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Take a Surprise Vacation with Pack Up + Go

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Ready for an adventure? Want to escape for a few days but don't have time to plan a vacation? Then you'll love a surprise vacation with Pack Up + Go! Don't fret over choosing the right destination, finding the best prices for transportation and accommodations, and developing an activity itinerary. Instead, let Pack Up + Go do the planning for you. Then enjoy the anticipation of an exciting vacation to a surprise destination, without all the work.

This is how a surprise vacation with Pack Up + Go feels!

This is how a surprise vacation with Pack Up + Go feels! (Photo credit: Amanda Duncan)

This post is brought to you in partnership with Pack Up + Go.

How Pack Up + Go works

Those who turn to Pack Up + Go to plan their upcoming adventures sidestep all travel pre-planning completely. A small team of travel experts, Pack Up + Go plans three-day weekend trips based in the U.S. All you have to do is tell them your budget and fill out a quick survey. Then they take care of airfare and accommodation arrangements, all while keeping the destination a surprise. Here's what to expect:

  • You answer a few questions related to preferred budget per person for travel and accommodations, travel dates, some travel preferences, and general traveler info.
  • Pack Up + Go books your travel and accommodations within that budget.
  • A week before your departure, you receive an exciting email containing the weather forecast for your mystery destination, recommended items to pack (a bathing suit vs. hiking boots), any luggage size restrictions, where to go and when (for example, Grand Central Station on Friday at 10:30 a.m. sharp!)
  • A few days before your trip, you’ll receive an envelope in the mail, which you are NOT to open. It contains directions to your accommodations plus a customized city guide that includes recommendations for everything from cafes, to nightlife, to rainy day activities. Opening it early will spoil all the anticipatory fun.
  • Go to the designated location at the given time, then open your envelope and enjoy.
So much to discover on a surprise vacation with Pack Up + Go in Portland

So much to discover on a surprise vacation with Pack Up + Go in Portland (Photo credit: Meredith W.)

Surprise vacation anticipation

“It's amazing how we creatures of habit, stuck in adulthood ruts, are enthralled or terrified by the lack of control,” said Meredith W., a Pack Up + Go traveler who chatted with me for this post.

It's not just the lack of travel planning work that appealed to Meredith. She found the anticipation of a surprise vacation thrilling. She said, “A week before our departure, an envelope made an appearance. I felt like a little girl at Christmas.”

After the mystery envelope has been opened for a surprise vacation with Pack Up + Go

After the mystery envelope has been opened (Photo credit: Amanda Duncan)

Amanda Duncan, another traveler with whom I spoke, felt similarly when she hired Pack Up + Go. “I'm a very type A person,” she said, “I like plans, schedules, and planning things a year in advance. I felt I had become so routine and sterile that I needed something exciting in my life, something spontaneous that would make others go, ‘Dang! Did you see what Amanda just did? I wish I could do that.’ So, due to the mystery, I decided to step outside my comfort zone and just do it.”

Portland skyline on a Pack Up + Go surprise vacation

Portland skyline on a Pack Up + Go surprise vacation (Photo credit: Meredith W.)

Travel full of wonder

And, while Meredith went to Portland and Amanda visited Philadelphia, two very different cities in make and model, both loved following Pack Up + Go's customized itineraries, especially since the decision-making was basically left to someone else.

Travel is meant to be free and full of wonder and this company does that great justice,” Meredith said.

Discovering the destination is part of the fun of a Pack Up + Go surprise vacation

Discovering the destination is part of the fun of a Pack Up + Go surprise vacation (Photo credit: Meredith W.)

Follow the itinerary…or not

Pack Up + Go's itineraries just may stretch you out of your comfort zone to try things you may not normally schedule on your vacation, which is part of the point. “To my surprise, I loved the Mutter Museum, which looked [like it was] straight out of American Horror Story: Circus,” said Amanda. She continued, “Philadelphia's Magic Garden was another highlight. I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed my suggested itinerary. I also loved that you could go away from your itinerary if you wanted to.”

That said, both travelers had a few suggestions for future trips as well. Meredith would have preferred to see more non-eatery recommendations on her itinerary, while Amanda would have liked hers to keep money in mind, perhaps with dollar signs ($, $$, $$$ for example) alongside suggested activities and restaurants to help her plan her daily budget.

Other than that, both agreed that the Pack Up + Go process is smooth, exciting and very easy.

Surprise Vacation with Pack Up + Go

Pack Up + Go…again!

“I definitely have it in my plans to book another trip with them in the future,” Meredith said. “This [ Pack Up + Go surprise vacation] will be one of my favorites to tell for the ages.”

“I have had several friends sign up post my experience,” says Amanda. “I can't wait to book another trip with Pack Up + Go.”

Visit the Pack Up + Go website for additional information and a full FAQ.

What sounds the most exciting about a Pack Up + Go surprise vacation? Let u know the comments below!

A Note from The Offbeat Travel Mama: Pack Up + Go’s departures and destinations are limited to the continental United States, and are limited to U.S. citizens and permanent residents only. Your budget determines where we Pack + Go sends you, how you get there, and where you stay. Travel Mamas received compensation for the creation of this post. Opinions are always my own.

About Pilar Clark, The Offbeat Travel Mama

Pilar Clark and travel have been besties since slap bracelets and tight-rolled jeans were a thing. Planning geek-inspired adventures around film and fiction has taken her throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, Europe and the Caribbean. Her professional background - award-winning writer and surgical technologist-in-training - is just as eclectic. Pilar lives in Chicago with her husband, two children and rescue pup, Haggis. She is also the gypsetting storyteller behind Say hello to Pilar on Instagram @pilarclark #explorewanderland.

  1. Patrick Cornet says

    Pack up and go might as well as change there name to leave it and went.

    We have not received our letter and we are leaving in 34hrs! I have called and left messages and can’t get ahold of a live person. Now what? We don’t go on vacation?

    If you use them you will not only be surprised of where your going, but you also get a tremendous amount of stress (at no additional charge) when they do not send you the stuff to go on vacation and may even miss your vacation entirely!!!! Now that is a real surprise

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

      Oh no, Patrick! I’m sorry to hear this. Did you get a hold of someone/receive your letter? I hope you had a good holiday nonetheless!

    • Travel stress is the worst! So sorry to hear that things got off to a bumpy start, Patrick. Were you able to enjoy your experience in the end?

    • Lillian Rafson, founder of Pack Up + Go says

      Hi Patrick,

      So sorry for any stress! We were so relieved after speaking on the phone to hear that your envelope just arrived a little earlier than expected, due to the Labor Day holiday. We’re a really small company, so after-hours calls can be tricky, but I’m glad we were able to chat Wednesday night and work it all out!

      We hope you had a great time this past weekend!

  2. Latoicha says

    This is so amazing! I would love to try this out! I love surprises and I love to travel. So I am in.

  3. Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly says

    Hey! Who has been peeking into my dreams? I’m the official organizer. I always pick, plan, pay for, pack and manage every detail. Over it. This sounds exactly up my alley, let someone else do all the leg work. If only they would pay for it too! LOL 🙂

    • Pilar Clark says

      Ha! Well said. They are a daydream come true for sure! And I couldn’t agree more on the money part 😉 Being permanently bitten by the travel bug gets spendy!

  4. Nicole Escat says

    Oh, nice service! I would like to bring my hubby and son in a surprise vacation.

  5. I have never heard of this service before. I love that they help you come up with a perfect trip!

  6. coolchillmom says

    This is beyond exciting! The posibilities are endless as well as the reasons for it! To Travel!

  7. That is so much fun! I would love to do that for my husband’s birthday. He’d love the surprise and anticipation.

    • Pilar Clark says

      I would love someone to do this for my birthday, Crystal 😉 I don’t think I’ve ever been surprised this way, and as the designated social coordinator for my family, it would definitely be a treat!

  8. Seattle Travel Blogger says

    This looks like a great idea.
    We always say we want to do more to get out of the house.

  9. Love this idea! I hope they branch out to longer trips and outside the USA. Either way, love the idea! Would make a great Christmas gift for husbands to give wives!

    • Pilar Clark says

      Would love to see them tackle Canada at some point very soon, and from there, perhaps Europe and beyond. How fun would that be?!

  10. Robin Rue says

    This sounds like an amazing way to be spontaneous. If I didn’t have kids I would totally do this on a whim every once in a while!

    • Pilar Clark says

      Kids shouldn’t stop you, Robin, or you could even take them along if you feel so inclined 🙂

  11. Amanda Love says

    It sounds like a great way to experience traveling. I’m sure it’s fun and it’s exciting to learn where you’re going on the last minute. It’s perfect for people who are tired of planning a trip and would just like to experience something different!

    • Pilar Clark says

      I’m not sure I would want to do it for every trip, but it would be fun for a surprise getaway for sure!

  12. Lyla G - Globetrotting Mommy says

    This is such an interesting concept to me and I’m so curious to try it. On the one hand, I’m a control freak who wants to know every detail but on the other hand I would love to let someone else do all the legwork so I could just show up and explore.

  13. That is a really cool idea, I wish I could use it but due to schedule constraints I wouldn’t be able to. I have friends who would certainly love to do this idea, going to share with them!

  14. Liz Mays says

    What a cool idea! If this makes our trips easier, I’m ready to try it out. I’ll have to check out the site.

  15. Toni | says

    This is sooo cool! It is always my dream to travel! Putting this on my bucket list!

  16. Marcie W. says

    The Pack Up + Go concept sounds amazingly awesome! My husband and I are overdue for a vacation, and having it be a total surprise would be super cool.

  17. This is so cool. I love exploring new places, so Pack Up + Go sounds like a fun way to see somewhere I might not choose on my own.

    • Pilar Clark says

      I think so too, Pam. Perhaps Pack Up + Go could introduce me to a place I haven’t yet thought to explore!

  18. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle says

    That sounds like a ton of fun! It certainly injects that feeling of adventure you have when you first start travelling.

    • Pilar Clark says

      Agreed, Stacie! It lends that feeling of childhood excitement to traveling, adding in of course, all the perks that come with being an adult.

  19. Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

    I really, really, really want to do this! As The Travel Mama, I am the designated family travel planner and sometimes it’d be nice to let someone else surprise me with a vacation!

    • Ellen Lanin says

      When I think of a huge (in Trump’s word) city like New York and LA) I think this would have an advantage to doing it myself.

      • Pilar Clark says

        Interesting perspective, Ellen. I’ve been to both cities several times, but perhaps using a service would show me a side of both I haven’t experienced before. Something to think about for sure!

    • Pilar Clark says

      I feel the same way, Colleen! As the designated social coordinator when it comes to all things travel for my family, it would be fun to let someone else take the reins for a change.

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