The Slaw 07: Lillian Rafson, CEO of Pack Up + Go // NYE Parties

We talk with Lillian Rafson, founder of the surprise travel agency Pack Up + Go about starting a business and visiting Pittsburgh. We also spotlight burger night at Pear and the Pickle with Dancing Gnome Beer and all the New Year's Eve parties in Pittsburgh.

by Lindsay Patross
December 17, 2019

In this episode of The Slaw: Staying on top of Pittsburgh, we talk to Lillian Rafson, who is the founder and CEO of Pack Up + Go, a surprise travel agency. We also share the details on the collaboration between Dancing Gnome Beer and Pear and the Pickle for burger night. Our events section takes a look at some of the New Years’ Eve options in Pittsburgh.

Listen here.

Having trouble with the player? You can listen to Episode 07 here.

Lillian Rafson, Founder & CEO of Pack Up + Go

We chat with Lillian Rafson about traveling, starting a business and how to be a tourist in Pittsburgh. Rafson is the founder and CEO of Pack Up + Go, a surprise travel agency. Pack Up + Go is located in Pittsburgh and books travel all over the United States. Pack Up + Go plans three-day trips where the destination is a surprise.

Lillian started Pack Up + Go after learning about a similar company while traveling in Europe. Pack Up + Go was founded in 2016 and now has 10 employees here in Pittsburgh.

Lillian was selected to participate in the 2019 Tory Burch fellowship program.

Learn more about Pack Up + Go

Other travel companies based in Pittsburgh

Packing tips

  • Less is more

The less you pack the more time you have to enjoy your vacation. – Lillian Rafson

Pittsburgh pick: Una Biologicals

Lillian uses skincare products from Una Biologicals in Lawrenceville

Lillian’s recommendations for a Pittsburgh day trip

Looking to take a food tour of Pittsburgh?

Check out ‘Burgh Bits and Bites, which offers food tours in different neighborhoods around Pittsburgh.–1ZCBHVU/

A very Pittsburgh Collaboration: Burger Night @ Pear and the Pickle with Dancing Gnome Brewery

If you have been to Pear and the Pickle, you know that it is famous for breakfast sandwiches. Pear and the Pickle occasionally stays open for a burger night dinner. The next burger night is on December 19 and Dancing Gnome will be bringing the beer.

Pear and the Pickle Burger Night with Dancing Gnome

  • Date: Thursday, December 19, 2019
  • Time: 6-8 pm
  • Location: Pear and the Pickle, 1800 Rialto St. in Troy Hill

Follow Pear and the Pickle on Instagram @pearandpickle for updates.

Events: New Years’ Eve in Pittsburgh

Looking for a way to ring in the new year? We’ve put together a list of all the New Years’ Eve and noon-years’ eve parties around town.

Save the Date: Jan. 4 – New Year/New Galaxy with Starship Mantis

We are partnering with Dancing Gnome, Black Forge and Epicast to bring you an event that is out of this world. Join us at Black Forge II in McKees Rocks for music and a special beer release.


Tickets are $15 (be sure to listen to the episode for a discount code)

Facebook Event

Give Us a Call

Have an event we should know about? Know of a partnership we should highlight on the podcast? How about a collaboration? We’d love to hear from you!

We’re always looking for new Pittsburgh stories to share. If you leave a message we just might feature your pick in our newsletter or on our podcast.

Give us a call and leave a message. We want to hear from you!


* Please note, By leaving a message on this service, you consent to your voice being recorded and used by Very Local Pittsburgh in The Slaw podcast and elsewhere.

Subscribe to The Slaw: Staying on Top of Pittsburgh podcast

The Slaw Podcast is available on:

Follow Very Local for more Pittsburgh updates:

Generate the CSS stylesheets for border radius, fonts, transforms, backgrounds, box and text shadows with the online CSS code generators.

Pittsburgh born and raised, Lindsay has been writing about the people who love Pittsburgh since 2008.

More Local Stories

Eat Play Stay Orlando: Sanford

On this episode of Eat Play Stay Orlando explore what’s new in the Northern part of town. Sanford has a plethora of breweries, bars, and delicious dining options to choose from.

Hometown Tragedy: The Pike County Massacre

On this episode of Hometown Tragedy: Missing in Milwaukee, we’ll explore what happened to Jerica Banks, her children, and how it impacted their community.

Six New Orleans parks that are perfect locations to celebrate 4th of July

Head to one of these six New Orleans parks to celebrate Independence Day in the city.

Cheap Date Orlando: Punk Rock & Pooches

Two Orlando couples shop vintage, search for the perfect slice, visit a post-apocalyptic saloon, and take the stage on blind dates in Orlando.

Fit and Fab: Free summer workouts in Boston

Cover photo courtesy Getty Images Looking to get fit for the summer? Still wary of COVID-19 or just looking for some sunshine while you sweat? Here are some Boston free summer workouts across the city so you can keep moving all season long! Seaport Sweat May 2 to Sept. 29 Boston’s biggest free workout series…

What’s On the Menu?: Farm-to-table

The farm-to-table movement brings locally grown foods to your plate. Not only will enjoying farm-to-table meals allow you to indulge in fresh, nutritional, seasonal dishes, but farm-to-table dining helps the environment and supports the local economy.  Check out these delicious farm-to-table restaurants in Greenville, South Carolina on the latest episode of What’s On the Menu?. …

A guide to some of the best Black-owned brunch spots in NOLA

Gather the crew together, make those reservations, and celebrate all things Black at brunch. 

A guide to Pittsburgh’s summer events must-do list

Check out our roundup below for the can’t-miss events happening in the city over the next few months.

Eat Play Stay Orlando: Tarpon Springs

In this episode of Eat Play Stay Orlando you’ll be transported to a thriving Greek community nestled on Florida’s gulf coast. From sponge diving to flaming cheese to a Greek bakery that supplies a ginormous amount of baklava to the entire country, you’re sure to fall in love with Greek culture in Tarpon Springs, Florida.

Dorchester doughnuts that pack a paczki

These traditional Polish pastries are the real deal.

Exploring the history of Pittsburgh’s Chinatown

At one time, there was even an informal Chinatown mayor to act as a community liaison.

Painting My Way Through Life: Pittsburgh (And Beyond) Through The Eyes of Artist Ron Donoughe

Ron Donoughe has spent over 30 years painting the Pennsylvania landscape, especially Pittsburgh. When you don’t find him capturing the spirit of his paintings on location, you’ll likely find him in his Lawrenceville studio – where he’s watched the neighborhood transform through his windows.

With a potential sale of his building looming in 2022, we chatted with Donoughe about his artistic journey thus far, what might come next, and Pittsburgh through his eyes.

“Better than a tent” this Greensburg Airbnb is only $15/night 

The accommodations are minimal, but the price can’t be beat. This Airbnb shed is available just outside of Pittsburgh in Greensburg for just $15/night.

Not your typical Asian takeout — a guide to international takeout food in Pittsburgh

Let’s talk international food from Korea, Thailand, India, Uzbekistan and more! This isn’t your typical takeout box.