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I Surprised My Other Half With A Trip To Amsterdam For Christmas - Here's How You Can Do It Too

Updated: Dec 17, 2020

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Christmas is coming in hot and you may have had the idea of gifting travel on the top of your mind but thought that with covid running rampant, you should put it on the back burner. I'm here to tell you to think again. With the world slowly but surely opening up again, this is the perfect year to gift travel. Not only will it give you both time to save the money you need to achieve your travel goals, but also the time to do research and plan the trip you've both been dreaming about.

So, before we get into this, there are a few things I need you to know. No, I didn't have a lot of money to pull off this gift, I saved for a long time to make it happen and no, I didn't even have a full time job at the time - so this isn't an unrealistic gift. No, I didn't pay for the whole trip, my gift was to cover getting there for both of us and the night of arrival/before leaving. No, I didn't put it on a credit card, I saved. Yes, there was a whole year after gifting that we sporadically saved and booked parts of our trip in advance. But yes, on the Christmas of 2017 I gave my love a trip to Amsterdam and it was the best gift I ever could have given. Gifting experiences is my favorite thing to do ever. And yes, it was worth it.

How I presented my gift to him was everything. Here's what I used to build the suspense and surprise:

  1. Passport Cover (Amazon) - This beautiful leather passport cover will travel everywhere with them. Stylish and functional, it's a great travel gift to start the whole surprise with a bang. AND it gets them sufficiently confused.

2. Babbel Language Lessons (Amazon) - I got a six month subscription to learn Dutch and made a paper certificate I could slip into the Passport Cover. Just purchase the language for wherever you're looking to travel, create a paper certificate using a template and label it #1 so they don't pull out the plane ticket first by accident. This will help to build the suspense and confusion.

3. DIY Custom Fake Plane Ticket ( - I made a fake plane ticket using this site. It seriously looked like a real ticket, it was AMAZING! It also had an extra duplicate ticket explaining the trip attached to the original ticket. I slipped this also into the passport cover.

So, you're probably wondering, how to deliver the perfect Romantic Travel Gift Surprise? Here's how it went down:

When I handed him the little flat box, he unwrapped it and LOVED his passport cover. He loved the color and softness of the leather, everything about it. As a touring musician, his passport gets a lot of use. As he went to hug me to say thank you, he went lay the gift on the table. But I told him to open it and he was so confused. He opened the passport cover and inside each pocket was something labeled #1 and #2. He pulled out the paper certificate I had labeled "#1", detailing the Babbel lessons to learn Dutch. At this point he was very confused, but nervously excited. He asked me why we had to learn Dutch? To which I replied "Because you've always wanted to learn it!", not true, but he caught me off guard so I was improvising. Haha!

He still had no clue what was coming. He really didn't. He pulled out the last piece of paper and unfolded the plane ticket. He looked at me like I was crazy, asking "What's happening?" Once he read the ticket he was well and truly shocked and surpised, it said "Amsterdam". But he thought it was a real ticket (high five to me right?!) and was trying to look for dates, so I had to explain it was fake, but as soon as he knew when he wanted to go, we could start planning. He read the back of the ticket and it explained "Merry Christmas baby! We're going to Amsterdam! This ticket includes our flights and 2 nights accomodation. The rest we can plan together." He cried, I cried, it was great! - please remember, we barely had any money, so it did take us just over a year to pull the two weeks trip together, but it was definitley worth it. He even brought the fake plane ticket with him.

We ended up flying in to Paris, spending a few days exploring there and Versailles, and then catching the Thallys Train to Amsterdam and staying there and Haarlem for a week and half, then back to Paris for a couple of days, where we flew out. It was exciting to plan a tailor-made trip, just for us, together.

ONE BIG TIP - Set up an Experience Gift Registry for your families to gift you:

By the time we went to Amsterdam, I had started a job working in wedding registry. We went to Amsterdam in March, 2019 and this one thing we did for Christmas 2018, really helped our trip. We set up a list of all the experiences we wanted to do in Paris, Amsterdam and Haarlem. For example; take a tourist canal boat ride through Amsterdam, climb the Eiffel Tower, visit Palace of Versailles, take cooking lessons in Paris and the Tulip Gardens in Haarlem. We sent the list to our families with the exact dollar amount of each attraction and let our family know that if they wanted to get us gifts, we would love these experiences instead of items that year. We crossed each attraction off as they were gifted to us so there'd be no cross-over, easy! Most of the tickets to these attractions were around $25 each, but it saved us a lot of money AND it was a great treat to give back too - for example, my Brother and Sister-In-Law bought us tickets to the Eiffel Tower, so we FaceTimed my Brothers phone while on the actual Eiffel Tower to say Thank You! Or we took photos and sent them to the person who gave us the experience, which they loved.

Other items they might need on the trip that would make great ideas for this gift:

I hope this helps you make a travel dream come true for the love of your life and hopefully, a huge surprise. For more travel ideas, check out our Romantic Travel section on Happy Little Vows.

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