A while back, I wrote about our surprise vacation we planned, but now I want to take a bit of time to tell you about our experience with Pack Up and Go. Hint: It was amazing.
In case you haven’t seen my previous blog post, Pack Up and Go is a surprise travel agency that specializes in 3-day getaways within the United States. I loved that we were able to have the fun of being spontaneous while still knowing there was accommodations and a plan in place for us.
Let’s start with the most common questions I got:
“So, they just pick a place and send you?!”
Well.. yes and no. Pack Up and Go does just pick a place and send you, but it isn’t random! You fill out a survey about your likes and dislikes and they pick a place that it sounds like you’ll love. The more specific you are on the survey, the more likely you’ll get something tailored to you. We filled out the normal survey, but there is also a “tell us more” section where we wrote a decent amount. We went down to small details about what we like to do at home for fun, wrote about loving trying different food trucks at home, that we love exploring live music and that I can’t stand seafood (seriously…). We wrote about how we love coffee and breakfast foods, but not necessarily tons of sweets. This allowed Pack up and Go to come up with a great place for us to travel to (and one we wouldn’t have EVER picked for ourselves) and to put together a great itinerary for us.
“But how do you know what to pack?”
This was probably always the second question we were asked (after the one above). And it was a super easy one to answer! One week before our departure, we received an email with the three-day weekend forecast and a suggested list of what to pack. It was super helpful! I still packed a few extra outfits (for example “clothes for a night out” could have meant a variety of things, so I wanted to be prepared!). Neither Tyler or I had a moment where we felt like there was something we didn’t pack that we should have. The tough part here, NOT starting to Google forecasts for all large cities across the country!
“How do you know when to be at the airport?”
In the email we received one-week before departure, we were also given our flight time and the time we should arrive at the airport. We flew out of MSP and Pack Up and Go told us we should be there at 6:30 (our flight left at 8:30 so this made sense) and that we should go to Terminal 1.
“So how soon do you find out!?”
Well the “rules” tell you to wait and find out at the airport. You receive a package in the mail a few days before your trip. We left early Friday morning, and got our package the Monday prior. We could have opened it then, but we figured, we’d already waited this long! The package included the location we were going to, flight information (including return flight), a sheet of facts about our destination, and a suggested to-do list. They also included very specific information about how to get from the airport to our hotel (where to get a public bus, how long an Uber would take and how much it’d cost, so on)
“Do they book everything for you?”
I feel like this depends. You are guaranteed for them to book your travel accommodations and a hotel or bed and breakfast (you tell them on the survey if you have a preference here). If there is money leftover in your budget, Pack Up and Go will spend it on other things. In our envelope, we had a small Uber gift card and tickets to a food truck tour.
“What is the cost?”
A few people asked this one, but I know this was a huge thing I wondered about. There is a HUGE range for what you can pay. For a multiple person trip, you can pay anywhere from $650/person up to $5,000/person. I believe Tyler and I stuck to the lower end with $750 per person. There are no taxes or other fees. So our total to Pack Up and Go was $1500. We obviously had to budget for meals while we were there, but Pack Up and Go did suggest several free and low cost things, so we honestly didn’t spend a ton. I think if you picked a higher budget, you would have more stuff pre-booked for you or more gift cards to places, but really we feel like our budget was more than fine! When we do this again, we will probably pick the same budget as it worked out well. They do suggest increasing your budget if you are traveling over holiday weekends, which makes sense.
So where did we go?!
We opened our envelope right after we parked at the airport. We wanted to know what was going on before we went inside. Plus, Pack up and go had checked us in electronically and emailed us our boarding pass so we wanted to be able to open that email too!
We found out we were going to Austin, TX! If I’m being 100% honest, I had a moment of disappointment. I had never considered traveling to Texas and I wasn’t sure it was a place I wanted to go. After letting go and looking over the sample itinerary, I started to get excited again. Let’s be honest, it’s really awesome that Pack Up and Go was able to get me super excited to go to a place that I’d just been uncertain about moments before. I decided to let go of all my doubts and just have a great time. And we did!!
Our Trip: (I will write a more detailed review of the trip itself in a later post).
We read through our itinerary on the plane and realized that there were very few things on it that we didn’t want to do. There was a map in our packet that gave us a rough idea where the places were located. Everything on our suggested itinerary was within walking distance of our hotel, which was super awesome! There were a couple times we called an Uber just to save time, but we also loved just walking around exploring the city.
Our flight landed in Austin around noon. We loved that we were able to spend the majority of the day there and appreciated that Pack Up and Go considered this when booking our flights. We took a city bus to downtown where we walked about 10 blocks to our hotel. We definitely could have gotten an Uber from the airport, but we didn’t mind the walk around downtown, and it was a great way to get a feel for the city. The first thing I said to Tyler when we got off the bus was, “Oh my god, Tyler, why does Austin SMELL so good?!” And it was no lie! Food trucks, food trucks everywhere.
We went to check out our hotel. Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt and it was AMAZING! So gorgeous and right in the heart of downtown so we could literally walk almost anywhere we wanted to go. After checking out the hotel, we left to explore the city, when we came back, there was a small gift from the hotel left for us (a sweet little note, a bottle of champagne, along with chocolate covered strawberries), so nice! Our hotel also had an amazing rooftop pool with great drinks! The drinks were on the pricey end, so we only had one or two drinks at the pool, but it was worth it.
Would I recommend Pack Up and Go and would I use them again?
YES AND YES!
This trip was amazing! I loved not having to worry about anything prior to the trip and knowing it was taken care of! I am already dreaming of when we can take another trip!
Taking a trip:
Though I am in no way compensated for this review, Pack Up and Go does offer a referral discount, so if you DO decide to book, I’d love if you could mention that you heard of them through me (Alisha Moldenhauer).
PLEASE ask any questions that you have! A post about our experience in Austin will be coming soon!