Blind booking: only the brave?

Would you book a return trip without knowing the destination?

A colleague at my new job was telling me about blind booking earlier this week and I thought it was a really interesting idea. But is it a good idea? And more importantly: would you go for it?

First of all, let’s start with the basics:

How does it work?

Germanwings* offers blind booking from a number of airports (including Cologne/Bonn and Düsseldorf). First you select your airport, and then a ‘theme’. These range from culture or hiking and nature to party or gay-friendly (dependent on your airport).

Under each theme you’ll find a list of 10-20 destinations, any of which you could be jetting off to. After selecting the right theme for you, you then pick your chosen dates – provided they are available and no more than 45 days in advance.

Themes and flights available from germanwings

Themes and flights available from germanwings

You can then choose to pay an extra €5 per destination you want to exclude from the booking.Just come back from Venice? €5 and you won’t be heading back.

Finally, you pay and only then do you find out where exactly you’re heading off to.

So the only question remains – would you do it? I’m assuming you can guess which way I would lean, but I can see that there are both pros and cons to an adventure like this. First, let’s look at the downsides of blind booking.

The cons

I think the biggest drawback to blind booking would be budget. It’s hard to plan for accommodation if you don’t know where you’re going: you might end up in Geneva with a budget for Bucharest.

There’s also another issue with timing. A weekend sounds like an ideal time to get a quick taster of a surprise location – however, you could end up flying out very late Friday night and returning in the early hours of Sunday morning, leaving you with only one day to actually see the destination.

Blind booking: where would you end up?

Blind booking: where would you end up?

The pros

Surely the biggest pull to do this would be the sense of adventure. Sure, you’ll only spend around 10 minutes during the booking process not knowing where you’re going, but for me that would be perfect: enough adventure to get excited, but enough time to adequately plan.

Secondly, I think blind booking would offer a real opportunity to travel outside of your comfort zones. Most people have favourite destinations: either areas they love returning to or places high up on their wishlist – but what about cities you might not have considered? A Francophile might not choose to head to Krakow, but might love it all the same.

Likewise, it might present an opportunity to give a destination a second chance, or to return and do it justice.

Adventure, with time to plan

Adventure, with time to plan

My feeling would definitely be to go for it.

In 2012, I headed out to visit a friend in Venice, simply because she was living there at the time. It was a city I otherwise wouldn’t have headed to, but I absolutely loved the place. I’ve also made a pledge this year to visiting the winner of Eurovision 2014 before it hosts the competition, in an effort to travel a bit more outside of my preferred locations. Hence, I really love the idea of blind booking and I’ve been pretty excited since I was told about it.

But what about you?

Would you be willing to gamble on a weekend away?
Which destinations would you pay to avoid?

Comment below!


*I’ve no idea if this is offered by other airlines. This post was not endorsed or sponsored by germanwings.


15 responses to “Blind booking: only the brave?

  1. I’ve read about blind booking on another blog before (though I can’t remember what airline it was…) and I found it a cool concept. I’d like to try it as I often find myself wishing I could add more adventure in my life. 🙂

    PS: If you chose a gay-friendly destination, you wouldn’t have a budget for Bucharest since there are more chances of seeing a real live unicorn than ending up here 😛

    • I bet there are other airlines offering a similar deal, but I haven’t come across any…
      Manchester is actually included in the gay-friendly destinations – just another reason to love MCR!

  2. I’d give it a try! Though it would be a bit disappointing to end up somewhere you’d been recently I imagine they are most likely to have tickets to offload for the less popular big name destinations so you may well end up somewhere you’d never think of. Look forward to seeing where you end up if you do it!

    • From what I’ve heard, there’s a good chance of ending up in Switzerland as they and get rid of tickets to more expensive places. Not sure when I’ll be doing it yet, but will be sure to keep you informed!

  3. Hmmmm interesting. If I had a Shengen visa, I might try this out once or twice, especially to more esoteric locations.

      • Probably nature one, though I wish there was a ‘culture’ one – probably matches the best shopping destinations though, no? I can definitely efficiently spend 24-48 hrs going to museums, castles and monuments.

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