Surprise!

by Chloë Hudson

Photograph courtesy of Noor Nassar

Imagine this: You arrive at the airport with no idea where you’re flying to. Everything—from the destination to the hotels and activities—is detailed in a sealed white envelope. You scan the departures board, looking at the endless possibilities. Which is yours? You don’t know until you tear open that envelope.

Travel agency Jubel will design your dream vacation to a surprise destination across the globe. Based on your preferences, the team will organize every aspect of the trip within your budget. All you need to do is take a ten-minute survey and Jubel will handle the rest—hassle free. Select any area of the world you would like to see and describe what kind of traveler you are; for example, whether you rate yourself as a “Culturist,” “Oceanist” or “Party Purist”.

The experience is mystery made-to-measure. It’s your decision how much of the journey you wish to keep unknown. You can request a completely blind journey or a trip more specific, like “a historical Chinese experience.” Jubel will also send you a package of sealed envelopes that you can open as you explore, each revealing your next destination and providing you with further recommendations.

Jubel encourages travelers to keep their destination a secret, claiming that “the more that is left unknown, the more rewarding and thrilling your experience will be.”

“I don’t think I would want to know the name of the country,” said Savannah Bitzas (SAR ’20). “I think that the element of surprise is all part of the magic!”

Jubel believes that surprise forces your attention to the present. This approach is designed to put mystery and adventure back into travel, recreating the epic expeditions of the past, when the world had yet to be explored by curious travelers.

“This site is perfect for people like me who love to travel, but don’t know where to start,” said Maisie Mansfield-Greenwald (CAS ’20). “The surprise location makes the trip a lot more exciting and unique, too.”

A similar surprise travel agency, Pack Up + Go, plans 3-day weekends within the United States. This is ideal for US-based, adventure-seeking individuals, particularly those looking to escape Boston over a long weekend. Just answer a few short questions online, including a list of your hobbies and locations you have already visited. A week before your departure, you’ll receive an email containing the weather forecast for your mystery destination, recommended items to pack, any luggage size restrictions, and where to go and when. They do the work; you pack up and go.

“I recently planned a trip with my roommate, but the stress of planning the whole thing definitely took its toll on us,” said Bitzas. “It would have been amazing to have someone plan our whole trip for us, and the surprise destination would have taken our motto ‘new experiences’ to an entirely new level!”

Working with a surprise travel agency saves you countless hours of research, supplies you with travel tips and ensures you’re receiving the best recommendations.

If you’re having a busy semester, why not bring together a group of friends and treat yourselves to a wonderful, stress-free mini-vacation.