High and lows of planning a surprise getaway – with a difference!

Canal, Amsterdam
Panoramic view of canal

It’s been in the planning for months. A surprise getaway for my boyfriend to celebrate the end of his twenties and the start of officially hitting the big 3-0.

As somebody that loves to plan travel, I could think of no better way to surprise him than a short getaway with a difference – I wouldn’t be accompanying him. You see, on all of the trips that we have taken, we’ve always travelled as a couple or with a group. He has never had a lads’ holiday.

Now this was something that I thought about in great depth. Some suggested that it was unwise, sending a man away with a group of friends would be bound to end badly. On the other hand, I considered it important that he take this type of trip. It offers a new perspective on travel and I’ve always loved my girly getaways as they have a completely different dynamic. Why shouldn’t he have the same opportunity?

So, four months before his birthday (which is at Christmas), I got the ball rolling. My to do list was something like this:

  • Think of destinations that were easy to travel to during the season – it needed to be fun, not stressful
  • Keep in mind a budget that’s likely to suit the group
  • Consider their interests and choose a suitable destination
  • Check availability of flights, hotels and most importantly, attendees
  • Arrange for him to book leave from work (under a guise)
  • Collate funds from the group to arrange all necessary bookings
  • Save a separate budget of my own cash for his spending money – it’s unexpected so he hasn’t been able to plan for himself
  • Pack (on his behalf) and load everything into the car (without him noticing any missing items)
  • Ensure that I didn’t mention anything AT ALL during the coming months
  • Swear the group to secrecy – critical, as he speaks with them on a daily basis!

With all of that in mind, I followed each of the steps to get it all underway. I selected a destination – Amsterdam – and so continued the rest of my planning, ensuring that they would all arrive back in time for Christmas Day with their families.

Today, the day arrived. I told him that I had something planned, he just needed to get into the car and be open-minded. Fortunately for me, he was. His friends were all pre-notified of the time for check-in etc and then the rest was up to them. My birthday present, delivered.

Have you ever surprised somebody with something that would be beyond their expectations? Did everything go to plan?

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