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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Vacation with SURPRISE Destination! (Pack Up + Go Review)

***If you sign up for Pack Up + Go, please mention my name Ashley Newell in the referral or how did you hear about us section so that I can earn a discount off my next trip, thank you!***

For my most recent birthday, I asked my hubby for a short trip for a gift instead of item/s.  We have SO much stuff in our house.  Plus, I turned 34 and I can list the states I've actually visited and was old enough to remember on ONE HAND.  Boo!  My hubby said that a trip would be fine.  My birthday passed.  In fact, 3 months passed without a peep about this trip.  Not so much of an idea of where we might go.  I brought up the trip and hubby said "I can plan a Vegas trip if you want."  No, I did not want!  I've been to Vegas at least 5 times.  I don't want to spend my whole life only going to Vegas and never going anywhere else.  I don't know if I'm having some sort of 1/3 life crisis (is this a thing?), but I just feel like I haven't experienced enough.

One day, my friend Joann posted an article from a travel website about a travel agency called Pack Up + Go that planned a whole trip for you but they didn't tell you where you were going.  I forwarded the link to hubby who said "ok, book it!"  I sat there in shock for a bit.  Could I really let go of my insane control issues and let someone plan a whole trip for me??

I contacted Pack Up + Go and asked if they have a blogger program.  They told me that they didn't have any kind of program but they liked my blog and offered me a coupon if I wanted to try out their service and give them a bit of coverage.  SOLD!  (While I accepted the coupon, all my opinions are ALWAYS my own and I would not encourage people to try something I did not truly believe in.)  Honestly, I would have booked any way but I've been to places that offered blogger programs I never thought to apply for so I figured I would just check.  I contacted Pack Up + Go on Mar 29, booked on April 5, and left on our trip on April 21!  (April 16 is our anniversary but that was also Easter so we went on the trip the week after.)

I'm not going to lie, I had butterflies in my stomach the whole time I was booking the trip.  You fill out a survey telling Pack Up + Go your interests, the places you've been in the last year, the places you will go to in the next year, whether you want to stay at a hotel or B&B, ect... They won't send you to a place you've recently gone to or will go to soon.  You could also tell them if you are celebrating an occasion.

One week before our departure date on Friday April 14, we got an email from Pack Up + Go letting us know the weather forecast for the entire trip and a few hints/packing tips.  Based on these things, I had a pretty good guess as to where I was going but I didn't know for sure.  Then, on Monday April 17 we got an envelope with all our info inside.  THIS is the point where I started going CRAZY!  I really, really wanted to open it.  In fact, we did accidentally open it because we didn't read the email well enough but we closed it back up with tape after figuring out we shouldn't have opened it since it said "No Peeking" inside.

For the next 4 days, the envelope taunted me and kept asking to be open.  And my raging control issues went into overdrive.  I kept thinking, if I knew where we were going I could plan things or ask for suggestions from my friends.  If I knew the places on the itinerary I could look them up on Yelp and see if they were good and what I should order.  In the midst of it, I was watching The Voice one night and one of my favorites from this season Hunter Plake said something to the effect of "if you want to grow, you have to do things that are uncomfortable for you."  Totally paraphrasing.  This really struck me and helped me to wait to open the envelope.  Plus, what's the point of a surprise vacation if you KNOW where you are going?

The email told us to be at the airport by 8:30am on Friday morning.  My sweet friend Linda took us to the airport as an anniversary gift.  Since I get a little carsick, we opted to open our envelope at the airport standing outside instead of in the car.  (I'm SUPER SAD that I lost the video of us opening the envelope.  I put it on my Instagram stories and forgot to save it within 24 hours so it's gone forever.)  Here's the picture:


I KNEW IT!!!!  Even though my friend Dolores tried to trick me into thinking I was going somewhere else.

Flight:
We flew on Delta Airlines in regular seating, no checked bags.  I really appreciated that Pack Up + Go planned for us to be in Seattle by lunchtime on Friday so we could have most of the day there.  Also, we are not great at waking up super early so the 10am flight was perfect!  Our return flight was at 8:50pm on Sunday so we got to spend most of Sunday enjoying Seattle as well.  I love how they thoughtfully planned out the time to give me the most amount of time in Seattle!  Also, thank you for getting me the most Instagramable seat on the plane!  :D



Hotel:
The Alexis Hotel Seattle in Downtown Seattle.  I have never stayed in a "boutique hotel" before and MAN, I've been missing out.  We usually stay at a Hilton or a Marriot.  This blew all of those places out of the water.  We got a King Deluxe Room.  We walked into a little foyer and the bathroom was to the right with a bathtub that had jets in it!  We walked into the main room and there was a gorgeous bed, a couch, a desk with a chair, a large tv, a large wardrobe, and we even had a little balcony!  The room was so spacious!  All the rooms have the Amazon Echo Dot which we had fun with asking for weather and recommendations of things to do.  The staff was all SO nice!  They read on our file that we were celebrating our anniversary late and they left us the sweetest gift!






This was our anniversary gift from the hotel!  

Hotel Extras:
The hotel also has minibars in every room featuring Seattle beer and local chocolates.  They have two gyms, one for cardio and one for functional fitness (whatever that means.)  They have free wi-fi which I appreciated a lot!  They are a pet friendly hotel and have water and food for dogs in the lobby.  They had free tea and brewed coffee in the morning 6am-10am.  They have a free wine reception from 5pm-6pm each evening and they even have a little appetizer from the hotel restaurant which is very fancy.  They have free bicycle rentals if you want to go explore on a bike.  You can also order room service from their restaurant which is right off the lobby.  They also have a spa on the bottom floor and you can order in room spa treatments too.

We only partook in the wine reception and the free wi-fi so I can't speak to the rest of it.  They had white and red wine, sparkling water, sparkling juice, etc... and they had an appetizer.  We only made it back in time one night but the curry chicken on a cucumber slice was DELICIOUS!  Also, they put out postcards that you can watercolor as an activity during the wine reception and I made a few.



Itinerary and Extras:
Pack Up + Go gave us a great itinerary of things to do, places to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, places to visit, cool things that Seattle has to offer, etc...  The itinerary was split up by neighborhood which was so nice!  Then you know what all to do in each area before moving on to the next.  They were also really tailored to my likes.  I don't think there was a thing on the list that I thought "no, I'd never do that."

Pack Up + Go also gave us a $100 gift card to Uber to use during our stay plus a coupon code to Lyft!  We didn't pay for any car travel while we were in Seattle which was great!  We did do a lot of walking though.  They also provided us with maps, information on public transit, travel guides, a Visit Seattle Magazine, postcards, fun facts, etc...


Overall, I'm thrilled with my Pack Up + Go trip!  It was a wonderful experience and a great way for me to just let go and push myself into growing as a person.  I had a great time exploring a new city that I'd never been to in a state I've never been in.  I highly recommend doing this at least once in your life.  Just GO and BE there and enjoy what someone else has worked hard to plan.

If you decide to book with Pack Up + Go please use my name as your referral so that I might be able to earn a discount off my next trip.  Thank you for any support you give my lil blog!

This is Part 1 of my Seattle trip!  I will be back with Part 2: What We Did in Seattle and then Part 3: What We ATE in Seattle!



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11 comments:

  1. How fun! I am glad that you both had a great time.

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  2. This sounds awesome! I like the quick turn around. How does the pricing work?

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    1. Oh sorry! You can pick the pricing. Road trips start at $450/person and non road trips start at $650/person

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  3. I had no idea you were in town! Can't wait to read your next posts!!!

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  4. I loved watching all your IG posts from your trip! Sounds like a great vacation and I can't wait to see more!

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  5. What a fun idea! I've never heard of this before. Definitely want to remember this company. It sounds like you had a wonderful time!

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  6. This sounds so fun! What a cool company! I would love to be surprised by a trip. I will have to look into them for the future.

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  7. This sounds so fun! I posted about this place on my FB page and the more I think about it, the more I want to do it!

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    1. Please let them know I sent you if you decide to book! :D

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  8. what a cool concept! I had never heard of such a thing before i saw you post this!
    ~Nichole

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  9. I feel the same exact way. I love to plan, but would totally love the element of surprise of this -- but would have serious packing anxiety too! HAHA Thanks for sharing, we might just have to try this service out! xoxo, ganeeban

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