Dreamstime

Jay Lloyd's Getaway: The gift of travel

November 30, 2018 - 6:00 am
Categories: 

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — There's a disconnect when giving a gift of travel. 

Printouts of tickets and a brochure under a tree are nice, but they don't exactly create the spontaneous bubbling-with-excitement effect like a tangible gift, and the enjoyment won't be realized until the spring or summer. 

This year, spice it up by adding a few tangible items that signal the future departure to exotic places, but still embody that instant gratification and delight. 

Bermuda bound

The real gift I received was a springtime cruise to Bermuda for three nights and sun-filled days of island exploration. But the first gift I opened on a chilly December night revealed a pair of coral blue Bermuda shorts. 

Then there were knee stockings to go with them, which come in handy if you want to blend in well with the who's who of Bermuda over lunch at Hamilton's Little Venice restaurant.  

You'll easily find the rig online at most major stores. But for now, it's a holiday to be celebrated in Bermuda fashion by mixing together a world-renowned cocktail, the Swizzle. The one elusive ingredient is falernum, a sweet island syrup. You'll find it on Amazon. 

Wrap it and the rum as a separate gift and you'll capture the anticipation of things to come.

The Swizzle Inn in Bermuda
Jay Lloyd/KYW Newsradio

Paris in springtime

This was my first toe in the water of holiday gifts: a spring jet-away to the City of Light. 

The gift list started with the reservations. Then for instant holiday gratification, the unwrapping revealed a CD of Parisian cafe music, then a small wheel of brie, followed by a fondue pot and skewers. 

I know — fondue originated from the Swiss and involved cheese, but the French gave us the meat fondue. 

The final gift was a fine bottle of Bordeaux in an Eiffel Tower-themed wine bag. 

Art on display in Paris
Jay Lloyd/KYW Newsradio

Barcelona 

The gift of travel to Barcelona was initiated by our daughter, who announced right out of college that she had landed a job in this unique Catalonian city on the Mediterranean. 

Our first visit brought us there in time for New Year's Eve. The lead-off gift pre-takeoff was a brush-up Spanish course in book form. (The official language is Catalan, but most locals do speak Spanish.) 

Then, there was a little package of euro notes and coins for marketplaces and street vendors. 

Finally, a guidebook detailed the mesmerizing architectural work of Antoni Gaudí from the Sagrada Família church to the heights of Park Güell. You can also find them in smartphone apps, but books make better gifts — unless the gift is a brand new phone that includes the app.

Park Güell in Barcelona
Jay Lloyd/KYW Newsradio

Rocky Mountain high

For the skiing couple who enjoys hitting the spring slopes in the Rockies, you can't wrap a better visually visceral token than one or more of the jaw-dropping Warren Miller ski films on DVD. You'll see skiing and riding challenge that is not for the faint-of-heart, but it does offer a fantasy. 

Pair that with a bit of John Denver or Eagles sounds for any digital player. Add some cold Coors beer and there's only one more gift to raise the heartbeat: a western Stetson hat for each of you. 

Visitors wearing Stetson hats in Vail
Jay Lloyd/KYW Newsradio

New York and The Met

When my dad took me to Frank's Barbershop in our New York neighborhood on a Saturday, the radio broadcast from The Metropolitan Opera House filled the room.

I had long promised my wife, who is of a slightly later era, that we would see "La bohème." Finally, with a New York visit planned between Christmas and New Year's, I noticed it on the bill at The Met

The gift-wrapped tickets were a surprise that included a CD package of the entire performance, a libretto translation from Italian to English, and a high-end bottle of Tuscan wine to set the mood. 
The evening included pre-performance drinks and a nosh at the Empire Hotel across from Lincoln Center, and a late-night supper at a candlelit table — a perfect night to remember.

The Metropolitan Opera House in New York
Jay Lloyd/KYW Newsradio

The gift of travel is more than an experience. It's truly a lasting memory.