top of page


It was a dark and stormy night...

Was it Colonel Mustard in the dining room with the wrench? Or Mrs. Peacock in the conservatory with the candlestick? Or the Croatian coast in the spring on a private yacht?

Oh, wait, that last one isn’t a murder suspect – but it could be a mystery.

For all the time we spend thinking about travel planning, what if you took your next vacation without any planning at all?

There’s a new trend in travel called mystery vacations. They combine the joy of travel with the thrill of surprise. You set a few parameters upfront, pay a package price, and the travel company choses your destination and plans the entire trip. You don’t find out where you’re going until you arrive at the airport. Surpriiiise!

Most of the companies specializing in these trips focus on domestic, long-weekend trips. But there’s also a mystery cruise out of the UK, and it certainly seems like this idea would work for longer international trips as well. Some of the companies give you clues in the weeks leading up to the trip. Others just tell you what to pack. When your packet of trip information arrives in the mail a few days in advance, you’ll have to exercise self-control not to peek.

If you hate the planning phase of travel (or just don’t have time for it) and you’re game to go anywhere, a mystery vacation would be a great choice. On the other hand, if you find the unknown to be stressful, this is probably not the vacation for you.

As much as I enjoy travel planning, this does sound like fun – probably because I love a good mystery. I also love a good surprise, but my problem (if you can call it that) is that – even if I want to be surprised – I tend to figure out the clues. (My brain just won’t stop working behind my back to put two and two together.) I would definitely have to take a “no clues” mystery vacation. Just telling me what climate to pack for and sending me off into the world? How exciting!

A mystery vacation requires a willingness to let go and take a leap of faith. It’s the travel version of a trust fall. But any kind of travel requires a certain amount of letting go. Embracing the unexpected and enjoying whatever happens next is, as in a good mystery novel, a big part of what makes travel fun. If you’re not naturally inclined to be this free-wheeling with your travels, perhaps giving up control over the planning will limber you up for going with the flow once you’re on the road.

And if nothing else – unless your brain ruins the surprise – you’ll always end up somewhere you weren’t expecting. What a grand adventure that will be.

bottom of page