TVH Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Where will you send me? I don't want to end up in...
This is the question we get asked the most - and we totally understand! For both our US and international surprise vacation packages, we'll send you to pretty well-traveled and known destinations. In the US, we look for medium to large cities where there is good public transit and enough to do, for example Miami, Seattle, Nashville. For our international or all-inclusive surprise trip packages, we send you to interesting destinations with good transit/tourism infrastructure and where you don't need to get a visa beforehand to visit - for example Europe or the Caribbean. For both US and international trips, you can let us know which places you'd prefer not to go in our trip survey! You can also check out our traveler testimonials on our website or pictures on Instagram to see where others have been.
If you'd like to choose the destination but have us plan the trip, you can use our custom package / trip planning service. We can either make the itinerary a surprise or work with you to plan a fabulous vacation!
What is included in the surprise vacation packages?
We believe in spontaneity and want to give you the opportunity to explore as you wish! Our surprise vacation packages include flights, accommodations, some activities, taxes, and fees. All of our trips include personalized recommendations for tours, dining and transportation.
Our "All-Inclusive Escape" packages include all of the above as well as all food and drinks (including alcohol), shared transfers from the destination airport to the resort, and on-site activities & entertainment.
Our "All-American Adventure" and "International Intrigue" packages are not all-inclusive, so they do not include airport transfers, getting around town, food or drinks.
If you'd like to request anything in particular, let us know in your trip survey!
Airlines: Our standard surprise package pricing includes basic economy plane tickets. If you indicate in your trip survey that you are not willing to fly basic economy we will make every attempt to fulfill your request, however it may come at the expense of other package components like a shorter trip or fewer prepaid activities. Please note that you are your travel companion may fly from different airports, but we only book round trip flights.
Accommodations: We avoid economy/budget lodging, motels and hostels. We will usually book you in a 3 star or higher hotel. For our all-inclusive packages, we try to book beachfront resorts. We research and select only highly reviewed hotels and resorts. Note: we do not book AirBnb or vacation rental homes.
Transportation: For our "All-American Adventure" and "International Intrigue" surprise vacation packages, your trip details will include local transportation tips. We will select lodging with good access to local public transit options and ride sharing services. If you’ve indicated you would like a rental car during your trip, we will select a hotel with parking available, generally a bit outside the city center.
All-inclusive resort packages will include shared airport transfers between the destination airport and the resort.
Pre-planned activities: Pre-planned activities depend on your responses to the trip survey and where you're going. Some examples include a walking tour, food tour or a museum entry. All-inclusive resorts have on-site activities and entertainment programs.
Your envelope will contain your flight reservation, hotel reservation, activity information/tickets and tips for dining and transportation. In addition, we'll include a sign with your destination printed in big letters on it (take a picture with it and send it to us!)
How long will my trip be?
Our surprise vacation packages are 3 or 4 days, 5 or 6 days, 7 or 8 days, 9 or 10 days, or between 11-14 days total. This length includes the travel days. The exact length of your trip depends on many factors, including your responses to the trip survey, the time of year you are traveling, and your departure airport. For example, if you were traveling over a holiday weekend when plane ticket and hotel prices are higher, your trip will probably be a day shorter (3 days as opposed to 4). If you have a strong preference for a certain number of days, let us know in your trip survey!
Why would I want to go on a surprise vacation?
There are a ton of reasons! Perhaps you are spontaneous and love the idea of going somewhere unknown? Or you don't know where to go? You and your travel companions can't agree on a destination? Maybe you just don't have time to research and plan a trip? We could go on forever! If you're unsure if a surprise vacation is right for you, fill out our trip survey and we can work with you to plan a great trip!
I’m concerned about Zika - what should I do?
If you’re concerned about Zika, we encourage you to book a US-only All-American Adventure package! If you’d really like to get further afield, just make sure to let us know in your trip survey, and we’ll design you a custom international surprise vacation package. Please be prepared to budget a bit more than our normal vacation package pricing since we’ll be limited in where we can send you.
How does payment work?
After you’ve filled out a survey and selected a surprise package, you’ll continue to check out. Our website uses PayPal checkout, allowing you to use your personal PayPal account, or to charge your trip on a credit or debit card. If you don’t already have a PayPal account, you’ll create one at checkout. This adds an extra layer of security - we never see your financial information. If we need to issue you a refund or credit (for example - a tour we’ve booked gets canceled), we’ll send it to your PayPal account! Lastly, by signing up for a PayPal account, you may have the option to use PayPal Credit as a payment plan for your trip - see below.
Do you offer payment plans?
For our surprise trips, payment is due in full at the time of booking. That means that your credit or debit card will be charged in full when you check out through PayPal even though your trip may be a few months away. If you are interested in a payment plan, you can use PayPal credit to pay for your trip over time if you meet certain terms and conditions (subject to credit approval). You can find out more about PayPal credit here.
Can we pay separately?
Yes, you can! We've enabled our system to allow you to purchase a surprise vacation package 1 traveler at a time, so that you can pay separately. We just ask that you make it clear on the trip survey that you're traveling together, so that we can match you up.
What is the latest I can book my trip?
We highly recommend booking your surprise vacation as soon as possible to maximize the suspense. More practically, airfare and accommodations have more availability and are less expensive the further out you book, so we'll have more options for where to send you. We also want you to be excited for your clues and to have time to make some great guesses! The latest you can book a surprise vacation is a month from your departure date - but please don't wait that long! You can contact us if you'd like to go sooner and we'll let you know if we can make it work on a higher budget custom package!
Who can book a surprise vacation?
Our surprise vacation packages are priced for travelers leaving from the US or Canada and should only be booked by those that are 18 years or older though you are welcome to bring your kiddos! You'll also need a valid government issued ID (like a driver's license or passport). International travel requires a valid passport, so please make sure you have one before booking!
Travelers from outside the US or Canada are totally welcome to book a trip with us, we just ask that you use our custom packages (we can still make it a surprise) and let us know in our trip survey! Please contact us before booking.
Can I use points or miles?
The short answer is: Maybe. Miles and points have to be booked by the owner of the account, so if you're the traveler, it would ruin the surprise to book your own trip. The way we handle surprise trip bookings using points or miles is either to have a trusted friend or family member book the awards (and keep it a secret), or after you’ve made flight bookings with your miles, we can plan the rest of your itinerary as a surprise! To book a trip using your points/miles, choose our "custom package" option in our trip survey.
I’m not into the whole surprise vacation thing, can you just plan me a regular trip?
Sure! If you know where you want to go (or even if you don't), we’ll work with you to plan and customize a trip just for you! Fill out our trip survey and check the "custom package" option, and we'll work together to build your next perfect vacation!
Can we fly out of different airports?
Of course! This is one of the best things about our surprise vacation packages - they are personalized just for you! If you and your travel companion need to fly out of different airports, just say so in our trip survey and we'll coordinate it! Coordinating flights from different airports can be a challenge, so please be flexible!
Why does a solo surprise vacation package cost more?
Traveling with others means sharing a hotel room. Traveling solo, you get a room all to yourself, but you don't get to split the cost.
Do you offer trip insurance?
Yes! The cost of the travel insurance depends on the number of travelers, where you are going, the cost of your trip and other things. If you want travel insurance we will send you a quote, which you have the option of purchasing later, in some cases up to the day before your departure. Your payment to The Vacation Hunt does not cover the cost of travel insurance.
What are your fees?
For our surprise vacation or custom packages, our fee is built in. The hotel or resort may charge a local tax or resort fee, which varies by destination, number of nights, and number of guests. We will do our best to inform you ahead of time how much to expect the tax/fee to be. For our trip planning service, we charge a set fee based on the length of the vacation we are planning, which does not include your travel costs. In both cases, our payment processor will charge your credit card (or PayPal account) as soon as you submit payment.
What if I don’t like my surprise destination?
We really hope that you like where we send you! We work very hard to match you with a destination based on your survey preferences. Part of the adventure is seeing where life takes you. We will provide you with recommended activities based on your preferences so hopefully you’ll discover something new and fun at any destination. Being perfectly honest, if you aren’t okay with a surprise or have a long list of places you don’t want to go, then please do not book a surprise trip, contact us instead and we will let you know what your options are!
Also note that we book your surprise trip a few days after you place your order with us. We do our best to research appropriate destinations at the time of booking and if something makes the destination undesirable to you after we make the bookings, we generally cannot issue you a refund, change your trip or cancel it without penalties. We will make every attempt to help, but please keep an open mind and purchase travel insurance which might help alleviate some costs in certain situations.
Other rules for surprise vacation packages?
Our flights and accommodations in our surprise vacation packages generally don't allow smoking or pets.
What if I need a refund or need to make changes?
We work hard to make sure you have a great time, but we understand that things happen and plans change. We ask that you triple check to make sure all names match your government issued ID and if you are flying internationally, that your passport is valid for at least 6 months after the date of your return. Due to the nature of booking fees and generally nonrefundable flights and hotels, we cannot offer you a full refund. If you need to change anything after we've booked your surprise trip package or cancel your trip, we charge a $250 change/cancellation fee in addition to the fees charged by the airlines, hotels and payment processors. In some cases, this can be the total cost of your trip. If you need to cancel your trip within 14 days of departure, we will not issue a refund. If you've used our trip planning service, our fee is non-refundable and you'll be charged the fees imposed by the airlines, hotels and payment processors. If you need to make any changes or cancel your trip, contact us immediately and we will do our best!
We highly recommend purchasing trip insurance, especially for international trips. In many cases, the reason for needing to change or cancel a trip would be covered by travel insurance (personal or family illness, weather or cancelled flights, etc).
Still have questions? Send us a note at email@example.com or use our contact page!