2017 is a big year for our family! John and I both turn 30 (I already did), and we’ll celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary in September. Usually, we mark our anniversaries with dinner out and cards, and birthdays get a special day of adventures and usually a smaller gift. For this banner year, though, we decided to roll all of the festivities together for one (well, actually two!) landmark celebrations!
To celebrate our birthdays and anniversary, we’re each planning a SECRET TRIP for the other! We set out a few parameters at the beginning of the year:
— The budget is $1,000 (for each trip – we supplemented our normal vacation budget with money from savings). Flying is allowed, but would likely be challenging given the budget.
— We can each use one day of vacation.
— June can come or not, as long as one set of parents is available to come stay with her.
— The point of the trip is to delight the other person, so every decision should be made with that in mind!
— Everything must stay SECRET!
From our California trip
While we are both still excited about this idea we dreamed up, there have been a few unforeseen challenges:
1. John cannot keep a secret. Well, he can, but it’s very challenging for him. He desperately wants to tell me what he’s planning, and is always trying to trick me into telling him what I’m planning. The secret aspect is definitely more for me than for John, as I love being surprised but (for the aforementioned reasons), John surprising me is not a very common occurrence :)
2. We share an Airbnb account. John booked the accommodations for his trip a few months ago, and I’ve been effectively locked out of our account ever since, for fear that I’ll accidentally stumble upon the details of his trip. This makes booking accommodations for MY trip on Airbnb problematic, but it’s not very practical to open a new account since I wouldn’t have any guest reviews. A friend has offered to let me book through her account if I decide to go that route, but I’m also looking into hotel options! We’ll see.
3. We usually plan trips together. Before this year, I would definitely have said John was the trip planner in our family – and he is. But the truth is that we each bring something unique to the trip planning process, and we’ve both lamented the lack of the other person’s expertise at different times this year!
Despite those few challenges, it’s been good to shake things up and try something different :) Plus, I’ve appreciated the exercise of brainstorming the things John in particular enjoys – not just what he and I both enjoy – and to dream up little details that will let him know I put lots of thought and love into celebrating him.
John’s trip for me is scheduled for September, and mine for him for October (back to back just by accident!). He’s already booked his accommodations, and I am on the brink of doing the same, plus I’ve roughed out our itinerary. As of right now, June is coming on both trips. I can’t tell you much more now, but I will of course report back later this fall!!
Until then, I’d love to hear: have you ever planned a secret trip, or anything else big and secret? I’m a total newbie!