Cakes on a Plane: Skip Gifts and See Places Instead.

The #girlstravel twitter chat that makes my Mondays worthwhile turned one year old this week.

So can you guess what the topic of conversation was?  Celebratory travel, of course!

It got me thinking about how Mr Holiday Addict and I have recently started to skip buying each other gifts we don’t need in favour of treating ourselves to trips when there’s a special occasion on the cards.


Turning thirty on a boat in the Lake District

Having a summer birthday meant that as a kid, l was always off school whenever I clocked up another year.

But the good fortune stretched even further than that. You see, my birthday nearly always coincided with our annual family holiday, so I’ve had lots of celebratory fun in the sun.

I’ve had impromptu parties with random strangers who became holiday friends and I’ve had cakes on planes when I’ve boarded flights on the big day itself. I also turned sweet (or was that sulky?) sixteen on my first ever trip to Greece.

And I recall all of these moments like they just happened yesterday.

Thassos Birthday Wine

An unexpected treat from hotel staff on holiday in Thassos

I believe you’ll always vividly remember the special occasions you celebrate when you’re travelling.

In our particular case this year, we spent a weekend in Copenhagen for Mr Holiday Addict’s birthday before we sipped cocktails on a Greek beach for mine.

We also toasted our third wedding anniversary by clinking Prosecco filled glasses in the Sorrento sun (or was that rain? It didn’t matter).

Birthday on the Beach

I was smiling until I remembered how old I was. Oh no…

But perhaps the most important thing to note is that we made memories with those celebrations.

Memories which are so much more valuable than stuff you don’t need. Even if that stuff just happens to be all wrapped up with shiny paper and a bow.

Have you ever celebrated a special occasion while travelling? Or are you planning something soon? Let me know in the comments.


  • My mom turns 60 next spring and I know she’s dreading it. We’ve always wanted to travel to Italy so I’m taking her for her birthday! Great post, thanks for sharing.

    Happy travels 🙂

    • Clare says:

      Ah Lauren, I’m sorry not to reply to this sooner! How lovely for your mum’s big 60! I am sure it will be an amazing experience and you’ll be talking about it forever after you get back. 🙂

  • Nicole says:

    Loved this post! I spent my 30th this year in Egypt (unforgettable), the previous two were spent in Thailand and next year my Mum is spending her 50th running the Great Wall of China half marathon, so will be going to China to celebrate. All for experiences x

    • Clare says:

      So glad you liked the post, Nicole! And I love that you’re a birthday traveller, too. The experiences are what you remember for years after the event.

  • Jo says:

    I take it one step further – I buy very little ‘stuff’ while I’m away. Just small things for a few people at home, then just something similar for myself – but only if I see something I really like and want. Instead, I spend my money on experiences – like a deluxe facial at one of the grand cosmetics houses in Paris, a fantastic meal anywhere, or a room with a view of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul. Much better than any souvenir!

    • Clare says:

      I know what you mean about stuff while you’re away. I much prefer to do a fancy dinner somewhere, or push the boat out and go somewhere posh for cocktails. The only things I tend to buy are a ceramic tile/ something similar for my mum to put in her garden (she has so many from all over the place and they look lovely in summer), and a charm for my silver charm bracelet.

  • I’m planning to due just that this spring. I fully intend to spend my birthday in Paris. I turned 30 in New York City so 35 in Paris just seems fitting somehow. Two years ago I took my dad on a trip to Ireland which happened to co-incide with his birthday, which was really nice. I find as I get older I want more experiences and less stuff.

    • Clare says:

      I love destination birthdays – it really does make a special occasion more memorable. 35 in Paris sounds just amazing! I know exactly what you mean about the age and experience thing. Somehow it just makes sense! Thanks so much for commenting.

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