What's a good way to gift travel funds?
May 11, 2024 9:19 PM   Subscribe

I have a younger step-sibling who has expressed interest in travel this year, and I want to support that as part of my birthday gift to them. There are no specific plans yet, and they life far away from me, so I wasn't sure how to best do this. Does anyone have good ideas for how to gift funds for travel?

We're both in the US, but across the country and I probably won't see them in person until Christmas. They are about to turn 22 (I am 40) and they live with their parents (my dad and step mom). The parents currently pay for a lot of daily expenses, and part of this is that I want to encourage my sibling to be a bit more independent. The simplest way to do this would be to send some form of voucher for "I will help pay for x money of your next trip" and then somehow send them cash in the future. I would like to vaguely earmark this for travel expenses, but I don't want to buy a specific gift certificate that might not work out. In my mind this seems kind of similar to the "honeymoon fund" that I have contributed to for several of my friends weddings. Doing this with just an email seems lazy and impersonal, so I thought I'd ask for ideas here. Thanks!
posted by JZig to Human Relations (8 answers total)
My Danish friend put me on to getting a Revolut card, which she loves. Now I do too. You can load the card with funds in your currency that can be used in other countries without currency fees. I am sure there are many different kinds of cards like this from a variety of companies but most are attached to particular banks or airlines or retail companies.

I know that if I had someone give me a fee free debit card that I could use wherever I was in the world, that cost nothing to maintain or join some tiered entity, I’d received the best travel gift.
You could put a basic sum on it that is a place holder for a larger gift later. Eg put $50 on it and say that when they have solidified their travel plans and get on a plane you will commit to $x per week/month when they are away.

So maybe something like that?
posted by honey-barbara at 9:58 PM on May 11 [3 favorites]

The Revolut card is a great idea, but if it won't work for whatever reason, you could also do a paper IOU to be redeemed later when plans are more solid. If you have any artistic talent you could do it yourself, or Canva has some great templates you can futz about with that look really professional.
posted by Tamanna at 11:14 PM on May 11

Write them a nice letter explaining what the money is for and enclose a check.
posted by starfishprime at 1:27 AM on May 12 [3 favorites]

What kind of amount are you thinking of? If it's large you might be able to buy miles or vouchers for some airline or rail system, ideally one where they don't expire.
posted by trig at 2:10 AM on May 12 [1 favorite]

you know your sibling but if they would be open to it you could also offer assistance in planning the trip. There are lots of details that someone young might not think of when starting to plan a trip for the first time.
posted by mmascolino at 12:52 PM on May 12 [2 favorites]

Is your step-sib an intrepid traveler already? If this would be their first solo trip (sounds like yes?), having a get-out-of-jail* card without having to alert their parents, would be invaluable. Only offer that if you mean it, though.

If this is a first-time solo trip, would suggest somewhere in the US, where their cell phone will work and they don't have to futz with unfamiliar currency.

* Hopefully not literally, but...
posted by basalganglia at 12:56 PM on May 12

I bought my mom an airline gift card once, but I knew what she would use it for (to visit my cousin) and which flight she usually took.
posted by gideonfrog at 1:39 PM on May 12

If you wanted a gift to open, could you give the equivalent in monopoly money?
posted by freethefeet at 6:40 PM on May 12 [1 favorite]

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