Travel is like a box of chocolates: you never know what you’re going to get, especially when using a mystery box plane ticket.
Earlier this year, mystery box travel purchases surged (激增) and became trendy among China’s young people. In normal trips, people often plan their vacations well in advance. After buying a mystery box at a low price ‑ usually 100 or 200 yuan ‑ however, the travelers using this method will select their departure (出发) airport and receive several destination options to choose from. After the destination is decided, their trip begins.
A citizen surnamed (姓) Cheng is eager to go on a mystery box trip, stating that going out alone usually costs too much and that too many people don’t know where to go. “However, the mystery box directly assigns me a few destinations, which feels wonderful, and it’s cheap,” Cheng told Haibao News, a media outlet based in Shandong province.
Unlike Cheng, Liao Liangyu, 16, has turned his eagerness to go on a mystery box trip into reality. He took a mystery box trip with a couple of friends months ago. It started when one of them got a mystery box ticket to Changsha, the capital city of Hunan province. Surprisingly, Liao followed suit and got Changsha too.
Right before their departure, a friend told Liao that Changsha was a super hyped-up (被炒作的) internet sensation (网红地). But he still decided to go and see it for himself.
“My biggest discovery is that Changsha is a city full of contrasts,” Liao explained to China Daily. “You can see skyscrapers (摩天大楼) and old houses in rundown alleys (破旧的小巷) in the same view.”
Since the destination options include many less popular cities, travel mystery boxes also bring vigor (活力) and economic benefits to these destinations. For example, Dehong city is a beautiful city in Yunnan province yet has few visitors due to a lack of promotion. Following its inclusion as a mystery box travel destination, however, it has gained a lot of attention and is now thought of as a solid location for tourism.
But even so, a large number of people feel disappointed with travel mystery boxes because they can encounter many problems after purchasing one, such as inappropriate travel times, sudden flight cancellations (取消), or even challenges with refunds (退款). Sun Weili from Ctrip suggested in an interview with Haibao News that visitors should choose reliable platforms and sign contracts (合同) to guarantee their interests.