Daughter jumping for joy on a travel adventure

How to Give a Travel Adventure to your Family as a Surprise

What is the best way to surprise someone with a trip?

When you consider the creative ways to surprise your family with a travel adventure, I am including families of all ages. You might be a young parent with children under the age of 12, a parent with teens, a parent with kids in their twenties and thirties, and maybe a “grand” parent with kids who have kids of their own.

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Would Your Family Even WANT a Travel Adventure Surprise?

Some of you might ask, “Well, why wouldn’t they want a surprise trip?”

A little personal story here about surprises:

Chris pulled off a great surprise this time. But I have come to realize that I am not really a fan of surprise birthday parties.

We had planned to go out for dinner on Saturday evening. As the day progressed, Chris got involved in working on installing surround sound in the basement. And he just kept on working, saying he would be done in 45 minutes, then 20 minutes. I was becoming more annoyed with him as time passed. We had planned to go to out for dinner to celebrate and the restaurant was about 45 minutes away. By the time we got there, it would be closer to 8 pm with this schedule.

I was not impressed. In fact, I didn’t even bother to dress up. I was that annoyed. He didn’t seem to care so why should I? Add to that, a friend had requested to borrow my fitness ball and Chris was more than willing to drop it off on the way to the restaurant.

I kept telling myself, “Don’t be annoyed.” It didn’t help.

So when we drove up to my friend’s house and Chris suggested that I take the fitness ball to the door, I was not feeling happy. My friend opened the door, and I could see birthday decorations on the wall and it hadn’t clicked yet. I was wondering who in their family was having a birthday when all of a sudden more friends popped around the corner yelling, “Surprise.”


I looked like a scruff. A scruff having hot flashes. I put on a happy face and tried to make the best of it. Chris and my friends had made a lot of effort to celebrate me. Chris had ordered food from a local restaurant and friends had brought some wonderful desserts.

I can now safely say I don’t need another surprise birthday party. Ever.


So, when you set out to surprise your family members—husband, wife, children, grandchildren—whatever their age, you need to sincerely think, “How will they respond to a travel adventure given as a surprise?

Consider your audience and how they might react.

Giving the gift of travel and adventure can be complicated to plan, and on rare occasions, it may not be received with the enthusiasm you hoped. On the FLIP SIDE, they might just absolutely LOVE a travel adventure for families surprise. You know them best!

Another friend once booked a cruise for her and her husband with a group of friends and surprised her husband with the cruise a few days before they were scheduled to leave. She had taken care of all of the details and even contacted her husband’s boss to request days off and then swear him to secrecy. She kept that secret for over a year. And her husband LOVED the surprise of a travel adventure.

Tip * Gift the IDEA of a trip without making actual bookings or plans is an option.

If you will be using the frequent flyer number of family members to book a surprise trip, be aware that they might receive emails regarding the trip. The same goes if you are using their reward points. If you use them, they may be notified.

Why Should You Find the Best Way to Surprise Someone with a Trip?

When you give the gift of a travel adventure to your family or someone special, you give something amazing to yourself and to them—TIME! Travel experiences build memories that will last a lifetime, surely more than electronics or clothes or gadgets wrapped under a Christmas tree.

You give travel and adventure as a surprise for the time you get to spend together right? Time spent together is valuable and sometimes hard to achieve. As a parent, husband, wife, sibling, or child, you might have come to appreciate the concept of PRESENCE versus PRESENTS.

Consider these benefits:

  • Create memories and add to your family bonding time
  • Recognize that they don’t always need or want more stuff (especially if it is giving stuff just for the sake of finding a gift)
  • Instill the love of travel in your children at an early age and help them to cultivate adventurous souls
  • Experience new cultures, foods, traditions, and languages together
  • Meet amazing people all around the world
  • Do family history research
  • Go on a trip where you can relax and decompress
  • Plan for the experience of anticipating a trip

Gift a travel adventure to your family and you give the gift of time together.

What Kind of Travel Adventure Surprises Can you Give?

A word of advice * Don’t go into debt for your vacations.

You may be limited by your finances and time available, but let your imagination, creativity, and planning abilities run wild with the resources you have available to you.

Ideas for Travel Adventures and Best Places to Travel for Adventure:

  • Cruise
  • Trip to the South of France
  • Visit to Grandma’s house
  • Humanitarian Trip
  • All-inclusive vacation
  • Island Travel to relax by the beach
  • Staycation with special excursions and day trips close to home
  • Cooking class adventure to learn a new skill or to learn about a new culture
  • Trip to Disneyland, Disney World, Universal Studies, etc.
  • Weekend hiking or camping getaway to the mountains
  • Visit to a hot springs close to home
  • Weekend stay at an Airbnb
  • Adventure Travel in the USA
  • Road trip to a National Park

The Best Way to Surprise Someone with a Trip

If you love adventure and you love to plan, then coordinating the surprise reveal is half the fun. You can go as big and intricate as you want or just keep it simple when you wrap a printout of your itinerary and place it under the Christmas tree or give a Mother’s Day present.

Be sure to keep track of all of the details. You can easily do this with the Ultimate Travel Planner * Notebook and Journal.

Fill The Ultimate Travel Planner with everything you need as you plan your travel adventure surprise for your family. Plan your best trip ever as you organize all of the details in this hardcover travel planning journal and notebook. Plan your budget, check off your packing list, discover places to visit and things to do, and use the TO DO lists so you don’t forget anything.

Also, you will want to consider your audience and their ages. For younger children, having a surprise reveal as they pop a balloon with a picture of Mickey Mouse inside would be awesome.

Ideas on How to Surprise Someone with a Trip

  • Wrap a box filled with gift items that represent travel: a suitcase, necklace, earrings, bracelet, toy boat, luggage tag, compass keychain, lanyard.
  • Mail a surprise box with travel items in it: goggles, new beach towel, sunscreen, toiletry bag, etc.
  • Create a shadow box filled with pictures of the destination, a boarding pass, or small tokens that represent your adventure destination.
  • Frame a map and add a big red heart over the surprise destination.
  • Frame a print of something iconic from your destination—the Eiffel tower, tent, beach—include a note on the back of the picture with the surprise announcement.
  • Plan an escape room adventure to uncover clues.
  • Wrap a small toy boat or plane.
  • Create a crossword puzzle.
  • Find scratch-off cards online that you can personalize (or make your own).
  • Plan a trip, pack your kids’ suitcases, sign them out of school, and head to the airport. Tell them they have a dentist appointment and see how long it takes them figure out that they are headed to the airport instead of the dentist. Keep them guessing on the destination until they arrive at the gate.
  • Wrap a suitcase filled with the travel items they would need for this travel adventure.
  • Reveal day by day clues leading up to Christmas, their birthday, etc.
  • String yarn through your house that is tied to the gift.
  • Create a custom puzzle or buy one that features a picture of your destination.
  • Plan a scavenger hunt with clues that they will have to piece together.
  • Fill balloons with something representative of your travel adventure.
  • Create a candy or chocolate bar poster
  • Make your own fortune cookies with a small note about your surprise.
  • Plan for them to find a message in a bottle.

You are only limited by your creativity and ability to search Pinterest. There are so many ideas out there on how to gift a surprise travel adventure.

Travel and Adventure Quotes – Instagram Travel Captions

I follow my heart and it leads me to the airport.

Anxiety is not knowing where you put your passport.

Good things come to those who travel.

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I may have ended up where I intended to be. ~Douglas Adams

I feel as though most of my problems can be solved with a trip to…anywhere!

There’s no time to be bored in a world as magnificent as this one.

I googled my symptoms. Turns out I just need to travel.

You don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go, and see what happens ~Mandy Hale

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Final Thoughts on How to Give a Travel Adventure to your Family as a Surprise

You should have plenty of ideas on how to surprise someone with a trip now where you can all travel for adventure and discover the best places to travel for adventure.

You may find that you have just as much fun planning your family travel adventure as you will on the actual trip. Surely, the anticipation that builds as they unbox the gift, discover clues, or reveal the destination will be a highlight.

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11 months ago

I love this idea. We are all about Experience gift. Not going to happen this year but hopefully next year I can offer that to my kids.

11 months ago

What great tips! I’ve not gifted many travel surprises before, but I have shared a couple for special occasions. I love your ideas for revealing the surprise! I’m going to try one of those out next time Thanks for the great guide!

11 months ago

I couldn’t agree more! You’ll give them memories and something to look forward to! It would be fun to give them a candy, shirt, or something special from that place!

Linda (LD Holland)
11 months ago

I love the idea of gifting travel to family members. But worry a little about doing it as a surprise. Although I am sure they would love to head off but am not sure how they might react to my choice. However well thought out. I love the creative ideas you have for revealing the travel gift. 

11 months ago

I used to love gifting travel surprises to my husband, I thought I was being really generous, but I realised I was actually doing it for me rather than for him. Some really great tips in this article, particularly the first point regarding not everyone like surprises.

11 months ago

I’ve been doing experience gifts for years as none of us needs more stuff! But I’ve never done a surprise trip. Maybe next time! And I love your surprise bday story 🙂

11 months ago

I love the idea of gifting a travel adventure, but I never know how to present it in an exciting way! I really like the thought of sending a box full of relevant gifts like goggles etc, I think I’ll give that a try – thank you!

10 months ago

This is the type of present I always ask for, I much prefer activities or trips over physical gifts under the tree.

10 months ago

Gifting an adventure is an awesome idea! I especially love the idea of a national park(s) road trip. I’ve gifted a national parks pass a few times in the past.

10 months ago

In our family, the gift of travel is always welcome. So needless to say, I enjoyed reading your post and your good ideas! I love your list of ideas of places to visit. The south of France is high in my list.

10 months ago

I would love a surprise trip gifted to me, but only a few people could plan a trip that I would like. I do love the scavenger hunt idea!

10 months ago

Love the idea of giving an travel adventure. Some fun ideas to ‘wrap’ it also.