12 of the oddest things you should come probably come to terms with before you visit the USA
1. They tip! EVERYONE! See here, my guide to tipping in the USA
2. Tax, you pick it up at a nice round $10 and then BOOM ‘that’ll be $12.39 please’ WHAT?!
3. Their amazing approach to explaining directions ‘ok so what you’re gonna do is you’re gonna make a right, and then make a left’ AWSOME!
4. Supersize! Oh yes, been faced with the ‘want to make that a large’ is considered an insult ‘want to make that supersize’ is now the question
5. Crossing the road. In England, its pretty much a free for all. Crossings are there but whatever. Oh no in America, you cross at crossings, crazy right?
6. Cheerleaders, at almost every sporting event they are there! WHY?!
7. Pep rally’s, again, what even is this?!
8. Peanut Butter, you guys have it on all the menu’s, even with Jam.
9. Flags, patriotism and dedicated love for the United States of America
11. Free refills, amazing and slowly reaching us in the UK but American’s love the free refills!
12. 7/11, you’ve got one on EVERY corner.
Accept these 12 factors for an awesome trip! I love you America!
I love America and have visited the continent on numerous occasions, but recently I undertook one large road trip across the states. As a UK citizen I found it difficult to gage the expenditure and budget for ‘cost of living’ against the activities I wanted to experience. I thought it useful to outline to travellers how much of the budget I actually blew on my road trip and the best ways to save when travelling the states.
In most countries, particularly Asia, it’s far cheaper to ‘wing it’ shall we say and book your accommodation as you arrive, this is not the case in America. Planning is everything when it comes to travelling America. Work out your route, and opt to spend more days in the cheaper areas, also consider weekends, it’s cheaper to stay out of the large conventional cities such as LA, San Francisco & New York on weekends.
Do your research, travelling by car appears expensive on the surface, but split it 4 ways and this makes getting about a less costly experience. Gas in the states costs nothing compared to Petrol in the UK so don’t just assume that a budget trip can’t include a car. A secondary advantage of having a car is you are able to sleep in it, or get to the more rural areas to camp, this will bring the cost of your trip down whilst being a fun alternative to another night in the Hotel.
Tips, I wrote an article on tips that you should check out before travelling. A minimum of 15% is compulsory and is not considered a generous tip, you should budget to leave 18-20% for all sit down meals, take this into account before you opt to eat in the establishment.
Wifi is available in mass across America, from bars and restaurants to historical establishments. Make sure you request the wifi password and Skype/Facetime home for free, far cheaper than purchasing an unnecessary and costly Sim Card.
The total budget for my trip was £2,000 (including flights from the UK), my total expenditure was around £2,400. It’s important you take into account all additional costs before you budget for the states! But always remember, you’ll make back your money when travelling Asia a less costly part of the world.
My infatuation with Harry Potter goes back, way back. But that’s not to say that it’s any less magical for the Muggles amongst us! From the moment you step into The Wizarding World of Harry Potter you feel as though you’ve been transported into another realm.
Here’s my 5 reasons why the Wizarding World of Harry Potter really is the happiest place on earth.
1. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride: hooked after just 1 go, I decided the 40minute queue was well worth the wait. The ride transports you through the story of Harry Potter, you fly, fall and dive through the 4D experience. I’ve never experienced a ride like this!
2. Honeydukes: Hogsmeads famous sweet store does not disappoint the muggles. In here you’ll find every Harry Potter novelty you could imagine. Help yourself to a chocolate frog and a pumpkin juice whilst you embrace your inner child.
3. Moaning Myrtle Toilets: what? You didn’t expect the toilets to be normal did you? Even the bathroom replicates the set of the Hogwarts bathroom, experience the real deal with myrtle shrieking and whining in the bathroom.
4.Hogwarts Castle: just as spectacular as the movies, Hogwarts castle stands with pride and is visible from across the park. A truly magical experience.
5. Olivanders Wand Shop: they specialise in finding each and every single person their own wand, I’m sure we all remember “the wand chooses the wizard Mr Potter” don’t we?
No matter your age The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will take your breath away!
Share any snaps, tweet me @rebekahesme I love sharing your experiences!
Tipping, for me, was one of the more difficult tasks to get my head around when travelling America, it’s compulsory to tip almost everyone over the pond. Being typically British, the art of tipping is somewhat more relaxed. If we enjoy our meal, we tip, if we don’t, we don’t, quiet simple.
How to avoid the embarrassment of under tipping.
As a general rule I tip almost everyone, although I still hold my British stances on my choice of percentage I leave. My tips are purely based on my experiences when travelling America, along with a little insider help.
Waiter/Waitress: Most bill’s outline the acceptable percentages to leave. 15% is the minimum tip to leave in a restaurant, this should only be left if poor service is experienced/ 18% is advised for general experience / 20% should be left for a very good experience. It’s important to show appreciation to your server so if you feel the meal & service were above your expectations you are free to leave upwards of 20%.
This year, I hit the magical world of Disney in Orlando, Florida. Being a self-proclaimed Disney expert, along with being one of the biggest Harry Potter geek’s (and no, I’m not ashamed! J), I couldn’t travel the States without hitting up Disney. Here I give you 10 reasons why you’re never too old for the Parks.
1. Splash Mountain: have you seen the size of the drop, any child daring the log flume is brave beyond mean in my opinion. My first visit to the parks was at the age of 7, mum and dad wouldn’t let me on because it was too frightening for me.. so this year I made the most of it! Everyone loves a souvenir snap!
2. The Magic Kingdom ‘dream along with Micky’ stage show is bound to help you on your quest to perfect your dream wedding, purely magical!
It’s becoming somewhat of a trend for travellers and backpackers to get tattoos whilst mid trip, these tattoos act as a lasting reminder of their world adventures and their constant wanderlust.
If your travelling America and considering an ink, why not take a trip to the infamous Miami Ink located on Washington Avenue, South Beach.
I was lucky enough to visit the Miami Ink store on my recent trip to America, but wasn’t quiet brave enough to stomach the pain (I’m such a disappointment I know), but hopefully I was get a second chance this year.
So here I share with you, my top 5 picks for traveller tattoos. I hope this inspires you to just go for it.
If your time is precious in a city bursting with culture, I highly recommend you plan your itinerary based on your top 3 ‘must not miss’ landmarks. To make it easier, I have broken down my recommendations to help you get the most out of your adventure!
The Golden Gate Bridge.
Just as breath-taking as the movie portray, the Golden Gate Bridge is the most famous bridge in the world, manages to impress even the most experienced travellers with its stunning 1.7-mile span. Approximately 120,000 vehicles drive across it every day. A pedestrian walkway also allows the crossing on foot, and bikes are allowed on the western side. So hire a bike and peddle across the bridge, you’ll be able to see the city from some from one of the more spectacular angles!