One of the things we love about travel is the opportunity to take part in a variety of different and exciting experiences around the world. We’d been lacking in this department while home waiting for our next adventure to begin. Often finding ourselves uninspired by our too-familiar surroundings and itching for more excitement. So when Tinggly, a UK based company we adore, increased their experiences list to Texas we were thrilled. The best part? The particular activity we chose can be done in a multitude of different locations throughout the US, Canada, the UK and Asia. ifly Indoor Skydiving gives you the thrill of free-falling, without the fear and risks involved with jumping out of a plane.
Remind me, what exactly is Tinggly again?
So just a quick recap of what Tinggly is in case you’re not familiar with them: if you’ve ever had a difficult time coming up with a unique gift for a friend, family or significant other, Tinggly has provided a unique platform specifically for this scenario. Essentially you purchase what they call an “experience” – which costs a flat rate of $119 – and the gift receiver can choose from hundreds of various unique activities all around the world.
We love this idea because you don’t have to know exactly what the gift receiver enjoys to be able to give them an amazing experience! They can choose something that fits their style (scuba diving in Spain, walking with lions in Zimbabwe, cooking lessons in Mexico just to name a few) and you’ll become their new favorite person.
Tinggly’s experiences span over 80 countries, and with that range comes a multitude of various activities. Each experience is bound to provide a new and lasting memory, which is why we’re so proud and excited to be Tinggly ambassadors!
The Purchasing Process
When you (or the gift receiver) finally find the experience you’d like to partake in (which can be difficult, since they’re all so incredible) you simply click the “Buy A Gift” button, pay via any major credit card, and the Tinggly Gift Box or Voucher – your choice – will be shipped for free.
An email will be sent to you with the details of your order, and voilá! If you chose the voucher, it is emailed and can be printted out, and if you chose the gift box it is shipped to you for free. The gift is available for up to two years, which gives ample time for planning your Aqua Safari in Bora Bora.
Okay on to the exciting part!
This was our first Tinggly experience, and we chose to do indoor skydiving at iFly in Austin, because who doesn’t want to experience FLYING?
We’ve driven past iFly numerous times since it opened a few years ago, and have always been curious about what it would be like. We booked the experience for two, and excitedly prepared for our flight.
We walked inside the tall building, and were immediately greeted by a couple of friendly people behind the desk. We immediately wondered how often they get to float around in the wind tunnel and re-evaluated our life choices. We got all checked in, signed a waiver, and were given wristbands. We each opted for an additional $10 purchase that would allow us to “fly high” into the wind tunnel with our instructors. Obviously, we were giddy with anticipation.
We walked up the stairs and immediately caught sight of the large glass wind tunnel. A man was floating with his instructor in what looked like one of those magic tricks where the magician removes the table from underneath his model assistant. A line of other flyers were sitting on a bench, patiently awaiting their turn, and their friends and family sat outside the tunnel watching. We were ushered into a side room with about twelve other people where our training would commence, and our friendly instructor, Ben, walked us through the procedures. After a short video, he had each of us lay on a special table to show us the proper form. It was kind of awkward and gave us a sort of beached whale feeling, ha!
After our brief training, we were given super attractive flight suites, ear plugs, eye protection and helmets. There were lockers available to put personal items in, and because jewelry or other loose items aren’t allowed in the chamber for safety reasons, we all grabbed a locker and set a quick combination. The group ahead of us finished up their flights, and we were led into the glass enclosure to sit on the bench. Shelly and I were at the back of the line, and one by one we watched people suddenly start floating as they entered the chamber. It was odd because you couldn’t see or hear the air, and from the outside it looked almost peaceful, but upon entering it was like suddenly sticking your head out of the window of a car traveling along the interstate.
Shelly’s turn came and she handled it like a pro. The instructor uses handles situated on the back of the flight suit to guide you around the chamber. Each flight lasts 60 seconds, which doesn’t seem like a long enough time, but consider that with a normal skydive, where the free fall portion typically lasts about 45 seconds. Shelly’s turn ended and I stood up for my own.
I trust fall-ed my way in, the instructor grabbed my handles and all of a sudden I was floating. Not gracefully by any means, but floating. I couldn’t hear anything with the wind rushing upwards into my face, but the instructor gave hand signals (which we learned the meanings to during training) to tell me whether I needed to hold my chin up, straighten my legs, pop up, pop down, etc. Any slight movement meant a sudden drop or rise, and soon I learned how to bank and maneuver just a tad. My turn ended and I glided (not so) delicately to the open doorway.
What a rush! The second flight around, those who had purchased the $10 add on (which everybody had) we were flown with the instructor to the top of the chamber three times. It was about thirty feet high, but not one bit scary. The control that the instructor had was impressive, and he went through our line efficiently.
After we were all finished, the instructor went in by himself to show off a bit. He went to the top of the chamber, then did a free fall to the bottom before catching himself at the last second. He rocketed to the top and then glided down in a spiral. We all stared in awe, as if watching a circus animal perform tricks.
After all the fun, we removed our gear, fixed our hair (mostly Shelly) and returned the flight suit to the desk. Included in our package was two free video clips which were filmed during our flight, and we opted to purchase two more additional photos. They have a few touch screen systems set up for you to easily view your photos and videos before making the decision to purchase. The files we bought were emailed to us about an hour later to download!
Check out the two videos we got along with our package. Please forgive the horribly cheesy music…
We had a great time with this experience, and hopefully it’s something we can do again in the future! The instructor was extremely friendly and professional, the building is clean and modern, and the whole process was very smooth. The only downside with iFly is that everything costs something. It’s slightly expensive, and we ended up paying an additional $27 in flight time and photos. When you compare that to the cost of a real skydive though, you can’t beat it.
We could definitely imagine gifting people Tinggly experiences and then later hearing them recount crazy stories of Northern Lights sightseeing in Iceland or extreme white water rafting in Indonesia. What an amazing memory to give to someone you care about. Very easy, very unique, and very memorable.
We were fortunate to receive this gift for free from Tinggly, and so the real question is… would we buy this? And the answer is, yes. We had a great time, and so without a doubt we would have purchased it! It made for a great story to tell to family and friends. Normally when I tell people about it, I get a variation of the response, “aw, I’ve always wanted to do that!” It would also make a fun and unique date night, or even a family activity since kids are allowed.
Have you ever skydived, either indoor or outdoor? What do you think about gifting a Tinggly experience? Let us know in the comments section below!
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Jimmie & Shelly
*While this experience was graciously provided by Tinggly, all thoughts and opinions are our own, as always!