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'Mystery trips' becoming popular vacation trend

People leaving vacation planning to someone else

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DETROIT – Judy and Steve Rubin decided to get away for a long weekend, but instead of doing the vacation planning themselves, they left everything up to someone else.

"I said, 'What the hey, why not?'" Steve Rubin said.

Judy Rubin, who admits she is very spontaneous and impulsive, said they booked a mystery trip.

Surprise or mystery trips are a new trend.

"We offer two different types of trips. We offer road trips where you can drive to your destination and then we offer trips where you can fly to your destination," said Lillian Rafson, CEO of Pack Up and Go.

Shanna Bober has been on at least two mystery trips. Her first one started with suggestions on what to pack and an envelope full of clues.

"They said we're going to one of the most amazing cities in the world," Bober said.

She traveled to Myanmar, a small country in southeast Asia.

"You just do one amazing thing and then they drive you to another amazing thing and it's just, like, so unexpected. It takes your breath away because you can't prepare or plan or anticipate what's coming," Bober said.

A destination is chosen based on extensive surveys you fill out in advance. 

"That survey will tell us any trips you've gone on recently or any trips you have coming up so we don't repeat those, and then we have a checklist of interests so you can tell us if you like craft beer or art museums or fine dining," Rafson said.

The Rubins' trip was to New Orleans. They enjoyed it so much they said they would do another surprise trip, and make it a longer one next time.

Bober just returned from her second international adventure, which took her to Mongolia.

"It teaches you to just enjoy and be ready for anything," Bober said.

There are several different companies offering mystery vacation packages. The price of vacations depends on where you're going and for how long, but you set the budget and pay in full in advance.


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