One of the most asked questions I hear or see on social media is “What’s Blind Booking?” Well, I hope this blog helps you discover all the fun you can have with spontaneous travel. If you live in Europe, especially in Germany, you’ve probably heard of Eurowings’ great program, “Blind Booking.” Not the only ones in the industry now, Lufthansa has just announced their “Lufthansa Surprise” program, but they’ve had some airstrikes lately putting people off, traveling with them. Nevertheless, I am here to help you book that next “I don’t know where we’re going?” trip.
Before you ask, no this is not an advertisement for either airline, I don’t get any kick back or special compensation for mentioning their program. However, I do get a kick out of hearing fellow travelers and friends tell me their “Blind Booking” stories. I do enjoy promoting adventurous travel options for people willing to gamble on discovering.
Jon and I have taken two “Blind Booking” trips since we’ve been here and they’ve both been affordable and lots of fun. We have found taking a chance on our trips is UBER exciting. This can make some people really nervous, not-knowing where they will be flying off to, where they will stay, or what they will do, it’s too much of a gamble. For me, I LOVE IT! Here are the steps to get you started and a few tips to watch out for ~
Eurowings – Blind Booking
Once you visit the website, they will walk you through your departure preference. We usually choose Stuttgart, however, if you are flexible and choose other departure airports you’ll have several more destination options. Stuttgart flights are limited. Choosing Stuttgart might be good if you know where you’d like to visit and they fly out of here. As you wouldn’t have to travel so far to begin your transportation part of the journey.
Next step is choosing your TYPE of destination. Blind booking has several different themes like Metropolis, Party, Culture and this season, Christmas markets. In the spring and summer, it switches to Beaches.
After you choose your type of destination, you’ll see a list of possible cities and destinations within their flight list.
Things to remember ~ BEFORE you book
- You can pay €5/person to cross cities off, but first…
- Check and see if your flight is even flying on your chosen days with Eurowings, you might not get those cities anyway
- Flights begin around €33/way, but you may want to pay for extra luggage, but it’s not much €15-€25 (pre-paying for upgraded checked luggage) is much more enjoyable
- Most themes include at least 10 city options
- Can book 45 days out
After your flight is purchased, it’s like spinning a wheel, after several minutes your destination will appear. Voilà – your destination is chosen! You are on your way ~
Lufthansa – Surprise Booking
Although I have not taken a “Surprise Booking” yet, I anticipate one this year. I have flown Lufthansa before and have been very impressed. I know their recent strike affected several travelers, leaving a bad impression. However, having talked to several flight attendants and people in the industry, I find these strikes come from higher levels and not the workers, which is unfortunate and affects a lot of people.
- Lufthansa has two departure cities for “Surprise Bookings” – Frankfurt and Münich
- Cost is about €99/way – €198/person Round Trip (RT) to the destination
- Different destinations than Eurowings and different experience names like romance, nature, surf and sand and more.
- Baggage rules
- Remember these smaller flights make a little more money on charging for extra baggage, so be sure you follow their guidelines.
- Also, really know their check-in policies (some airlines like Ryan-Air, now charge a €45 fee for NOT registering ON-LINE prior to airport check-in – OUCH!!)
Where to stay?
Now that you’re flights are booked you can begin booking “Where to stay?” Depending on how far in advance you book your flights you may find your hotel/accommodation being the most expensive part of your “free-spirit” journey. You can always check with Booking.com or TripAdvisor as these websites have nicer cancellation policies, although when your travel window is closer, sometimes they aren’t great, be careful of the fine-fine print at the bottom of each hotel site (they are completely different and not uniform – some may charge a full-night stay for cancellation.) True story.
Last minute hotel accommodations I typically use Booking.com
Both of our “Blind Booking” trips have been quite successful, we toured Leipzig, a smaller city just south of Berlin. We discovered the beginnings of the end of communism in old East Germany, Bach’s hometown for over 20 years where he lived and composed a lot of music and much more. Our apartment was right off the main square and we took public transportation everywhere.
Our other trip was just recently where we explored the coastal town of Hamburg. I must confess that although I heard wonderful stories of Hamburg, it just wasn’t on our radar as a must-see during our stay in Europe. We would’ve missed out greatly. Hamburg was such a treat and we met wonderful people, a different dialect and learned a part of German and European history we probably would have only learned in textbooks.
We chose to use public transportation (trains/busses) for both trips once we arrived to our destination, making it affordable as well. Both cities had weekend family passes that were inexpensive, like €20/weekend.
These wonderful experiences have made it easier to consider going again and again. As a tour operator and travel planner, I love the creation of a trip. However, sometimes flying mysteriously to a destination unknown has a magic all it’s own. It is true, you don’t have as much security of knowing what to expect,what to do, or where you’ll stay but that’s the wonder of it all.
Before you go ~
Since you have up to 45 days to plan your trip, you’ll have plenty of time to write an itinerary and do some research. This is where I’ll read blogs on Pinterest, research through Lonely Planet or www.likealocalguide.com.
If you still need help or don’t have the time, that’s where I can help ~ I have helped tons of people plan last minute itineraries. I can help you too, so don’t panic. CLICK HERE to work with me. I can tailor your next trip itinerary with ease.