On this episode of the podcast we chat with Denise Chaykun, the founder of Magical Mystery Tours, which is a travel company that plans your itinerary to a surprise travel destination based on a few preferences you indicate. She was inspired to start the company after a friend asked her to design his vacation based on her travel experience because he didn’t have the time to plan it, and she decided to keep the destination a secret until he got to the airport. From its beginning, Denise designed Magical Mystery Tours to build custom experiences based on her clients’ travel styles, what they want to get out of their vacation, and if they want to be pushed out of their comfort zone, and feels greatly rewarded when Magical Mystery Tours gets feedback from repeat clients that their vacation fit their personalities perfectly.
Denise discovered her love of travel when a job she worked after graduating needed her to travel a lot, and recently completed a longer term road trip in the US with her husband and two dogs, living in AirBnbs along the way. After discovering their ideal travel lifestyle of living in new places for about a month at a time to establish routine, and visiting places like Denver, Texas and (her favourite) Prince Edward Island, Canada, Denise and her husband decided they were ready to slow down and be based out of one place for a while. Now living in Philadelphia, Denise and her husband still make travel a priority by not letting their house and lifestyle take up the majority of their time and financial resources, so they can still be flexible and travel when the opportunity arises.
On this episode we talk about the inspiration behind Denise’s travel company Magical Mystery Tours and how they design great vacations for their clients, the appeal of traveling to a surprise destination where you don’t know what awaits you, and some of the places Magical Mystery Tours has sent clients that are not usually on people’s radar. We also talk to Denise about her recent nomadic lifestyle, the decision to stop traveling, and how you can still make traveling a priority even if you are based out of one place.
What we talk about in this episode:
- The concept of how Denise’s company Magical Mystery Tours works to plan surprise vacation destinations and itineraries for people based on a few questions
- How Denise first discovered her love of travel when she had a job that required her to travel a lot
- Changing your mentality from vacation being a big thing you build up and plan down to the last detail to taking advantage of any travel opportunity as it comes your way
- How Denise came up with the idea for Magical Mystery Tours when a friend asked her to plan his vacation destination and itinerary because they didn’t have time to do it
- How Magical Mystery Tours takes their client preferences into account to customize their trip when planning their itinerary
- The appeal of the thought of starting a vacation without knowing where you’re going
- How Denise let Magical Mystery Tours plan her surprise honeymoon to the beautiful French Riviera
- How not knowing where you are going forces you to let go and just enjoy the moment, which can be challenging if you are a person who likes to plan a lot
- How Magical Mystery Tours plans finds a balance between planning activities for their clients and incorporating in free time that allows their clients to make their trip their own
- How people usually feel after they return from their surprise trips and how often they get repeat clients
- The satisfaction Denise feels when clients come back and tell her that they feel the planned itinerary got them perfectly and allowed them to have a fantastic, relaxing vacation without worrying about planning the trip
- Some of the places that Magical Mystery Tours will send their clients that are usually not on people’s radars, like the Azores and Canada
- The inspiration behind Denise and her husband’s current nomadic lifestyle and the decision to travel using AirBnbs after realizing she wasn’t happy after almost buying a house in the US
- One of Denise’s favourite places to live being Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, for the beaches and great art scene
- How slow travel changes your experience and allows you to better understand the local culture and environment
- The chaotic experience of settling in to a new place, how she found that living in a place for one month was the right amount of time for her and her husband, and how this can differ if you’re on vacation as opposed to working while you travel
- How Denise and her husband came to the decision that they wanted to stop traveling for the time being after realizing they were tired of moving around so much and a few bad AirBnb experiences
- How Denise and her husband reached a happy medium of finding a place to call home, but structured their lifestyle so they can still travel whenever they like, and how deciding to stop traveling shouldn’t be viewed as a failure
- The adjustment back to a lifestyle where you are based out of one place, like realizing it’s ok to buy some of the things you were trying to avoid collecting before you started to travel
- Realizing there is more than one way live a lifestyle where you are based out of one place or live in a home, like not letting the maintenance take up more resources than you originally planned
- How it can be harder and more stressful to maintain a home long term than travel!
- What’s next for Magical Mystery Tours and Denise, including a new addition to the family
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