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Would You Go on a ‘Surprise Vacation’ Someone Else Booked for You?

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The Rise of the Surprise Vacation
(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)


“OK, pack your toothbrush, some underwear, credit cards, sunglasses. What’s your budget? A million? Off you go.” That’s basically the meat of a new travel concept that’s gaining steam on both sides of the Atlantic called the “mystery trip” or the “surprise vacation.”

Companies like Pack Up + Go, Jubel, and Magical Mystery Tours get the basic specs from you, the traveler: budget, desired travel dates, and preferences. Pack Up + Go, for example, books your trip and accommodations based on that info—then a week before you’re set to ship off, they provide you with the forecast of your unknown destination, a list of recommended items to bring along, luggage size restrictions, and a place to show up and when (e.g. LaGuardia Airport at 3:43 p.m.).

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)


A few days before your trip, you get an envelope from the company that you hopefully won’t open, which includes directions to the mystery locale’s accommodations and a city guide (at this point, if you were to open it, you’d have spoiled the fun). Only once you’re at LaGuardia at 2:43 p.m. are you supposed to open up the envelope. Then you find out, say, you’re off to China or Puerto Rico or Norway. (Note: Pack Up + Go specializes in three-day weekend trips within the continental U.S.)

One testimonial on Pack Up + Go about sums it up:

“By far the best vacation we’ve taken! We’re super busy, so sitting down to plan anything just isn’t happening. Even if we did, we wouldn’t have ended up where we did … and we loved it! Though my husband was skeptical at first, during our dinner he said that we should do all of our vacations this way!”

The only group of travelers that won’t find this concept appealing will be the control freaks of the world. But at the end of the day, a little spontaneity never hurt anyone, did it?

Learn more about the “mystery trip” via the video below.


—RealClearLife Staff