Even as someone who loves to carefully curate every last detail of my trips, I must admit it would be nice to not get lost in an internet hole of multiple hotels/air b&bs/inns/restaurants/coffee shops to sort through when vacation planning. Not to mention there are sooo many great places to go, so how do you narrow down a destination for your 1 vacation per year? Today I'm woman crushing on the 4 boss ladies of Magical Mystery Tours- Stephanie, Katie, Alicia, & my pal Denise. They use their expertise to plan mystery vacations and surprise you with your location at the airport via a red envelope! Hey, if their services are good enough for O Magazine and Vogue, they can probably be entrusted with your one vacation a year! I'm excited to share some of their wisdom on everything from packing tips to their top destination recs, along with some great photos of this girl gang from their Nashville research trip by Blue Genes Photography.
4 Tips to Make Packing Bearable:
1. It's an old stand-by packing tip: Roll your clothes instead of folding them. It saves space and avoids wrinkles. I do this with my husbands collared shirts before he goes on a business trip and then he can just grab them and go instead of ironing in a hotel room. -Stephanie
2. I'm a notorious overpacker, so I can't help with ways to pack lighter. But I swear by TrekReady packing cubes, which keep all clothing options easily organized and stackable so that packing, living out of a suitcase, and unpacking is a breeze. -Katie
3. Packing can take as long as you let it! Dedicate an hour to it and watch how fast you can pack. As long as you have your passport, most likely you can buy most everything else you might forget at your destination! -Alicia
4. Pack less! The freedom of carting around less stuff absolutely beats having a bunch of options. Though always make room for comfy shoes! -Denise
4 Destinations to Add to Your Bucket List:
1. Malaysia. It's an underrated tropical paradise. You can enjoy urban Penang before taking a ferry to a resort surrounded by jungle and set on a beautiful beach. Plus, everything is so affordable! -Stephanie
2. Canada. American travelers aren't paying nearly enough attention to our northern neighbor! Canada offers an enormous variety of amazing travel experiences. -Denise
3. Taiwan. It's underrated by many Western tourists, but bursting with culture, sensational food, and gorgeous scenery. In fact, Travel + Leisure called it one of Asia's best-kept secrets and also ranked its capital city, Taipei, one of the best places to travel in 2016. It was a big hit with one of my travelers this year. -Katie
4. Krakow & Warsaw, Poland. They're beautiful and absolutely full of history, yet few people have these on their lists of must-see places. -Alicia
These girls are not your stereotypical travel agents. They live all over the globe, and as young professionals themselves, they understand how important your own time is. Many of us simply don't have the hours we need to devote to planning the perfect trip. Stephanie pointed out that research shows that the average traveler visits more than 20 sites to research and book a typical trip, which can often lead travelers to be too overwhelmed to move forward with planning. Denise added that travel planning is a skill just like anything else--the more you practice, the better you are! For people planning a vacation or two a year, there are an overwhelming number of options. These ladies will take as much or little guidance as you want to give them in order for you to take out the stressful part of planning. Hiring these Magical Mystery Tour Guides are going to enhance your vacation, but only cost you about what a new pair of jeans would. I can tell that all of these women think outside of the box and use multiple sources to find their recommendations; they understand that blogs and social media can be some of the best places to locate memorable spots. Imagine the thrill of travel you would experience if your vacation came from a red envelope from this fun team!