The surprise vacation (markets in everything)

Companies like Magical Mystery Tours and the Vacation Hunt, both based in Washington, D.C., have made surprise vacations their specialty, while more traditionally oriented operations like Rustic Pathways, which focuses on teen travel, and London-based luxury outfitter Brown + Hudson have added mystery trips to their already robust lineups.

The company picks the destination and does all the work planning the trip:

So, how does a destination get chosen? Most American mystery travel companies, including Pack Up + Go, require clients to take a survey. When booking my trip, I was asked where I’d been recently, and where I’d be heading soon, so the company could avoid those places. I was also asked to select from a long checklist of interests and to write in additional comments. I didn’t request a warmer destination, though I easily could have.

Here is the full story from Matthew Kronsberg at the WSJ.

For the pointer I thank the excellent Samir Varma.

Comments

> So, how does a destination get chosen? Most American mystery travel companies, including Pack Up + Go, require clients to take a survey. When booking my trip, I was asked where I’d been recently, and where I’d be heading soon, so the company could avoid those places. I was also asked to select from a long checklist of interests and to write in additional comments. I didn’t request a warmer destination, though I easily could have.

I'm pretty sure most of this is a red herring for what's really happening here: Bundling and selling of discount packages.

I was eager to read more. What an exciting concept. A trip and you don't know where you are going. And then... and then... we are going to Chicago? WTF. Who goes to Chicago for vacation? It all came crashing down, here is exactly the problem with "surprise" vacations.

Why not vacation in Chicago for a 3 day getaway? It’s a fantastic city with a ton of things to do. I’ve had many awesome weekends in Chicago.

Branson maybe, Las Vegas of course, NY City would be OK. But there aren't really any American cities worth visiting just for the sake of seeing sights within that city. What would I see or do in Chicago that I could do in any other American city?

I meant cucked!

What would be really interesting would be if they could offer trips to, say, Florence or Venice in the 1950s, before they were flooded with tourists.

I hope Elon Musk is looking into it.

What would be really interesting is to give them a forbidden item - perhaps some coke is too much but maybe a cultural relic of some sort - and get them to take it through Customs. Somewhere in the Third World. Turkey for the really hard core.

Some people have too much time and money.

"Some people have too much time and money."

+1

Demonstrates the level of imagination of people in general and Americans in particular, similar to allowing a computer to pick the numbers on a Powerball ticket. Pretty good chance the CIA and NSA have their fingers in this, too.

Demonstrates the utter lack of imagination and curiosity of people in general and Americans in particular...

Combined with too much money.

If I was going to play the lottery, I'm certain I would not waste any mental resources picking the numbers myself.

I wonder what destination they would choose

If your profile and interests list

Sex, Gambling, Illegal Substances and Evangelical services?

What combinations would you challenge them with.

That combination could get you to Manila.

A better version of this would be: "Surprise! You're going on vacation!"

That's what I was expecting from the headline. A surprise destination is less exciting.

I like this idea. I always do all the vacation planning in my household and it drives me nuts. Moreover, I keep hearing about things, after the fact, that sound super fun but I would never have thought of at the time. Hiring an outside expert to plan your vacation has the same benefits as hiring a specialist for many other purposes, such as remodeling a home. Lots of people think they can do it themselves, but the outside expert is going to think of ideas that you would never ever think of yourself. They're going to know about all the local secrets so you don't wind up in tourist traps and don't have to spend all day perusing Lonely Planet to find out about them.

Comments for this post are closed