America is a must do for most people and I was no exception. I had wanted to go to the State for a long time as I had family there and wanted to visit all of the sites America had to offer. I spent 7 weeks in America, some time was self-guides, some time with a tour and some time was spent with my family- which made for a perfect mix of social and solitude travels.
My trip started with a 14- day tour. I chose to go with Contiki’s LA-To-The-Bay and I 100% love it. I will admit that these tours typical are hit or miss depending on the travelers but the group of 52 was amazing albeit 95% Australian :). The tour stopped at all of the major sites on the west coast such as , San Diego, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Yosemite and San Francisco. The tour included a lot of activities and then had an abundance of option activities if you were keen to explore some more. As I mentioned the group of travelers I experienced were amazing so once we arrived in Vegas, the town was ours- much to our tour guides disgrace.
I would recommend Contiki to anyone want to travel, meet-people, be social and doesn’t mind a few late nights. If you’re not into the party scene then Contiki is probably not for you. As I mentioned I loved my trip and would recommend this tour to anyone who asked me. It covers a lot of exciting places and includes a lot of activities i.e. Hot Air Ballooning!
When my Contiki tour finished, I flew to Orlando, Florida to meet up with my mum and to visit my cousin’s. This part of the trip was relaxed with mum and I visiting the theme parks within Orlando. Theme Park recommendations;
- For those without kids and seeking thrills – Universal Studio’s
- For those with young children, or not wanting to been thrown around on rides- Disney World.
- Casual day eating and drinking until you can’t eat and drink anymore- Epcot Center
*Please research the parks before going if you don’t want to pay to visit them all.
We spent 2 weeks driving ourselves around and managed find. Our car did not have navigation so my mum was in charge of directions while I drove. As you know in America they drive on the right-side of the road, which took some getting used to but once your in the rhythm it becomes easy. Anyone visiting Orlando I would recommend Hiring a car, it is relatively cheap ($200 for the week, including insurance) and it makes navigating the city so much easier.
After Orlando, mum and I flew to New York for a week. To be honest New York is not one of my favorite cities. I mean I had fun, we saw shows on Broadway, went to the top of the Rockefeller tower, went on a Horse drawn carriage in Central Park along with market visits and had amazing food at all of the restaurants we visited.. but I just didn’t understand the passion being have for New York City. Maybe it’s because I only spent a week there, maybe it was because we didn’t do any real ‘local’ things but I wasn’t sold on New York and have many other places I would re-visit prior to going to New York.
The final 2 stops on they road home were Las Vegas and LA. Needless to say Las Vegas with my mum was slightly different than Las Vegas with a Contiki tour, however both times were amazing. This time around I saw Cirque du Soleil’s ‘O’ and it was awesome! Everything you want from a show in Vegas and a Cirque du Soleil show!. Then we spent a day being pampered at The Spa at the Mirage. We chose The Spa as it was the best value for money spa treatment we could find and trusted me I searched through all the Spa’s to find a way to pamper my mum for the day. We also spent some time in the retro part of Las Vegas, where the Golden Nugget and other retro Casino’s are. I would recommend spending a night out in this part of town. After Vegas we then went to our final stop LA.
We spent our time doing the typical tourist things while in LA. When to sunset boulevard, Rodeo Drive, Venice Beach etc. Which was good but only for a day, then I was over LA. We also went to the outlet shops, which for anyone looking for brands names super cheap then the Outlets in America will not disappoint. Lucky this was our last stop because after 1 day at the outlets (we went to Citadel Outlets) all my money was gone 🙂
Needless to say my time in America was amazing and I would definitely go back a revisit some places. I would also like to explore more of the East Coast, so I guess I’ll add that to my bucket list.