Q: Why did you sign up for your trip? What were you looking to get out of it?
A: I’d heard about surprise trips through various blogs, and I thought this would be a fun way liven up the usual travel experience (since my husband and I love doing unique and interesting things). I’m usually the one planning out everything whenever we take a trip, so it was really nice to really leave it in the hands of professionals.
Q: Did you have any hesitations about taking a surprise trip? Were you nervous?
A: We had absolutely no hesitations. My husband and I have traveled extensively, so we’ve learned to go with the flow when it comes to the unexpected. So, at least in this case, we’re sort of planning for the unexpected.
Q: Where did you guess you were going to travel? Were you surprised by the destination?
A: Considering our criteria and the distance limitations, we did narrow it down to a few likely candidates. Then, when we received the weather report, my husband got too curious and started looking up weather forecasts and stumbled upon the correct answer. We did keep it a “surprise” for ourselves, but we weren’t TOO surprised when we finally did open the envelope in the airport.
Q: Upon discovery of your destination, what were some of your perceptions about the city prior to your trip?
A: We were excited. We’d only heard good things from our family and friends who’ve visited Portland, and it was definitely a place that we’d planned on visiting. It fit a lot of our criteria, and we always like a quirky fun city.
Q: What made the trip feel unique and tailored to you?
A: Well, the city definitely matched the criteria and interests we’d filled out on the original questionnaire. Plus, we liked the suggestions included in our envelope.
Q: What did you like most about your travel accommodations?
A: Everyone we met there was so nice and helpful. We loved the ambiance of the hotel, especially the way we could play backgammon and chess in front of a crackling fire. We especially loved that it was so dog-friendly. Even though we didn’t bring a dog along, it was always so fun to see them in the common areas. Since it was our anniversary, there was a lovely card and a little gift waiting in our room. It made us feel very special and welcome. We loved all the little details that just added up to a great atmosphere. If we’re ever in Portland again, we’ll probably stay there again.
Q: What was your favorite experience that we recommended for you?
A: Definitely the Freakybuttrue Peculiarium. As soon as we saw it, we said, “We have to go check this out.” It was so quirky and random and fun. In fact, while checking out at a nearby store, it turns out even some locals hadn’t heard of it, so it was definitely a hidden gem.
Q: What did you discover on your own (not on your itinerary) in your destination that you feel is share-worthy?
A: We did an Underground Portland walking tour, going through the Shanghai tunnels. It’s unique, you get a good history lesson (and some supernatural thrills, if you’re into ghosts like my husband is), and it’s not too strenuous (or pricey). There are other tours through the same company, so if we ever went back, we’d try the other ones as well.
Q: What was your favorite part of your trip?
A: I don’t think we had a favorite per se. We mostly enjoyed getting away for a weekend in a wonderful city.
Q: What did you learn on your trip, or from your trip?
A: We learned how nice it was not to plan anything for once. Just show up!
Q: How would you describe Pack Up + Go and your experience to your friends and family?
A: Pack Up + Go is a nice mix of hand-holding and independence. The major stuff is planned (which saves a lot of headaches), but the rest is up to you, which gives you a lot of flexibility. Aside from showing up to the airport in time, there are no ridiculous 5am scrambles to get in some tour bus, just a nice open weekend in front of us.
Q: What would you say to someone who is hesitant to go on a surprise getaway?
A: Don’t be. In our travels, we’ve found that every city, no matter how tiny or out-of-the-way, has something interesting to experience, as long as you’re open to it. Plus, with most decent hotels offering free wi-fi and everyone having smartphones, it’s not hard to find things to do, places to see, or restaurants to eat at even if you end up somewhere unexpected.