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Thinking about heading to Pennsylvania for college? You’re in for an adventure! Pennsylvania’s top college towns are packed with brilliant people and the opportunities that come with them. Whether you’re a tenured professor looking for your forever home in Erie or an undergrad on the hunt for an affordable apartment in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has a place for everyone.

1. State College – Penn State University

Population: 40,745 | Student population: 88,116 | Average 1-bedroom rent: $1,295

Penn State University is famous for its top-rated engineering and business programs. Students rave about the hands-on learning and research opportunities. The college is also known for its strong computer science and nursing programs. Additionally, the agriculture program is highly respected, contributing to cutting-edge research in sustainable farming practices.

State College and Penn State are deeply intertwined. The college collaborates with local businesses for internships and job placements, ensuring students gain real-world experience. Their sports teams, especially football, bring the town together, creating a lively atmosphere on game days. Penn State’s THON event, the largest student-run philanthropy, raises millions for pediatric cancer and involves the entire community.

Apartments near Penn State University | Houses for rent near Penn State University

2. Bethlehem – Lehigh University

Population: 77,617 | Student population: 5,624 | Average 1-bedroom rent: $1,845

Lehigh University is known for its engineering and business programs. Students appreciate the rigorous curriculum and research facilities. Lehigh also has strong environmental science and mechanical engineering departments. The college’s integrated product development program is a standout, blending business and engineering education.

Bethlehem and Lehigh University work closely on community initiatives. The college partners with local industries for research and development, fostering economic growth. Their annual events, like the Lehigh-Lafayette football game, are a big deal in town. Lehigh’s South Side Initiative focuses on revitalizing the neighboring South Bethlehem area through collaborative projects.

Apartments near Lehigh University | Houses for rent near Lehigh University

3. Pittsburgh – Carnegie Mellon University

Population: 302,898 | Student population: 13,961 | Average 1-bedroom rent: $1,400

Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh is a top choice for tech and fine arts students. Their computer science and drama programs are highly rated. The college also excels in robotics and engineering. The Tepper School of Business is another highlight, known for its innovative approach to management education.

Pittsburgh benefits from Carnegie Mellon’s innovations and tech startups. The university collaborates with local companies and the city on various projects, including autonomous vehicle development. These partnerships create job opportunities and enhance the city’s tech scene. CMU’s community outreach includes programs like the CREATE Lab, which works on technology solutions for social issues.

Apartments near Carnegie Mellon University | Houses for rent near Carnegie Mellon University

4. Lewisburg – Bucknell University

Population: 5,331 | Student population: 3,925 | Average 1-bedroom rent: $1,445

Bucknell University offers top-notch programs in engineering, business, and the arts. Students love the personalized attention from professors. The college is also known for its strong biomedical engineering and music programs. Their environmental studies program emphasizes hands-on fieldwork and sustainability practices.

Lewisburg and Bucknell have a close relationship. The university supports local businesses and cultural events, boosting the town’s vibrancy. Their Small Business Development Center helps local entrepreneurs, benefiting the town’s economy. The university’s Coal Region Field Station collaborates on community-based environmental research projects.

Apartments near Bucknell University | Houses for rent near Bucknell University

5. Easton – Lafayette College

Population: 30,341 | Student population: 2,729 | Average 1-bedroom rent: $1,775

Lafayette College excels in engineering, economics, and international affairs. Students benefit from small class sizes and dedicated faculty. The college is also known for its strong government and law programs. Their neuroscience program is gaining recognition for its innovative research and interdisciplinary approach.

Easton thrives with Lafayette’s involvement. The college partners with local organizations on sustainability projects, like the Bushkill Creek restoration. Their community service programs are well-regarded, helping to strengthen town-gown relations. Lafayette’s Economic Empowerment and Global Learning Project supports local economic development and educational initiatives.

Apartments near Lafayette College | Houses for rent near Lafayette College

6. Carlisle – Dickinson College

Population: 22,203 | Student population: 2,125 | Average 1-bedroom rent: $1,425

Dickinson College is great for students interested in international studies, environmental science, and law. The college offers unique global education opportunities, including study abroad programs. Their programs in political science and international business are also popular. The college’s climate change studies are at the forefront of environmental research.

Carlisle and Dickinson College share a deep connection. The college’s sustainability initiatives, like the Center for Sustainability Education, benefit the town. Dickinson’s students often engage in local internships, enriching their educational experience. The college’s partnership with the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet supports the arts in the community.

Apartments near Dickinson College | Houses for rent near Dickinson College

7. Scranton – University of Scranton

Population: 75,848 | Student population: 6,034 | Average 1-bedroom rent: $1,262

The University of Scranton offers strong programs in business, health sciences, and liberal arts. Students value the college’s focus on hands-on learning. The nursing and occupational therapy programs are particularly noteworthy. Scranton’s Jesuit tradition emphasizes ethical leadership and community service.

So much more than the town from the American version of The Office, Scranton has a lot to offer students and professionals. The city benefits from the university’s active engagement. The college partners with local hospitals and businesses for internships, providing practical experience for students. Their community outreach programs, like the Leahy Community Health and Family Center, foster a strong bond with the town. The university’s Small Business Development Center aids local businesses and startups.

Apartments near University of Scranton | Houses for rent near University of Scranton

8. Villanova – Villanova University

Population: 8,900 | Student population: 10,383 | Average 1-bedroom rent: $1,398

Villanova University is famous for its business and law programs. Students appreciate the college’s commitment to academic excellence. The nursing and engineering programs are also highly regarded. Villanova’s Augustine and Culture Seminar program provides a unique foundation in liberal arts education.

Villanova and the surrounding community are closely linked. The university supports local schools and charities through initiatives like the Villanova Cares program. Their athletic events, especially basketball, bring excitement and unity to the town. Villanova’s partnership with Radnor Township includes collaborative community service projects and local economic development efforts.

Apartments near Villanova University | Houses for rent near Villanova University

9. Erie – Gannon University

Population: 93,511 | Student population: 4,665 | Average 1-bedroom rent: $1,192

Gannon University is known for its health sciences and engineering programs. Students praise the college’s practical approach to education. The business and computer science programs are also well-regarded. Gannon’s criminal justice program is gaining recognition for its comprehensive curriculum.

Erie and Gannon University collaborate on various community projects. The college’s involvement in local healthcare and tech industries is significant, with partnerships like the Erie Technology Incubator. Their events and initiatives, such as the annual Celebrate Gannon showcase, greatly contribute to the town’s vibrancy. Gannon’s Center for Business Ingenuity supports local economic development through innovation and entrepreneurship programs.

Apartments near Gannon University | Houses for rent near Gannon University


College towns are qualified as towns or cities with at least one college or university and fewer than 400,000 people according to U.S. Census data. Average rental data from in May 2024.

This is not a comprehensive list of all of the towns and cities in the state meeting those requirements.

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Traveling abroad can be an exhilarating adventure, especially when you’re heading to Europe. Whether you’re in the mood for an eclair or want to take in the Colosseum, making your way over to Europe involves a lot of moving parts.

That’s why travel insurance can be so beneficial. With protections such as trip delay reimbursement and coverage for lost luggage, travel insurance can help make sure your trip stays smooth.

What’s more, several plans include travel health insurance in Europe, so you can worry less about whether that hike through the Alps is a good idea.

Let’s take a look at travel insurance in Europe as well as other coverage options for your vacations.

How travel insurance works

Because a lot of thought, money and effort go into planning and taking a vacation, protecting your investments (and yourself) with travel insurance can make the difference between an enjoyable memory and a disastrous anecdote you tell at mealtimes.

Travel insurance can cover a variety of things, including:

Trip cancellation, trip delay, trip interruption and lost luggage insurance are all sources of protection when you travel, especially on airlines. These can reimburse you for nonrefundable expenses you miss out on due to covered delays, and may pay you back for costs you end up incurring (including lodging, meals, toiletries and clothing).

🤓Nerdy Tip

Although it’s possible to get standard health insurance for trips abroad, it’s much more common to get coverage for emergency care, which includes protections for unexpected injuries and illnesses.

Health insurance for European travel is usually included with a standard travel insurance policy, but there are plan limits and there may be deductibles.

It’s also possible to purchase medical-only travel insurance from certain providers if you aren’t interested in other trip protections.

How to choose between travel insurance companies

Before you start shopping for travel and medical insurance in Europe, evaluate the level of coverage you need based on your age, health, trip duration, destination and planned activities (some adventure sports aren’t always covered). Compare plans from different providers, paying attention to coverage, benefits and prices.

Here’s a short list of factors to consider:

  • The cost of the policy. 

  • The limits of the plan.

  • Whether there are deductibles.

  • Whether the benefits are primary or secondary.

  • Where you’re going. 

  • How long your trip is.

  • Whether you already have insurance that’ll cover you.  

  • The types of activities you’ll be doing. 

An insurance aggregator like InsureMyTrip or Squaremouth (a NerdWallet partner) can streamline your shopping experience. Be sure to also read reviews and ratings of individual travel insurance companies to get an idea of customer service and claim resolution processes.

Best plans for health insurance while traveling in Europe

To figure out the best plans for travel and health insurance in Europe, we generated quotes from multiple travel insurance companies using a test scenario. For this example, we used a 37-year-old Nevada resident traveling to Germany for 11 days with a $4,000 trip cost. Here are the winners.

1. GeoBlue

GeoBlue’s Voyager Choice medical insurance for European travel sits head and shoulders above the rest for cost, at only $28.16.

That said, there’s a reason it is so affordable. This plan offers coverage only for medical emergencies and lacks other trip protections. It is a good option if you want to supplement existing travel coverage (say via your credit card) with more medical coverage.

  • $1 million in medical coverage.

  • $0 deductible.

  • Offers direct billing.

  • No trip protections.

  • Pre-existing condition coverage requires that you have domestic health insurance.

  • Can only purchase plans up to six months in advance of your trip. 

2. IMG

IMG’s iTravelInsured Travel SE’s comprehensive plan includes both trip protections and health insurance for Europe travel and rings in at just $135.36.

At this price point, it provides excellent primary coverage for medical insurance, offers rental car insurance and includes superior trip interruption reimbursement.

  • Travel delay reimbursement kicks in after 12 hours. 

  • Baggage loss is capped at $250 per item and $1,500 total.

  • More expensive than other options. 

3. Detour Insurance

The Detour Insurance @The Edge insurance plan is aptly named. Costing $86.90, the plan offers a unique inclusion for the costs of search and rescue, which can provide peace of mind if you’re participating in backcountry adventures.

  • $1 million limit for medical evacuation. 

  • Coverage can be extended. 

  • $10,000 for search and rescue. 

  • No rental car insurance. 

  • Pre-existing conditions not covered. 

  • $50,000 limit for 24-hour accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) coverage. 

4. Trawick International

Trawick International’s Safe Travels Protect plan includes primary medical coverage as well as a wide range of trip protections. At $100.03, it even covers cancellations for medical reasons.

  • $25,000 in emergency medical coverage.

  • 100% for both trip cancellation and trip interruption. 

  • Medical quarantine coverage included. 

  • $100 medical deductible.

  • $500 lost luggage limit (not a great fit if you are packing several valuables).

  • Doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions. 

Other tips for travel and medical insurance in Europe

  • Do you have a travel credit card? Many of these cards offer complimentary travel insurance as a part of their benefits. 

  • The plan you select may offer secondary coverage, but this matters only if you have existing insurance. In its absence, secondary coverage becomes primary. 

  • Look at your existing health insurance policy. Some plans will provide emergency coverage for you when traveling internationally. 

Which credit cards offer Europe travel insurance?

If you’re looking for insurance when traveling to Europe, you may already have it without knowing. Many travel credit cards offer complimentary travel insurance.

Available types of insurance can include rental car insurance, emergency medical insurance, trip cancellation reimbursement, lost luggage protection and trip delay insurance.

Here are some of the best credit cards for travel insurance:

Top cards with travel insurance

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

on Chase’s website

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

on Chase’s website

The Platinum Card® from American Express

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

Annual fee

Travel protections (not a comprehensive list)

• Trip delay: Up to $500 per ticket for delays more than 12 hours.

• Trip cancellation: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $40,000 per 12-month period.

• Trip interruption: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $40,000 per 12-month period.

• Baggage delay: Up to $100 per day for five days.

• Lost luggage: Up to $3,000 per passenger.

• Trip delay: Up to $500 per ticket for delays more than 6 hours.

• Trip cancellation: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $40,000 per 12-month period.

• Trip interruption: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $40,000 per 12-month period.

• Baggage delay: Up to $100 per day for five days.

• Lost luggage: Up to $3,000 per passenger.

• Trip delay: Up to $500 per trip for delays more than 6 hours.

Trip cancellation: Up to $10,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $20,000 per 12-month period.

• Trip interruption: Up to $10,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $20,000 per 12-month period.

• Lost luggage: Up to $3,000 per passenger.

Terms apply.

• Trip delay: Up to $500 per passenger for delays more than 6 hours.

• Trip cancellation: Up to $2,000 per person for nonrefundable airline, bus, train or ferry tikets.

• Trip interruption: Up to $2,000 per person for nonrefundable airline, bus, train or ferry tikets.

• Lost or damaged luggage: Up to $3,000 per passenger.

Learn more

Terms apply.

Travel insurance for Europe recapped

Staying safe is important during your trip to Europe. Health insurance for travel can make a difference, especially if you’re planning on doing anything adventurous. The same can be said for other trip protections, which reimburse you for covered expenses that you incur.

To view rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, see this page.

Insurance Benefit: Trip Delay Insurance

  • Up to $500 per Covered Trip that is delayed for more than 6 hours; and 2 claims per Eligible Card per 12 consecutive month period.

  • Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.

  • Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

Insurance Benefit: Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance

  • The maximum benefit amount for Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance is $10,000 per Covered Trip and $20,000 per Eligible Card per 12 consecutive month period.

  • Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.

  • Underwritten by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.

Insurance Benefit: Baggage Insurance Plan

  • Baggage Insurance Plan coverage can be in effect for Covered Persons for eligible lost, damaged, or stolen Baggage during their travel on a Common Carrier Vehicle (e.g., plane, train, ship, or bus) when the Entire Fare for a ticket for the trip (one-way or round-trip) is charged to an Eligible Card. Coverage can be provided for up to $2,000 for checked Baggage and up to a combined maximum of $3,000 for checked and carry-on Baggage, in excess of coverage provided by the Common Carrier. The coverage is also subject to a $3,000 aggregate limit per Covered Trip. For New York State residents, there is a $2,000 per bag/suitcase limit for each Covered Person with a $10,000 aggregate maximum for all Covered Persons per Covered Trip.

  • Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.

  • Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

How to maximize your rewards


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TPO, MERS Review, LOS Products; Fannie/Freddie Changes; Rates React to Jobs Data

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TPO, MERS Review, LOS Products; Fannie/Freddie Changes; Rates React to Jobs Data


Fri, Jun 7 2024, 11:44 AM

Huh? Michigan passed California in legal weed sales? The folks here in San Diego don’t seem to mind, and many on the street are doing their part to keep up as they have for a long time. The only thing constant through time is change… And time flies. Chuck Norris is 84 years old. Jerry Seinfeld is 70. Vanna White is 67. “Captain Jack Sparrow” is 60. LOs and lenders know that business is cyclical and are working on positioning themselves for the next refi wave. Some top LOs and lenders are now doing 20-30 percent of what they were doing in the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021. The numbers over the months and years bear that out: Curinos calculates that May 2024 funded mortgage volume decreased 5 percent YoY and increased 9 percent MoM. In the retail channel, funded volume decreased 10 percent YoY and increased 9 percent MoM. (Curinos sources a statistically significant data set directly from lenders to produce these benchmark figures.) Today’s podcast is found here, and this week’s are sponsored by Visio Lending. Visio is the nation’s premier lender for buy and hold investors with over 2.5 billion closed loans for single-family rental properties, including vacation rentals. Hear an interview with reporter Steven Rappoport on the current home-equity market and how technology in the space is evolving to help originators win business.

Software, Products, and Services for Lenders and Brokers

If you’re tired of long contracts, failing implementations, or having to change your process to fit your Loan Origination System, maybe it’s time to see what happy Byte clients have known for years in this video. You don’t have to keep suffering with a slow, expensive LOS platform or sacrifice functionality to lower your costs. Designed to be both powerful and flexible, the Byte LOS platform gives you total control over your loan process and the freedom to do business the way YOU want. If you’re a savvy, independent-thinking lender with an uncompromising ideal of how you want to run your operation, request a demo or visit to learn more.

“Act now and unlock big savings! Schedule your firm’s 2024 MERS Annual Report Review with TENA Companies, Inc. today. Each year, MERS requires its members to submit an Annual Report. If you are the named servicer on 1,000 or more active MINs as of March 31st, 2024, you must have your MERS Annual Report reviewed by a qualified third-party review firm and completed by December 31st, 2024. Get ahead of the curve and secure a significant 40 percent discount on your 2024 MERS Annual Review by partnering with TENA and providing all required documentation by August 31st. Our streamlined process minimizes your workload: simply provide the required documentation, we’ll handle the rest! Since 1982, TENA Companies, Inc. has been the mortgage industry’s trusted leader in Quality Control Audit Services and Software. Ensure your firm remains in compliance for 2024: Contact TENA today to learn more and lock-in your early-bird discount.”

Rocket Pro TPO prioritizes affordability with its popular ONE+ by Rocket Mortgage product. Eligible clients can put just 1 percent down, with Rocket Pro TPO covering an additional 2 percent as a grant, not a loan or lien. This means clients start building equity from day one. As interest rates fall and clients choose to refinance, they benefit from built-in equity. Stay informed with the latest industry updates and market trends on the Rocket Pro TPO YouTube channel. Looking to elevate your business? For exclusive opportunities, partner with Rocket Pro TPO and gain access to its Pro Performance Sales Training on June 25th, designed to move buyers from no to yes, and boost success in the mortgage industry. Sign up now for Rocket Pro TPO’s IGNITE Live training on July 9th to discover more about their innovative offerings. Contact Rocket Pro TPO today to explore partnership opportunities that can benefit both your clients and your business.

Freddie and Fannie Updates

FHFA announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will enhance their Flex Modification policies to allow more borrowers facing longer-term hardships to achieve meaningful payment reductions. The updated Flex Modification policies will promote sustainable homeownership and the safety and soundness of the Enterprises.

Freddie Mac Resolve®: Deed-in-Lieu of Foreclosure Data Validation and Eligibility Error Messages Reference: This reference provides Resolve users with a quick way to view detailed, actionable feedback messages, including possible causes and next steps.

Freddie Mac Resolve®: Charge-Off Request Validation Error Messages Reference: This reference provides users with a quick way to view detailed and actionable feedback messages for data validation and eligibility errors, including possible causes and next steps.

Freddie Mac Loan Selling Advisor® Seller User Roles Job Aid: Learn about the Seller user roles for Loan Selling Advisor. Share this job aid with your administrator for user role provisioning in Freddie Mac Access Manager.

In alignment with Freddie Mac and at the direction of FHFA, Fannie Mae issued Lender Letter (LL-2024-02): Updates to Determining the Flex Modification Terms to expand borrower eligibility and provide more equitable payment reduction to eligible borrowers. Key changes include revising the mark-to-market loan-to-value (MTMLTV) based requirements and incrementally applying the terms to target 20 percent P&I payment reduction. Servicers may implement these changes starting Nov. 1 but must implement them by Dec. 1.

Fannie Mae Desktop Underwriter/Desktop Originator Release Notes, DU Version 11.1 July update.

Fannie Mae’s down payment assistance tool makes it easier to explore and compare various down payment assistance programs. You and your borrowers can compare up to four different options and see a side-by-side view of features, including maximum amount of assistance, household income limits, and more.

Fannie Mae’s May Quality Insider features the defect trends we are seeing in our post-purchase loan file reviews. Read the article to understand these issues and learn some of our best practices to help manage risk and improve loan quality.

Pennymac posted 24-53: Updates to Conventional LLPAs stating it will add a new ‘HomeReady’ LLPA to the ‘LLPAs by Product Feature for All Eligible Loans’ Grid, effective for all Best Efforts Commitments taken on or after Monday, June 3.

National MI announced updates to the TrueGuide® which include changes and clarifications on ​​​​​AUS and Non-AUS Loans. For details, view National MI Announcement: UW 2024-02.

Newrez announced Conforming Loans underwriting guideline updates in Newrez Correspondent 2024-033.

Effective with announcement 202405021-CL, AmeriHome has removed and clarified certain Conventional and Non-Delegated overlays.

Capital Markets

The global rate-hiking cycle is seemingly done as the strength of labor markets around the globe weakens. The European Central Bank, in a widely expected move, cut its benchmark rate 25 basis points to 3.75 percent yesterday. It was the ECB’s first rate cut since 2019, though the central bank was quick to caution investors that it is not committing to any predefined rate path and that forward looking policy will remain data dependent, all but ruling out another cut for July. That came on the heels of the Bank of Canada cutting rates on Tuesday. June fed funds futures don’t see a cut when the Fed meets next week. However, markets are now pricing in nearly two full 25 basis point cuts before year-end as this week’s weaker than anticipated private payroll readings from ADP and a decrease in job openings have investors excited about the prospect of rate cuts from the Fed. Today’s jobs data will give the Fed its last major indicator before next week’s meeting.

Speaking of that jobs data, the first Friday of the month brings payrolls, and the economy added +272k, much stronger than expected, jobs throughout the month of May versus 185k expectations and 175k previously. The unemployment rate was 4.0 percent when it was expected to remain static at 3.9 percent. Average hourly earnings (+.4 percent) when it was seen increasing 0.3 percent month-over-month and 3.9 percent year-over-year versus 0.2 percent and 3.9 percent previously. BLS data suggests that U.S. payroll gains were not as robust as reported in 2023, and the overestimate may have been 60k a month. This would indicate that the job market is weaker than the Fed thinks, though the central bank does understand that job gains and pay growth are slowing going into the second half of the year, and there are notable pockets of weakness tied to both producers and consumers.

Later today brings wholesale inventories and sales, the Fed’s release of Q1 Flow of Funds, and consumer credit for April. After the employment data Agency MBS prices are worse .250-.500 from Thursday’s close, the 10-year is yielding 4.41 after closing yesterday at 4.28 percent, and the 2-year is at 4.84.


“Are you exceptional at building and leading origination teams and are currently working for a company that doesn’t recognize your value as a manager? At Planet Home Lending, we understand that strong local leadership moves the dial on national success. You bring the insights from Main Street; we provide a dynamic platform where your ideas fuel product innovation and shape our operational strategies, all within the framework of a financially stable, multichannel ecosystem. Contact Senior Vice President Doug Long at (407) 399-5505 and explore how joining Planet can propel your career. Let’s build success together!”

A very well capitalized, mid-sized IMB servicing 100 percent of its loans in-house without a sub-servicer, headquartered in a Rocky Mountain State, is looking to acquire smaller retail IMBs who would prefer to focus on production and at the same time gain operational efficiencies. Understanding that every company has a very unique culture, the IMB is willing to allow these IMBs to operate with a large degree of autonomy, allow you to keep your trade name, and treat you as your own company. Geography is not an issue. We believe that a larger company forcing their culture upon the company being acquired never works over the long term. The vision is for this IMB to hit $5 billion in annual volume with likeminded people, and it has no desire to grow beyond that volume as the President “wants to be big enough to be a player, yet small enough to keep our soul.” Confidential inquiries should be sent to Chrisman LLC’s Anjelica Nixt for forwarding.

“Jim Bromwell has joined employee-owned USA Mortgage as a Regional Manager. Working from offices in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, the 29-year industry veteran is tasked with growing USA’s presence in markets in the Eastern United States. ‘USA Mortgage is a 100 percent employee-owned company where the employees truly have a voice and a genuine ESOP account,’ he said. ‘I feel USA Mortgage is one of the top platforms in the industry centered around adding value to Loan Officers and their partners. It has a significant presence in the Midwest and is well positioned to grow across the country, which is exciting! While the company is large, it has the “hometown” feel that is appealing in today’s market.’ Founded in St. Louis in 2001, USA has offices in 34 states and is licensed in 49 states plus the District of Columbia. To initiate a confidential conversation about joining USA, contact us here.”

A growing mortgage lender on a mission to be a top player in the wholesale channel is in search of a Head of Operations who’s a strategic mastermind. With at least 5 years of experience leading and wrangling the complexities of wholesale and non-delegated lending, you see technology as your key to unlocking growth (think AI, automation, the whole efficiency toolkit). You thrive on streamlining processes, making approvals super-fast, and motivating your team to break records with infectious enthusiasm. You must be obsessed with the customer experience. This ain’t your average mortgage gig. We’re on a quest to change the game. Ready to join the adventure? Confidential and serious inquiries can email Chrisman LLC’s Anjelica Nixt; please specify the opportunity.

Vienna and now Norway? SNMC Sets the Standard for Industry President’s Trips. Upon return from the SecurityNational Mortgage Company’s 2024 President’s Trip to Vienna, Austria, SNMC President Andrew Quist unveiled an equally extraordinary journey for 2025. How can we possibly top the unforgettable experience of Vienna? An exclusive 7-day cruise from England to Norway. SVP, Joel Harward noted, “Vienna was a fantastic trip where so many great memories were created. The 2025 Norway cruise we just announced reaffirms SNMC’s dedication to motivating our top salespeople and the value we place on celebrating our President’s Club qualifiers.” To explore more about SecurityNational Mortgage Company’s commitment and track record of renowned sales trips, you can click here to learn more today!

 Download our mobile app to get alerts for Rob Chrisman’s Commentary.


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So, you have only one day in Fort Worth to experience all this city has to offer – you’ve come to the right place! Whether you’re exploring the town for vacation or trying to decide on renting an apartment in Fort Worth or buying a home in Fort Worth, ApartmentGuide can help you plan the ideal day. 

In this article, you’ll find a treasure trove of restaurants, activities, and parks handpicked by Fort Worth locals. Your task is to look through the list and select one item from each step to create your ideal itinerary. Feel free to choose more than one option if you wish! Think of this as a “Choose Your Own Adventure” for exploring a new city. The goal is for you to get a crash course in what it’s like to live in Fort Worth.

Step one:

Try a new experience

During your time in Fort Worth, make sure to take advantage of all the great experiences this city has to offer. See below for a myriad of experiences, from glass art classes to the oldest bookstore in Texas. Choose one or a few to explore during your stay.

SiNaCa Studios: “Escape the humdrum and head to SiNaCa Studios for some fun and excitement. You will have a blast with glass art classes at SiNaCa Studios. Whether you want to try glass blowing or flamework glass art, you will have a hot time at SiNaCa Studios.” – Clarissa M. of Romantic Spots Fort Worth.

Casa Mañana: “Casa Mañana is known for bringing captivating performances to life on stage. At Casa Mañana, you can enjoy a wide range of theatrical productions from Broadway favorites to family-friendly productions. From the moment you walk into the domed building, to the rise of the curtain to open the show, to the final applause, you will be fully immersed in the magic that is Casa Mañana.” – Clarissa M. of Romantic Spots Fort Worth.

Barber’s Bookstore: “Come visit the oldest bookstore in the state. We are one of the last independent bookstores in Tarrant County. We buy libraries and do appraisals.” – Brian Perkins, owner of Barber’s Bookstore and author of online stories.

Rooftop Cinema Club: “Enjoy a unique experience at Rooftop Cinema Club. You will have a scenic view of downtown Fort Worth at night while you enjoy a movie under the moonlight. The cinema provides personal headphones for each person, concessions where you buy drinks and classic movie snacks. Check out their website for exclusive screenings like Wooftop!, Singles Night, and movies that provide closed captions.” – Giselle Jimenez of Pax & Beneficia.

Tubman Gallery: “Visiting the newly opened Tubman Gallery to view beautiful art from local artists is a great way to connect with the east side of the city. The experience is unique, inviting, and inspiring.” – Black Coffee FW.

The Fort Worth Botanic Garden: “One of my favorite places to photograph couples is the Fort Worth Botanic Garden! The garden offers a variety of landscapes, from meticulously manicured lawns to wildflower-filled meadows and, my favorite, the Japanese garden. The landscapes there are especially beautiful in the fall and winter, bursting with warm and vibrant colors.” – Elizabeth Couch of Elizabeth Couch Photography.

Wanna try something else? Check out “If you are looking for something to do in Fort Worth, you just have to make one click to Whether it’s live music for the upcoming weekend, festivals in and around Fort Worth, or the live theater selections, WhatsUpFortWorth is your one-stop click for ‘what’s up’ in Fort Worth. Select the area of town and date, and you will know everything that is going on in Fort Worth.” – Greg Heitzman of

Step two: 

Go on a scavenger hunt around town

If you’re looking for a unique experience, consider exploring the town through one of the scavenger hunts put on by DFW Scavenger Hunt. Travel on foot as your host sends you on a quest to solve a puzzle before time runs out. If you like escape rooms, this will be right up your alley, testing your wits while exposing you to the art, culture, and history of Fort Worth. DFW Scavenger Hunt has provided a few destinations to get you started. Visit them for more!

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid: “Lawmen dreamed of nabbing Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid for years, but here in Fort Worth they’ve been truly captured, in bronze, along with the rest of the Wild Bunch. Visit the Flatiron Building to see this unique piece of art, and snap a selfie with the gang.” – DFW Scavenger Hunt.

Find the panthers: “A 19th-century insult hurled at the city claimed it was so quiet that a panther was spotted sleeping undisturbed on the streets. The city reclaimed the slight, and now panthers can be found throughout town, including at the Sleeping Panther Fountain in Hyde Park.” – DFW Scavenger Hunt.

Spot the knights: “Here’s a mini-scavenger hunt for you. See if you can find the knight guarding Sundance Square. Here’s a hint: the figure stands on a ledge a few stories up from Main Street in a full suit of armor, a symbol of a secret society that once called this building its home.” – DFW Scavenger Hunt.

Step three: 

Enjoy the local food and coffee

If you’re kicking around the idea of renting a home in Fort Worth, make sure to try the local cuisine. Fort Worth does not disappoint, with everything from hip coffee shops to mouthwatering Mexican food.

Joe T Garcia’s: “Joe T Garcia’s serves up more than just delicious Mexican food and drinks. Joe T Garcia’s also serves up the most enchanting garden oasis vibes. You will feel like you’ve found a little piece of heaven while you dig into delicious enchiladas surrounded by lush greenery.” – Clarissa M. of Romantic Spots Fort Worth.

Dr. Sue’s Chocolates: “Dr. Sue’s Chocolates is a great local chocolatier crafting all natural chocolates that are perfect pairings with wine or for gift giving.” – Gina Graves of Messina Hof Winery.

Pax and Beneficia Coffee: “Enjoy a hot or iced coffee at Pax & Beneficia Coffee in the heart of downtown Fort Worth. Each coffee bean is roasted at their Grapevine HQ by their very own roaster, Joan Juan. They take pride in making the best quality of specialty coffee and handmade syrups used in each of their locations and drinks. You also have the option to take their packaged coffee and syrups for an at-home experience.” – Giselle Jimenez of Pax & Beneficia.

Carpenter’s Cafe: “Having the most flavorful chicken salad at Carpenter’s Cafe & Catering will satisfy anyone’s hunger, and call them back to do it all over again. They also have amazing Asian zing nachos and the best smoked turkey club sandwich.” – Black Coffee FW.

Black Coffee FW: “Stop by Black Coffee to start your day with the best latte, cappuccino, or drip coffee you can have in the city. Our staff is friendly and always ready to quench your caffeinated thirst.” – Black Coffee FW.

Step four:

Explore a different part of the city

Fort Worth is a city of rich history and culture. In fact, locals preferred to recommend exploring a specific part of the city in full before moving on. Below are different parts of Fort Worth that each present their own unique culture. Pick one and enjoy all it has to offer!

Take a stroll in the Cultural District: “One of our favorite days spent in Fort Worth is in the Cultural District, specifically strolling the Kimbell Art Museum and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, both within walking distance to the hotel. Afterwards, you can pop in to The Circle Bar or the patio at Emilia’s at The Crescent Hotel Fort Worth for festive cocktails and dinner in the stunning atmosphere, and enjoy the impressive art program throughout the hotel along the way. After dinner, catch a concert or performance at Dickie’s Arena, less than a five-minute drive from the hotel.” – Lauren Lamp of The Crescent Hotel Fort Worth.

Explore South Main Street: “Beignets, breweries, and The Bearded Lady (It’s a restaurant): if you’re looking for an eclectic neighborhood to explore, ‘SoMa’ is it. You could spend a morning working from Roots Coffeehouse, grab Hawaiian food for lunch at the always-packed Coco Shrimp, finish the afternoon off with a few beers from HopFusion Ale Works and then grab dinner once the sun goes down at Funky Calavera, which has the best birria tacos in Ft. Worth. You might even be able to catch one of your favorite indie bands at Tulips FTW if you time it right!” – Justin Runyon of Runyon Coffee.

Discover Sundance Square: “I have a deep love for Fort Worth and its unique charm. Sundance Square in downtown Fort Worth screams COWTOWN! The architecture, light, and colors in the area are a recipe for success during any photoshoot! Elopements at the Tarrant County Courthouse are becoming very popular and are a joy to photograph. When you visit downtown Fort Worth, she’s right there in all her glory: The courthouse – a stunning pink granite building that’s a true work of art. Inside, it’s like stepping back in time, with ornate staircases, gold accents, and light that make everything feel romantic and magical. Getting hitched at the historic 1895 Tarrant County Courthouse is memorable and special.” – Elizabeth Couch of Elizabeth Couch Photography.

Walk along the Trinity River: “When the weather is nice (say, spring or fall), a stroll along the Trinity River is a fantastic way to get some exercise and enjoy this small river that runs all the way through Ft. Worth. One of my favorite things is to start or end the day at restaurants along the river, like Press Cafe or Woodshed Smokehouse. If you’re a long-distance runner, there’s no better place to train as the trail is around 18 miles long from start to finish!”  – Justin Runyon of Runyon Coffee.

Head North for a touch of nature: “As the owner of a portrait studio in North Fort Worth for the past 15 years, I can genuinely say that I love this vibrant community. Nestled in an area rich with scenic beauty and bustling with activity, North Fort Worth has provided the perfect backdrop for my work as a photographer. From the picturesque state parks to the charming downtown area and the iconic Stockyards, I have found endless inspiration for portrait sessions that truly capture the essence of this wonderful region.” – Jennifer Braly of Braly Studios.

Step five:

Grab a drink and reflect

Now that you’ve spent time exploring Fort Worth, it’s time to end the day with a drink and some time to reflect. What did you like about the city? What did you not like? Could you see yourself renting a house in Fort Worth or even buying a home in nearby Dallas?

Atlas Fort Worth: “Get ready for a trip around the world at Atlas. Atlas is a sophisticated, Edgar Allan Poe-inspired, cocktail bar with sophisticated decor, low lighting, and a refined ambiance. At Atlas, you can enjoy great cocktails inspired by a variety of global cultures.” – Clarissa M. of Romantic Spots Fort Worth.

Free Play: “Free Play is the place to be for fun and nostalgia. This epic arcade bar with a huge selection of classic arcade games and pinball machines that provide endless entertainment. Whether you are a Pac-Man fan or Street Fighter is more your vibe, you can enjoy unlimited play on a variety of your favorite retro games while enjoying a craft cocktail or beer.” – Clarissa M. of Romantic Spots Fort Worth.

Messina Hof Grapevine Winery: “We are an urban winery featuring multiple tasting areas with over 40 different wines, premium flights, wine on tap, and delectable small plates. Take in the sunshine as you sip and savor on the patio or balcony and enjoy the view of downtown Main Street. Messina Hof is the most awarded winery in Texas with over 45 years of winemaking experience and is committed to old-world hospitality.” – Gina Graves of Messina Hof Winery.

Martin House Brewing Company and TopGolf: “Nobody puts on a party quite like Martin House. Bring your favorite folding chair and sit alongside the Trinity River while enjoying one of their many, many events throughout the year. After enjoying a few beers for less than $20 and filling up on their food truck offerings, traipse over to TopGolf across the river and tee off for a few hours. You’ll get an action-packed evening with great views of downtown Ft. Worth.” – Justin Runyon of Runyon Coffee.

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For some, “digital nomad” evokes the image of a young, unencumbered tech worker sending emails from the beach. Indeed, three-quarters of digital nomads are under age 40, according to a 2023 survey of over 1,200 digital nomads by Flatio, an online accommodation platform.

Yet some families have joined the digital nomad lifestyle, leaving their belongings — and the idea of a “home” — behind as they travel the globe. The lifestyle may not afford families the same hammock-swinging freedom that digital nomads without children enjoy, but these adventurous parents say the trade-offs are worth it.

“We really like the whole adventure,” says Chris Oberman, founder of Moving Jack, a blog about his family’s trips around the world. “Normal things like going to the supermarket become really special because it’s a new experience.”

Originally from the Netherlands, Oberman, his partner, their 6-month-old baby and their two cats are currently in Iraq. They plan to move to South Korea this summer.

“Logistically, it requires a lot of planning,” Oberman says. “Before we move abroad, we return to our home country to arrange all necessary documents. Since we don’t own a house, we either stay with family or rent a place. When we depart for our new destination, we stay in a temporary place such as a serviced apartment or hotel that allows cats (which isn’t easy to find).”

In the midst of this explanation, the power went out.

“The power goes out five times a day,” Oberman says with a laugh, highlighting some of the unexpected challenges of living abroad with a family.

Schools and social circles

Schooling poses one of the biggest challenges to families living on the road. Oberman’s infant is too young for school, so that’s not an issue, but other digital nomad families must get creative when it comes to education.

“Our decision on where to go is influenced by factors such as having internet access to educational opportunities for our kids, safety and cost of living,” Vasilii Kiselev said in an email. Kiselev is from Florida, and his family of four is currently nomading in Portugal. “[We] incorporate local culture and history into their learning experience.”

This approach reflects an educational movement called “world schooling,” an unofficial term that describes an educational approach centered around cultural immersion. Some, like Kiselev, still seek formal education while traveling, while others combine nomadism with homeschooling. The Facebook group “Worldschoolers” has over 67,000 members.

And while it might sound challenging for children to get uprooted regularly, Kiselev, whose children are ages 8 and 12, suggests that adjusting to nomadism is a matter of practice.

“They have adapted well to the lifestyle,” Kiselev said.

Changing friend groups and even languages from one month to the next can be a challenge for anyone, never mind a child. Oberman says he’s aware of the social difficulties that lie ahead for his son.

“As he makes friends, it could be tough for him.”

Budgets and trade-offs

Raising kids is expensive whether at home, abroad or on Mars.

It’s easy to be daunted by the cost of traveling full time with a family, especially given how expensive a few weeks’ vacation can be. Yet many nomadic families are able to maintain a budget when living full time on the road.

Kiselev’s family budgets about 1,500 to 2,500 euros ($1,629 to $2,715) per month for housing.

“It’s pricey but necessary for a comfortable living space.”

Another cost is private school, which costs Kiselev about 500 to 1,000 euros ($543 to $1,086) per month, or $6,516 to $13,032 per year — an attractive price for many U.S.-based parents in high cost-of-living areas.

For comparison, according to a study last updated in October 2023 by the Education Data Initiative, a research group focused on the U.S. education system, the average annual private school tuition across grade levels K-12 in Massachusetts is $25,061, and California’s average is $16,637.

Of course, that doesn’t include last-minute hotels, airfare, travel insurance and all the other expenses accrued from shuttling a family around the globe. Oberman’s family found themselves flying back and forth from Iraq to the Netherlands and Dubai during the pregnancy because of concerns about the quality of health care in Iraq. Those expenses can add up in a hurry and swamp any savings from lower overall costs of living.

Yet many families find the financial trade-offs worth it in terms of the experiences they and their families are able to accrue.

“Showing our child so much of the world is very rewarding and helps him grow with a global perspective,” says Oberman.


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Many people experience regret when they receive gifts they don’t like.

It is important to avoid this by giving and receiving the right type of gift for someone. Some items that make for great gifts are subscriptions to magazines, concert or theater tickets, video games, movies, and books.

Other ideas include checking off bucket list adventures!

Experience gifts are the best gifts.

Many times after gifts are opened, you might be feeling a little disappointed in what you bought for others. You spent time and money, but now they are just left with a mountain of gifts that won’t be put to use. Don’t worry—we’ve got your back and plenty of ideas!

How can you avoid gift regret? Well, there are many different options to explore to find the perfect present.

In this post, we will cover unique experience gift ideas for her, families, kids, and everyone in between.

What are Experience Gift Ideas?

Experience gifts are a type of gift that gives the recipient an experience as opposed to tangible goods.

For example, you could buy someone tickets for their favorite band or sports team and they will get to go to an event and have a great time.

This type of gift will not expire, so if the person does not want it or use it right away they can still enjoy it later on!

Honestly, these are gift ideas that would love to do yourself!

Give the gift of experience by giving a membership to an activity, a day pass for activities like yoga or rock climbing. You can also give someone a voucher to take a class like cooking or painting.

There are so many options! We will go further in detail below.

Why Buying Experiences is Better than Physical Gifts?

If you still have gift cards on the table, it might be time to think about what your loved one really wants. “What is important for people are experiences that create memories,” says Harvard business professor Michael Norton.

A study by the Journal of Consumer Research found that for experiences, people felt more satisfied and happy with what they had received than material gifts like clothes or jewelry.

One way to make a gift even more special is to take the recipient with you when you go shopping.

Some people might feel bad when they get a gift they don’t like, but it is ok. For your next gift to someone you love, try getting them something different – like an experience gift!

Many people looking for a no gift Christmas look for experiences instead.

Ultimate List of Life Experience Gift Ideas

A lot of people experience gift regret when they receive a gift that is not their style or something that has no use. This can be frustrating because the person who gave you the present did their best to find what they thought you would enjoy.

That is why we have the best experience gift ideas all in one place!

There are many experience gift ideas on this list of the best experience gift ideas.

-A trip to your favorite theme park.

-An evening of bowling and dinner with friends.

-A night at a sleepover party for girls only.

– The list goes on and on with so many fabulous ideas!

Many of these on the list are outdoor experience gift ideas!

The best gift ideas are the ones that they will love and cherish for years. With these many great experience gift ideas, you will be sure to find the perfect gift for any occasion.

Who says a birthday is just another day? It’s a special time, and it deserves something extra-special as a present.

These types of gifts are perfect for the frugal green person who cares about saving money and being eco-friendly.

Experience Gifts for Everyone

If you are looking for a gift that will be remembered, look no further.

We have rounded up the best gifts to give someone who is hard to buy for or just wants something different than a gift card.

This may seem like it’s too good of a present, but if you know the person well, it’s a gift that will not go to waste.

  • Weekend Getaway: If you are looking to gift someone with a gift that is guaranteed to not go unused, give them an unforgettable experience. Find the perfect hotel today.
  • Language Courses: Learning a new language is always a great idea! This is something that can be done in your own time and space. Start your journey to bi-lingual.
  • Bowling: Has it been a while since you went bowling? Time to lace up those bowling shoes for a night out at the lanes. Can you roll a strike?
  • Dinner Out (or Dinner In): Everyone loves a break from cooking. Find the local trendy restaurant or pick of their favorites. Either or, it is the company that makes the difference!
  • Night Out with Friends: This is always a great gift idea! There are so many different things you can do for a night out.
  • Monthly Subscriptions: Monthly subscriptions are a fun gift that can either be an ongoing thing like Netflix or HBO, or something for the month that includes their hobbies.
  • Fitness Classes: At home or on the go! There are plenty of options for a healthier lifestyle. You can find new, exciting fitness workouts anywhere!
  • Groupon Deal of the Day: Let the popular app find all of the ideas that are hot in their area. Plus save a buck or two for the saver in you! Find Groupon Deals.
  • White Water Rafting Expedition:  If you are looking for an adventure, white water rafting is the perfect gift. With the best company and scenery, it will be a day that they’ll never forget!
  • Ziplining Tour:  SOme of my best memories are from a ziplining tour. Make sure to zipline in a breath-taking place to soak in the scenery around you. For a bigger adrenaline rush, zipline through a cliff.
  • Hotel Gift Card: Don’t have the perfect gift idea? Give them a night out on you! Buy them a hotel gift card to spend when they are ready.
  • Book Club: Books make great gifts because there’s never anything like it in someone else’s collection, and you can find one that’s appropriate for their reading level. Double bonus: when you meet for drinks to re-hash the books.
  • Baked Goods: Give a friend or family member something to bake, like cookies or bread. It’ll make them feel happy and proud of themselves, and you’ll get to enjoy the results. Even better… pass along the recipe and ingredients for them to recreate themselves.
  • Gift Cards: For the person who has everything, give them an experience they can buy with their gift card. Give someone $30 to spend at a local art store and they’ll be grateful for the experience.
  • Cash: Cash is king. Let the people who love buy their own presents. This is especially a great gift for a frugal person.
  • A Donation: Don’t want to spend any money? Consider donating in someone’s name; they’ll appreciate it more than anything else.

It’s the time of year to celebrate with family, friends, and loved ones.

Hopefully one of these life experience gift ideas is appealing to yoU!

Experience Gift Ideas for Kids

Kids and families will appreciate a wide array of gifts!

It is hard to shop for gifts for kids who have everything, so hopefully, this list gave you some ideas.

This gift list includes out-of-the-box ideas to help minimize the clutter most families deal with as well as much-loved gifts.

  • Art Class: Art supplies and a session with an instructor, designed to create your own masterpieces. Plus the best part is you do not have to clean up the mess!
  • Archery: This sport is always on the list of “coolest things to do.” Learn archery, improve your technique and have a chance to participate in competitions.
  • Sports Lessons: Get some new skills and have a ton of fun while improving their athletic ability.
  • Backpacks & Sports Bags: Kids need to keep their stuff organized! This could be a camelpak for their next hike or just a travel bag for their next trip. Find ideas!
  • Subscription Boxes:  Looking for something to come in the mail? Get a monthly box of goodies that you will be excited to open. Find the perfect subscription box.
  • Music Lessons: Become the next pop star with lessons in piano, guitar, or violin.
  • Tool Kit: This includes everything you need to fix things around your house and will teach skills that last a lifetime. This is great for the teenager or young adult.
  • Sleepover Party – Time for giggles and fun! Find sleepover party supplies here!
  • Art Supplies: Every craft station needs to be refilled for hours more of fun!
  • Ice Cream: You scream, we scream, we all scream for ice cream! Always a sweet treat and there are so many places that make your experience a delicious time!

Any of these kids experience gift ideas are winners for them! Check out this post for the best kids gifts under $10. Made by kids for kids.

Experience Gift Ideas for Family

A family’s experience with a gift is more important than the amount of money spent on it. If you’re looking for some new ideas, try any of these ideas.

Plus you buy one gift for the whole family!

Try any of these experience gift ideas for families!

  • Family Dinner Night Out: For many families, it is too costly to take the whole family out to dinner. Find a restaurant that is known for creating an experience the family will never forget.
  • Family Game Night: Stock the game closet! These are great gifts when the kids grow up because their interest changes and ability level improves. Drop ship a gift basket for family game night.
  • Family Green Space Improvement Projects: Such as a backyard garden or a small vegetable plot or even flower pots. Provide the seed money and let the family flourish together.
  • Paintball Package: For those who love to participate in outdoor activities, a paintball package is a lot of fun and a big adrenaline rush. 
  • Helicopter Tour: This is a great gift for kids who love to learn about the world! This is an experience they will never forget.
  • Trip to Local Theme Park:  What better way to have fun than to visit your favorite theme park with friends or family?
  • Family Movie Night: Purchase a gift subscription to the popular streaming services. Disney+ is perfect for kids. Put together a snack bucket with popcorn and everyone’s favorite beverages. 
  • Sporting Event: Buy a t-shirt or jersey of their favorite team and surprise the little sports fan with an evening at the live game!
  • Camping Trip: Glamping is allowed, too! It is about disconnecting from the devices and having in-person interactions. Plus the wild will always surprise you!
  • Age Specific Weekend Getaway: When your child (or grandchild) is a certain age, take them on a trip. During this one-on-one time, you can have plenty of experiences and memories to share. Popular ages to do this would be nine years old, twelve years old, and fifteen years old.

Experience Gift Ideas for Couples

This section provides ideas for gifts that are best suited for couples.

  • Cooking Class: Couples who enjoy cooking together will enjoy a cooking class. Even if they need to learn to cook, this will be an extremely useful gift!
  • Online Course: Pick a topic; any topic! There are thousands of online classes to explore together to learn a new skill, find a new hobby, or enhance your skills. This is a course I did with my husband.
  • Adventure Ticket: Think like a tourist! This gift idea can be local to your area. What is the one thing this couple hasn’t experienced in their area?
  • Hot Air Ballooning: Don’t worry if you are afraid of heights, being in a hot air balloon is like floating across the water. It is a romantic and unforgettable experience to share.
  • Rent a Boat: Yeah, a boat. If you have the time and money to rent a boat for what will be an extended period of time, this is going to make one heck of a memorable gift.
  • Tickets to a Comedy Show: Laughing is the best medicine, and what better way to get a laugh than at a comedy show.
  • Adventure Ticket: Think like a kid- get them a ticket to go do something adventurous.
  • Couples Therapy: You could be treading a very fine line here. However, learning how to be a better spouse is always a great idea. Just make sure you have solid referrals.
  • Date Night: Who doesn’t enjoy a date night? Cover the cost of a babysitter and give them money for the restaurant.
  • A Day at the Movies and Lunch: Sounds picture-perfect, right?
  • Encourage their Passion: If you know what the couple’s passions are, give them money to go and pursue it. For example, if they’re musicians or artists then buy a guitar for them or a sketchbook.
  • Golf Lessons: These are an experienced-based gift that will allow them to enjoy a hobby together.
  • Music Lessons: Music is a universal love and they can learn how to play the guitar, harmonica or drums. Time spent together is harmony.
  • Plan for the future: Get them a certificate to receive daycare in case they need it at some point in their lives. Or get them a gift card from Costco to help with all the baby items they will need.

Experience Gift Ideas for Her:

Some experience-based gifts you can give a woman on her birthday or Christmas. Ladies love to be pampered (hint, hint)!

  • Spa Treatments: These include manicures, pedicures, and facials. They are a relatively inexpensive gift that she is sure to love!
  • Massages: A massage will make her feel like a new woman and she will love the way it feels.
  • A Day at the Spa: This is the most luxurious of them all. Instead of just one or two spa treatments. Add in foot soaks and of course, the more intense ones like a mud treatment or body wrap can really clean you up. The lady of your life gets pampered for a half-day or full day.
  • Time for Herself: Quiet zen time away from the needs in her life. This could be an hour of quiet or a full day.
  • Luxury Hotel Stay: Sometimes, you need a luxurious night of sleep without children waking you up.
  • Tickets to an Event: This could be for the theater, concert, or art grand opening. If you know your lady well, you will know what her passion is and can find the perfect ticket to match.
  • Night Out on the Town: This date includes dinner and a show.
  • Surprise Dinner from Her Favorite Restaurant: Sometimes, it is the little things in life that make the best gifts.
  • Yoga or Pilates Classes:  Some people find that these classes relieve their stress. Plus improve your flexibility at the same time.

These are some of my favorite gift ideas.

Experience Gift Ideas for Him:

I think most guys prefer experiences over being lavished with gifts.

Also, let’s be honest… Men are 95% more likely to go out and buy exactly what they need and not wait for a holiday to come around.

Give him an experience day and he will be talking about it for years to come.

These are gift ideas for men who have everything!

  • Skydiving:  Can you imagine? The adrenaline rush of jumping out of a plane and free-falling at 120 miles per hour. It’s an experience that he won’t soon forget.
  • Rock Climbing:  He’ll get to experience the adrenaline rush of climbing up a cliff, navigating over obstacles, and getting to the top.
  • Horseback Riding: It’s not just for girls! Horseback riding is a great outdoor activity that he can do with his friends.
  • Throwing 1st Pitch at Baseball Game: It doesn’t matter their age. This is a dream for all ages!! The trickier part is how to make this experience gift idea happen.
  • Snowboarding:  He’ll get to experience the adrenaline rush of snowboarding and enjoy learning a new skill set. Just hope he make it down the mountain in one piece.
  • A Day at the Spa: A man may not think this is a gift, but if he needs to be reminded of how good it feels to take care of himself then I say go for it.
  • Renting a Sports Car: This is a rite of passage for every man to drive a sports car.
  • Day at the Race Track: Specifically to be able to drive the cars; not just watch the professionals drive. Many of the race tracks offer amateurs a chance to feel the exhilaration of 100 mph.
  • Charter Fishing Trip:  The best way to spend a weekend. Ask any guy and the story will be bigger than the fish they caught!

More than anything that is considered living on the edge is the perfect experience for him!

Best Experiences Gift Guide

This guide will help you come up with gift ideas for loved ones.

It won’t help with cleaning baseboards, but it will help you find gift ideas that they will appreciate. It is always good to say I appreciate you!

When it comes to buying a gift for someone who is a bit harder to buy for, consider giving them an experience that they would not otherwise be able to do.

Art & Entertainment-themed:

If you are looking for an experience gift, look no further than the arts.

  • Tickets to a Play: If you are looking to give a gift that will last for an extended period of time, consider gifting someone with the experience of attending one event at their favorite venue.
  • Tickets to a Concert: These will not go to waste and can be used anytime within their validity period. Time to jam away to the tunes.
  • Museum Membership: Consider gifting someone with a membership to an art gallery or museum. Also, many museums have reciprocal benefits and can be used in other cities when traveling.

Food & Drink Themed:

A great gift idea for any occasion is to give food or drinks. Whether it’s a holiday, birthday, anniversary, or just because you want to show someone how much they mean to you, food themed gifts are a great way to show you care.

  • Cooking Classes: This is a great idea for the foodie or non-foodie! Everything tastes better and is more fun when you do not have to clean up afterward.
  • Wine Tour: This gift is perfect for the wine enthusiast. Wine tasting, learning about viticulture, and enjoying tastings of different wines are all part of this gift.
  • Brewery/distillery tours:  For the craft beer or liquor enthusiast, this is a great gift. Learn how different beers and liquors are made while enjoying tastings of them.
  • Culinary school: This is for the foodie and non-foodie alike. Whether you love to cook or never touch the stove, culinary school is a great gift for anyone who wants to learn more about their craft.

Things to Do Themed:

Experiences are perfect for friends and family. They make the recipient feel like they got to do something fun or interesting (even if it’s just sitting in a room with snacks).

It’s also a great way to make someone feel like they’re worth more than the value of whatever you spent on them.

Time to get moving with these things to do gift idea list!

  • Zoo Membership: A membership to your local zoo is a great way to enjoy (and learn about) the animals that live in our world.
  • Movie Tickets: Movie tickets are always a good idea, and it’s a great way to enjoy something together.
  • Pool Membership: Pool memberships are a great way to enjoy the summer. It’s also good for people who don’t like hot weather since they can cool off in the water.
  • Waterpark Passes: Water parks are a great way to have fun in the sun.
  • Membership at a Museum: Memberships to museums are an opportunity for people who love art, history, or science.
  • National Park Pass: Passes to national parks are a great way to enjoy nature.
  • Botanical Gardens: Botanical gardens are a great way to enjoy the beauty of nature indoors and outdoors.
  • Professional Photography Shoot: Professional photography shoots are a great way to have professional pictures. Get dressed up and smile!
  • Art Class: Art classes are a fun way to learn about art and express your creativity. Even better, when you do them as a group!

Related Posts:

Learn Something New Themed:

If you are looking for a gift idea that will not go to waste, consider learning something new.

There is an abundance of courses and workshops available in all sorts of subjects!

Find a new hobby or hone your skills.

  • Crafting Classes: Have you been to your local craft store? There are hundreds of types of crafts to choose from. Some ideas include: knitting, sewing, painting, beadwork, jewelry making, woodworking, etc. Find crafting ideas here.
  • Language Classes: It is best to learn a new language through immersion. But, the recipient may be hesitant and want to know a few words in the new language before setting out on that experience. Start your journey to bi-lingual.
  • Subscription Boxes: THere are hundreds of subscription box ideas. Just pick one to match their personality. Plus a new box comes on a recurring basis.
  • Tennis Lessons: This gift idea was well received in our house. We bought new tennis rackets and a backpack along with a package of lessons. Plus it is a lifelong skill to be able to play.
  • Photography Workshops: Happy; excited; nervous! Time to learn photography from a new lens. You will proud of your new skills.
  • Instrument Lessons: Time to get in tune with your inner self. Every had a dream to play a musical instrument? I have; it is the drums. What would your gift recipient want?
  • Horseback Riding: Buckle up and get ready to ride. This could be a one-time adventure or a package for riding lessons.
  • Dance Lessons: You will not regret it. Well, you might later. This is a must for any engaged couple. That couple’s dance is waiting for your dance skills!

Equipment Needed for Passions:

Regardless of your hobby or passion, it comes with some type of cost. It is difficult if you do not have the equipment needed to enjoy time doing something you enjoy.

This is one of the greatest gifts you can give!

The equipment will fund the experiences that this person craves to have. Or replace worn out items.

More than likely, you won’t know what exactly to get. So, ask for a wish list or their favorite place to buy equipment. Cash or gift cards are extremely beneficial.

  • Camping Gear: Once you own the equipment, this is a cheap activity to participate in. However, there are upfront costs of collecting all of the gear. 
  • Sewing Machine:  If you know someone who sews or is interested in sewing, this gift will go a long way. Sewing machines range from $200-500 and it’s usually worth the purchase if they enjoy sewing. My mother-in-law purchased mine! 
  • Climbing Gear:  If they are an avid climber, this is a great gift. Like camping gear, it has upfront costs of investing in the equipment to get started.
  • Photography Equipment:  Photography equipment is expensive upfront, but it can be used for years to come.  This is a great idea for someone who enjoys taking pictures.
  • Telescope:  Telescopes are expensive, but it’s a lifetime investment. This is perfect for a starry-eye person who enjoys looking at the stars.
  • Fly Fishing Equipment: Fly fishing equipment is expensive but lasts a long time. This can be used by an avid fly fisher for years to come.
  • Road Cycling or Mountain Biking:  Road cycling or Mountain biking equipment is expensive but lasts a lifetime. This can be used by avid cyclists for years to come.
  • Sports Gear: This could be for golf, tennis, soccer, or any sport! What is the equipment needed, so they can enjoy time playing.
  • Scuba / Snorkeling Gear:  Scuba or snorkeling gear is expensive, but it’s worth the investment. This could be used by an avid scuba diver for years to come.

It can be hard to find a good gift for someone that has everything. When you find yourself in this position, there are many things to think about when purchasing a present. One thing you’ll want to do is consider the hobbies of the person you are buying for.

At Home or Virtual Experience Gift Ideas:

A virtual experience can be an eye-opening experience. It is like you are there, but not really there. Instead of going to a museum or getting info about whales from a book; you can get the same information from a virtual experience.

  • Online Cooking Classes: Cooking is a great way to get out of the kitchen. You can learn techniques or just try new recipes. Find classes today.
  • Online Wine Tasting: Yes, all of the wine is delivered to your door. Lead by a wine sommelier on the varieties and what to expect during each skip.
  • Workout Experiences:  Start your fitness journey in the comfort of your own home. There are many options available for workouts that can be done from just about anywhere with the equipment you already have at home!
  • Airbnb Online Experiences: If you miss traveling, then you are able to travel to some of your favorite locations. While it may not be the same, you can start planning your trip for another time!
  • Online Classes: This is an idea for anyone who has a passion they want to explore. There are thousands of courses on almost any topic you can think of. With this, there is no need to go to school to find your passion, you can do it right from home.
  • Board Games: Brush off the games or pick out a new board game. No one will get tired of playing their favorite.
  • Themed Experiences:  If you are looking for a unique experience for someone, then think about planning it around their favorite thing.

How do I Give an Experience as a Gift?

Gifting an experience is a great way to give someone an unforgettable gift. 

With experiences, you can choose the location, the type of experience, and what your budget can afford. 

You can also choose whether you want the experience to be for someone specific or publicly available. The fun part is you can get creative on how to wrap it like money gift ideas!

How to Wrap up the Experience as a Gift:

  • Buy something that represents part of the gift.
  • Create a gift certificate.
  • Handwrite a lovely letter explaining the gift experience.
  • Wrap up a huge box with a tiny note.

There are plenty of ways to wrap up a gift experience. Just follow your personality to choose the best way to gift wrap it!

Which Experience Gift Ideas Will You Use?

Many people who are not satisfied with their gifts during the holidays end up feeling regretful. This holiday season, there are plenty of options to choose from that will be used for years to come

The idea of giving someone a gift can be overwhelming. 

We are bombarded with deals and deals, but in the end, it is just another thing that will eventually clutter up our homes.

There is a better way.

Gifts that encourage experiences over material things do not go to waste and can create memories for a lifetime. They also require less thought, which these days are a good thing.

You can find plenty of life gift experiences for:

  • Father’s Day
  • Mother’s Day
  • Mother-Daughter
  • Grandparents
  • Parents
  • Girlfriend / Boyfriend
  • Wedding
  • Husband / Wife
  • Birthday
  • Graduation
  • Christmas

It’s time to think outside the box and give someone an experience they won’t soon forget!

If I do buy something, I focus on purchasing consumable gifts that will be used up.

Seriously, think about what do I want for Christmas or any other occasion…

Know someone else that needs this, too? Then, please share!!

Did the post resonate with you?

More importantly, did I answer the questions you have about this topic? Let me know in the comments if I can help in some other way!

Your comments are not just welcomed; they’re an integral part of our community. Let’s continue the conversation and explore how these ideas align with your journey towards Money Bliss.


Apache is functioning normally

More than citrus and citronella.

When you conjure up your favorite summer memories, what comes to mind? Maybe it’s seaside vacations with family, a crowded music festival with your favorite people, or a quiet solo weekend in a mountain cabin. 

Did you know that your brain processes emotion and scent as one? That’s because smells are processed by the olfactory bulb, a structure in the front of the brain that connects to the limbic system, the areas responsible for emotion and memory. So whether you want to remember the waves or the tranquil mountainside creek or the sweet smell of popcorn and cotton candy, these summer candle scents will awaken your best feelings through fragrance. Our experts weigh in to help you find a new favorite. 

The subdued charm of honeysuckle

If you’re from the eastern areas of the United States, you know the sweet, unassuming scent of summer – the honeysuckle. Some people love the smell so much that they add the flowers to consumables like tea and pastries to savor it fully. 

“Our honeysuckle candle will transport you to a time of running through the beautiful lush, blooming honeysuckle fields with hints of citrus and dewy notes of honeysuckle and blooming jasmine with undertones of wood adding texture and balance to this beautiful candle fragrance.  You cannot go wrong with this best-smelling candle.” says Tanisha of Malaysian Lights Candle Company. 

Or, as Dr. Liz Lehman of Aluminate Life, adds, “The scent of honeysuckle immediately takes me back to childhood summers in upstate New York, where hot days were spent skipping rocks in rivers edged with fragrant white and yellow honeysuckle. Those warm nights, running barefoot through dewy grass to catch lightning bugs, were enveloped in honeysuckle’s lush, sweet aroma. This fragrance truly captures the essence of a summer vacation — warm, sweet, and joyously carefree.” 

Scents of the sea

A beach vacation has become the standard summer getaway for many reasons. Capturing the essence of both the beach breeze and the floral and wood notes surrounding you when you visit the shoreline, these candles transport you with the light of a match, whether you dream of finding rental homes in Cape May, NJ, or apartments in San Diego.

“Our sea salt and orchid candle scent is blissfully fragrant, inspiring dreams of coastal landscapes we’re salty and floral magically unite in the purest most intricate way,” says Jessy from Seaside Candle Company. “It creates the perfect balance of complexity yet a flawless aromatic fragrance bringing serenity to your space.

If you’ve ever been to a high-end resort, you know the feeling that scent evokes – ultimate relaxation. It’s the scent of “I’m worth it.” And as we learned from The Candle Lab Cincy, “Vacation means different things to everyone, but our favorite summer vacation scent has to be our sea minerals-inspired candle! Not only is it beachy and fresh, but it reminds us of the most relaxing, luxurious spa as well. The soothing notes of sea salt, eucalyptus, and freesia will have you feeling like you just stepped into a 5-star beach resort!”

Similarly, Zachary Hylton, senior account executive at Aromatic Fragrance International mentions a personal favorite candle: “One of my favorite scents is made by Sea Love and their candle is called Tan Lines. It makes me want to book a ticket straight to the beach and unwind for the week.” 

Meet me in Montauk

Montauk, a beloved inlet on the east side of Long Island, attracts vacationers from NYC and beyond, especially in the summer. This destination has become well known for being a popular fishing and surfing spot but also has charming seaside spots to stop in to rest, eat and shop. 

“The perfect summer vacation scent for me will remind me of grabbing brunch with my friends in Montauk. That’s why I’m going to burn a mandarin/orange candle to give me refreshing mimosa vibes. I love citrus candles and I want people to get into them more!” says Cristian of Nose Best Candles. 

Backyard barbecue with loved ones

For many, a staycation or a lively weekend with friends is the best recipe for summer fun. ​​Maria Schiering of candlespice co. seems to agree. “If a summer anthem could be summed up to a single scent, it would be candlespice co.’s citrus and garden herb candle! The invigorating notes of clementine and lemon blended with the herbal elements of garden lavender and fresh-cut basil make this scent a perfect conversationist for your next backyard barbecue!” 

The sweet rush of a summer street fair

State and county fairs – with their questionably safe rides, fried food and impossible-to-win prizes – have become a staple of nostalgic summer fun for many. “My favorite summer scent is cotton candy. Its airy sweetness and sugary aroma instantly bring back memories of summer fairs and carefree childhood days. This whimsical scent fills any space with a dreamy, joyful vibe, making every moment feel like a delightful summer adventure.” says Rochelle Campbell of Pure Intentions Candle Company. 

Cozy up to coconuts and woods

Sweetness and woods combine to create the ultimate cozy scent that’s still fresh enough for a hot summer day. Who says you have to save the woody hotels for winter? According to Will Diedrich, who co-owns Diedrich Candle Company with his wife, “Rachel and I have built our business, Diedrich Candle Company, around the idea that fragrances provide comfort and enrich people’s lives. Our favorite scent for summer is coconut and mahogany. When summer rolls around, you can find us at Panama City Beach sipping on a tropical drink, warm sand between our toes as the fresh ocean air blows through our hair. Coconut and mahogany capture all these wonderful scents in a jar and bring the beach vacation to you, wherever you are.” 

Earthy, garden scents reminiscent of SoCal

California is a popular vacation spot for travelers hoping to catch sun and surf. As Ericka Anderson, CEO of The New Savant, so poetically adds, “Sunny, verdant, and endlessly dreamy, we have an energizing fragrance that centers one of our founder’s favorite smells and an unusual note to find in candles: fresh dill. Combined with cucumber, juicy peaches and wet earth, our Heatwave candle is balanced, unique and the perfect scent to burn for a little mood boost.”

A run to the ice cream truck

When you look back to your childhood, do you remember the joy you experienced at the musical ice cream truck cruising through your neighborhood? Catching it just in time and buying a sweet treat is a happiness that’s hard to replicate in adulthood.

Take yourself back to those blissful moments just by lighting a candle. Tanisha from Malaysian Lights Candles describes this gorgeous scent: “The first stop on our trip is our orange dreamsickle cupcake candle! Bursting with zesty orange notes and exotic Hawaiian pineapple swirled in creamy, sweet vanilla. This cupcake candle will make you feel as excited as you were when standing at the ice cream truck as a child.”

Summer candle scents for every home and memory

As you’ve seen here, if you can dream it, you’ll find a candle for it. Whether you want to find yourself somewhere less landlocked or transport yourself to the county fair, we’ve captured the best of summer in candle scents. Light a match or flick a lighter, and you’re off to the best vacation or staycation you’ve ever had. What are you waiting for?