Story by Meghan Wieten-Scott
I have a serious case of wanderlust. If I don’t travel every 4-6 weeks, I tend to get a bit twitchy and anxious. There is such a big world out there to explore, and being an Army spouse provides the perfect opportunity to get out there and experience it!
Recently, I stumbled upon a travel blog about a new-ish company, Pack Up + Go. They sell themselves as a ‘surprise travel agency’, and the review said their trips were awesome! I was immediately intrigued and spent several months trying to find the perfect time to book a trip. Should I go with my girlfriends? A couple’s getaway?
My husband and I finally decided we would forgo the usual Christmas gifts and use that money to book our first Pack Up + Go trip. Since we would already be home with family for the holidays, we could leave our son and dog with family while we snuck away for a few days. Win-win for everyone! No child care or doggie daycare costs, our son got lots of family time, and we got away for a few days solo!
When we were ready to bite the bullet, I went to the Pack Up + Go website and filled out their one page questionnaire. We had to supply general information like our names, birthdays, travel dates, preferred airports, etc. to ensure they could adequately and correctly book our travel. Then I got to the fun questions. ‘What are some of your hobbies/interest? Is there anything else we NEED to know? Where have you been on your most recent vacation? Any upcoming vacations we should be aware of?’ Traveling often for work, I made sure to share the cities I often travel to as well as the locations where we have most recently been stationed to ensure we didn’t get sent to someplace we just came from.
Once we clicked submit and received our confirmation email we waited….and waited….and waited….A few weeks later, we received an email confirming our airport preference, and then we waited some more.
As promised, one week prior to departure we received a teaser email with the forecast for our still-a-mystery vacation location and a few hints. This really got our brains thinking overtime…a quick Facebook post to our friends suggested everything from Philadelphia to Denver to Chicago to Minneapolis. Where could it be?! We knew we couldn’t be going too far away because the Pack Up + Go website mentions how they limit your travel time to maximize your time at your intended destination. A mystery envelope arrived within a week of our departure with explicit instructions not to open it until we were departing for our trip.
A final email two days prior to our departure really had us thinking over time. The forecast was for temperatures hovering near zero which we knew landed us on the East Coast, but where?! This final pre-travel email also told us to arrive at the airport at 5:45am for our flight, and we were not to open our envelope until we were at the airport.
Our bags were packed, and we were ready to go! We pulled up to the local airport at 5:45am on the dot the morning of our departure, and we finally opened our envelope. We were going to…..BOSTON!!!! The location could not have been a more perfect fit for us. While we’ve both traveled extensively, neither of us had spent more than a passing day in Boston. We breezed through security (thank you, TSA PreCheck!) and finally dug into our envelope full of travel goodies while we waited to board.
The packet of trip details included four incredible itineraries with suggestions from locals including things to do, places to eat, and ways to get around. It also contained information about our hotel (hello complimentary afternoon wine!), and directions on how to get there from the airport. There was a sheet on modes of transit within the city as well as a few special events happening only during the holiday season. The best bonus on a sub-zero weekend was the Uber credit they included!
We arrived in Boston in the early afternoon, and we hit the ground running. This weekend was a true test of my ability to just let it go. We exclusively followed the suggestions provided by the Pack Up + Go itineraries, and not one of the dozens of places we went let us down. We discovered an adorable, hole in the wall oyster bar, spent hours perusing the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, enjoyed some of the best cannolis ever in the North End, took a very chilly stroll through Boston Commons, and warmed up with the massive crowd at Harpoon Brewery.
Overall, our Pack Up + Go mystery trip was the perfect few days to get away, reconnect as a couple, and explore a new city. The itinerary suggestions fit our likes and personalities perfectly, and every one of the restaurants they suggested was superb! It’s amazing how getting out of your comfort zone can really help you appreciate one another on a different level and help you to experience so many new and fun things. Had I planned this trip on my own, I would have spent days anguishing over which restaurants to go to, how we would fit in all the museums, and how we’d manage to fit in visits to everyone we knew in the area. Being able to just show up and go was perfection.
We are already planning our next Pack Up + Go trip after we PCS. It’s a perfect way to explore new places, and just imagine the places you could go if you ended up PCSing from JBLM to Fort Drum to Fort Stewart. Oh, the places you could go!
I highly recommend checking out Pack Up + Go if you’re looking to add a quick getaway to a fun new spot. Their itineraries and customer service will not disappoint!