How to Plan a Surprise Vacation - Lindsey Miller's Travel Inception
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How to Plan a Surprise Vacation

Surprise vacation to Japan

07 Apr How to Plan a Surprise Vacation


A surprise vacation sounds crazy, doesn’t it?!?

It is totally crazy.

But I did it. I planned for 6 months and kept it a secret and surprised my husband with a trip to Japan.

First, and my mom is the one who pointed this out, I had to have separate access to our finances. My household is arranged in a  very 50/50 way. One of my household duties is finances and paying bills. This was the most important part of planning a surprise trip.

Second, I had to save and save some more. I saved cash from holidays or side projects I completed. I used this cash for all of our spending money while we were in Japan.

I also recruited really good helpers. My mother and Cory’s mother were vital. They took care of the kids while we were gone and I needed their help. I also needed Patti. She is Cory’s office manager. She is in charge of all things at his work. So she was my next partner for this surprise. I also included his best friends. Although I was worried they would spill the beans

Helpers for the surprise vacation

Two of my big helpers

I planned very far in advance. I bought plane tickets 6 months in advance. Not only did this keep my cost down, but it allowed me plenty of time to plan all of the details.

I only chose to book with hotels who didn’t require payment in advance. I gave them my credit card to secure the reservation. They don’t charge it until we arrive. That problem was solved.

Many tour companies offered a Paypal payment method. This showed up on bank statements as “paypal.” I knew that if Cory looked at our accounts he would see the paypal, but it wouldn’t specify Tadashi the tour guide in Kyoto. (By the way, if you are going to Kyoto, you need Tadashi!) Great way to pay for surprise vacation details.


That is the suckiest part.

Personally, I think honesty is the most important character trait that every person should possess. But planning a surprise vacation requires lies. I made myself better by talking to my “helpers” I felt like if they knew what was going on and what I said to Cory then it sort of made it ok. I still feel bad!

The surprise vacation party

Cory and I with his aunt and cousins at his surprise vacation party.

The final and very important step is when and how to reveal your big surprise. Here is what I did.

We were going to Japan. So our favorite Japanese restaurant has a fabulous patio. I reserved the entire patio…for free! Sent out invitations and made a fabulous informative website. We went to go have dinner with friends and when we showed up all of Cory’s friends and family were waiting for him. Some people brought travel related gifts and signed our guestbook-a globe.

It was a fabulous night and a memorable trip to Japan. Best of all it was a surprise vacation for Cory and hopefully he will remember it for the rest of his life.



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