Lonely Planet Writer

Would you book a weekend trip where the destination was a surprise?

Would you be able to bear the suspense of someone else organising your weekend away without letting you know the destination until you’re actually setting off? If so, you’ll love Pack Up + Go, a travel company that specialises in surprise vacations and plans three-day weekend trips for clients around the United States.

Two people finding out their surprise destination. Image: Pack Up & Go

Customers have a choice of embarking on a road trip (starting at $450 per person) or booking a vacation that includes air travel (from $650). All you have to do is choose your dates and tell the company your budget, and then fill out a quick survey and check off a list of things you enjoy, such as craft beer, live music, comedy clubs, outdoor activities, etc.

Pack Up + Go selects a destination for you, books all your travel, and suggests day-by-day itineraries, but you don’t know where you’re going until you arrive at the airport or departure point. You receive your information by mail, telling you what time to go to the airport and giving you a little information to help with packing. You are also sent a sealed envelope that reveals the destination, although we’re sure it must be hard to resist the temptation to peek!

Two happy people finding put their weekend break destination. Image: Pack Up Go
Two happy people finding put their weekend break destination. Image: Pack Up & Go

Fans of the service include those who love travelling but loathe planning, or those who like to be adventurous and spontaneous and embrace the unknown. The trips are all for two nights and three days, and the company aims to keep the travel time to under four hours.

The service was founded by Lillian Rafson, then aged 23. She came up with the concept when she went travelling herself, and was introduced to the idea of a surprise travel agency while working her way up the Baltic Coast and Eastern Europe.

A happy traveller discovers her holiday destination. Image: Pack Up & Go
A happy traveller discovers her holiday destination. Image: Pack Up & Go

She thought the idea would be a hit back in the US, and felt it would encourage Americans to travel within their own country. She estimated that Pack Up + Go would plan 50 to 100 trips a year, but already after six months, it has handled approximately 250 trips. The company tends to avoid more obvious choices like New York City, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas, preferring to give to mid-size or small cities like Portland, Maine, or Burlington, Vermont, a chance to shine.

If you’d like your trip to have an element of surprise, check out Pack Up & Go.