boxes. SHOP NOW

Shop at Astrea Caviar

Astrea Caviar

One of the reasons I still know so little about caviar is that I so rarely have the opportunity to eat it. Widely considered the ultimate special-occasion food, caviar is too often reserved for weddings or high-end dining, and is not generally the kind of delicacy one keeps on hand. The folks at Astrea Caviar hope to change this by offering a selection of their own caviars (sourced from older sturgeons, carefully cured and aged with less than 3% salt), which can be ordered online in a variety of permutations (including an exquisitely packaged gift set). Your selection is shipped overnight in specially ice-packed containers. The ultimate gift for the luxe food lover in your life. SHOP NOW

Shop Lone Mountain Wagyu

Lone Mountain Wagyu

While there are now incalculable numbers of food delivery subscription services out there to cater to every taste, dietary restriction, or specifically attuned palate, few deliver on the level of Lone Mountain. The company specializes in only one thing — Japanese wagyu beef — all of which comes from cattle raised in the organic, sustainable environs of their New Mexico ranch. Lone Mountain’s celebrated products are only available online, and their Wagyu Club allows members to receive a large sampling of their meaty offerings (steaks, ground beef, a variety of sausages) up to four times a year. The seasoned chef, avowed meat lovers, and novice grill masters will appreciate the exquisite marbling and sublime flavor of this heavenly beef. SHOP NOW

Shop Alaskan Salmon Co.

Alaskan Salmon Company

Founded by fisherman Kyle Lee, Alaskan Salmon Company delivers sushi-grade, sustainably caught seafood that is incredibly fresh and healthy, and is shipped directly from their own fishing docks in Alaska. The home delivery service allows users to choose their own box type, size, and frequency, providing access to selections like Copper River salmon, black cod, and Alaskan halibut. For the seafood lover in your life, this is the next best thing to actually catching it yourself. SHOP NOW


Shop Small®

When you Shop Small, you’re not just supporting neighborhood favorites – you’re investing in the community. Whether you’re a local or visiting, explore the Shop Small Map to find small businesses near you. Learn more here.

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Our Contributors

T. Cole Rachel Editor-at-Large

T. Cole Rachel is a Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and teacher with over 20 years of experience working in print and digital media. He is currently an editor-at-large at Departures.

Ahonen & Lamberg Illustrator

Ahonen & Lamberg is a multidisciplinary design studio based in Paris. Founded in 2006 by Finnish designers Anna Ahonen and Katariina Lamberg, the studio concentrates on art direction, creative consultancy, and graphic design.

Departures and American Express do not provide, endorse, or guarantee any of the items, and the sale of such items is governed by the third-party seller’s policies, terms, and conditions.

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