Mystery trips – where you pay an agency to organize your vacation and don’t find out the destination until the last minute – have been a niche section of the travel industry for a number of years. With travel gradually returning to some countries, they’re betting on people wanting to shake up their routine and embrace spontaneity after many months of staying at home.

Lonely Planet reader Markus Wittich from Germany is a very frequent traveler, racking up 18 trips in 2019 alone. After more than a year of staying at home, the idea of holiday where he doesn’t know the destination is extra-appealing to him right now.

“That Groundhog Day feeling is real! We’ve been stuck at home for over a year and it feels like every day has been kind of the same. Since there haven’t been many – or any – pleasant surprises throughout the pandemic, a surprise trip could be a fun idea to visit places that haven’t been on your radar before.”

For river cruise company Uniworld, that bet is already paying off. A 10-day Mystery River Cruise in June quickly sold out and a September voyage is on the horizon. CEO Ellen Bettridge confirmed to Lonely Planet the original idea actually came from their customers.