The Best Surprise Vacation Ideas

Isn’t it the best thing ever when somebody organises a Surprise Vacation for you? I only had the pleasure once that a group of friends organised a surprise vacation for my 40th birthday. It is like having your personal vacation planner only better because it comes unexpected which adds to the excitement.

With Valentine’s Day coming up so I’m quite sure a lot of people are looking for ideas to plan a surprise trip. I asked around to find out about the best surprise vacation ideas and experiences. What mystery vacations did friends experience so far. It turns out that there is quite some creativity going around and it was fun to put this article together with the planning of a surprise vacation as the focal point. So in case you’re looking for some inspiration to organise a surprise vacation, read on. Or maybe you can just share the link with your love to encourage him or her to organise a surprise trip for you. Hint Hint!

Find below a overview of real-life experienced surprise vacation plans that friends have put together. Perhaps it will give you some inspiration to surprise your loved one for their upcoming celebrations or of course for Valentine’s Day.

South African is a GREAT destination for a  surprise vacation idea. Head over to THIS article to check out the best times to visit. Cape Town is an AMAZING city to visit, read here how you can spend an awesome 48 hours in Cape Town, a fantastic fun city.

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All hotel links will take you to the HotelsCombined web site. HotelsCombined will find the best available rates for you using searching at several booking sites.

A surprise vacation hidden in oven gloves

My husband isn’t very good at buying Christmas presents. He’d much rather I told him exactly what I wanted so he could just go out and buy it. I, on the other hand, love a surprise. It’s so boring to open a gift that you picked yourself, right?!

The first Christmas after we were married, we were staying with his family. He handed me a (badly wrapped) gift and for the first time in many years, I had no idea what was inside. The parcel was about the size of an A4 notepad and felt kind of rubbery… I opened it up and found…oven gloves.

Yes, you read that right. Oven gloves.

I was not impressed. “Ah” he said, but these aren’t just any oven gloves. These are silicone oven gloves that are long so you’ll never get burned again”. I guess he had a fair point – I am very prone to burning myself on the oven.

But really. Oven gloves? This was 2010, not 1910. And I have a strong feminist streak. Really, had I married the right person

“Try them on” he suggested.

So I did. “How strange, there’s a leaflet in here” I thought, pulling out a white envelope.

Which is when I found the plane tickets! After the massive let down of oven gloves, finding plane tickets to Mallorca for a surprise vacation with my husband was particularly amazing!

And such a big surprise, from a husband that’s useless at surprises made it all the more sweet.

We stayed in a lovely place Hotel Illa d’Or in Port de Polenca. Click the link to find the best rates through HotelsCombined.

Contributed by Clare Dewey from Epic Road Rides. Click through for more details about this surprise holiday.

Hiking in Patagonia, the W Trek – 5 day Surprise Vacation

I surprised my boyfriend with a trip to Patagonia to hike in the Torres del Paine National Park. I told him to block off specific dates on his calendar and I packed for him so he wouldn’t have an idea of where we would be going. We went on the 5-day “W trek” that goes past iconic scenery within the park.

The trip worked out well as a surprise. There are some good reasons why it worked. First of all, it was a blend of activities he likes– hiking, nature, and travel abroad. He is also a pretty adventurous guy who is up for being surprised and able to adapt to change and uncertainty easily. I know he hadn’t been to South America yet, so this was a cool chance to introduce him to the continent while also enjoying some of the best nature it had to offer.

The key to keeping it a complete surprise was trust, good planning on my part, and understanding the person I was surprising well. I had high confidence the trip would be a success because of these things. If I didn’t know the person as well, or couldn’t get complete autonomy to plan and know they’d go along with it, I probably wouldn’t do it!

Contributed by Renee Hyde from Renee the Wanderess. Click the link to read more about this amazing hiking surprise vacation.

Surprise Vacation to Bohol, The Philippines

I would like to share my experience of the surprise trip, my husband Dave planned. Last summer my husband gave me a big surprise vacation on my 25th birthday. He told me that we were going for a surprise vacation to Bohol in The Philippines. I really liked the gift as I had watched some pictures of Bohol and was very excited to visit the 10th largest island in Philippines.

We stayed in a very budget friendly resort, Anika Island Resort. Click the link HERE to find out more and see the best rates on HotelsCombined.

We spent almost a week in Bohol and we visited many famous locations there. Starting with The Chocolate Hills, where there are hundreds of symmetrical green hills as far as one can see. We walked on the famous Bamboo Hanging Bridge. It is a bamboo-weaved bridge over the slow flowing river. It felt so scary when we walked on the bridge because it vibrates a little, although it is very strong.

We also visited Mahogany Forest. where we rented a motorbike so that we could experience the beauty of the Forest. The roads are windy and made our ride really memorable. The roads were nicely paved and the traffic was ok. After visiting the Forest we took the Cruise ride Along Bohol’s Rivers. Throughout the trip, the guides explained about the history of the river and the significance of the structures that we saw along the way. My favourite sites were the century-old churches and a watch tower.

I really loved the Filipino Cuisine, although my husband didn’t. My favourite dish was Adobo which is a plate of either chicken or meat, cooked until tender with soy sauce and vinegar.

To conclude, the trip was really memorable and I would love to discover more of the Bohol. My husband did a really good job impressing me with this amazing surprise vacation.

Contributed by Carlita Stephens from The Mama Pirate

A surprise vacation to get married

I met my future husband on the ski mountain of Courmayeur in Italy on Christmas Day, so several years later when he’d agreed to marry me it seemed natural to plan to get married on a ski hill.  Only I organised it and didn’t tell him until a few hours before we were due to fly out.

I spoke with his boss, arranged his time off work (I didn’t advise the reason other than a surprise vacation), planned flights from the UK to Canada, a gorgeous cabin on the mountain, a justice of the peace and the approval of the ski hill.

Collating all the family information required by the Canadian authorities required a little more subterfuge, but on the 3rd December 1999, we married at the top of Big White Mountain, Kelowna, with two (surprise) friends as witnesses. My “walk up the aisle” was on the ski lift and our first ski run together was the worst I have skied in my life ever! The champagne in the hot tub in the snow outside our cabin was fabulous.

There were a few anxious hours before we flew out, as Nigel took in what I’d planned while full of cold, but the trip and the wedding was amazing.  Our honeymoon included a trip to Vancouver, a visit to Vancouver Island and a float plane trip to the hot springs in the north of Vancouver Island before flying home via Seattle.  It was a fabulous surprise vacation and also a big white wedding. Of the only sort either of us wanted.

Contributed by Sarah and Nigel from A Social Nomad. Click through to read all about this amazing surprise trip.

The Maldives, my kind of surprise vacation

Last year my husband was celebrating a big birthday and I wanted to do something very special. I decided an 8 day surprise vacation to The Maldives was perfect and went about planning it with the intention of keeping it a secret. I paid for it all on a new credit card so he wasn’t aware of the payments, I booked all the flights from Melbourne to Male and the resort organised the rest from there. I organised my mum to look after the kids and I managed to keep it under wraps.

He wasn’t totally in the dark, he knew something was going on but he didn’t know exactly what. I made a personalised birthday card from Moon Pig and put some photos of the resort on the front with Happy Birthday. On the inside it read:

Dear Craig,
Happy Birthday!
Pack your bags we leave for the Park Hyatt Maldives in 4 hours. The photos on the front of the card are where you’ll be staying for the next 8 nights. 

Love The best wife in the world!

We left for the airport 4 hours later. We had the most amazing stay at the Park Hyatt Maldives where we swam, ate, drank and scuba dived. The resort was aware it was a big birthday and went the extra mile to make us feel very special. It really was a trip of a lifetime. Click the HotelsCombined link HERE to find the best rates

Better still, my husband is older than me, I reminded him on the way home that he has 6 years to top it but I know it will be very hard to beat!

Contributed by Sally Lucas from Our 3 Kids v the World . Click through to find out more.

Surprise trip to Uluru in Central Australia

I LOOOOVE organising surprise trips so here’s my 2nd one. You might have seen my contribution above regarding surprising my husband with a trip to the Maldives to celebrate a big birthday. However, this was not the first time I did this! Yes I know he’s a lucky bloke!

Back in 2014 I also organised a surprise birthday vacatoin trip to Uluru in central Australia. Again I booked the flights on the quiet and researched and booked all the hotels and activities. This time I surprised him the night before with a birthday card and the boarding passes inside. The card read, pack your bags we will be leaving for Uluru tomorrow morning.

We stayed for 3 nights in Uluru, I organised a helicopter ride over the Rock, the very exclusive Sounds of Silence Dinner, I hired a car so we could get around and do sunrise and sunset views of Uluru and a day tour to Kings Canyon to do the 6km Rim Walk.

Uluru is a great place for a short break as there really is very little to do other than view the Rock and any activities are expensive because AAT has the monopoly for tours and can charge what they like.  Uluru was a great place for a surprise getaway made very romantic with outstanding sunsets and sunrises with Uluru as the backdrop. Uluru changes colour with the different light flowing over it during the day.

A great place to stay is Sails in the Desert. Click the HotelsCombined link HERE to find the best rates.

Contributed by Sally Lucas from Our 3 kids v the World. Click through to read more about the trip.

We hope that this gives you inspiration to organise a surprise vacation for your loved ones!

Jessy Lipperts
Jessy has over 15 years of experience in the travel industry. She completed a post-graduate at Harvard University Extension School in  Sustainable Management of Tourism Destinations and is currently enrolled in a transformational leadership program which offers a creative solution to the education crisis in South Africa. Jessy is the proud mother of Rosie and together they love to design and go on solo parent adventures. They currently live in Cape Town, South Africa.