Surprise trips to places that aren't revealed until it's time to pack are the newest trend in full-service travel planning. The entire concept is handled by a professional travel agent or company specializing in mystery or surprise vacations.
"I absolutely love planning these," explained Raleigh based travel agent Lauren Doyle, co-owner of the boutique travel agency, The Travel Mechanic.
"I ask a ton of questions," Doyle said. "I talk with the clients, we talk about dreams, aspirations, what they love about a vacation and I really get to know the couple or person. And then, I work my magic behind the scenes but it's so exciting and fun!"
Doyle says mystery travel trips can also help travelers get the most bang for their budget.
"When you leave a trip to mystery, they can get a better deal," Doyle said. "Because I can kind of finagle some great offers we have and how I do that is I just work with our preferred hotels.
I can use my relationships to get them some great deals and by not knowing where they want to go, we have flexibility as to where to place them. So, that's how we get the better deal for them, so, it's a win-win. They love it!"
Doyle says many clients prefer to use a travel agent they've worked with in the past because there is a level of trust. She does narrow down the country or area the client would like to visit before starting the planning.
"They don't know where they're going, they don't know the resort," Doyle said. "And, 24 hours prior to departure I let them know and they're usually so ecstatic. It's part of the trip and makes it so much more exciting especially when they're packing. I have a packing list for your surprise trip as well."
Mystery trips aren't for everyone but it's a great option for those looking to add a new element of surprise to their travels.
"We pick special places, Costa Rica tree lodges for example," Doyle said. "Villas in Italy or something on a whim you wouldn't do, these can be more special trips, anniversary trips, honeymoons, a surprise honeymoon is a popular one. Or, just a getaway, but, it's usually someone celebrating something special that wants this surprise. They've done everything maybe and they want this extra level of excitement."
Doyle says there are no fees for her services for planning a mystery vacation to an all-inclusive spot, but for complicated, customized, multi-stop destinations there is a $100 retainer that gets credited back to the client upon final payment.
Other companies specializing in surprise vacations:
The Vacation Hunt
Magical Mystery Tours
Surprise Me Trips
Pack Up + Go
NOTE: Pack Up + Go's video featured in the video above is in no way related to The Travel Mechanic.