Can you imagine not having any idea where you are traveling until you’re at the airport? Then you belong to a growing group with a taste for the unexpected.
Surprise trips, also known as “mystery vacations,” are set to be next year’s hot travel trend, writes BBC.
The destination is decided by travel agencies that book the trip without revealing the destination – until it’s time to fly.
A recent survey from Booking.com shows that over half of the 27,000 respondents in 33 countries are interested in such trips.
2024 could, therefore, be the year when surprise trips become mainstream.
“Goes Against Our Nature”
“Heading into 2024 with a plan not to plan goes against our usually well-structured daily life,” says Ryan Pearson, regional manager for Booking.com in the UK and Ireland.
Take newlyweds Jake and Robin O’Brien, for example.
Having trouble deciding on a honeymoon destination, they filled out a form about previous travels, interests, and dietary restrictions – and were sent to Portland in the U.S. state of Maine.
“It wasn’t on my radar at all,” says Jake O’Brien, who has since been on six more surprise trips.
Challenges Travelers Psychologically
Other travel agencies offer variations like “Get Lost” trips where travelers can choose between different environments like desert, jungle, or mountains.
Brown & Hudson in London takes the idea a step further with “Journey With No Destination” trips. These are designed to help travelers solve personal issues or achieve psychological goals.
“Surprises cause cognitive dissonance that forces you to hyperfocus on what’s happening. After that, curiosity kicks in,” says the travel agency’s founder Philip Brown.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone Surprise trips have grown in popularity as they can offer unique and unexpected experiences.
“Stepping out of your comfort zone and going somewhere where you don’t know what will happen can offer a very different travel experience,” says Tom Marchant at the travel agency Black Tomato.
German budget airline Eurowings has jumped on the trend and started “blind bookings.” Travelers will be able to choose themes like “Pizza, pasta, and love” to “Shop till you drop,” writes Travel News.