'Tis the Season for Giving and Receiving the Gift of Travel

There's a bit more of a nip in the evening air in San Francisco, I'm starting to receive holiday party evites, and my Facebook feed is chock full of classic holiday music on Spotify by Amy Grant, Josh Groban, and Justin Bieber. While I may not have any decorations up yet and am not likely to have a white Christmas in San Francisco this year, that doesn't stop the holidays from being at the front door.

However, I'm not letting that stop me from getting in the holiday spirit. I'm excited to announce that I'm partnering with Expedia to help you both give and receive the gift of travel this holiday season. You may have heard of a little something called Groupon. You may even get their emails and have used a Groupon in the last year. However, as great as manicures and laser hair removal is, I didn't start using Groupon until they launched Groupon Getaways with Expedia. Groupon Getaways, just as you might assume, are discounted getaways to destinations around the world. No, not a backpacker hostel, but those destinations and accommodations that make you want to kick your feet up by the fireplace while sipping on an Irish Coffee. Groupon and Expedia have partnered together to offer getaway packages for airlines, cars, and hotels.

Just in time for the holidays, Expedia has launched a Facebook app called Travel Wish List, which allows you to give and receive the gift of travel this year. Users select the type of experience they want, and then getaways are sent to them based on their choices. Users can then share their wish list with family and friends, making it easier to give and receive the gift of travel this year.

Before I share with you how you can further get in the holiday spirit and give and receive the gift of travel, I wanted to help get your wheels turning by sharing some of what's on my travel wish list for 2012:

1. New luggage. Before I step foot on a plane in 2012, I need to get some new luggage. My luggage right now primarily consists of an old long-haul backpack that is probably the same age as a bag phone and a small rolling suitcase, which I sometimes have to grease or shake to get the top handle to pull up. While I've been flying for 23 years, I've yet to find that right piece of luggage.

2. The Olympics. Yes, those Olympics - the London ones. I went to the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 when I was 13. However, I'm all grown up now as grown up as I'm going to be and have been wanting to experience the Olympics as an adult. Plus, it's England and this is the best opportunity to visit my motherland.

3. Surf in Southern California. While I no longer dream of gingerly running down the beach with a big grin on my face and a red lifeguard float in hand like David Hasselhoff, I still want to surf in Southern California. It just seems like what I'm supposed to do now that I live in California. Not to mention that I feel like it would be more appropriate to use terms like "hang ten" and "dude" if I'm actually a surfer and not a wannabe.

4. Learn to snowboard. The way I envision this going down is being on my rear most of the afternoon and soaking in a steaming jacuzzi that looks over the snowy peaks the entire next day. That's how it seems like the movies portray the snowboarding life, minus standing up for no longer than five seconds. Tahoe seems like a good choice for this, since I've never snowboarded nor been to Tahoe.

5. Take a vacation on a beach. It's been years since I've taken a trip when I wasn't working. Whenever and wherever I travel, work always happens as a result. It was amazing to take a trip up to Northern California wine country for the Thanksgiving holiday and not take my computer and turn my phone off. It was only for a couple days, but I'd love to stretch that out to a longer trip this upcoming year when I'm completely disconnected and don't work.

Now back to you: What is on your travel wish list? Whatever it is, Expedia and I are here to make it happen this week. Expedia is giving away two travel coupons to one lucky traveler, each worth $500. One is for yourself and one to give as a gift this holiday season. To be entered to win, join me this Thursday, December 1, from 1:00 p.m. EST / 10:00 a.m. PST until 3:00 p.m. EST / 12:00 p.m. PST for a Twitter chat hosted by Expedia: Giving the Gift of Travel. I'll be joined by co-hosts, Matt Long of Landlopers and Jade Broadus of Vagabond3. We'll be talking holiday travel and gift giving. Below you'll find the need-to-know-information.

  • If you aren't on Twitter, maybe your Granny who uses Twitter to share her favorite recipes will let you use her account or it takes just a couple minutes to sign up for an account.
  • The hashtag for the chat is #Expchat. I recommend using an app like TweetChat or TweetDeck to follow along.
  • I'll be asking questions every 10-15 minutes from my Twitter profile. Questions will begin like this: "Q1: What is your favorite...". We're asking participants to respond with "A1: My favorite...". This is to help other people jumping in later know what question we're on and mainstream the chat.
  • I ask that you stay on topic with the questions. If you have questions or information that is unrelated to the questions, talk to me on Twitter before or after the chat.
  • One participant in the chat will win a prize, a $500 coupon from Expedia.com for them to keep for themselves plus a $500 coupon from Expedia.com for them to give to a friend.
  • The winner will be chosen at random based on those who participate in the chat during the official chat times posted above.
  • To be entered to win, participants must be over 18, based in the U.S., must have a registered Twitter account, must use the hashtag #ExpChat, and must be following @Expedia on Twitter at the time of the chat.
  • For the full rules, visit the official sweepstakes page. If you have any questions, leave a comment below or contact me on Twitter using the hashtag #Expchat.