March 5th, 2015

6 Steps to Planning a Romantic Surprise Trip

Reconnect

Travel is the secret romantic tonic too few take advantage of. Exploring new places, trying new foods, seeing new things, and spending quality time together are all priceless experiences for a couple. Even when a trip doesn't go exactly as planned, traveling can help you connect. You might even find you love each other more, because regardless of the hiccups, you are reminded of how much you love being together.

Reawaken Your Senses

What’s simply magical about travel is you are forced to notice things you have long since forgotten in your own neighborhood. And if you are fortunate enough to travel internationally, you can turn the awareness-sensitivity-meter way up: sights, sounds, smells, and tastes all become part of the experience of travel that gives the potential for a life changing experience every time.

Is Surprise Travel Right for You (or Your Partner)?

Some people relish the opportunity to travel without the hassle of all of the planning and logistics. They’re elated to have the opportunity to travel and truly enjoy the experience without any distractions. However, not everyone enjoys surprise travel. Hint: these are the type of people who have a hard time giving up control. Think Type A. One study conducted by British Airways found 3 out of 5 women confessed to hating surprises and a 1/3 said they would hate it if their partner sprang a trip on them. You could try letting the person know in advance how long they’ll be gone for to give them a little heads up. But then again, maybe you’re the kind of couple that defies stereotypes and challenges statistics. If your partner is really adventurous, you might be able to get away with a true surprise vacation – without them knowing until they arrive.

Whether you plan for a long vacation or a weekend out of town, getting away with your significant other can provide time to reconnect, relax, and create lifelong memories together. 

Here’s how to plan your surprise trip:

Step 1: Clear Your Schedules

You will need to coordinate with your SO’s boss in advance if the trip is longer than a weekend. If your partner’s schedule is too unpredictable or fragile, one option is to let them choose the timeframe themselves, without telling them anything else. You could also ask them to choose a period of time to take off but use a different excuse for what he/she needs to in order to disguise your intentions.

 

Step 2: Decide Where to Go

Whether you whisk your lover away to the mountains, an urban mecca with grit, a cosmopolitan city with swanky bars and restaurants, a cabana on a tropical island, or a journey through the desert, find some place where you will get out of your normal routines. You can pick anything from a unique B&B, a historical hotel, a ritzy hotel, a campsite, or something else. Whether you drive or fly, it doesn’t matter. What matters is leaving your zip code. Choose something you both will enjoy.

Expert Tip! Are both of you adventure lovers and willing to embrace complete mystery? Choose a completely surprise trip planned by Magical Mystery Tours, a travel agency.

Step 3Plan for Fun Activities

It could be a guided tour, live music, a massage, a comedy act, or a great restaurant. Depending on your travel style, you may want to pack your days full of activities, or you may want to leave it open, permitting for lots of rest, relaxation, and cuddle time. If you’re always on the go and busy, see if you can challenge yourselves to leave some down time for strolling around arm-in-arm, sitting and watching sunsets, and talking. Is your partner a history nut? Be sure to check out what activities are offered along the way, which may enrich the experience. If they are a wine-o, then scope out the best wineries, keeping in mind what kind of wine they like. Get inspired by the possibilities: dogsledding, mountain climbing, homemade root beer, secluded wineries, world-class art, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, sky diving, doing the human catapult, deep sea diving, whitewater rafting, hang gliding, hot air ballooning, volunteer work, and much more awaits.

Expert Tip! If you share credit cards, make sure you don’t charge things to your credit card that will leak the surprise ahead of time. One way to get around this is to purchase pre-paid credit card gift cards, which will mask your spending.

Step 4: Scope Out the Best Places To Eat

If your partner is a foodie, you may want to do some research about the best places to eat before you go. When foodies are in different territories, new foods and new places are tantalizing opportunities to expand their palatial repertoire and indulge the senses. You can check out TripAdvisorZagatMichelin, or your favorite guidebooks for trusted recommendations. 

Step 5: Pack Your Bags

To help you cover your bases and not forget anything, try using a packing list – we’ve created many to help you out, no matter what type of trip you’re taking. Whether you completely pack their bag for them or give them five minutes to go grab a few things they can’t part without, make sure everything you need is with you. Consider whether or not you should bring a carry-on only (believe it or not, you can pack for 10 days with a carry-on), or if you are willing to check baggage. You’ll also want to pack a daypack to use during the day on mini-excursions and while you’re exploring your destination.

Expert Tip! To get a better idea of what you’ll need to pack for your SO, secretly observe what they do with their morning routine to find out what they use daily.

Step 6Decide How You Will Reveal

You can wait until the last second to give the gift of travel - using an excuse to go to the airport and only revealing the idea once you get to your gate - or another option is to let your partner know an hour or so before, so they can pack their own bag. Or you can slowly reveal clues in the weeks leading up to the trip to heighten the anticipation.

Bon Voyage!

Your Turn! Have you ever surprised your significant other with a trip? Tell us about how you did it in the comments below. 

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