If you’re someone who believes that long lists, shopping trips and meticulous planning are the cornerstones of a good holiday, you’ve probably already planned for the impending long weekends. However, if you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum so far as travelling goes, fresher holiday experiences, filled with the excitement of exploration, may seem out of reach.
Sadly, travelling is impossible without planning, and planning can be a major struggle. Trawling through TripAdvisor looking for the perfect hotel, making sure you stay under budget, and even just choosing a place to go can be extremely difficult! But it’s also hard to imagine being able to just get up and go on your perfect trip without having planned anything beforehand.
But with Unpland, an up and coming travel agency, you can do exactly that - go on a trip without planning anything at all, including where you’re going to go. Unpland will plan your trip for you and keep it all a secret until you’re about to leave. All you have to do is fill out a form. Sounds too good to be true? Homegrown spoke to Unpland’s co-founder Sanchit Gupta to get to the bottom of it.
HG: How does Unpland work?
SG: When a customer visits our website, they select the kind of trip that they want to take from our options. After this, they choose their budget and dates and we give them a form to fill up - the form asks for things like their travel history, what kind of activities they enjoy, preferred weather and so on. After 12 hours, we follow up with a call to confirm all the information and get a better idea of what they like. Once this is over, the customer only needs to wait while we plan the best possible trip for them. A week before the trip we send them information about the weather at their surprise destination and the kind of things they should pack. The day before they leave, they receive a package with the name of their destination and travel information.
HG: How did you come up with the concept for Unpland?
SG: I launched Drinksonme with my partner a couple of years back. To promote the app, we came up with this idea of a secret road trip. Everyone who signed up was asked to come to a bus stand in Bandra. We announced where we were going after all of us got on the bus. The response was really really good. That’s when we realised that this surprise trip concept could be a successful venture. After the Nasik trip, we planned a couple other group surprise trips. Then we created and launching Unpland.
HG: How does the Unpland team go about planning the trips?
SG: Before we even began Unpland, we sat down and came up with a list of destinations that we might want to travel to - places that friends had recommended, and hotels and accommodation that we knew were good. So essentially, we now have a large database of great locations for different price points. Once we receive a customer’s form and speak with them we look through the database, shortlist a couple of places we think they will enjoy, and get in touch with the properties to discuss if they can provide the kind of experience the customer wants. We try to customise the trip as far as possible. If someone is booking the trip for a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary, or enjoy certain activities, we put in full efforts to organise them.
The surprise trips we’ve planned so far include places like Kathmandu, Ooty, Coorg, Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, and more. We try and choose places that are not too much of a hassle to travel to but have something great to offer.
HG: What would you say is the best part of taking a trip through Unpland?
SG: Well, it’s the surprise of course! A couple of times, instead of having the package that announces the location shipped to the customer, I’ve gone to the airport to personally deliver it on the day of the trip because I wanted to see their reaction. You should see the look on their faces! They’re so shocked and excited.
There was this one girl who said she really liked history, so we organised a trip to Udaipur for her. When she found out where she was going she was so thrilled. She said that she had always wanted to go to Udaipur but hadn’t been able to! That feeling of surprise after so much anticipation - that’s the best part. The Unpland motto is: we don’t talk about Unpland! No matter how much a customer asks or begs, we will never tell them their destination beforehand because we don’t want to ruin the surprise.
HG: Is there any trip you’ve planned that you’re especially proud of?
SG: One of the first trips we organised was a self-drive trip for a group of friends. We organised accommodation at a cosy little resort near Mahabaleshwar, and after the trip, they responded with a great review. They wrote us a long piece about how they really enjoyed the trip and were so happy with the experience. That was really special for me.
HG: What do you hope somebody gets out of their Unpland trip?
SG: First and foremost we want them to have a trip that they will enjoy. We are aiming to give them an experience that they will love and cherish. We also hope that they are able to have an experience that they might never have had before. And of course, we always want them to be surprised!
Fill out the form for your surprise trip here.
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