Kristen and Sean-Michael Yonson couldn’t decide where to go for their 10-year anniversary.
They had a long weekend to themselves, but only a week to plan their trip.
That’s when Sean-Michael suggested they look into Pack Up + Go, a startup that plans surprise trips for travellers that he had recently heard about.
Kristen was all for it. Not only would it take the planning and decision-making out of the Yonson’s hands, it would also add an element of excitement.
“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,” Kristen explained.
After deciding to try Pack Up + Go, the process was pretty simple. The Yonsons set a budget of $650 per person, completed a survey asking what they were looking for on their trip (a road trip with plenty of spa and relaxation time), and then waited for their information packet to arrive.
The couple was also put in touch with Lillian, the Pack Up + Go employee who would be planning their trip.
Until shortly before they were set to leave, they had no idea where their vacation would take place.
Then, a day before their departure, they received an information packet that told them they were going to Asheville, North Carolina, about a three and a half hour drive from their home in Atlanta, Georgia.
The Yonsons were excited about their destination, but concerned that they wouldn’t get their money’s worth out of the trip — Pack Up + Go requires users to pay for their vacation upfront.
That concern turned out to be unwarranted. They loved the hotel they were booked in — the Omni Grove Park Inn — and were impressed at the number of suggestions Lillian had given them for their drive to Asheville and back, as well as for activities to do while there.
“I think what really blew our mind was how the trip included stops along the way,” Kristen said. “Had we planned the trip ourselves, we would have gone straight to Asheville,” Kristen said.
During their drive, Kristen and Sean-Michael stopped at Chateau Elan Winery and Resort for a wine tasting, and then continued on to Passarelle, a French café overlooking a waterfall in Greenville, South Carolina, for lunch.
While in Asheville, they spent a lot of time at the Omni Grove Park Inn’s spa, explored some of Asheville’s best shopping, and visited Vortex Doughnuts, all at the suggestion of Lillian.
Kristen and Sean-Michael had never used a travel service or agent in the past, but they gave Pack Up + Go a try because it was easy — there was no back and forth involved, like there would have been had they booked their trip through a more conventional service.
Booking a trip with Pack Up + Go involves a few simple steps. First you specify your travel budget and what you’re looking for in a trip. Your trip is then planned and booked for you, and you’re sent an email a week before your departure with important information like weather, what to pack, and when to be where. However, the destination remains a mystery until the day before you’re meant to leave, when you receive an information packet that contains an envelope revealing it. You can either look at it then and there, or wait until you have arrived at the starting location at the time specified.
The Yonsons are currently in the midst of planning another surprise trip, and they have recommended Pack up + Go to multiple friends.
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