Top 10 North America Highlights


I've been home from North America for six weeks already (where did the time go??) and I still have so much to write about and share from my latest adventure.

Since it was my first time experiencing the States and Canada and I did some pretty fun things in quite a few places, I thought I would share my top ten best experiences.

Here are my favourite and most memorable things I did, in order:


1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway


If you didn't know, I am a huuuge Harry Potter fan (mostly of the books) and I have been lusting to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Play since it first started in London.

When I heard it was coming to New York on Broadway and it just happened to be when I was going to be there too - I just knew I was destined to see it.



The tickets were released on a lottery type ballad system and luckily - it was meant to be. After much trial, I got through and paid a bomb and a half for them but it was worth every. single. penny.

It was SO incredible, both parts one and two will forever stand out as the greatest shows of my life (and I've seen a few major ones). If you are a fan and you have the chance to see it, definitely do.



2. Exploring New York City

Speaking of New York, this city has been at the top of my Bucket List for many years and it was a literal dream come true to be there.


Walking around Central Park, seeing Times Square by night, eating hotdogs and pizza, walking the Brooklyn Bridge, seeing the incredible views from the tallest building in the Northern Hemisphere - it was such a great experience and lived up to my very high expectations.


New York has such a great vibe to it, an energy like no other. I enjoyed every second of my time there. One week was by far not enough and I can't wait to go back and explore more of this iconic city.



3. Fun in Las Vegas

Vegas was another of those incredible places seen through a screen that I've always wanted to visit. I'm not a gambler at all but I do love the bright lights and city life.



Las Vegas was the epitome of cool. I was so impressed by the stylish and sleek hotels, the unique and lush decor, the fact that The Strip was actually clean and an enjoyable place to walk around.



I had such a great experience there enjoying a foodie tour, exploring the lavish casinos, doing a nearby e-bike tour of the Red Rock Canyon and seeing a fabulous Cirque du Soleil show 'O' at the Bellagio - which I highly recommend!


Another city that lived up to my expectations, I can't wait to return to Las Vegas for more fun some day.


4. Grand Canyon day trip

This day trip was taken from Las Vegas but deserved a whole point to itself - seeing the Grand Canyon with my own eyes was another huge Bucket List tick.


I did a 12-hour West Rim tour with Grand Canyon Destinations which I highly recommend. It included a stop at Hoover Dam, a nice lunch and snacks, hotel pickup and dropoff and over 4 hours at the Grand Canyon to fully enjoy it.


The pictures just don't do it justice, seeing it in real life is simply amazing. I would love to save up and do a helicopter tour over it next time - that would be so epic!



5. Snow and time with friends in Ottawa

I had such a blast in Canada - spending time with old friends and experiencing the last of the winter snow.


They so kindly took time off work to show me around their capital city. We tried Beaver Tails, walked around Parliament Hill, the town centre, had Poutine (omg YUM) and visited the Museum of Nature.


I went crazy over all of the moose souvenirs and maple syrup related things. I also really enjoyed spending time at their home, where their street still looked like a beautiful snowy Christmas card.

We took some very nice walks in the woods nearby trying to spot some wildlife. We did see a very large owl and some coyote droppings.



6. Los Angeles Full Day Tour

In Los Angeles, I had the opportunity to do a full day private tour with We Love LA around all of the main city highlights.

Even though it rained for 90% of the day and I missed out on seeing the Hollywood sign and Bowl overlook, it was still one of the best tours I've done.


We went to some really iconic spots including Venice Beach, Santa Monica Pier, Beverly Hills, The Grove, Hollywood Walk of Fame and so much more.


It was such a fantastic way to see all of these hot spots in one day and I highly recommend it for LA first-timers like myself.

One of my favourite moments was spotting Peter Jackson's star on the Walk of Fame! #ProudKiwi



7. St Patrick's Day in Chicago

Aside from eating aaall the pizza, the main reason I went to Chicago was to spend St. Patrick's Day there! Ever since I first learned they dye their river green, it was added to my travel list. (I have Irish heritage and I love celebrating March 17th).


It was a hectic day to say the least, sooo many people and drunk idiots even at midday. But I still loved it and seeing that green river was worth coming here for!

Of course, being the third largest city in the US, there is so much more to do as well. I spent four nights in Chicago and really enjoyed my time there.


What made my St Patrick's Day even more special was my friend Isabel who lives in Wisconsin drove all the way there and back in one day just to see me!

We got to hang out, have some obligatory green drinks and Irish whisky and it was such an amazing time.



8. Staying at the Citadel in Quebec City

I visited my friends in Ottawa who currently live there, but they are actually from Quebec City and said I had to visit there too or my time in Canada just wouldn't be complete.

I only had a short amount of time unfortunately so we were only able to spend one night there and it was a 5 hour drive each way... and it was SO worth it!


Quebec City completely charmed me and it felt like a slice of Paris and Prague. The coolest factor was that through connections we got to stay at The Citadel - an active military installation, historical fortress and official residence of both the Canadian monarch and the Governor General of Canada. Pretty dang cool if you ask me!


We left very early so we got to spend most of a full day exploring the Old Town. I loved the quaint cobblestone streets and cute shops, the Château Frontenac, trying Maple Taffy and the French influence everywhere.

Again, seeing the city covered in snow was such a novelty, but I heard it's even more beautiful in Autumn.


Another place I can't wait to return to for longer next time!


9. Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Orlando

This was pretty much the only reason why I went to Orlando and it was very cool to experience. The only thing I didn't enjoy so much was the crowds.

It just happened to be Spring Break while I was there (nightmare) and even though I arrived before opening, there were just far too many people to fully enjoy it.


I spent a good 8 hours at Universal Studios and only managed to get on three rides... and one I was lucky enough to go straight on because I was a single rider. That's how long the lines were (over two hours).

For how horrifically expensive it is to be there, it was a bit annoying but nevertheless, it was still a good time.


I loved the two Harry Potter-themed parks and the Hogwarts Express ride between each one. The Butterbeer was delicious (the Pumpkin Juice not so much!).

I also really enjoyed the Jurassic Park section, The Hulk rollercoaster ride (worth the wait) and the Voodoo Doughnut shop (delicious).



10. Disneyland, Califonia

Growing up with Disney movies, going to Disneyland was another of those places I've dreamed of since I was young.

It rained for the first half of the day but then luckily the sun came out!


The only day I could go was during the weekend, which again, was extremely crowded. Still a fun time of course at the happiest place on earth.

My favourite was the Space Mountain ride and I enjoyed the Indiana Jones ride too. I even went on a carousel pony ride because, why not?


I highly recommend trying the Pineapple Dole Whip - so delicious and refreshing! I had a great time at Disneyland but did think it was more of a children's/family place. Very glad to have ticked it off though.


Those were my top ten highlights from my recent adventure in North America. It was a fantastic trip and I'm very grateful for the memorable experiences I had in the States and Canada.

Keep your eyes peeled for plenty more travel guides and tips coming soon.

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Happy Travels,

Packing List for North America: How to Travel Light in Hot & Cold


As you may have heard me gushing all over social media - I am off to North America very soon (two days - aah!).
It's my first time there so I am incredibly excited - if you couldn't tell. For a peek into my itinerary and where I'm heading, head to this post here.

As I am going in early March, it's a bit of a tricky one packing-wise. I love to travel as light as possible and usually do so with no problem at all.
However, I will be going there still on the tail-end of winter, and while some of the places will be relatively nice and warm (Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Florida), I am also heading to places where it could still be potentially snowing! (Chicago, Ottowa, Quebec City, New York).

So how do you pack lightly for both summer and winter for an entire month away?

This will be my 15th trip overseas in just the last few years, so I'm pretty sure by now I am a packing master.



Let's begin with a few tips before I dive into my packing list:

✽ Layering is key
Try to choose really versatile pieces to bring that you can mix and match and layer if need be. Most of my clothing tends to be darker and complimentary colour-wise.

✽ Wear your bulkiest items on the flight
Wear your jeans, boots and jacket, even if it's not cold. Bring a pair of light cosy pants and fluffy socks to change into on the plane.

✽ Merino for the win
Clothing made from merino wool is super-lightweight, keeps you warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather and you can wear it for days on end and it still won’t smell. Winner!

✽ Bring your own washing powder
Fill a small snap-lock bag with washing powder, which is enough to last a few weeks.
This allows you to rewash your shirts and underwear whenever needed which means you can bring less with you.

✽ Take minimal toiletries
99% of places will have the basics so save space by only bringing the minimum.
I bring everything in miniature form, enough to last a week or two and will repurchase once I've run out over there.

✽ Roll 'em
Roll your clothes instead of folding them. As well as saving space, you'll avoid wrinkles.

That's enough tips for now and I'm sure you have probably heard it all before anyway - on to the list.

Here is everything I have packed for four weeks away in potentially all seasons:

Shoes:


1 pair black leather boots (A necessity for the cold - will wear on the plane).
1 pair Nike sneakers (Comfortable every day walking shoes).
1 pair jandals/flip flops (For the warmer days and hostels).
1 pair sandals (Again for warmer weather and can be dressed up if need be).

Clothing:

Bottoms:

2 denim skirts (one black, one blue - wear with tights and boots if cold)
1 pair denim shorts
1 pair black stockings/tights (not pictured - in undergarment bag)
2 pairs denim jeans (one blue, one black)
1 black comfy pants (used on long-haul flights and as pyjama bottoms)

Tops:

5 shirts 
(one for sleeping)
2 singlets (one for layering if cold)
1 long sleeve merino top (for layering - not pictured; in wash)
1 checkered button-up long-sleeve shirt
1 nice jumper
1 zip-up sweatshirt

Coat & Jacket

1 light zip-up coat (will wear on plane)
1 waterproof rain jacket (also has a removable merino shell lining)

Extras:

1 bikini top and bottom
1 pair light boardshorts
Underwear for five days
Incl. 2 pairs merino socks


Accessories:


1 backpack (Used as carry on bag with laptop in it)
1 beanie/woolly hat
1 pair fingerless gloves
1 scarf (will also take as carry on)
1 pair sunglasses
1 small umbrella
Basic jewellery - a few of my bracelets I collect from my travels and one necklace
1 smaller everyday bag (I use a small leather side satchel)

Toiletries:


Very basic makeup - light foundation, powder, mascara, eyeliner, concealer, 1 lipstick
Chapstick
Small comb
Cotton pads (for cleansing water)
Small moisturiser
Mini facewash
Mini cleansing water
Mini shampoo & conditioner
Floss
Toothbrush and small paste
Small packet makeup wipes
Hand sanitizer
Razor
Small soap
Packet of tissues
Deodorant (roll-on)
Panadol
Plasters
Small tube antibacterial cream
Any prescription medication

Electronics:


Cell phone - Samsung Galaxy S7 (not pictured, took the photo)
Laptop (small and light Samsung notebook)
Camera - Sony RX 100 iv
2 SD cards - SanDisk Extreme Pro 64gb
1 spare camera battery
Headphones (flight necessity)
Portable charger (so handy for travel)
GoPro - Hero4
Any required cables/chargers
Universal travel adaptor (not pictured)

Extra Stuff!:


Canvas bag (for shopping/groceries/beach)
Earplugs and eyemask
Boost multivitamin tablets
Sweetener tablets (for my coffee)
Seasickness bands 
Hair ties 
Small lock
Small tin with USB stick, mini sewing kit, safety pins and bottle opener
Ziplock bags (for storing toiletries, dirty laundry etc.)
Washing powder
Notebook and pen
Packing cubes (not pictured but such a great way to organise and save space)

And of course the obvious...

Travel Essentials:


Passport
Approved ESTA before you go
Wallet - including some American Dollars

Cash Passport (a handy preloaded card used like a Mastercard without the fees)
Travel insurance
Travel documents - locked and loaded online, a copy given to relatives or friends

And for those wondering, what's specifically in my

Carry On:


Eyemask and earplugs
Laptop
Headphones
Blow up neck pillow
Sunglasses
Passport
Wallet
Facewipes
Gum
Cellphone (loaded with books on my Kindle app)
Tissues
Portable charger
Comb
Hand sanitizer
Chapstick

And that is everything that I am packing! It all fits nicely into my lightweight suitcase with plenty of space left if I decide to do any shopping over there.


The clothing is stored into three packing cubes on the left (undergarments/ swimwear, tops and bottoms). Shoes (in the green plastic bag), toiletries, electronics and extras are on the right.


I'm all set for my next adventure! Feel free to follow along on all of my social media channels (Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter) to keep up with my travels.


Let me know if there's anything else you would pack too in the comments below.
See you in my next post which will be from Los Angeles!

Happy Travels,
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My North America Itinerary & Goals


The final countdown is officially on and I'm going on my first ever trip to North America in just over two weeks!

As you can imagine I'm extremely excited and I'm also very busy during this time - February has been the busiest month for me. I flew to Auckland twice, spent a week in Tauranga and my best friend is coming to stay for a week soon.

We only received our shipping container full of household stuff at the end of January, so we still haven't fully unpacked yet or completed setting up our new place.

All of this while organising my big trip and searching for work in each place has unfortunately left writing for my blog in the backseat.

But I thought I could at least update you a bit before I go away and tell you what I have coming up for my next big travel adventures, including goals for each place.

Here is a map of everywhere I'm going to over the space of four weeks in March and April:


Itinerary


• Thursday 8 - Sunday 11 March (4 nights)

Los Angeles, California 


On the Agenda:

- Disneyland!
- We Love LA full day tour
- Museum of Art
- Farmers Market
- Soak up Cali vibes
- Try all those iconic American food places (Shake Shack, Taco Bell, Cinnabon etc.)


Goals:

- Get a photo with the Hollywood sign
- Walk the Hollywood Walk of Fame
- Visit Venice Beach and Santa Monica Pier
- Have a blast at Disneyland



• Monday 12 - Thursday 15 March (4 nights):

Las Vegas, Nevada 


On the Agenda:

- Grand Canyon day trip
- Cirque du Soleil show
- Hike in the Valley of Fire (with Outdoor Travel Tours)
- Visit Hard Rock Cafe
- Las Vegas food tour (with Taste Tours)


Goals:

- Gamle in Las Vegas!
- See the Bellagio fountain show
- Get a photo with the LV sign 
- Helicopter over the Grand Canyon
- See a show in Vegas



• Friday 16 - Monday 19 March (4 nights): 

Chicago, Illinois 


On the Agenda:

- St Patrick's Day celebrations
- Pizza tour
- River skyline tour
- Walking city tour


Goals:

- Get a photo with the Bean
- See the green river on Paddy's Day
- See the amazing skyline from the river
- Eat aaaall the pizza



• Tuesday 20 - Saturday 24 March (5 nights)

Ottawa, Ontario 


On the Agenda:

- Stay with friends
- Visit Parliament Hill
- Museum of History
- Parc Omega
- Stay for the weekend in Quebec City (unconfirmed)


Goals:

- See Canadian animals
- Stuff yourself silly with poutine and maple syrup
- See snow?
- Learn some Canadian history



• Sunday 25 - Friday 30 March (6 nights)

New York City, New York 


On the Agenda:

- Central Park
- Top of the Rock
- Full day NYC tour with New York Tour 1
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Play Parts 1 & 2 (woohoo!)
- Empire State Building
- Times Square
- One World Trade Center
- Statue of Liberty
- Ice skating at Rockefeller Center
- Greenwich food tour
- Metropolitan Museum of Art
- Brooklyn Bridge
- Gossip Girl tour
- Natural History Museum


Goals:

- Do all of the above
- Get some amazing photos
- See Harry Potter on Broadway!
- Eat NY pizza and hotdogs
- Master the subway
- Visit iconic sights from Home Alone, GG, Friends etc.



• Saturday 31 - Wednesday 4 April (4 nights):

Orlando, Florida


On the Agenda:

- Universal Studios Florida
- Drinking cocktails by the pool


Goals:

- Have a blast at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
- Drink Butterbeer!
- Go on the Incredible Hulk rollercoaster
- Relax before your long flight home


I am flying home via Houston, Texas where I have an 8-hour layover, so I'm not quite sure yet if it's worth venturing out or if I will just stay put in the airport and catch up on some work.

At that is basically my trip in a nutshell! I know it's a lot of places jam-packed into four weeks but I really wanted to make the most of my first time there and tick off everywhere that I've dreamed about for so many years.

It should be an absolutely amazing trip. Two countries, nine states (ten if I pop over to New Jersey), nine flights in total, two buses and 7 jobs lined up (so far).

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Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into my trip.
Please let me know in the comments if you have any advice for me at all and any recommendations for things to do and best places to eat if you have them for anywhere I'm going to! I would really appreciate it.

If I have time I am hoping to write up a packing list like the one I wrote for Southeast Asia. Packing this time will be a bit trickier as I'm going to places where it could be still very cold on the tail-end of winter (Chicago, Ottawa, New York) and places where it will be a lot warmer (Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Florida). I like to travel super light so layering will be key!

As always I will also be making travel vlogs over on my YouTube channel and posting plenty of photos on my Instagram, so follow along if you would like to keep up.

Stay tuned for plenty of North America blog posts too!

Happy Travels,

*This post contains images that are not my own.

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