Surprise Travel

Over the last fifteen years international travel has become more accessible for the average Australian. Schools and universities run student exchange programs, companies such as Student Flights and STA offer super cheap holiday deals and it has become almost a rite of passage for young adults to take a gap year specifically to travel. The abundance of travel and lifestyle bloggers, youtubers and instagrammers filling social media feeds with exotic destinations and suggested itineraries fuels our wanderlust and the World Wide Web has made booking your own holiday easier than ever before. So what’s next in the world of travel?

Surprise Travel is a trend that has taken off predominantly in USA and The United Kingdom, hosted by companies such as Magical Mystery Tours and AFAR respectively. Surprise travel removes the most important responsibility from your to-do list – planning. Websites such as AFAR do this by getting spontaneous travellers to fill out a personality questionnaire detailing your budget, interests and ideal locations, then delivering it to a travel agent who will then organise your trip. This set up is a generic feature of the surprise travel package and more often than not,  Teamtravellers do not know the details of their trip or the destinations until 24 hours before lift-off.

While slow to take off in Australia, the surprise travel trend news is being picked up across the globe by Harpers Bazaar UK, The Washington Post, Travel and and being promoted as the next big thing in revolutionising hands-on, culture-rich vacation experiences. However, companies such as and Virgin Australia offer similar, domestic travel experiences within Australia. The set-up is different: Mystery Flights use a booking page where you select a mystery flight or mystery package, then specify the airport you want to leave from, date and how many are travelling. Virgin Australia use a similar setup, although they only offer mystery packages ranging from one night to four.

While surprise travel is currently limited to domestic adventures in Australia, it looks like the trend is certainly catching. Surprise travel is perfect for people who simply love travelling, anywhere, anytime, or as a gift for the person who has everything.

This article first appeared in the Australia Times Travel Magazine.

Published by

Laura Barry

Laura is a Sydney-based journalist who specialises in travel, culture and lifestyle.

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