Journey planning generally is a actual chore. Reserving flights, deciding on the best resort and constructing an itinerary may be enjoyable for some, however others dread it. That’s why some vacationers are choosing an unorthodox journey technique that eliminates the strategy planning stage altogether. It’s referred to as “thriller” or “suprise” journey, and the vacation spot isn’t revealed till the day of departure.

This concept isn’t new. Some buddy teams plan common thriller journey holidays, with one particular person or household planning and reserving the itinerary for everybody else.

Lanie van der Horst, a journey blogger, requested her husband to plan a visit. He determined to maintain the vacation spot — Byron Bay, Australia — a secret.

“I actually cried when he instructed me that he had a visit deliberate that I didn’t have to consider,” van der Horst says.


As these shock journeys have grow to be extra well-liked, journey reserving firms have begun providing them. Prospects pay a flat payment for the journey and set sure pointers corresponding to dates and preferences, however the vacation spot stays a shock till the final minute. For group journey, because of this everyone will probably be stunned when the vacation spot is revealed.

Thriller journey will not be solely thrilling and easy to plan, however it will probably additionally nudge vacationers to discover locations they might by no means have thought of in any other case.

“For those who like white-water rafting, you could have already been to the well-known spots in Arizona and Colorado,” Roshni Agarwal, co-founder of The Trip Hunt, a thriller journey service, mentioned in an e mail. “However do you know that the U.S. Nationwide Whitewater Heart is in Charlotte, North Carolina?”


Though it differs from journey company to journey company (and from buddy group to buddy group), the essential means of thriller journey includes:

— Selecting a date or vary of dates.

— Deciding on a funds.

— Setting sure parameters or preferences.

Preferences might embody the varieties of actions you get pleasure from, corresponding to outside adventures, or exclusions for locations you’ve lately visited or plan to go to.

Then you definately wait and let the anticipation construct. Some thriller journey businesses (and buddy teams) will even ship a bodily envelope with the journey particulars inside — to not be opened till the day of departure.

Airfare and lodging prices are included within the journey funds, which may fluctuate from $1,499 per traveler for a brief weekend journey (3-4 days) to a number of thousand for longer worldwide excursions. Suggestions for meals and actions are typically supplied, however the prices are usually not included for package deal journeys.

“We frequently inform our vacationers to anticipate to spend round $100 per particular person per day on eating, purchasing and actions,” Agarwal mentioned.

For thriller journeys deliberate for a bunch of associates or household, it’s crucial to get aligned on the funds forward of time. The price of the journey shouldn’t be one of many surprises.


Past the sense of journey and the enjoyable story to share with associates, the attraction of thriller journey lies in its simplicity. Reasonably than spending time and vitality on choice making, vacationers can give attention to the journey’s expertise.

“There are a whole lot of selections that should be made at each stage of a visit, and having another person resolve for you is actually one of many greatest benefits of shock journeys,” Agarwal mentioned.

Even the comparatively easy act of reserving a flight includes dozens of choices, corresponding to selecting the airline, the place to sit down and when to depart. Handing these selections to a journey booker or trusted buddy can mitigate choice fatigue.

This simplicity comes with trade-offs: It’s possible you’ll choose a day departure however get caught with a morning flight. Or you possibly can find yourself in a vacation spot you’d by no means select for your self (for good purpose).

Meticulous planners, preferring to set each element of their journeys months earlier than departure, might additionally really feel discombobulated by the uncertainty of thriller journey. What to pack? Find out how to know what actions or eating places to go to? These uncertainties might generate a way of hysteria relatively than journey for planners.

Van der Horst, whose husband deliberate a last-minute journey to the seaside, means that planners share some particulars about what vacationers want — like a showering go well with.

“If you wish to trick them … inform them to pack further stuff. Simply let folks know what they really want.”


This column was offered to The Related Press by the non-public finance web site NerdWallet. Sam Kemmis is a author at NerdWallet. E mail:


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