Gifting travel is tricky.
There are just too many moving parts. How do I get her passport info for booking flights? Who am I to decide the size of his hotel room? What if they actually have no interest in going here?
The usual solution is just book an event for someone in a destination city. A football match in London. A concert at Red Rocks. Let them figure out the rest. But there’s still too many unknowns. Calendar availability, how many tickets you should buy, etc.
Thankfully, there’s a handy new app here to handle all that travel gifting anxiety. It’s called Skyhour, and it’s pretty much Venmo for airfare.
Here’s how it works. One Skyhour is equal to one hour of flight time. Skyhour prices each hour in the air at $60. For every $60 entered to your account (either by you, or hopefully, a benevolent friend or family member), you earn a Skyhour. Accrue enough Skyhours, you could pay for an entire flight, or at least garner a significant discount.
If this all sounds like some basement scam that’s only signed up with Spirit Airlines, don’t worry. Skyhour’s aligned with all usual flight bookings, using a database comprising 350+ airlines and every major airport you can think of.
To get a better picture of what a “Skyhour” is, here are a few purposely random trips, some traveling near, others far:
San Francisco to Nashville round-trip: 10 Skyhours
New York to New Zealand round-trip: 55 Skyhours
Chicago to Austin: 6 Skyhours
Los Angeles to London round-trip: 22 Skyhours
We like this app’s ability to thoughtfully plan for travel down the line (New Zealand is a dream of mine), but it also encourages travel that otherwise may not have been on the mind. Say your sister lives in Chicago. You send her three Skyhours for her birthday. A few months later she takes a spontaneous trip to Austin, (and while Skyhours don’t exactly match up with airfare prices, which as we all know, constantly fluctuate) you’ve still paid for half the distance of her sojourn.
There’s even a crowdfunding element to gathering Skyhours. Once you create an account and a “Travel Goal,” you can post the hoped-for trip on social media with a short description. (Though we’d say go down that route sparingly … no one likes a travel groveller.)