Travel & Leisure

Are You Up for a Surprise Vacation?

By Lola Augustine Brown


If you’re ready to take that dream vacation but have no idea where to go, there’s a new type of travel agency that might be perfect for you. Companies such as Pack Up + Go and Magical Mystery Tours (both American) specialize in what are known as surprise or mystery vacations, a travel trend that’s growing in popularity.

Here’s the idea: you tell the agency your budget and your travel dates and preferences, and the agency takes care of the rest, booking both travel and accommodations. It’s perfect for those who crave adventure, hate planning, or both.

Depending on the company you choose, you get either a full itinerary a week before your trip or a list of instructions (what to pack, the weather at your mystery destination, what time to get to the airport) that will get you where you’re going. For even more fun, you’re advised not to open the envelope with the itinerary until you get to the airport, where you’ll finally discover where you’re going—whether that’s Philadelphia for a weekend or the Azores for week of sun. The agency will also provide a list of recommendations—where to eat, drink, and have fun, what to see and do, and even how to make the best of a rainy day.

Could you do it? For Type A personalities, a vacation planned by someone else, over which you have minimal control beforehand, could be hellish, but if you’re the more relaxed type who can go with the flow, a mystery holiday might be just the ticket!

Photo: iStock/cdwheatley.