Give someone a gift they won't forget this year: An experience

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Holiday Gift Guide 2017

Give someone a gift they won't forget this year: An experience

Ziplining
Robert Gauthier | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Gift giving isn't easy. You can play guessing games, and your choice still might end up collecting dust in the back of someone's closet. Instead, try giving someone an experience they'll never forget.

What's available and where to buy it depends on where you are, but here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Give someone the world

    Make that phrase more than a cliche this holiday season. Airbnb sells gift cards that can be used for accommodations from apartments to houseboats to experiences like "The Gangsta Gardener" in Los Angeles that involves biking, gardening and eating a farm-to-table dinner with a documentary producer.

    Price: Varies

    Buy: Airbnb gift card

    Getty Images
    Getty Images
  • Watch TV before it airs

    Maybe your loved one likes "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" or "The Voice" or "The View." Whatever the show is, there's a chance you can score tickets to attend a taping. 1Iota offers an abundance of options. Tickets are free but can take patience, so start looking early and see what you snag.

    Price: Free

    Buy: Audience tickets

    Jimmy Fallon during the '12 Days of Christmas Sweaters' bit on December 21, 2016.
    Andrew Lipovsky | NBCU
  • Chop like you're on 'Chopped'

    Cooking classes, in general, are a fun way to learn useful tips. Knife skills classes, though, teach critical kitchen skills. Learning the proper technique to hold a knife (and equally important, your fingers in a position where they won't get chopped off) and slice with speed can drastically reduce prep time.

    Sur La Table offers knife skills courses at its stores across the country.

    Price: $59 and up

    Buy: Knife Skills 101

    Knife skills
    Getty Images
  • Leave this world behind

    Virtual reality technology keeps improving, and studios are popping up that let customers test it without investing in their own gear. Snap a headset on and walk through different stations that turn any space into a mini theme park. Or play games that transform people from players into characters.

    Price: $39

    Buy: VR world

    Visitors play a game with the virtual reality head-mounted Samsung Gear VR powered by Oculus at Le Grand Palais on December 15, 2016 in Paris, France.
    Chesnot | Getty Images
  • Make staycation feel like a vacation

    You don't need to be in the mountains of another continent to seek the thrill of ziplining. Sliding down ropes is doable domestically and is an activity that doesn't have an age limit. The daring adventure will amuse both children and adults alike.

    Price: $79 and up for youths, $109 and up for adults

    Buy: Ultimate Zipline Experience

    Banos, Ecuador - February 21, 2015: Unidentified people falling on a zip line adventure park in Ecuadorian rainforest, Banos de Agua Santa, the adventure capital of Ecuador 2015.
    Getty Images
  • Train for the Indy 500

    Give the car lover in your life a chance to drive a cool ride. Tracks around the country offer laps in race cars and some of the most expensive sports cars, such as a Ferrari. Some even sell rides in passenger seats so you don't have to worry about your loved one getting behind the wheel.

    NASCAR sells multiple packages, including one where you can drive a race car by yourself for an 8-minute timed session. You can book the experience at a local track or simply give someone a gift card so they can schedule it on their own.

    Price: $599.99

    Buy: Race car driving

    Race Care Driving
    Mark Evans | Getty Images
  • 'Tis the season for tasting

    Alcohol tourism is booming. Whether it's wine, beer or spirits, chances are there's some sort of tasting experience somewhere nearby. Look for tours that guide you to different production venues and tasting rooms. Or map out a route, arrange transportation and spend the day together checking out the different spots.

    Kentucky's Bourbon County is home to legends such as Maker's Mark and Jim Beam, as well as smaller distilleries that are growing thanks to the craft movement. Mint Julep Tours guide travelers through the region on its public and private tours.

    Price: $129 and up

    Buy: Mint Julep Tour

    Wine tasting
    Getty Images
  • Take the holidays to new heights

    Give the gift of flight this year. Whether in a plane or a helicopter, an introductory flying lesson is a truly unforgettable experience. After they enjoy your treat, your loved one may want to sign up for another round in the future or decide they'll stick to being a passenger. Either way, it's a memory they'll never forget.

    Price: $152 and up

    Buy: Learn to fly

    Flying Lessons
    Getty Images
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