Seeking adventure with a side of surprise - FOX 13 News

Seeking adventure with a side of surprise

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

Imagine someone says to you: "Let's go."  It seems logical that your first question would be: "Where?"

But there is an intrepid group of travelers that thrives on the thrill of going places without knowledge of where they're headed.

"They don't tell us anything," said traveler Mercy DiMaio, upon her arrival from a whirlwind trip to Europe. "It's just a big mystery."

AAA travel quietly arranges these distinctive, tight-lipped world tours, which keep travelers completely in the dark about the details of their itinerary.

"You have got to be a little crazy to do this," said AAA travel agent Marge Koser.

Koser's unique method of attracting business stands out. After all, her profession is under attack from websites galore that allow travelers to plan their trips on their own.

But Koser has endured, and boasts 100 percent success with her unusual itineraries.

"It's my claim to fame at AAA after 29 years," she said.

Travelers are treated to off-the-wall activities in addition to the mystery destination. Among Koser's most memorable events: dining while blindfolded, playing chicken poop bingo, and truffle hunting.

"We had no idea," said Patrick Wheeler.

As unnerving as it might seem to travel without any sense of where you're headed, AAA's fans sing its praises.

"They always pull the rabbit out of the hat," said Mr. Wheeler.

Wheeler and his wife had just returned from the Europe trip, which included the truffle hunting. Diana Wheeler said enjoys the suspense and thrill of mystery trips. And, she doesn't hesitate to buy in when Koser calls.

"We don't know where we're going, but we just book it," she said.

Koser said her mystery trips sell out almost immediately, within five minutes of being offered. She said many of her clients are repeat customers – even if there's a waiting list.

"I've never had a complaint," she said, "Seriously!"

Mercy DiMiao is among Koser's loyalists.

"I've already paid for the next one," she said. All she knows is that it's a trip somewhere, someplace, and she'll have a blast.

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