By Izzy Sutton

Ever since I got back from a year abroad in Spain, I have been really ready to leave Cleveland again. Winter Weekend seemed like the perfect opportunity to escape. The only problem: travelling is ridiculously expensive. Finding cheap flights and centrally-located-but-affordable housing is stressful and aggravating. But my urge to leave Cleveland, even if just for a weekend, was getting to me. I just started searching random buzzwords like “cheap flights to Cancun” and “cheap sunny vacations.”

I had also always been intrigued by the idea of just getting on a flight without knowing the end location. I typed in “mystery flights,” and I found this site called Pack Up + Go. Even though it only offers domestic locations (for now), the whole concept of the business is super cool. You pick how many people are going, what type of climate you want, and the dates you are going, and this company plans a whole trip for you. The only catch? You have no idea where you are going. I thought this was such a cool and unique opportunity. My mom and I filled out everything: we wanted a warm, sunny beach vacation.

My Pack Up + Go experience was completely different from all the other trips I had been on. Not knowing my destination changed how I prepared. Usually, I am online, researching every little detail about where I am going, but not knowing anything took that away. It got to the point that I almost forgot that I was going anywhere. A week before we left, we got an email with the weather forecast for the weekend. This way, we could pack our bags accordingly. The forecast said it was going to be an average of 72 degrees, so that made me super excited. A couple days passed, and we got a thick envelope in the mail that said, “do not open, surprise inside.” This was our envelope with all the details for our trip, including our tickets, hotel information, and activities.  Finally, it was the first day of Winter Weekend, the morning of our departure – time to open the envelope. We opened it up and found out we were going to St. Petersburg (no, not the one in Russia).

Yes, that’s my mom and I.

We had so much fun! The weather was gorgeous, so we got to outside and enjoy every bit of our long weekend. We went to the beach, walked around an open-air market, and explored the Dali Museum. This whole experience was amazing. The wait was worth every moment and I can say for sure I will definitely do it again.