How I’m Preparing for My Surprise Getaway (Plus, My Best Packing Tips!)

This post is sponsored by Marshalls. Find more on our sponsored post policy here.

You know how we’re always talking about busting out of your comfort zone? Well, I am about to do just that by giving up all control, planning and logistics and just letting surprise take over. And you know what? Even though I’m a bit Type A (actually, probably mostly because I’m Type A), it feels awesome.

Wondering exactly what I’m talking about? I’m talking about choosing surprise!

We’ve partnered with Marshalls and they’re sending me on a surprise trip this weekend via Pack Up + Go. That’s right. I don’t know where I’m going or exactly what I’m going to be doing. NO IDEA. Total surprise. Ahhh!

But, I did get a list of what I should pack. Which required a little shopping …

This baby is about to get filled up!

Because — let’s be honest — my wardrobe consists of mostly workout clothes and running shoes. Which is great (and, for the record, Marshalls has a great selection of activewear), but this is all about choosing surprise.

For me, going shopping for dresses and wedges and sunglasses and beauty products and handbags is a serious fashion surprise. And, turns out, really, really fun.

It’s also heart-warming and nostalgic for me, as Marshalls has been a part of my shopping life since I was a little girl. My grandmother used to take me there when she’d go shopping, and I have so many fond memories of tagging along with her, searching for the best designer and brand name items at unbelievable prices. (If there’s anything that Grandma Shaver loved, it was scooping up a deal on the same quality stuff you’d see in the department store!) And, even cooler, Marshalls doesn’t just get its merchandise seasonally like a lot of stores — they get new items several times a week. So every time you go in there, you find something new and awesome.

My grandmother could shop like no other (like, for hours), and while normally I’m not a big shopper, I think she’d be proud. I really embraced the Choose Surprise feeling and tried on SO many styles that I normally wouldn’t. And I fell in love with so many things that, had I gone in with a different mindset, I’d have never considered putting on. It’s funny what happens when you try something new, huh?

And it felt really great. Almost like I was discovering a new side of myself. I love the side of me that’s active and sweaty and ready to move, but I also like the side that’s game to glam it up, be on trend and just have fun with my look. Just like trying a new workout, you ALWAYS feel awesome when you bust out of your shell and mix it up. And I was SO pleased with all of the amazing stuff I found!

And now overflowing with goodness!

I left that store with a cart filled with goodies. And not just sandals and dresses and jeans — I got headphones, a travel pillow, new suitcase, hat, headphones, snacks, relaxation and beauty products, a romper, a sleep mask and more (which I’ll be sharing with you in a post that recaps my surprise trip later!).

I cannot wait — not only to see where the heck I’m going, but also to wear all these outfits and put all of this new gear to use! I mean, where am I wearing the below (adorable) shooties to? I NEED TO KNOW!

Which leads me to my best packing tips! Because, of course, I’m already mostly packed. I’m just that excited for the surprise!

My 5 Best Packing Tips

1. Roll your clothes. I picked up a number of cute, flowy dresses and tops at Marshalls and there’s no way I want to arrive at my surprise destination and have to iron before I go out to do whatever amazing surprise things that are planned. I’ve found that if you roll your clothes (rather than fold), they not only take up less room in your suitcase, but also they really don’t wrinkle. Such an easy thing to do that makes unpacking a thousand times better when you land!

2. Choose your flight outfit strategically. There’s no way I’m going to crush that cute little hat I bought in my suitcase, so I’m going to wear it on the plane. I’m also going to wear comfy shoes and the bulkiest stuff I’m taking — jeans, jean jacket — and I’ll carry on my largest tote with a smaller bag inside.

3. Carry on your fave products in smaller sizes. I picked this up at Marshalls and will fill it up with my beauty essentials — including some new oils and bath products I found there, much to my relaxation-loving delight!

4. Pack earlier than later. Packing is the one thing you don’t want to procrastinate. I’m always afraid I’m going to forget something, so packing early gives my brain a little extra time to make sure I got it all.

5. Create your own zen on the plane. Traveling can be stressful, so make sure you’ve got what you need to enjoy the ride: snacks, a travel pillow, sleep mask, suitcase tags with your name and number in case something gets lost, chargers, sunglasses, headphones with chill tunes and — most importantly — a good attitude. You’re going on an adventure!

And then, just be ready to surprise yourself with how good it feels to try something new! How can you surprise yourself today? A trip to Marshalls might be in order, right?! I’ll get the reusable bags … —Jenn

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