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Surprise! A revamped travel method is coming in hot this year, uniting both the spontaneous adventurers and those with an aversion to planning. No matter the reason for booking a surprise travel trip, the premise stays the same: a traveler’s destination is kept a secret until they arrive at the airport. The over-packers and efficient planners may find this intimidating at first but come along and discover how this process works.

What You Need to Know

As mind-boggling as surprise travel maybe sounds to some, it has undeniably seen an uptick in attention. in their 2024 travel trends prediction report surveyed 27,000 travelers across 33 countries and territories, noting that a shocking 52% conveyed an interest in surprise travel.

In line with the growing interest in this niche market, companies all over the world that specialize in variations of surprise travel are popping up, including Pack Up & Go, The Vacation Hunt and Black Tomato. First, companies like these will get to know their client either through a video interview or an extensive survey. This information covers the basics about how far a traveler wants to go, how long they want to go for, an anticipated budget in addition to activity preferences, past trips, interests and dietary restrictions. From there, the rest is out of the travelers’ hands!

Using the provided information, the surprise trip planners will take care of all the details including flights, lodging and activities. Of course, the planners will be sure to give the traveler an idea of the weather and a general itinerary so they can pack appropriately. Travelers receive two envelopes — one with the flight information and destination reveal to be opened on the big day and another with the itinerary and other recommendations for when the traveler arrives. And that’s all there is to it.

Finding the Right Fit

As with most things, each surprise travel company will go about its process slightly differently than the rest. Some companies like Pack Up & Go plan trips exclusively in the United States while The Vacation Hunt offers options to Europe and other international destinations. For travelers who are feeling extra bold and brave, Black Tomato takes the surprise to the next level with their “Get Lost” trips where travelers simply choose between a mountain, desert or jungle landscape.

The beauty of surprise travel is exactly that — travelers get to customize their trips with as much or as little information as possible. While it seems scary to hand over total control at first, the flexibility in which travelers can decide their trip parameters makes it a much more realistic method of travel than it originally appears.

About the Author

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Samantha Anderson is the editorial intern for VAX VacationAccess. A communications and journalism major at Carroll University, Samantha can always be found on the soccer field or with her nose in the latest book. New to the industry, she is excited to write travel content and is looking forward to what next big adventure awaits!


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