I did something a little unorthodox to celebrate my 30th birthday.
After struggling to decide what to do to commemorate this milestone, I chose to escape on a solo surprise vacay via Pack Up + Go!
What is Pack Up + Go, you ask? Cliff’s Notes version: Think of them as a surprise travel agency that specializes in three-day weekend trips. The kicker is that you don’t know where you’re going until the day you leave. Yes, you read that right.
I literally told anyone who would listen about it and got quite a reaction. Read on to hear more about my experience and the answers to FAQ’s from everyone I blabbed to…
How does it work?
Nearly everyone I talked to about this, online and otherwise, was like, “Wait, WHAT? How do they know where to send you?”
An excellent question! You start the process by filling out a basic questionnaire that asks for some insight about your travel preferences (and allows you to express areas you don’t want to travel to).
The survey asks whether you prefer action or relaxation and also prompts you to check off hobbies and interests. See below for a snapshot of the survey:
In mine, I checked off basically anything having to do with food/alcohol and spas, relaxation, and nature. I skipped all of the fitness and outdoor sports options. (#yolo)
I noted that I did not want to go to Austin or Nashville as I had just traveled to both places within the last couple months. I also requested that I not be sent to Florida, LA, and Vegas as I travel fairly often to all three.
What is the cost?
The beauty of this service is that you pick your own budget. Full disclosure – I set a fairly high budget for my trip ($1,000) because it was for my 30th birthday and I didn’t mind forking over a little more cash than I normally would.
You could set a budget as low as $400 – it would just mean that you’d likely be traveling by car to a nearish destination vs. flying across a country to stay in a luxury hotel.
How do you know what to pack?
A week prior to my departure, I got an email giving me a heads up on the weather so I would have an idea of what to pack. They gave me the forecast and tips like to bring walking shoes (“you’ll be covering a lot of ground”) and an empty stomach (“this place has some seriously good food – and drinks”).
The email also included necessary information about my departure for planning purposes – “go to LaGuardia airport, terminal B, at 6:45 a.m.”
Were you afraid you’d hate your destination?
Strangely, no. I trusted that they wouldn’t send me somewhere terrible. I’m also kind of an adventure junkie, so I figured that I’d be able to find something to do no matter where they sent me. If all else failed, my plan was to find a bar and make a memory no matter what.
However, right before I left I did suddenly I have all these panicky thoughts flooding my brain about the travel portion of my trip. What if the flight they book for me doesn’t match my picky travel preferences? What if I have a million layovers? Oh god, what if they fly me on Spirit?! (Spoiler alert: None of that happened.)
When did you find out your destination?
The morning of my departure! They send you an envelope with your destination and an itinerary inside about five days before you leave with the direction not to open the envelope until the day you leave. Of course, you can cheat and open it early, but I didn’t want to.
Where did they send you?!
Denver, CO! It was absolutely incredible. Keep an eye out for my love letter to Denver in a future post as it’s too much to write here. 😉
Was it worth it?
The answer – without hesitation – is YAAAAS. I want to do it again! Like, as soon as possible.
Would you recommend this for everyone?
This is a tricky question. Did I love it? Abso-freaking-lutely. Is it for everyone? Maybe not everyone.
If you are a control freak, this may not be for you. Due to the nature of the service, you can’t plan anything ahead. Example: The hottest dinner spot in your destination city might be completely booked since you couldn’t reserve in advance (because you didn’t even know you’d be going there.)
So, you really have to be the type of person that is willing to give up full control and go with the flow.
If you are that person, I recommend it 100%. And btw, if you book a trip, be sure to mention you heard about it from me!