FAQ | Magical Mystery Tours

Frequently Asked Questions

How much will this cost?

Our mystery trips start at $1,500 for weekend trips for two people or $1,100 for one person, but beyond that, the cost of your adventure is entirely up to you. We plan customized getaways to your specifications and your budget. If you’re unsure how much to budget for your trip, see here or email us here.

What costs will my budget cover?

Your travel budget will always include airfare, accommodations, and our small service fee. If an in-destination transportation need is essential to your trip (such as a rental car or train between cities) and/or a guidebook is necessary, we include those costs in your budget as well. If you would like activities planned for you, we offer this as an add-on service; you will need to add extra money to your budget to account for those costs.

What it doesn’t include: The budget you provide to us does not include checked baggage fees, souvenir shopping, and in-destination costs like taxis, food, and activity/sightseeing charges, so you will need to account for that spending separately.

While the vast majority of your budget goes to your trip costs, we take a small service fee out of the total ($300 minimum or 7-15 percent of the total trip cost, depending on the size of your trip).

For sample budget scenarios and activity costs, click here . For specific questions, email us here [LINK]. Upon receipt of your survey we will follow up to discuss your budget if we find it’s insufficient (or too high!) for the type of trip you described.

How will you determine my destination?

The first step in the process is you completing our mystery travel survey, which includes questions about your budget, travel dates, previous travel experiences, and other preferences and parameters. Using that information (and any other details ascertained from follow-up questions/conversations), we’ll research a variety of destinations and options to plan a trip that fits your specifications. We rely on the information you provide, so be as thorough as you can!

Why would I want to go to an unknown destination?

Great question! Maybe you have a great sense of adventure and want a unique experience. Maybe you hate travel planning or don’t have time for it. Or maybe you find the plethora of information and websites on travel deals, recommendations, and reviews to be overwhelming. Here are some of the reasons our travelers have told us they opted for—and enjoyed—mystery travel:

  • It prevented them from stressing out and overplanning their trip because they couldn’t research it in advance.
  • It ended family/friend squabbles about where to go because the decision was out of everyone’s hands.
  • It allowed them to experience a destination they never would have thought of on their own.
  • It gave them a chance to simply relax, be present, and enjoy the destination in a different way because all of the arrangements were taken care of.
  • It was a chance to capture the magic of a surprise that we so rarely experience as adults!

How much time do you need to plan my trip?

Customized mystery trip planning takes time, so we ask that you give us at least 6-8 weeks’ notice in advance of your departure date (although the more time, the better). If you need a getaway and don’t have as much notice, we always do our best to accommodate shorter timeframes. However, this is subject to staff availability, and rush trips do incur rush fees because it’s more difficult to pull together an individually-customized trip on short notice.

How will I find out where I’m going?

A day or two before your departure, you will receive your travel reveal packet, which contains everything you need to know for your trip, including a destination guide, flight details, accommodations information, and any other material on activities or meal reservations you opted to have pre-booked. To get the full mystery trip experience, we recommend waiting until you get to the airport to open your packet (although of course this is up to you!).

What do I pack?

A week before you leave, we’ll email you a pre-departure update that includes a weather report for your destination and a suggested packing list. If there are any specific items you’ll want to bring—such as your swimsuit, athletic gear, or your passport (important!)—we’ll include it in the list.

Can I use my frequent flyer miles or other travel rewards?

For mystery trips, we don’t recommend this because we can’t guarantee your destination will remain a secret and award travel availability can limit the dates and destination options for your trip. (But for non-mystery trips, absolutely!). If you absolutely need to use your travel rewards for a mystery trip, we do charge additional fees to do this because it’s trickier to make the arrangements for you on our end.

When do I pay? What payment methods do you accept?

Once we receive your survey and confirm that you’d like to move forward, we send you an invoice for your full trip payment (total budget). We have to charge the entire amount upfront because we need to be able to book and pay for your flights, accommodations, and other arrangements as soon as your trip plan is finalized. Travel pricing is volatile, and delays increase the chance that we will miss out on the quoted price that we’ve found for you. If we don’t need to spend your entire budget (and this happens frequently!), we will issue you a refund for the unspent funds.

We accept payments either through credit card or ACH. If you would like to pay in installments, please let us know and we can invoice you through PayPal, where you can apply for PayPal Credit. This gives you the option to pay your total trip payment over a 6-month period. (Subject to credit approval; click here for more details.)

What happens if I need to cancel?

We know that life can sometimes throw some unexpected things your way. Should you need to cancel or reschedule your trip, we will do our best to assist you, but we cannot refund our service fees, and we don’t have control over the nonrefundable policies or cancellation fees charged by airlines, hotels, and activity vendors.

This mystery travel thing is interesting, but I don’t think it’s for me. Will you work with me to plan a trip where I know where I’m going?

Of course! While we love the suspense and mystery of showing up at the airport to head off to an unknown destination, we are also happy to offer traditional travel planning services and assist you with the arrangements for a destination you select (or help you choose one!).

How do you handle payments? How do I know it’s secure?

We used to secure systems called Stripe and Plaid to accept both credit cards and ACH payments. Magical Mystery Tours never sees your login information or passwords. These sites will not work if there’s something about your connection that is not secure.  You can also double check the links to read more about their privacy policies and understand how they work.

How do I know how you’re spending my money?

We understand that you’re trusting us to spend your hard-earned vacation money well, and we don’t take that lightly. We pride ourselves on spending your money wisely. We have found that most people trust us and are comfortable enjoying their trip without agonizing over the financial details, but you are more than welcome to request receipts for purchases made on your behalf after your trip is complete.

Do you work with Canadians?

Absolutely!

Can you tell my boss/babysitters/dog/etc where I’ll be going ahead of time?

Sure! It’s your trip, so you decide what works best for you. If you need someone at home to know where you’ll be, we’re happy to tell them. Just be sure they can be trusted to keep a secret!

Do you plan honeymoons? Do you do honeymoon registries?

We love honeymoons! Our founder, Denise, even did a mystery honeymoon of her own and guarantees that your wedding guests will love being in on the mystery of guessing your destination. If you’d like your guests to have the option of contributing toward your trip, mention this in your questionnaire and we’ll be in touch to determine the best way to make this happen.

Wait, Magical Mystery Tours - isn’t that a Beatles song? Are you connected to the Beatles tour in Liverpool?

When we planned our first mystery vacation, we had no idea it would turn into a successful business. While not connected to the Beatles, from the start we thought “Magical Mystery Tour” was the perfect name for the trips we were planning, so it’s what we coined our new idea. Fast forward a few years and we’re the proud owners of the trademark “Magical Mystery Tours!” (And though we’re not associated with any prepackaged Beatles tours, we’re happy to book one for you on any mystery trip or traditional trip to England!)

I’m traveling with friends; can we pay separately?

Sure! It doesn’t matter to us. Just let us know and we’ll invoice you separately.

What if I don’t want to go where you send me?

We can honestly say we’ve never sent someone to a place that we wouldn’t like to go! We will do everything we can to pick a destination you’ll love. Please fill us in on places you wouldn’t want to go when you fill out your questionairre (i.e. you travel to Chicago for work monthly or would hate to end up in Toronto since you’d be stuck visiting a long-lost cousin). Though a mystery trip is also about the journey and embracing something new. Please give your destination a chance–we promise we thoughtfully picked it for you because we think you’ll love it!

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Trip costs depend on a variety of factors, including number of travelers, dates, trip length, originating airport, and hotel preferences. Because of this, it’s difficult to predict a precise amount for every possible scenario. However, here are some examples of what some typical budgets have purchased in the past:

Likewise, activity costs range from free walking tours to all-day wine tasting excursions. Here are some example per-person estimates to help guide your budgeting: