Do you fancy a weekend getaway but are too busy to organise it? Do you need inspiration for unusual weekend breaks for a hen or stag party? Or maybe you simply want an hassle free escape where someone else organises your travel plans. If any of these describe you, then a WowTrip could be the answer to your prayers.
WowTrip operates in the UK, Germany, Switzerland and Spain, and helps travellers plan unusual weekend breaks to mystery destinations in Europe. You choose from one of several airports, the budget, and your travel buddies. You can exclude any destinations you want to avoid like the plague, then, sit back and relax. Crack open the champagne and let WowTrip take care of everything else for you. Your job is done!
WowTrip planners will pick your destination, book your flights and hotel, create a travel planner for you and even pack your bags! No sorry, I’m just joking. You do need to pack your own bags, but it’s still a pretty sweet deal. It’s a great way to create unusual weekend breaks without much effort.
Unusual weekend breaks
What makes this concept unusual is that you have no idea where you are going until a few days before departure. There are some really cool and unusual WowTrip weekend destinations so you may end up in Eindhoven, Düsseldorf, or Berlin to name just a few cities.
48 hours beforehand, key documents appear in your WowTrip account, providing the information you need for your trip. (If you are a real thrill seeker, you can even wait until you get to the airport to find out where you are going.)
Your WowTrip documentation includes:
- A destination guide
- Weather forecast
- Flight itinerary
- Hotel voucher
- Boarding cards – yes, WowTrip even check you in!
- And most importantly….the big reveal of your destination
Here’s some examples which you can access through the portal, or download and save to your device.
Personally I love the documentation. It’s fun and informative, and the infographic style communicates key messages in a simple way. After all, who wants to read through tons of paperwork before a weekend trip? It’s supposed to be fun right?
My WowTrip weekend
So how was our experience? For someone who loves planning a trip, I was nervous about passing the baton. However, as part of my membership of Monica Stott’s amazing Blogger Course, the opportunity arose to work with WowTrip and put this concept to the test. I jumped at the chance to join a group of seven other female travel bloggers on a European city break to a mystery destination.
The Big Reveal
Two days before our trip, all the documents were uploaded to our portal and our ‘Find out your destination here’ document revealed our destination. I was instantly transported 26 years back to when a blissfully ignorant 18 year old told her father she was dropping out of university, and going to Europe. I can still hear that awful silence, as my horrified father thought I was throwing away my chance of a good education to go gallivanting around the continent.
My assurances that I’d find a job, and return to a different course the following year, proved to be true as I secured a job as an au-pair in Brussels. Our mystery weekend destination was to a city I once knew intimately, but nevertheless I was excited to return. I was keen to see how things had changed and maybe even share some of my city knowledge with Belgium newbies.
The flights itinerary document detailed flights with Ryanair from Manchester, perfectly timed to give us three whole days of exploring. Departing at 07:50 on Friday and returning at 22:20 on Sunday, we could really pack a a ton into our mystery weekend.
Better still, the hotel voucher advised that we would be staying at the Hilton Brussels City on Place Rogier. This hotel is just a short walk to the heart of the city, and directly above the Rogier metro station. As you know I’m a big fan of hotel reward schemes, including Hilton, so I was delighted with this outcome.
Now, here’s the incredible part. For nine bloggers (sadly one dropped out) the entire trip cost just £1420.02 or £157.78 each. That includes flights and two nights accommodation at the Hilton. That is exceptional value for anyone! However, if you are planning a weekend away with friends, where the hassle of organising it can ruin the occasion, taking a WowTrip could be a viable alternative. Not only will you give your friends an unusual weekend break, but you will save time, money and a ton of stress.
The first destination exclusion is free and any previous WowTrip destinations can also be excluded. There is an additional charge of £5 for any further destinations you wish to exclude. If you have travelled extensively in Europe this may make your trip look considerably more expensive.
Personally, I would only exclude cities you really hate, or have been to recently, as I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting a city I’d already spent a lot of time in.
You can also pay extra to limit the time of your flights and to add baggage from around £50. As we were travelling with Ryanair, we took advantage of the recent changes in their luggage policies to carry on two bags each.
The weather and luggage document gives you enough information to help you pack for your trip.
The WowTrip travel guide is fantastic. It’s very comprehensive, with details of bars, restaurants, key sights and airport transfers. The only improvement might be to include some relevant links to trips and sights in the document, ideally with preferential terms for WowTrip customers.
WowTrip also uploaded our boarding passes 48 hours beforehand. These were PNG files and I personally had no idea that a PNG could be used as a mobile boarding pass. I was unsure whether I needed to print a PDF or load the boarding passes onto the Ryanair app.
Whilst the portal contains lots of information, I felt that this aspect of the trip warranted greater explanation. I found myself emailing WowTrip and Monica to confirm, which could have been avoided if there had been a few lines explaining that the PNG works as a mobile boarding card. Of course, if you book unusual weekend breaks with WowTrip, you now know that PNGs will work.
At the airport
I waltzed through security with my PNG. Yay, it worked!
Note: on Ryanair, your second piece of cabin luggage will be checked into the hold at the gate, so you will need to wait to collect it from the baggage carousel.
Arriving into Brussels
Our flight was to Brussels Charleroi, an hour south of Brussels city, but the destination guide included full transfer directions. This is another reason I recommend revealing your destination before arriving at the airport. We hadn’t fully absorbed the travel information and ending up buying a ticket for Brussels for the bus, or so we thought. After queuing for the bus, we discovered we had actually brought a train and bus combo ticket.
If you download the destination guide and read through this thoroughly, you can see that you can pre-book transfers and save yourself any arrival stress. You can even book your transfer tickets online and make further savings.
Our weekend in Brussels
The great thing about Belgium is that it is nice and compact meaning, you can visit Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and a number of other cities in a weekend break.
I opted to spend more time in Brussels and take a trip down memory lane. I was keen to learn more about Belgian beer on a beer tour and revisit the stomping grounds of my youth.
Here’s some photos sharing some of the highlights of my trip.
Of course, the best part was meeting a bunch of inspiring ladies, and partying like my eighteen year old self, with a bunch of new found buddies on the beer tour. Sign up to the newsletter using the bar at the top of the page to hear about that escapade.
WowTrip encourages you to delay the reveal of your destination until you arrive at the airport, but honestly I don’t think that is practical. I think discovering the destination 48 hours before is best for building anticipation and excitement, whilst removing any stress for those prone to worry. I discovered the destination as soon as the documents were available, but I still enjoyed the buzz of excitement of our little blogging posse in the countdown to our trip. Travelling this way allows you to plan your transfers and pack appropriately.
I had some reservations about the surprise weekend but absolutely loved this aspect of the trip. Even the fact that I’d lived in Brussels didn’t undermine the excitement. The documentation and information provided is excellent, meaning you can sit back and relax, leaving WowTrip to take care of everything. I’m normally the organiser in our household so this made such a refreshing change.
The price of the weekend should be enough to tempt you. I’m definitely off to check out other trips for 2019. Anyone want to join me for a travel hacking weekend or other unusual weekend breaks?
Which are you? Brave or bashful?
Would you be able to wait, or would you feel the need to sneak a peek as I did? Let me know in the comments.
We travelled courtesy of WowTrip however all views are my own and reflect my personal experience of this adventure.