It's crunch time for shoppers still looking for the perfect travel gift. Here are five last-minute ideas that make shopping easy (no mall involved) and stoke the spirit of discovery.
Airbnb gift cards: For Airbnb fans, a $100 gift card might be just the thing. American Express cardholders in the U.S. can use membership reward points to purchase e-gift cards for stays at Airbnb locations around the world. It takes 10,000 points for a $100 card, 25,000 points for a $250 card. Info: American Express
LivingSocial: It's pretty easy to peruse more than 150 LivingSocial travel listings at destinations around the country. Among the offerings: A stocked Jucy Rentals mini RV for a five-night camp-out costs $299 (marked down from $705) and a cottage for two nights on Orcas Island in Washington's San Juan Islands costs $199 (regularly $380). Info: LivingSocial Travel Gifts
Travel gift cards: This is kind of a no-brainer for travelers because who doesn't want the gift of flying? But it could be truly great gift for college kids who need help getting back and forth to school. You can check airlines for their gift card policies. Two examples: Southwest Airlines lets you pick any amount up to $1,000; United Airlines issues gift cards between $25 and $10,000.
Mobile apps: This is your chance to make a creative DIY digital gift. Design a list of your favorite mobile apps for travel (maybe 5 or 10?) and enclose a gift card to iTunes or Google Play. Two from Forbes' "Travel Apps for 2015" list: Localeur, guides written by people who live there; and Hyperlapse, an app that lets you take time-lapse photos.
Adventure for a day: Shop around online and look for a cool daylong adventure. One standout: Tickets to watch hundreds of northern elephant seals on the beaches at Año Nuevo State Park near Santa Cruz. Seal Adventures gives visitors a ring-side seat to the action with naturalists and park staff members on hand to answer questions and point out the best viewing spots. Tickets cost $60 each; they're available 8:30 to noon or 1:30 to 5 p.m. on Jan. 24 and 25 and Feb. 14. Info: Seal Adventures