At WeTravel, we are committed to bringing you the best and most up and coming travel advice from around the world. One of our missions is to gather a community of like-minded travel lovers. Today, we want to share with you an incredible travel startup called Pack Up + Go.
We’re kind of obsessed right now with spontaneous travel, so you can bet that when we heard of a company that surprises you with a trip to somewhere in the USA, we were very intrigued.
Here’s the Pack Up & Go process: You decide you want to go somewhere in the USA for a long weekend (all of the trips are 2 nights and 3 days). You realize that you’re too busy or too indecisive to plan everything yourself. You set your budget with Pack Up + Go (Either Road Trip or with Airfare included). You set your travel likes and dislikes preferences (‘I love craft breweries’ or ‘I definitely do not want to go to Florida’). The team at Pack Up + Go selects a location around 3-4 hours distance from where you are for you to visit. The team books airfare and accommodations for your trip within your selected budget. They send you an e-mail confirming the dates of your trip, the weather for where you’ll be going, and where and when to get to your departure spot. An envelope comes in the mail for you. You take your suitcase and your envelope and show up to the departure spot on your set date. Open your envelope, discover where you’re going, and off you go!
The user-based experience is what has given Pack Up & Go a distinct edge. The team takes the user experience into account from the beginning. A simple, easy to use interface. Streamlined customer survey to determine the user’s preferences. The location selection process is custom-tailored to the customer. If you write that you love the beach and history, they may send you to Charleston, South Carolina. If you enjoy relaxation, culture, and bookstores they may send you to Burlington, Vermont or Portland, Maine. Once you’re on your trip, Pack Up & Go has sample itineraries for you based on the preferences you’ve selected. If you’ve opted to take a road trip, the itinerary might include unique pit stops along the way. Your itinerary in a city might include a tiny hole-in-the-wall ramen shop. It all depends on what your heart desires.
Who are the people behind Pack Up & Go? They are what make this company so unique. Lillian, the founder and CEO of Pack Up & Go started the company when she was 23 years old. After leaving her job to travel abroad, Lillian realized that she wanted to find a way to travel indefinitely. She fell in love with the sense of freedom travel brings, and felt that she was the best version of herself while traveling. She said yes to things more, and was naturally more spontaneous. (I think this is a feeling all of us travel lovers can relate to, right?)
Lillian was traveling in The Baltics in Europe when she first heard of the concept of surprise travel agencies. She was intrigued by the idea, and wondered why something like that didn’t exist in The States. While traveling, she met a group of Australian travelers who were pontificating about their recent trip all across the USA. They started asking her about her own travels in the USA and if she’d seen the places they’d seen. Lillian realized that for all the international travel she’d done, she had barely explored her home country! Combining these two ideas, spontaneous travel and travel in the USA, Lillian came up with the idea for Pack Up & Go.
Currently, Pack Up & Go is a small operation. Lillian books all the trips and deals with customer interaction. Eric, her partner, deals with all other aspects of the business such as PR, marketing, and social media. They have an intern, Kelly, who is an urban studies major at Pitt. She helps research destinations, including pit stops on road trips, sights to see, bakeries, and other random places that the customer may not think to include on their itinerary.
The team also has a large extended network of local liaisons, who compile their list of must-do things in their hometown. They contribute itineraries that depict how a local in the city would spent their perfect day. They also act as a safety net for customers once they’re on their trip.
Who is the typical customer of Pack Up & Go? When Lillian first started the company, she thought that the majority of customers would be other Millennials like herself. Young people who have limited vacation time and perhaps a limited budget as well. However, since opening Pack Up & Go has planned surprise trips for all sorts of people. A Mother-Daughter duo, celebrating the Mother’s recent retirement. Friends celebrating a 45 year friendship. The average age of their customer is 31, so it’s still mostly younger people who are using Pack Up + Go, but it’s by no means exclusively for adventurous Millennials. One thing customers do have in common: they are prone to adventure & willing to roll with the punches.
As far as what’s in store for the future for Pack Up & Go, there are many directions it could go in. Since they’re a relatively new company, having started in January 2016, they’re still having a great time doing what they’re doing. The trips are currently weekend-long trips, so possibilities for longer term trips are on the horizon. Along with more specific types of trips like a beach vacation or adventure type trip.
Since WeTravel focuses on group travel, we talked a bit about the future of group travel with Pack Up & Go. While they haven’t planned any group trips yet, they would be open to the possibility if a group came along that really embraced the ‘element of surprise.’ WeTravel is the perfect platform for the new breed of travel agents, like Pack Up & Go, to expand their market and reach a whole new audience.
Would you ever go on a surprise trip? Leave us a comment below letting us know what you think of this new type of travel, and be sure to share this article with your friends to get the word out about Pack Up & Go!