Smartbox: Best gift box for Valentine's day isn't heart-shaped

How do you wrap an adrenaline rush, put a bow on a mind-blowing experience or help your sweetheart check off something on their bucket list for Valentine's Day? Smartbox offers a solution -- and free shipping until February 14.

Cleverly packaged in a CD-like box, each Smartbox contains a gift card and a themed guide book of activities. Your recipient can choose one experience from the extensive list, and will have up to a year and a half to redeem it.

Themes are categorized with monikers such as, "Discovery," "Serenity," "Adventure," "Gourmet" and "Fun for All," Just reading the descriptions of things to do in California gets the imagination going: "Battle down whitewater rapids, hang ten on a surf board, defy gravity in a wind tunnel, build your endurance while rock climbing or simply kayak and discover the beautiful scenery that surrounds you." They had me at defy gravity.

Offering experiences across the US as well as internationally, the Paris, France-based company prides itself on thinking outside the box (pun intended). Available at Borders bookstores as well as online at, shoppers first select the geographic region they are interested in, then choose the type of experience (i.e. relaxing retreat, fun experience or toe-curling adventure), how many people to include in the package (1, 2 or 4), and finally, budget.

Prices start at a reasonable $49 (think: fencing lessons, day spa, family photo shoot, ballroom dancing, flower design, Capoeira lessons, etc.), $69 (trapeze experience, indoor skydiving, dog sledding, powered parachuting, Airboat Ride and Alligator Show), for $129 check out "Charming Gateways National for a "chance to discover the most charming abodes in America ... historic homes, vast farms, rustic ranches and antique filled bed-and-breakfasts...the best kept getaway secrets from coast to coast". If the budget allows, Smartboxes in the $200-$400 range offer bull riding, driving a Corvette Z06 at the Texas Motor Speedway, an Eco Canoe tour in the North West, dog sledding, zip lining, training for a rodeo or selecting from one of the "Gourmet Retreats National" (to name a few). Honey, are you reading this?

Recipients will select from a guidebook featuring photos, descriptions and contact information and use the enclosed voucher to redeem. Once an activity has been chosen, Smartbox also suggests fun things to do, places to eat as well as stay in that area. Attending an Improv Comedy Show in New York, you might also want to book a reservation at nearby Totto's Restaurant.

Smartbox says they guarantee a high quality experience and write on their website, "Our partners are fully committed to respecting the Smartbox™ Quality Chart. We run quality tests on a regular basis to ensure our delivery of high quality experiences. Because of this, 95% of the recipients who enjoyed a Smartbox™ experience have claimed to be satisfied or very satisfied."

Even without the traditionally-shaped box, this is one gift idea guaranteed to get your Valentine's heart racing.
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