Boston, Travel

My Journey to Boston 🛫🚊

Hello again and greetings from Boston!

So yesterday I left Dublin for Boston and thought I would put together a little post on the adventure I had getting here! It might be helpful for anyone going to Boston and taking this particular route.

My flight was at 3.20pm departing from Dublin and arriving in TF Green Airport in Providence, Rhode Island. I arrived 3 hours before my flight to give me enough time to go through the US pre clearance – I flew through it but it’s always better to be safe than sorry! This was my first time flying with Norwegian IMG_20170819_103026_576Airlines and I have to say I am super super impressed. The staff were all so nice and helpful, the plane was really really clean and comfortable. It wasn’t a jumbo jet, it was actually quite small but had plenty of leg space though which I loved cause I’m tall and like my space! However there are two things I learned from this flight – 1. I should have brought a jumper or a cardigan, because the airline don’t seem to provide blankets (mind you, I didn’t ask but I didn’t see anyone get any). Lucky enough for me the sun was shining through my window for most of the flight so I didn’t get cold until we were landing. 2. They have no plugs or sockets to plug in your laptop, phone or USB. So charge up everything before you go – my phone went dead an hour before landing. Norwegian do offer free Wifi on the aircraft, which I didn’t get working until the end of the flight because I ran out of patience with it haha! But when I did get it working it was surprisingly fast so I could use Whats App and Instagram no bother.

 

Toward the end of the flight I got the most horrible headache and we hit a bit of turbulence and I started to feel really sick. I am normally a great traveler and love flying but I just got this wave of sickness over me and I couldn’t settle. I forgot to pack my travel tablets and my pain killers too so I had to make do with my water.

We had a little bumpy landing, it was really really misty and rainy when we landed, I’m still not sure how the pilot could see anything! We were then let off the plane pretty quick. I couldn’t wait to get off just so I could get some water and find somewhere that had panadol. I wasn’t sure if I was gonna heave OR my head was gonna burst😨. TF Green Airport is pretty small so it was only a short walk to baggage claim. Our baggage was delayed for whatever reason, but not by much (even though some people were giving out stink!) it was definitely quicker than Dublin Airport!

 

I got my bags anyway and headed for the Uber hub, I booked an Uber to pick me up at the airport just before I left Dublin. The Uber brought me to Providence Train station which was only 20 minutes away. I arrived only to find out that the train I had booked was running an hour late, which wasn’t an issue – but the guy at the helpdesk changed my ticket for the express train that I was arriving in 5 minutes and it only cost me $14 dollars. So off I went and jumped on the train and I arrived at the Back Bay Station in Boston in like 25 minutes. The train I had actually booked would have taken just over an hour, which I didn’t mind but the express was a nice treat after a crappy flight. So anyway, I arrived here much earlier than I had anticipated.

The apartment I booked was only an 8 minute walk from the station, according to Google IMG_20170819_124030_562Maps. So I headed off to find it, it was literally only down the road. I can tell you one thing though – I fucking had great fun wheeling two suitcases on the red brick paths, nice little work out! SO I will be getting a taxi when I leave!😂😂 I arrived at my apartment in no time though. I have never used Air BnB before but I can tell you that after seeing this place it will be my first option from now on. This apartment was an absolute steal – and the girl that owns it is just so sweet it’s not true. She literally has everything you could possibly need available in your room. It’s located only 5 minutes from the city centre and it is so cosy and homey – and full of gorgeous art.

I wasn’t supposed to see my sister Sophia until today but she text me to tell me she was IMG_20170819_092810_342outside just after I arrived – BEST SURPRISE EVER!!! So she stayed with me and we spent the whole night catching up. I walked her to the train station this morning and went off to find some brekkie. I found a lovely little place and got a bagel and a GIANT iced coffee. After that I wandered a bit and came back to relax for a while.

So guys, that was a little rundown of how I got to Boston! We have so much stuff planned I can’t wait to write all about it. I might put together a little post on my travel must haves, so stay tuned!

As always, I hope you enjoyed this travel post and thank you so much for reading.

Le grá,

El xx

 

Advertisements
Standard
Travel

Next Stop – Boston ✈️

My next adventure of 2017 is my upcoming holiday to Boston. My sister Sophia is there at the moment working (she left me almost a year ago and yes I am still devastated😭) so I’m going to go and see her in August – 22 days left to be exact. I’m going for 10 days – 9 nights and I am soooooo super excited 😍😍😍. I’ve never been to Boston before so I’m really  looking forward to exploring a new city.

Boston.jpg

I booked my flights with Norwegian Airlines for only €200 return!!! They had a massive sale on and with prices like that I just couldn’t say no! HOWEVER, the reason the flights were so cheap is 1. the fare doesn’t include checked baggage and 2. it also doesn’t include inflight meals. But I don’t mind because it’s only €70 to add on a checked bag (return) and I would prefer to bring my own little snacks and stuff to keep my going on the flight. While I was hunting for accommodation I soon discovered that the price for hotels in Boston is, to put it simply, extortionate! I mean, the prices were starting at €1,800 for 9 nights and going up as far as €5,000…. that’s just crazy!! Even the Air Bnb wasn’t coming in much cheaper. I found a hostel which had decent enough ratings, this was around €950, but the rooms were literally like prison cells. I decided to give Air Bnb one last trawl and I came across a gorgeous little apartment in central Boston for less than €1,200. An absolute steal if you ask me!

So aside from going shopping and eating everything in site my list of things to do includes –

  • Sam Adam’s Brewery
  • Quincy Market
  • Boston Tea Party Site
  • The Freedom Trail
  • Museum of Science
  • Museum of Fine Arts
  • Skywalk Observatory
  • Harvard University

and the list will go on because I’m still finding more things to see and do😂.

I will do some blog posts on my travel essentials and tips for you so do stay tuned. If you liked this post please do give it a little like or comment😗.

Thank you for reading 😗.

El xxx

 

 

 

 

Standard
New York

New York, New York 🌇🗽

Last year I finally got to travel to a city I have always dreamed about visiting – New York City. I can’t even begin to tell you how amazing it was – I honestly felt like I was in a movie for the entire trip it was just so surreal.

So, I decided to do a blog post on my trip with some personal tips and recommendations for you. First thing is first, if you are planning to go make sure you shop around first. Normally when I book holidays I don’t book packages, mainly because I think some packages are just crazy money and I know that you can get flights and accommodation no bother AND most of the time when I book it myself it always works out cheaper. This was the case for New York as well – we booked our flights through Aer Lingus and trawled Tripadvisor for at least two weeks before deciding on which hotel to stay in. We got loads of recommendations for places to stay – I love personal recommendations because you are almost always guaranteed an honest review. We decided on the Hotel Edison and all together it cost us €750 each for 5 days.

I booked airport transfers with JR Luxury NYC – I joined a New York Facebook Page which I would 100% recommend because the group is full of tips and help and advice (you do have to request to join but it’s normally accepted in a few minutes). I saw that JR Luxury were recommended numerous times on the Facebook group so we decided to book with them. You can contact them to get a quote they are so helpful, and when we did confirm our booking they emailed us a whole list of places to eat and things to do. We flew into JFK which isn’t far from the city so if you do want to get a taxi I think they are around €50.

Another thing I would suggest is don’t get sucked into the New York Pass or City Pass. Before you buy one you really have to consider how long you are there for, what you want to see and at what pace you want to see it. Like, think about it.. 80 attractions and you’re there for 3/4 days?  And some of the attractions that are advertised are free, such as Central Park , Times Square, and then the museum admission is ‘pay what you wish’ so you can pay their suggested admission of $22 or you can basically pay what you want (I personally paid the suggested admission because I read up on what the museum does in terms of research and they offer free trips for schools which I loved). In a nutshell, plan what you want to see and weigh out the costs and see which is better value for what you want to do.

We all know that New York means one thing – SHOPPING. When I was planning to go I had heard all about the outlets and of course I wanted to go. But while I was researching and reading about the shops in the outlets and also reading if they are worth the visit I found loads of posts especially on TripAdvisor saying that they aren’t worth a visit and the shopping is better in the city BLAH BLAH BLAHHHH. Do me a favour, if you read things like this or hear things like this DON’T LISTEN. If you want to go to the outlets – GO. You can decide yourself when you get there if it was worth it. Don’t let others put you off, make your own mind up and then see how it goes. For me personally I LOVED the outlets. We went to two Outlets, Woodbury Common and Jersey Gardens. Sean loved Woodbury Common and I loved Jersey Gardens. In short, Woodbury Common is about an hours drive away and it is not a centre all the shops are outside. So if you are going in the winter time wrap up because it can be quite chilly. Jersey Gardens is only a 20-25 minute drive from the city, the shops are tax free and the main reason why I loved it – there was a Victoria Secret Outlet there 😍 and just to give you an idea of the prices I got 3 bikinis for $60….. let that sink in. If you are going to go to either outlets I would recommend the following –

  • Go early, the earlier you go the more time you have to shop and to take your time going from shop to shop.
  • Bring a small suit case to Woodbury, we didn’t but I saw so many people who did and we were sorry we didn’t because we had so many bags to drag around!
  • Get a trolly in Jersey Gardens, they’re so handy to wheel around and throw your bags into. I think they’re $4 dollars for the day.
  • WEAR COMFY SHOES
  • Pick up your discount booklets from customer services in both outlets – you just need to show your passport. Give the booklet a read because there are some really good deals in them.

To give you an idea of the bargains you can pick up here. When we visited, Converse had img_2990buy 1 pair get a 2nd pair for half price. Vans were 50% off everything. Calvin Klein had 70% off women’s underwear. I picked up three pairs of Nike Runners for something like $60 dollars. Sean got so many tshirts in Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, All Saints all for nearly half price. I also picked up two Guess Bags for me and my mam and they were less than $100 for the two. So in short – the outlets were 100% worth a visit.

We stayed in Hotel Edison which is literally right on Times Square. I would recommend this hotel only for it’s location and the rooms were really comfy and clean – as for the staff, I have decided not to comment but just don’t expect a warm welcome or helpful attitude.

The afternoon we arrived we dropped our bags and went straight out. Mind you I was in no form after the plane journey I was so so travel sick but I was glad we went out in the end. We walked up to the Empire State Building and we just paid upon entry, we paid $34 dollars for the main deck as the top deck was actually closed at the time for reconstruction (see Website for info & Pricing here). The views from the top were just outstanding, I will never forget it!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day 2 – We were up at the crack of dawn and walked to Times Square for some photos, it was empty because it was so early. A picture on the red steps is of course a must!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

img_2659We then went to Top of the Rock, we had already decided that we wanted to get the Sun and Stars Package which is ticket entry for day and night. I’ve just looked this up online here, and it gave me a price of $98 for two people -We only paid $47 each when we went and again we just paid upon entry and it wasn’t too busy. But it was 100% worth it, the views from up here are just incredible, this was definitely my favourite. You can see the whole of central park from here! There’s loads of seating inside up at the top level  with massive windows so if you are freezing your arse off you can hide inside and look out the window! We went back later that evening for the night time views and I think my photos speak for themselves – breathtaking!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We roamed around the Rockerfeller centre, and went to St.Patrick’s Cathedral, I am not religious but this was a gorgeous Cathedral. We then walked to the New York Library stopping off in Battery Park for some coffee and then we walked to Grand Central Station. It was so surreal being here because it’s in so many movies that I watched, I literally just stood at the top of the stairs looking around for a good 15 minutes taking it all in.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Day 3 – We walked from our hotel up to Central Park stopping in to a little cafe for some brekkie called The Roast Kitchen – I loved this place, they made our omelettes right in front of us and they had fresh juice and smoothies too (amazing staff too!). It was a really really cold morning so the grass was still frosty and the lake was part frozen too. We stopped in at the Boathouse for coffees and strolled around some more. Central Park is 100% a must and I would recommend walking it because it’s just so nice, hard to believe this little gem is literally in the middle of a concrete jungle. Such a stunning park, and if you are an animal lover like me there’s loads of squirrels and little birdies to be seen too! We then headed towards the Museum of Natural History. This was really busy here but we got a good two hours in. When we were finished we went outside and got two hot dogs from the hot dog stands – definitely recommend trying these!!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

After the Museum we got a taxi to Downtown Manahattan and got off near Wall Street. We walked from here to the Twin Tower Memorial. It really is an amazing an honorable memorial that they have put in place here, I only took a few photos as I personally felt it was inappropriate to take photos where so many people lost their lives. We walked from here down to the port to get the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. The ferry is free, runs  and it literally takes 15 minutes to reach Staten Island, loads of time to get some photos and some great views of the city from the ferry too. The ferry leaves every 30 minutes, see schedule here. After the ferry we walked up toward Little Italy and had dinner in Lombardis, the oldest pizza place in New York! Super super busy we were lucky they took us as a walk in, but the pizza was delish!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Days 4 – We went to Woodbury Common and shopped our socks off

Day 5 – We went to Jersey Gardens and shopped our socks off again!

As I said above, I loved both outlets and when I go back to New York I will go back to both of them again because – to be honest, I just love shopping! Though I am not sure if I will be able to persuade Sean to go to both of them again, he might murder me!!

What I learned and what I would reccomend when going to New York –

  1. If you are going in the Winter Time – WRAP UP AND WEAR LAYERS. I have genuinely never felt cold like it, I was literally frozen right down to my bone marrow!
  2. Bring comfy shoes – trust me on this one, no heeled boot is worth the agony! Granted we walked everywhere but that was the whole fun of it, to take in and experience the city in it’s entirety. But bring runners or something flat, you’ll need them.
  3. Don’t over tip – 15% is loads and it’s not mandatory so don’t feel like you have to.
  4. If you are exchanging your cash try get smaller bills – perfect for tipping.
  5. If you’re lost, stop and ask someone, New Yorkers are so friendly and helpful, the few that we stopped were only delighted to give us directions and some info!
  6. Print a map and familiarize yourself with the layout – once you get there you’ll get the hang of the directs of the streets and the avenues.
  7. Make a plan and an itinerary of where you want to go and what you want to do – the more prepared you are the better!
  8. Try a hot dog at the hot dog stands, they’re yummy.
  9. Go further downtown for your souvenirs because the shops up near Times Square are a total rip off.

Guys, I really hope you liked this post about New York. If you have any questions please feel free to comment below I am happy to answer any that you may have. If you enjoyed it and want to read more of my posts you can subscribe above with your email and receive updates when there are new posts up.

As always, thank you so much for reading.

El xx

Standard
London

London Baby 😍

So, in exactly 48 Days I will be flying to London for my Birthday. AND on the day of my birthday I will be going to The Warner Bros Studios, or as I like to call it, Harry Potter Land.Sets_great_hall.jpg

Am I so excited I could burst? Yes

Have I started planning an itinerary? Naturally

Will I dress like a wizard when I go to Harry Potter Land? … do we really need to ask 🤓

Anyway, himself booked this as a surprise for me for my birthday, and yes I am still surprised he booked it without my knowledge and without my help😅 But London is a city discoverlondonthat I have always wanted to visit, and no it’s not just because Harry Potter Land is there! The city is just so full of character and yeeaaarrrsss of history I can’t wait to see it all and take it all in.

We’re staying in The St.Giles Hotel and from reading the reviews on Tripadvisor the location is spot on and it seems to be a nice hotel with everything you could need for a city break. It’s right beside the tube station and only a short walk to the main shopping street, Oxford Street. We’re flying into Gatwick and the plan is to get the train to Victoria Station and then a taxi to the hotel. Their version of the Leapcard for public transport is the Oyster Card, and I saw on the website that you can order your visitors card in advance and get it delivered to you, so we will be doing that prior to travelling. Such a good idea though, right?

I’m looking up things to do and places to see daily and my list just keeps getting longer. The exchange rate at the moment is really good, it’s almost pound for pound at this stage, €1 = £0.86. So hopefully shopping will be amazing 🙃

I will keep you guy posted on the plans, and I will post about my travel must haves also.

After the trip I will put a post together about the whole thing along with some tips etc. so stay tuned!😇

As always, thank you for reading😗.

El xx

Standard
Cancun

First Adventure of 2017 is booked – Cancun, Mexico ✈️🌴

sun-palace

Hi everyone! And Happy New Year to you all, I hope that you all had an amazing Christmas with some well deserved time off. I worked my little brown bum off for most of it and I’m finally off for a few days to get my shit together! I have some college exams coming up too so if you are reading this, and you have a little teenchy bit of sympathy for me, light a candle please!

Anyway, as you can already read from the title I have booked the first of many trips away for 2017. Sean and I had been discussing various destinations and one that we kept coming back to was Cancun, Mexico. Something about the all inclusive, beach, spa, relaxation and amazing weather that Cancun has to offer is just so majorly appealing we decided to just go for it. Hoping of course that it wasn’t going to cost us an arm and a leg. We had a look at a few different Travel Agents and initially we were going to try and do Vegas and Cancun in one for about two weeks, but it was just working out too much with spending money and then it was taking up all of our holiday days in work. Soooo we decided to stick to just the one place and for 10 days. Anyway, I did my shopping around and loads of research on all of the different Hotels/Resorts (I love research, if I could get a job just looking up things that would be a dream come true!😄). I read review after review on Tripadvisor trying to suss out the best Hotel/Resort, Tripadvisor is really amazing when you are going somewhere new because some of the blogs are really really helpful and full of info. After days of looking up places there was one place that kept standing out and that was the Sun Palace Resort (The Palace resorts were recommended to me already by a friend who had stayed there recently, and we all love when we get recommendations right? So I knew that the Palace Resorts were definitely going to be amaze). The Sun Palace is a couples only resort, so that means no kiddies or families (now honestly, don’t get me wrong, I am baby mad and I love kids and families but imagine how quiet a couples only place will be?). The resort is right on the beach and not far from the strip, it has the following amenities plus many more:

  • 4 Restaurantssun-palace-2
  • 3 Bars
  • A swim up bar (seriously though, a swim up bar! I can do my laps of the pool to the bar and back🤣 Double G&T please!🏊🏻🏊🏻
  • Spa with indoor pool, sauna and Jacuzzis
  • FREE WIFI 💘
  • 24 Hour Room Service

Some of the travel agents didn’t get back to me (obviously didn’t want my money) and then others the deposit was a little high for us at the time. I got on to Tour America and basically told them that I wanted to go to Cancun, stay in the Sun Palace for 10 nights in early September and my budget is €2,200. And if the deal is good we would be interested in booking New York too. That wasn’t too much to ask for was it? I like to be straight to the point, can you tell?!😂😂😂😂 The agent got back to me literally the following morning and offered me a HUNREAL package, and you know what the deal breaker was? We only had to pay a €150 deposit. But cmere and I tell you, this woman knew what she was doing. Me being me I emailed back and asked a couple of questions, I always have questions, about upgrading and resort credits etc. She got back to me within the hour with a new package that included an upgrade to a Junior Suite for like €100 extra.. and wait for it, she told us we only had to pay a €50 deposit if we booked in December. Like, whoever taught her her sales skills deserves a pat on the back because I was literally running into the Tour America office throwing my €50 at them 😂😂😂 Coming from a hospitality and customer service backround there is literally nothing that I love more than prompt, efficient and friendly service, and this agent just had it all. I won’t name her but if you are looking to book a package holiday like Cancun, or Vegas or New York etc (they do cruises too) you have to check these guys out, amazing and 100% worth it.

So, we booked the Junior Suite which has an ocean view with a balcony, and wait for it… there’s a Jacuzzi in our room with a mini bar too!😍 We are leaving on the 9th of September and I cannot wait for it already. It will be turtle season when we are there and I read a few reviews that said the hotel clear the beach at night for the Mammy Turtles to go down and lay there eggs, and if you are lucky enough they have a baby turtle release day and you can release the babies into the sea 😍😍😍😍 I CANNOT CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT!!!!!!!! I thought that booking a holiday so far away would just be torture but I thought about two things; ONE:  I can start shopping for my holiday wardrobe now and pick up loads of bits for the next like 8 months. TWO: More time to save loads of money 🤑🤑🤑. Not that I will need much as it is all inclusive but, you have to account for some airport shopping right?

As always, thank you for reading, I will be doing a blog post on what to pack etc. so stay tuned!

El xx

Standard