How To Plan A Surprise Trip

plan a surprise trip

A great gift to surprise someone who loves to travel is to plan them a surprise trip. Or if you know there is a special destination that they really want to visit! And it works for every kind of occasions and every age, be it for kids, teens, adults, husbands, or elders!

A little over a year ago I planned with my mum a surprise trip in the form of a 48h surprise getaway to London for both of my little brothers birthdays and it was one of the best gifts! Although, sometimes it might be a little tricky to do or tedious to plan everything in details without forgetting some important details.


But don’t you worry here are all the steps and things you to do if you’re wondering “How to plan a surprise trip”, so take some notes and plan your friend and loved one the perfect surprise trip.



This is the first thing you need to decide, if you want this trip to be a total surprise or if you only wish the destination to be a surprise. Both are fine although to only have the destination as a surprise is easier to plan ahead in term of availability.

When I did plan a surprise trip for my brother, I told them we would go to Disneyland Paris (they’re not hardcore Disney lovers so no disappointment for them) and stay overnight when in fact we were heading to London -but they only realised that when we reach Gare Du Nord to board the Eurostar (slowpokes) -.
It was only a two days trip so it was fairly easy for me to make up something to have them pack up stuff. And I used EurostarSnap to get cheaper tickets (if you’re flexible it’s your best option!)


Otherwise, if you only make the destination has a surprise but let them know you when you will be taking them on a surprise trip, it’s a little easier as you don’t need to come up for an excuse that would require them to be able to be available at x date until x date.

So, choose what would be the more fitting for them and their lifestyle to decide on either a total surprise or half surprise. Since it varies a lot from adults to teens/kids for example.
As this can be a little tricky if the person can’t get days off of work or anything. However, if it was a kid or a teen you could simply tell them they would go visit a relative at due date and voila, easy surprise.

For a working adult to make only the destination as a surprise might be your best bet depending on their situation!

Basically, everyhting is more complicated when you’re an adult.


Of course, this sounds pretty obvious to make sure that they are available at the date you wish to organise a surprise trip, but you also have to make sure if you have to fly out or cross any border that their ID or Passport are all good or any kind of papers you might need. I mean you wouldn’t want to get yourself stranded at the airport or anywhere else because you forgot something.

If you don’t live with the person and don’t have access easily to their documents you can always ask someone close to them a relative or another friend to do that for you!

If the trip is a total surprise, the best option is also to opt for an easy trip where no visa or such paper is needed.


It might sounds a little obvious, but, when you are planning and researching a surprise trip to someone else it’s easy to lose sight of the person interest and take more into accountance what you’d like to do and less what’s this very specific person would like to do.

Of course unless the person has always been dreaming of visiting a certain location then it’s pretty easy. However, if you’re looking yourself for a destination that they would like make sure to take note about what they like: City? Country? Beach? Mountain?…and the list goes on!


You have your destination sorted out? Great! Now all you need to do is to book flights or trains! Unless you’re travelling by car then all you have to worry about is the itinerary.
Skyscanner is a great website to compare flights and find the cheapest!
Once you’re done with the transportation you have to look into your accommodation: hotel? AirBnb? The choice is yours, but make sure to book everything in advance!

Once you got all of the above sorted out and all the papers you might need, then, you need to focus on something else. It’s time to plan what you’re going to do during those holidays and how much you will spend.

Since you’re surprising someone they won’t have a clue on what to do (even though you know they want to visit this specific places that doesn’t mean that once you arrive they will know what to do) or much money you need to bring.

It is your job to do all those researches and make up a list of things to do and that could interest them and you. Of course, another thing you could do is to buy a guide and let them read it during the journey once they know the destination so they can also pick stuff!



plan a surprise trip
Cave in the Algarve

Planning is tedious for some people, so, you want to make sure everything is well prepared. You can ask some friends or family for help, while this is perfectly fine I think keeping the numbers of people who knows about this to a minimun is the best thing to do.

Or ask for the help of people who you are sure won’t be in touch with the person you are planning a surprise trip for. A small mistake or someone talking a bit too much could ruin the entire surprise, so be careful!
If you have a joint account or credit card be extra careful as this could spoil your surprise vacation. Try and use another card if possible or ask some friends or family to help you out with this.


A fun thing to do until your departure day to wherever you decided to take them on a surprise trip is to drop hints about the destination to keep the excitement going.

Of course, you don’t want anything too obvious. For example, if you’re visiting France you don’t want to tell them: baguette, cheese and wine. You have to be more creative! It can be via any type of medium, a letter, a small object, a puzzle. There are so many fun ways to drop hint.


Dropping hint is also a good way to have them pack properly regarding what they will need. You can tell them to pack for a cold country or a hot country.


Ultimately don’t put too much pressure on yourself to organise your surprise trip and don’t forget to enjoy yourself (If you go and travel with them that is)!

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  1. 26/01/2019 / 17:50

    This is such a fun idea! I am such a big fan of gifting experiences instead of things and surprising someone with a trip is the ultimate. It’s so wonderfully perosnal and thoughtful. Great post! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Bright Lights of America
    26/01/2019 / 18:05

    How can I surreptitiously get my other half to see and read this post? 😉
    I love it, you’ve thought of everything!

  3. 13/02/2019 / 16:52

    Lots of great advice here for planning a surprise trip! I can’t decide if I would like a surprise trip planned for me or not. I tend to enjoy trip planning and reading about everything the destination has to offer. I agree that for adults its best to tell them you have a trip planned and just the destination is a surprise.

  4. theunend
    13/02/2019 / 18:42

    Dropping hints is definitely the fun part of planning a surprise trip! But yes, tons of details to work out especially with the dates for travel. It’s a lot of work but, if it was all done right, completely worth it in the end.

  5. Anisa
    13/02/2019 / 19:28

    I would love to get a surprise trip, but probably only from my husband because he knows me well. I like the idea of dropping hints so the person knows how to appropriately pack.

  6. Katherine
    13/02/2019 / 20:18

    This would be the best gift ever! Especially if you got to drop hints before you left so they’d be thinking about where you could possibly be taking them for a while beforehand!

  7. venturingventuras
    13/02/2019 / 20:44

    This is such a fun idea – especially around Valentine’s Day! My husband has “surprised me” with trips before but always spills the beans. Keeping it a secret is actually the hardest part!

  8. MyBackpackerLife
    14/02/2019 / 07:21

    Great post! I’d love to surprise my boyfriend in the future (at the moment we’re full time backpackers so I’m not sure how it would work right now haha!) but yeah, there are definitely a lot of things to be sure of to succeed!

  9. Johanna
    14/02/2019 / 18:48

    These are such great tips! It actually got me thinking that maybe I should do a surprise trip for my mom’s birthday. I am planner so this would be so easy for me!

  10. Anya
    15/02/2019 / 11:28

    I love your tips and think they are great for those who don’t enjoy performing any research and trip planning when going to a new place. I personally love spending time on a research when it comes to travel and think it would be rather challenging for me to accept a gift, knowing everything has been planned for me. But I should use it more often with other people. Surprising someone with a trip is invaluable!

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