PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Want to get away for a weekend but not sure where to go? There’s a Pittsburgh company that wants to surprise you!
You tell them what you like and how much money you want to spend, and they come up with the trip for you. But you don’t find out where you’re going until the day you leave.
Lillian Rafson started her Lawrenceville company Pack Up + Go last year.
“Pack Up + Go is a surprise travel agency,” said Rafson. “So we plan three-day weekends around the United States, but your destination is a surprise until the day you depart.”
She got the idea from surprise travel agencies in Europe.
“We’re basically just trying to provide an easy, stress-free, fun vacation with that added element of spontaneity and excitement,” she says.
It’s that spontaneity Sara Noel and James Kunz III of Highland Park were looking for. They say the surprise part is half the fun.
“It doesn’t matter what the destination is,” said Noel. “Because it’s like your build up and the excitement of whatever it is, is so good that you’re like, ‘Oh, Boston! All right!’”
They’ve gone on two trips Pack Up + Go selected for them. One to Boston and also a driving trip to Annapolis, Maryland.
“I don’t know much about Annapolis at all, so when we pulled it out, we were like, ‘Oh, we would have never thought to go to Annapolis for the weekend,’” said Kunz.
Yet, they had a blast. Pack Up + Go mapped out the trip, giving them sites to check out, restaurant suggestions, and booked their hotel for them.
When you sign up, the company has you fill out a survey. It asks you where you’ve been recently, so they don’t send you back.
They also ask about what you want from the trip, action or relaxation?
“That survey tells us your travel dates, where you’ve gone recently, if you have any upcoming trips and generally what you like in a vacation,” said Rafson. “So you can tell us: I love craft beer and art museums.”
You can choose to drive somewhere. They’ll pick a spot that’s only three to four hours away. That begins at $400 if you’re traveling with someone else and includes your hotel and recommendations of what to see.
For $650 a person and up, you can choose to travel by plane, train or bus. And that price includes accommodations and travel.
“The idea is that travelers don’t spend hours planning a vacation,” said Rafson. “We want it to be the easiest vacation you’ll ever plan.”
“One week before your trip, we do send you the weather forecast, so you know how to pack,” he adds.
Then, a few days before you leave, you get the envelope you’re not supposed to open until the day you leave.
“And that envelope has your grand reveal, so it’ll say you’re going to Nashville or you’re going to Seattle,” Rafson said.
Noel says opening the envelope is pretty exciting, “So it’s pretty exciting to pull it out. They make it worthy of a reveal.”
Rafson started her business last year and said, “So far, it’s been overwhelmingly positive.”
She initially thought customers might be in their 20s mainly, but she’s seen a wide variety. Empty nesters, even mothers and daughters.
As for Noel and Kunz, would they do a third trip with Pack Up + Go?
“Yes. I think I would do it again.”
For more information, visit Pack Up + Go’s website here: http://www.packupgo.com/