I recently planned a surprise holiday for my parents. It was the first time I did this without their knowledge so I admit I was pretty nervous about it.
But given that my husband and I spent an amazing couple of weeks on a spectacular river cruise along the Danube last year, I figured my parents would enjoy a similar holiday. I mean, what’s there not to like about being spoiled rotten by the crew, good food, great wine and breathtaking vistas?
But before booking the trip, I actually took several things into consideration. Sure, the fact that I had previous experience with this particular river cruise played an important role, but it wasn’t the decisive factor.
What kind of trips do your parents enjoy best?
Falling for the stereotypes is the easiest thing in the world. But the truth is, different people, enjoy different things. Some of my parents’ friends would never go on a river cruise because they enjoy more active trips. But I remembered my parents’ eyes light up when we told them how amazing our river cruise had been, so I was positive it would be a nice surprise. Which it was, by the way!
What do your parents need right now?
Okay, so maybe your parents are not the type of people to spend a week by the pool in an all-inclusive resort in Bali and would rather learn about the fascinating Balinese culture and meet the locals. But if they’ve been through a highly stressful period recently, an all-inclusive break might be exactly what they need. There certainly is something alluring about spending time doing nothing and the biggest decision of your day to be whether to spend time by the sea or by the pool.
Is there something your parents have been dreaming about since, like, forever?
Your parents are some of the people you know best. So at one point or another, they surely talked to you about their dreams. I know my father has been dreaming of visiting China, and hopefully, one day, I’ll be able to surprise him with the trip of a lifetime. But I also know my mother’s love for flowers has no limits and a trip to Holland during spring would make her extremely happy. Surprises are all about fulfilling dreams, after all.
What about your budget?
Okay, let’s be real for a moment because your budget is an important factor here. Sure, the VIP treatment sounds awesome, but if that’s not within your reach, a quick city break is still a wonderful thing to gift your parents as a way of saying thank you for all they’ve done for you.
And you know what? We keep on buying all this stuff for our loved ones, whether they like it or not and many time the presents just end up in a corner or in the storage room.
For some reason, we are not that much into the habit of gifting experiences and this is sad. So a surprise trip, even if not the most luxurious and perfect destination, it will still stand out among all the other gifts you’ve even given your parents.
So my best advice is to just pick the package holiday you think they will enjoy best and that’s still within your budget and enjoy the surprise on their faces when you hand them the tickets. It’s a labour of love, so don’t overcomplicate it.