Over the years, I've loved coming up with epic birthday present ideas that leave behind the more predictable physical gifts in exchange for experiences and amazing memories. Ever since I've started spending so much time travelling, I've started to really value the time spent with others, and the memories we create, so much more than a house full of things. After all, when we're old and grey, we won't remember the scented bath products, but we'll never forget the thrill of something new.
I've just come back from celebrating my birthday with a lovely girls' weekend in Milan and Lake Como – it was an absolute dream! But before anyone complains that might be too expensive, there are so many ways to travel or have amazing experiences for your birthday on a budget. Whether it means visiting a friend, couch-surfing, staying in a hostel or going super simple and low cost – there's always a way to do it. You don't even have to leave home to celebrate, why not have a party with all your fellow adventurers and look into photo booth hire?
*This is a collaborative post
Birthday present ideas for adventurers
Girls' weekend with your bestie
A birthday can be a perfect time to take that much talked about trip with your bestie – it could be a spa weekend, a day out in a new city or even a weekend away. Pop over to Milan like I did for a weekend of art galleries, gelato and bubbles, or head to Amsterdam for quirky cool museums, cute little canals and lots of sugary treats. There are endless options and when in Europe, it's easy to find super cheap flights and accommodation. Why not play flight roulette and book a last minute trip to the cheapest place available on Skyscanner?
If you're celebrating a big birthday, it could be the time to splash out on one of these epic birthday present ideas. Instead of presents, you could ask for donations for an experience such as a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, swimming with sharks in Australia or even a hot air balloon ride at sunrise. Something you won't forget in a hurry, it could be the perfect way to spend your 30th, 40th or 50th. It doesn't have to require travelling across the globe, your once-in-a-lifetime experience could be driving a race car or even taking flying lessons in the UK.
Romantic weekend for two
If you've got someone special in your life, why not use your birthday to celebrate and spend some time together. It can be easy to take each other for granted, so any excuse to enjoy each other's company, is a great one to me. You could go for a lovely meal out, or cook together at home. Fancy getting away? A spa weekend could be a good shout, or try something that indulges their favourite hobby by getting outdoors, going for a wine tasting or even a gallery. And don't forget to order a personalised champagne bottle to up the romance levels and add a personal touch to the celebrations. It makes the perfect gift.
How better to celebrate your birthday than surrounded by the people who made and raised you? Let's be honest, it can be hard to find time to catch up with your family when work and life get in the way. Or if you spend a lot of time far from home, it can be a great time of the year to get the family together to celebrate together. Whether you make a visit home, or your family comes to visit you – why not get the relatives around for food, drinks and a lot of laughs. My favourite family gatherings usually involve a barbecue or a family dinner.
Thrill-seeking adrenaline rush
This one is for those craving adventure, excitement and an adrenaline rush to combat any feelings of getting older. Who says getting older has to be boring or slow you down? Not me, if anything I love challenging my body and mind more with every year. Whether you prefer trekking in the rain-forest, white water rafting or even a skydive or bungee jump. There's something to get every pulse racing for an unforgettable day.
Solo city break
Got no-one to travel with? Why not save up your money and go solo with your birthday present ideas? This could be a perfect opportunity to go it alone and have an amazing adventure all of your own. I've loved solo trips to Budapest, Berlin, Slovenia and Italy in the past. I can honestly say my solo trips have been some of my most epic! It's been a fantastic chance to strike out on my own and see an amazing new place. I've never failed to make new friends to celebrate with on my birthday. Despite travelling solo for five years of birthdays, I have never spent a single one lonely.
Country camping escape
If it's not an option to splash out. Why not get some fresh air and a change of scenery by treating yourself to a country camping escape? The perfect birthday present ideas are sometimes the simplest. So why not pack up a tent and your best mate and take a little road trip somewhere beautiful. You could go further afield to beautiful areas like the Lake District, Peak District or even the Irish countryside. Or if you don't have the time to travel. Just find a beautiful spot near your home and use it as an opportunity to discover what's right on your doorstep.
Simple, budget-friendly and full of love
If you can't spare the cash on a big blowout. Why not choose birthday present ideas that are filled with love? One of my favourite birthdays was when my hostel surprised me with a picnic and birthday cake in the park. It cost less than $10 each but the fact that they made it a surprise was so thoughtful. It doesn't have to be extravagant to be the best birthday ever. Why not go simple and surround yourself with friends and family? Invite everyone round for dinner and drinks. Or you could have a picnic at the beach or in a nearby park.
How have you spent your birthdays? What do you plan for this year?