Can you imagine going on a holiday without doing any research and only finding out where you’re going when you get to the airport? That was my situation recently!
It was the first time I’d been on holiday where I didn’t spend hours online scouring Skyscanner and Momondo for the best deals on flights and accommodation; it was ah-ma-zing.
A mystery trip with Srprs.me
A few months ago, I’d seen Srprs.me pop up on my Facebook feed – travel agents who book your flights and accommodation for you, but don’t tell you where you’re going (until the last minute). Despite being a control freak of sorts, I do love a mystery, so I checked it out and after some uhmming and ahhing, I bit the bullet as they say and booked a trip!
The Srprs.me process
The first step is to check out the Srprs.me website to see the options available. The basics are: how many days you would like to go away for (3, 5 or 7 days), the times you’d like to leave and return (morning or afternoon), where you’d like to go (Europe/Mediterranean Europe or their most recent option – east, west, north or south Europe), and if you’d like to stay in a hotel or hostel. Obviously, all of these things contribute to the price, so I can’t provide you with an idea on cost.
They also ask you to provide them with three places you don’t want to be sent to – maybe you’ve been too many times or maybe you just don’t like a certain city. We chose Amsterdam and Prague because we’d only been recently and Paris because I’ve spent a lot of time there.
Once it’s all booked, you get your own page to share with friends so they can keep track of your upcoming adventure.
Where did we end up?
A couple of weeks before travelling into the unknown, Srprs.me let us know to be at the airport at 5:30am on the day of our departure and that we had carry-on baggage included.
A week before travelling, we received an envelope in the mail including a scratch card and a smaller black envelope (with ‘Do Not Open’ on it of course), which is fun because it just adds to the mystery! Then we checked our personal page for our destination’s weather update – cloudy and maximum of 17 degrees. Travelling in January meant it was a bit easier to work out our destination from the weather forecast – we knew it wouldn’t be anywhere north so it had to be Spain or Portugal.
My advice: resist the urge to spend hours putting all the clues together because you’ll ruin the surprise for yourself and it defeats the purpose of having someone else do the leg work for you!
At 5:25am on the day of our flight, we arrived at Bristol Airport, found a spot and waited for the minutes to pass. Unsurprisingly, it felt like much longer than five minutes! At 5:30am on the dot, we scratched our code and went to the website to see where we would be going. By 5:31am, we knew our answer – Barcelona at 7:20am. We received an email with flight details and the name of our hotel. The little black envelope contained our boarding passes, there and back (handy!).
Luckily (or unluckily), we had been to Barcelona a month prior so we already knew how to get into the city and finding our hotel –Room Mate Carla– was a breeze. And a lovely hotel it was – clean, modern and all we needed for two nights. When I’m travelling, the hotel is the one thing I’m always concerned about having had some bad experiences in the past, so it was a relief to arrive at a lovely hotel.
What to see in Barcelona
If you’ve never been to Barcelona before, you may already have the key sites on your list: the famous La Sagrada Familia, the very touristy La Rambla, Gaudi’s Park Guell and House Museum, historical Montjuic Castle (for great views), foodie La Boqueria market, art lovers’ Picasso Museum, and the labyrinth that is the Gothic Quarter.
Been to Barcelona before?
However, if you’ve been before and you feel like you’ve seen everything, you may consider a day trip to Tarragona or Montserrat. The trains are well-priced and each city has plenty to see. In our case, we chose Tarragona because we love history – Roman ruins, medieval infrastructure and some modern aspects make it a fascinating day out.
A mystery trip with Srprs.me
I guess this has turned into a review of sorts – this isn’t paid by any means, I just wanted to share the fun of our mystery trip. Being able to turn up at the airport without any plans was exciting. Not only does it make the whole process stress free, it also means you can wander and explore, which is hard to do when you’ve planned the hell out of a trip like I tend to do.
I can highly recommend taking the plunge!