This is a particularly special Q&A in our traveler series because the travelers in question are Denise, one of our founders, and her husband, Joe! Denise and Joe are well-traveled and experienced with the ins and outs of mystery trips, but had never actually taken one themselves and decided their honeymoon was the perfect opportunity. And fellow travel consultant Alicia knew just the place to send them…the French Riviera!
Why did you decide to take a mystery honeymoon instead of planning it yourself?
A mystery honeymoon was one of the quickest and easiest wedding decisions we made! How could I recommend mystery honeymoons to other travelers if we didn’t do one?! And Joe hates planning, so he was more than happy to go along with something that didn’t involve more planning on his part.
What would you say to people who think a honeymoon is too big of a life event to risk with a mystery trip?
Anyone who’s been through planning a wedding knows how completely overwhelming it can be! We tried to keep our
wedding planning under control, but it was still stressful. I actually would have loved digging into planning a big trip, but it was the absolute perfect time in our lives to take something off of our plates. We left for our honeymoon two days after getting married, and the emotions of getting married, having people from so many parts of your life all together in one place, and then packing up to fly to a mystery destination is the most wonderful and crazy set of emotions!
Where did you end up going? Was it a good choice for you?
We ended up in the French Riviera, and split our time between Nice and Cannes. Our criteria that we filled out in our mystery questionnaire was that we didn’t want to fly more than about eight hours, that we wanted to experience a new place, but we wanted to be able to relax some. (I knew we wouldn’t be up for doing a huge new city or whirlwind tour of a new country right after a wedding!) We made it all the way through security at JFK before we finally opened our envelope. We were beyond excited, but then actually had to take a minute to read the description to find out that we had options like a day trip to Monaco and could easily visit St. Tropez. Both cities were great for strolling, finding little cafes, checking out the beach, and experience a part of France that we knew nothing about. It was the perfect relaxing pace where we didn’t feel pressured to check out tons of new museums or do anything too overwhelming.
What was it like, as an MMT founder, experiencing a mystery trip yourself?
I was absolutely beside myself with excitement! In the five years we’ve been planning mystery trips, I can’t think of one trip that I wouldn’t have been thrilled to go on, so I knew I’d love it. Though once we had everything booked, the suspense of guessing where we might be going was even more fun than I had imagined. It’s so much fun to know that a good surprise is coming! We did have to change up a few procedures to make sure I didn’t find out, and we actually had a staff call where Alicia started talking about a trip she was planning to Portugal, and I freaked out thinking she had accidentally mentioned my trip, though obviously she’s an expert secret-keeper and it was a non-issue.
Did you have any guesses about where you were going? If so, where?
Everyone had ideas—it was one of the hot topics at our wedding. I have an aunt and uncle who lived in Paris for a few years and know Europe well who did guess the French Riviera. I had a cousin who did a mystery trip to the Azores, so that was a top guess, too.
What’s your favorite thing about mystery travel?
It’s the best kind of surprise! Once you’re past the kid-on-Christmas-morning stage, there’s not that many controlled surprises where you know something good is coming! There’s no bad surprise with a mystery trip when you love to travel and are open to new experiences, and for those of us who travel a lot, you tend to try to recreate the same experiences. Mystery travel tends to pair people up with locations that might be just off their radar, but that’s much more fun and exciting because you’re learning about somewhere new and beyond what you might have expected.
Interested in a mystery trip? Just fill out our mystery travel survey to get the process started!