AND WE’RE OFF! Dad’s Surprise Round The World Trip Is Underway!

Filed Under: Travel

I don’t remember the last time I’ve been this excited about a trip. For that matter, I don’t remember the last time I planned a trip a year in advance.

For those of you not up to date, my dad has a “round number” birthday this month. I love my parents more than anything, so I wanted to plan something really special around it. Last year my mom had a “round” birthday and I took her on an amazing trip to Bali, though I think this trip with my dad might just top that.


For those of you not up to date on the planning process thus far, check out these posts:

So I ended up planning an A380 first class round the world trip. And the best part is that it’s a complete surprise for my dad. He literally has no freaking clue where we’re going. He knows we’re gone for two weeks, but that’s all he knows.

Well, at least until today. This morning we flew from Tampa to Los Angeles on American, and we’ll shortly be boarding our Emirates A380 first class flight to Dubai.

When we landed at LAX we headed over to Tom Bradley International Terminal, and I told my dad to guess where we were going. He had no clue, but was convinced we were going to either to Australia or Asia.

This is the point at which we filmed the below short video:

Really I should have just filmed his reaction when two minutes later I revealed to him we were heading to Dubai. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said he put Oprah’s viewers to shame when they won a trip to Australia.


He was caught completely off guard and was in shock, as Emirates to Dubai didn’t even seem to be on his radar. Since Emirates check-in wasn’t quite open yet I suggested we walk around, though he was shaking and needed to sit down.

Anyway, I’ll have lots more updates from here, maybe even one from onboard Emirates later when he’s enjoying “za ambiance” of the cabin.

A sincere thanks to all of you. Thanks for reading, thanks for the support, thanks for making this interaction so fun, thanks for all the tips you’ve provided for this trip, and thanks in general for making writing this blog enjoyable.

This trip is a great reminder about just how much fun it can be to travel with loved ones. First class is great, but seeing huge smiles on faces of loved ones is the best feeling in the world… and to think the fun hasn’t even really started yet! This is only the first of many surprises, as my dad still doesn’t know where we’re going after Dubai.

Be sure you’re following along on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, as I’ll have lots of updates.

  1. This has got to be your best post in the history of your blog!

    Can’t wait to read/view them as they roll in.

    And, please, more videos!!!

  2. Awesome Ben! It’s really cool that you’re doing this, and it should be a great bonding experience for the both of you. Looking forward to following along!

  3. Oh my God, its impossible not to love your dad! He is just awesome and his smile is so kind and sincere. Obviously, he is very excited. Thank you for posting. Happy Birthday to your dad and have a wonderful and safe trip!

  4. Awesome, Ben! I am inspired to do the same with my Dad. I guess the only limitation is that you can’t go to countries where you must apply for a visa in advance. It may also be very difficult to get three first class seats since of course FCQ must come along, too! Have fun!

  5. This is the very best thing you have ever done, next to the trip for your Mom, Ben. Truly. Enjoy every moment. Don’t want to speak for everyone hear, but the videos of your Dad’s reactions on the ‘next destination’ reveals would be awesome. Even for yourself and your own memories – and your Mom’s!

    The World is waiting for you….travel safe….Go!

  6. Absolutely fantastic and SO excited for your dad! Cannot wait to read about your adventures, and thank you for sharing and putting big smiles on our faces. 🙂

  7. I’m so fancy
    You already know
    I’m in the fast lane
    From L.A. to Dubai
    I’m so fancy
    Can’t you taste this Krug
    Remember my name

    Who that, who that, L-C-K-Y

    Ok… maybe this would have worked better for SQ11, but I could resist with you flying Bling Air.

  8. Been an avid fan of your blog since I first saw it – and thanks to these themed posts, I’m now aspiring to bring my mom around the world in first class on her next “round” birthday! That means I have three and a half years to prepare haha

  9. Love it! So excited for you two. Try to put the computer away some and enjoy…but keep shooting the videos for sure!

  10. This is just one of many reasons why I love your blog so much. Thank you for sharing this trip with us – have a wonderful time and safe travels!

  11. Agree with others that (1) destination reaction videos would be amazing and (2) this is the greatest post you’ve ever written!

  12. My father’s in his late 60’s and has only ever flown in economy. Having moved from the UK to Hong Kong last year, I thought it would be good to meet at the upcoming Abu Dhabi F1 GP and booked him a First class ticket on BA, QR and QF. I’m even envious as I’ve never flown QF F myself!!! I facetimed him to inform him of his travel plans and his face really lit up. However, obviously I won’t get to enjoy being onboard with him. Enjoy the experience Ben. These memories will remain with you for the rest of your life.

  13. As everyone else said here, this is THE BEST POST EVER. Period 🙂
    Have a great time with your Dad flying around the world and sharing all those moments together. You are inspiring many others including myself. Thanks for sharing a part of your life with all of us. All the best and Godspeed!

  14. “I don’t remember the last time I planned a trip a year in advance.” But that is the best time to book. Get your act together! 😀

  15. When he said Benny I thought he was talking to me! Haha.

    Your dad looks awesome. Cool glasses and love his accent. Have fun!

  16. Finally a post that’s not about a credit card signup but definitely worth commenting about. What a great way to share this hobby with your dad. Kudos to you and your miles earned and have a wonderful time with your dad.

  17. Aww, the video of your Dad is just plain adorable. He seems genuinely excited and completely unaware of destination (which is the point — nice job in keeping it a secret for so long!)

    I love my parents very much as well, and I recently took them to a couple of countries in Asia to celebrate one of their “round” birthdays too. As much as I love them, traveling with more than 1 can sometimes lead to not-go-good consequences (because someone wants to do one activity and the other ventures off somewhere). So remember to have fun and have a good time, and I find these travel experiences will last a long time (if not a lifetime!) 🙂

    I absolutely can’t wait to read the rest of the trip report when you finally have a chance to post them up.
    Happy Birthday to your dad and hope you two have wonderful and safe trip!

  18. My dad passed on in 1999, but I’ll always remember when I did get him to fly to Clearwater, Florida (from Virginia) to a condo my company had there, It doesn’t sound like much, but it was the first and only time he flew after WWII. I was surprised he took me up on it.

    It was my mom’s first time to fly. I later took her to San Antonio, Yellowstone Park, and a few other places. She then did Hawaii, Arizona, and a few other places with others,

    Enjoy while it you can.

  19. Ben, Awesome son, great thing to do for a great Dad! Have a swell time, and say hi to Dad from all ” his” fans in Miami!

  20. So is dad living full-time in hotels now too? Ha.

    I can’t believe he was shaking when you told him Dubai. Incredible.

    Wishing you safe travels and wonderful memories that last a lifetime.

  21. YES!! What a great video… keep them coming. I love his natural enthusiasm. Enjoy these two weeks with your father!

  22. Ben,
    The video was great! It really made me smile and I’m thrilled that your Dad is SO excited.. I do wish we could have seen his reaction though. This makes me even more excited about my trip to HKG with my Mom in March! Looking forward to more reports on this trip around the world!

  23. At the end of your Dad’s video I was smiling from ear to ear…So excited for both of you. Enjoy your time together! It’s not about the planes or destinations, but about the time you spend as father and son. Your folks are only on this planet a very short time.

    Cherish your time with your Dad and Mum regardless of where you are with them on the planet.

    You’re a very good son, Ben! Thank you so much for sharing with us.

    Love, love, love your blog as always. Keep up the great postings and I hope we meet someday somewhere on the planet 🙂

  24. Cant wait to see the other posts! you can really tell how excited and happy your Dad is! 🙂 Have a great trip!

  25. So nice to get the extra video in addition to the great writing. The video really gives added depth to your blog. And we get to experience the excitement through your dad. I have become an addict….to your blog. Prescribed treatment: Travel.

  26. great idea, seems like so much fun, take it all in and report more videos. can’t wait to read the reports. safe travels.

  27. @James W

    He’ll be checking-in at LHR T5 around 8am on Thursday. Let me know if you need guesting into the Concorde Room.

  28. You are so sweet, Benny. Your dad is so excited. I definitely vote for reaction videos. Can’t wait to see the rest of the report! Also pleased to see his accent was true to your previous descriptions. Safe travels, you two!

  29. Kudos Ben for taking time to enjoy family time–esp this extraordinary special trip while your Dad is healthy. Look forward to more!

  30. Enjoy every second of your trip with your dad. Memories are one of the precious things nobody can take from us.

  31. Great post Lucky. Looking forward to your updates and your Dad’s reports. Hope you have a great time. Oh, and next time ask your Dad to speak a little German.

    Peace out.

  32. Aw, that’s fantastic. Your dad seems awesome. I clearly need to get on planning my mom’s round birthday trip next year to Ireland. She’s been to the “Far East” and Europe, but never got to Ireland and I want to make that happen for her before she gets too old to travel easily.

  33. This is Amazing! Im very happy for you and your Dad you guys will have an awesome time. I also just travelled with my mom to Italy and London the last 2.5 weeks (we live apart) and it was very satisfying and rewarding. Some challenges, yes but in the end I know I have these memories with me forever.
    We sometimes can get so wrapped up growing up and doing our ‘grown-up’ things that we forget our parents are growing old too. I look forward to your next posts and I agree with the others, I reckon it would be cool to have your dad do a commentary on your destinations!

  34. @ Lucky – very behind on OMAAT but thanks for sharing your trips with your mom and now with your dad! It definitely inspired me to spend more vacation time with my mom and plan a trip together to Japan, one of her dream destinations (hopefully, no one will set anything ablaze before our rescheduled trip 😛 ).

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