Gifting Outside the Box

Let’s start with the facts. No guy wants another tie. And no woman wants a gift card.

What do you get for the boomer who has more than they need or want? Most of my friends are packing up their possessions and selling them on eBay, giving them away on Freecycle or donating them to local charities.

But ‘tis the traditional gift-giving season. In addition to Hanukah and Christmas, I’m still attending milestone birthday parties. Since I hate to shop and am a terrible wrapper, I usually choose experiential gifts to mark these occasions. I’ll take a friend to dinner or give them concert tickets. There are so many great new bands out there playing in small, local venues; it’s an easy way to make a 50-year old feel twenty again.

Or, if you know someone who’s longed for a bit of Indiana Jones-like adventure, how about the chance to play amateur archeologist? It’s a unique gift for person in your life who wants nothing.

Looking for a unique gift for a guy? Consider an Adventures in Preservation trip.

Photo: The Fairfield Foundation.

Continue reading

When in Edinburgh: Scotch Tasting at The Balmoral Hotel

I subscribe to the “When in Rome…” approach to travel. Why go to Memphis if you’re not going to eat BBQ and sample late night blues, right? So, when planning a trip to Scotland, I included an Edinburgh scotch tasting in my itinerary. Guided by an expert whisky ambassador, I learned about Scotland’s national drink at The Balmoral Hotel.

Table set for an Edinburgh scotch tasting.

Ready for action at The Balmoral Hotel. Photo: The Open Suitcase.

Continue reading

Visit Iceland in the Summer? Why It’s a Great Idea.

Immortalized in Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” as the land of the ice and snow, Iceland comes to mind as a winter destination because you want to snowmobile on the glaciers and hunt for the Northern Lights.

Believe it or not, Iceland should be on your summer vacation list too. Check out my story on Mode to see why I can’t wait to go back during the warm weather months.

Check out Why Iceland is the Perfect Summer Vacation Spot

by Cathy Bennett Kopf (@theopensuitcase) at Mode

Time to Rediscover these Popular 80’s Travel Destinations

Are you watching the new CNN series about the 1980’s? Bad hair. Sad outfits. And the music was either very, very good (The Clash, Madonna, Michael Jackson) or god awful (remember Chris DeBurgh’s “Lady in Red”?).

Here’s a look at 6 destinations featured in the news or on the air during the 1980’s and why you might want to consider them for your vacation this year. Continue reading

Let it Rain: 5 Places to Get Wet This Spring

paris-umbrella-repairman

Photo: NPR

It’s a fact. We need spring showers to get beautiful summer flowers. But no one wants their long-anticipated vacation ruined by torrential downpours. Paris in April is supposed to be magnificent, but where’s the fun if you spend an hour waiting on line in the rain to get inside Notre Dame? The secret to spring travel is to pick a destination where getting wet is part of the fun. Continue reading