Want to plan a weekend get-away but on a tight budget? Not sure just what sort of travel vacation you can have on a 3-day weekend? Does a short surprise vacation sound fun? Then online startup Pack Up + Go may be just the ticket! Pack Up and Go is the online travel agency that will plan your weekend trips for you, and even keep it a secret to surprise you! All you have to do is pay and show up!
After providing Pack Up and Go with a few details about yourself, including where you live, some of your interests, your budget, and available travel dates, Pack Up + Go will plan a trip for you, somewhere in the United States, within your constraints. They also assign a personal representative to you, with whom you can dialogue, and who will plan your itinerary at your destination and – if it’s a road trip – even along the way.
Explains Pack Up + Go founder and CEO, Lillian Rafson, in an interview with Business Insider, “My favorite vacations have all been really spontaneous, and full of local recommendations that I wouldn’t have found in a guidebook.”
And that is the premise on which Pack Up + Go was built, and the service and experience it aims to give to its customers.
So, how well does it work?
Judging by testimonials on their site, and also interviews given by satisfied customers to the media, it works pretty darn well!
For example, in an interview with Forbes, Pack Up + Go travellers Tierney Kain, Lindsay Newlen, and Maria Loredo explain that t hey decided to take a trip together using Pack Up + Go.
Their surprise destination? Chicago. And, as Kain explains, “To be honest, I was initially disappointed. I’d always thought of Chicago as a ‘New York City Lite’ kind of place. I didn’t actually get excited until I saw our hotel, the Allegro, which looked like it’d stepped out of my home decor dreams.”
Adds Kain, “Then I spent some time reading through the itinerary, and I got more excited. We ate so well and were able to pack in all the highlights in a short weekend.”
Sean-Michael and Kristen Yonson were looking for something to do to celebrate their 10th anniversary. They too turned to Pack Up + Go and, as they explained to This Insider, not only did using Pack Up + Go take the responsibility of all the research and planning off their shoulders, but, says Kristen, “The added surprise of where we were going and what we were doing heightened our anticipation and far exceeded any expectations we would have had planning it ourselves or with a travel agent.”
And because the Yonsons were driving – to, they discovered the day before they left, Asheville, North Carolina, about a 3 1/2 hours drive from their Atlanta home, their PU+G rep had planned an en route itinerary for them.
“I think what really blew our mind was how the trip included stops along the way,” gushed Kristen. “Had we planned the trip ourselves, we would have gone straight to Asheville.”
Instead, Lillian (no word on whether it was the Lillian) had included a stop at a winery, and at a little French bistro, on the way.
Pack Up + Go is able to do this because of the information that you give them on their intake survey which, by the way, is available here for anyone to see without having to sign up (brilliant, guys!) The survey requests the following information from you:
- Your desired departure date
- Any time restrictions
- What were the last 3-5 trips you took for leisure purposes?
- Do you have any upcoming trips planned?
- When you travel, do you prefer: action, relaxation, culture
- What are some of your hobbies/interests: (list of 23 things such as fine dining, markets, movies, parks and nature, historical sites, museums, family activities, and many more)
- Accommodation preferences: (hotel, etc.)
- Whether you are celebrating something in particular?
- Anything else they may need to know
Once you sign up and they have all of your information, according to the site, here’s what you can expect:
We book your travel + accommodation, given your budget.
A week before your departure, you receive an email. This email contains:
The weather forecast for your mystery destination
Recommended items to pack (a bathing suit, hiking boots)
Any luggage size restrictions
Where to go and when (Grand Central Station, Friday at 10:30AM!)
A few days before your trip, you receive an envelope in the mail, which you do NOT open just yet. This envelope contains directions to your accommodation, and your city guide. Since you don’t have time to do research on your destination, we do it for you! We’ll send you off with a curated list of recommendations for everything from cafes to nightlife to rainy day activities. We promise you won’t be bored wherever you go.
But remember, don’t open this envelope yet!
You go to the designated location at the given time, open your envelope, and pack up + go.
Sounds like something you’d like?
You can read more, and sign up, at the Pack Up + Go website.
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