Have you ever turned up at an airport without knowing where you’re going on holiday? Rose Dykins reports on the ‘surprise travel’ trend that allows you to do just that
Surprise travel is emerging as a trend for holidaymakers seeking a unique experience. Some travel providers and online agencies are now offering surprise elements – or even entire surprise trips – where customers may make a booking without having a clue where they’ll be travelling to.
The idea may fill you with dread. The surrendering of control, the uncertainty of where you’ll be sleeping. On the other hand, if you just feel like just getting away, the choice of destination might feel secondary to the prospect of an exciting, out-of-the-ordinary holiday experience.
The surprise travel trend is a reaction to our time-poor, overly-planned lifestyles. It eliminates the need to spend time trawling through review sites and searching for the perfect holiday by removing the complexity of choice. It could also prove appealing for seasoned travellers looking to inject some excitement back into their next journey.
What’s more, when people ask where you’re going on holiday, there’s a strange thrill to be had when responding with “I don’t actually know…”
How does it work? In some cases, you simply enter your budget, dates of travel and passport and payment details, before waiting for your travel provider take care of the rest. Then, it’s just a matter of turning up at on the day and enjoying the big reveal (or regretting the whole thing…)
Surprise travel is being introduced across the industry, by everyone from luxury agents to airlines (see below). From a business perspective, it could be a clever way for companies to package and upsell any leftover flights, accommodation or packages – for example, Expedia’s Surprise Trips is powered by Expedia’s inventory.
If you’re tempted to give surprise travel a go, it’s probably a good idea to have a low-maintenance approach. Are you really willing to let someone else choose your accommodation? Will you be disappointed if you end up somewhere you’ve already been? How happy are you to put your holiday planning in somebody else’s hands?
However, if you’re a fairly adaptable individual with a taste for adventure, then why not roll the dice and try one of the below surprise travel offerings. After all, what’s the worst that could happen?
Pack Up + Go After you’ve completed a survey and selected your budget, surprise travel agency Pack Up + Go will organise a three-day surprise trip to somewhere in the US such as Portland, New Orleans or Austin.
Expedia’s Surprise Trips This online travel agency rifles through 77 European cities to plan your trip – and lets you list three places you’d rather avoid. On your day of departure, your destination is pinged to your smartphone when you arrive at the airport.
Lufthansa Surprise The German airline’s “Lufthansa Surprise” service chooses from 12 European destinations for you to fly to, then reveals where you’ll be going after you’ve purchased the ticket.
SRPRS.me This start-up urges you to “stop control-freaking your trip” and instead, choose a “theme” before allowing a personal planner to choose your destination and accommodation for you. Days before you travel, a scratch card arrives at your home with a code that reveals your destination.