Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Travel. Show all posts

Travel Money Card Pros And Cons

I have always been against using a travel money card abroad, as I hear about charges. As I was going to be traveling Australia for over 3 weeks, the travel money card seemed the safest. 

I use currency compare websites, to see where's the best rate. It was really easy to buy currency and set up an account. However when my card came, I couldn't sign in. It was saying wrong username / email or password. I phoned up the travel money card help line and I was told I need to try different web browsers. It wasn't even letting me sign in with the app, never mind trying different web browsers. The app on my phone would have came handy, to see how much money I had left. I was able to check the money was added at a cash machine, before leaving the UK, but I didn't want to spend my holiday at cash machines. In the end I decided the easiest way around it was to use my card first. Then when it declined, I knew I spent all my money on my card and could use my cash.  

It was easy to use, than stand and count foreign currency.
I booked the Sydney Bridge Climb and Australia Zoo Koala hold online, using the travel money card. There was no charge as the websites are Australian Dollars. 
I was able to use the touch screens to pay at McDonalds, than stand and wait in a queue.   
Some shops it showed the total in my currency, so I knew how much I was paying.   

I wasn't able to access the website or app, so I couldn't see the balance.
The LEGO Store, UGG and Australia Zoo automatically changed to my currency, but in the top corner it said 2.5% charge. I asked if I could pay in Australian Dollars without the charge. They said travel cards automatically revert to your currency. I took my card out and said I'll just pay cash, than pay a charge. 
There's charges which will vary from card to card. My one there's a £3 charge for inactive months, after 12 months. So you're best to cancel it as soon as you get home. 

I still had money left on my card at the end of the holiday, so I came home with some cash. I only paid cash in the LEGO Store, UGG, Australia Zoo and a few other places. I would say it's good seeing how much you are paying in your own currency, but when there's a charge take your card out and say you'll pay cash. It will save 2.5% charge.  
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Crown Promenade | Melbourne

I stayed in the Crown Promenade, in Melbourne while traveling Australia. We arrived at half past 5 in the morning and check in isn't till 3pm, so we dropped out suitcases off at the reception. I then headed to the hotel public toilet to change clothes, wash my face, brush my teeth and redo my makeup. My mum booked us to go to the Neighbours Tour, till we could check in. My advice is only go to the Neighbours Tour if you've not watched Neighbours. To this day I don't know who the Kennedy's are, but I was shown where they live on Ramsay Street.

We checked in at the reception and the woman said "oh it's your birthday" (I was wearing a birthday tiara and sash), then we were given room keys to the 22nd floor. I have heard hotels do things for your birthday, so I have no idea if we were given that room because I was wearing the birthday tiara and sash or if that was the room we were getting.  

The room was a twin room, with views looking onto the river and the high buildings. It was spacious , with a tv, long desk, sofa chair by the window and a shower room. It also helped the radio has USB ports, especially when you have many things to charge on holiday.     

The swimming pool - (not that I used it, but I put my feet in haha). 

These are photos I took, from the hotel room at night.

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4 Days Itinerary | New York

When you go to New York, you have to plan what you want to see as there's soo much to see and do. I have visited New York 6 times and I still haven't seen it all. New York is forever changing, so I don't think even a New Yorker can say they've seen it all. I get a lot of people messaging me asking for recommendations on what to do in New York. To make it easier am going to share with you, my itinerary of things I done this visit. The things I done isn't for a first time trip to New York, but hopefully it will give you a better idea to what you can fit in. 

I always plan what's near what, to what will work best each day. If you've never been to New York before, it will help to look at Google maps and work out what you want to see and if it's Downtown, Midtown or Uptown. It helped me to write down a list of shops, I wanted to see on the route.  

I have only went to New York on my own, except the second trip to New York my Mum came. This time I headed in a group of 6 people, although am sure I said in a post earlier it was a group of 4. My Auntie and Uncle decided to join us last minute. It was hard, as it was everyone else's first time to New York and my 6th time. My Auntie stated she wanted to do her own thing, so it helped for me to go of on my own and see new things. 

My list of plans : 

The Mills shopping outlet 
Glossier Showroom 
Dumbo Brooklyn 
Governors Island 
Roosevelt Island

Day One

We flew into JFK airport and got a taxi to our hotel in Times Square, Sheraton. After a 7 hour flight, I like to freshen my face. I put my phone on charge, while I washed my face and redone my makeup.

Everyone headed to the Irish bar along the street, so I headed to check out Roosevelt Island. Roosevelt Island is only half an hour walk from Times Square, so I headed to 61st street and turned right along to the tram stop. I then had to get a Metro card, to get the tram. The tram only took a matter of minutes, to get to the Island and the sun was starting to set. I walked around the Island, then I snapped some photos of the view looking onto Manhattan. 

I then got the tram back to Manhattan, and headed for a walk around time Square. 

My favourite thing on the first night in New York, is going to Walgreens on Times Square and looking at the sweets or candy, as Americans call it. I always pick up Swedish fish, a packet of Lays crisps and a drink for the hotel room.

Day Two

We all headed to Ellen's Stardust Diner for breakfast. Then everyone went sightseeing, so I made use of it and headed to The Mills shopping outlet in New Jersey. 

I walked down to 42nd street and headed right, along to the bus authority.  After visiting Woodbury Common shopping outlet, back in January and reading The Mills has over 200 shops I knew it was going to take a day to get around. 

I picked up things at Victoria's Secret,  Michael Kors, Hollister, Bath and body work and a few more places. 

I read online IHOP was across the road from The Mills shopping outlet. I hadn't had an IHOP in 10 years, since I last visited Los Angeles. One of my fears was to sit in a restaurant and stick out from everyone else, sitting on your own. 

I told myself I am in New Jersey, no one knows me here so this is my chance to go for it. I walked into IHOP and the worker said "table for one?" Me "yea". I looked at the menu and picked the New York cheesecake pancakes, all in the name of New York. I ate the pancakes and paid, then headed out. There was no big deal, after panicking about sitting in a restaurant on my own.

I then headed for the Bus back to New York. Once I got back to the bus authority, I walked to the hotel to drop my bags of.  

We then got ready to head out to 230 Fifth rooftop bar.

We left 230 Fifth rooftop bar at half 2 in the morning and started walking back to Times Square. The thing about Times Square, there's always an atmosphere and it's interesting seeing it at different hours. We even stopped in Times Square, for a 3am McDonald's McGriddle.

Make sure you follow the McDonald's Times Square owner Jim on Twitter @McNuday and tell him you found him through me. He told me, his granny was from Glasgow. 

Day Three 

My Cousin Carla headed, with her mum to Woodbury Common shopping outlet. My Auntie and Uncle headed to see Grand Central station. 

One of my favourite things to do in New York, is to walk down Manhattan at least one day each trip. There's so much scenery to take in, while walking. I love waking down the high line and walking back up Broadway going in and out shops. I had to change my route this time, as I wanted to see Glossier Showroom and be there when it first opened

I started my walk really early heading down Broadway. I stopped at NYX at Union Square, for abit shopping. I then headed to Whole Foods for pizza and sat at Union Square to eat the pizza.

I carried on my route down Manhattan, over to Lafayette Street. I turned the corner, onto Lafayette Street and spotted a banner hanging across the side of the building saying Glossier. I wanted to see Glosser for so long.

There was mirrors outside saying "Glossier Showroom" and a worker standing by the door asking if I was here to see Glossier showroom. I was then directed to the lift, up to the penthouse. 

I walked round Glossier Showroom, seeing all the Glossier products. I had to fill out an "x" beside things I wanted to buy and take the form to the till. Safe to say I spent $125 at Glossier Showroom. 

I then headed to across the Brooklyn bridge, to Dumbo. I snapped some photos of the waterfront by the bridge, before heading back over the Brooklyn bridge. 

One of my last aims on this trip, was to visit Governors Island. My favourite New York blogger, is Mary over at New York Cliche. She wrote about Governors Island, so I had to check it out myself. I headed towards Battery Park for the Ferry across to Governors island. I met a few people who said they worked on Governors Island. They were telling me when the Island is shut for the season, they work in Florida. This year is the first year Governors Island was open in October, so I felt a little special being on the Island.

I got the ferry back to Manhattan and started my walk back up Broadway. I did make a quick stop at the Birchbox store. I've never been in a Birchbox store, so it was quite exciting to see a store. 

I got back to Times Square and had dinner at Shake Shack, before dropping my bags of at the hotel and meeting up with everyone else. 

I then headed to the Irish bar on Times Square, where everyone was. We stayed out till 4am, before making our way back to the hotel.    

I walked 16 and a half miles around Manhattan, according to my mobile.

Day Four 

I headed with my Cousin Carla, towards Central Park. We stopped at Tiffany and did a little Tiffany shopping. Then Carla headed back to Times Square. 

I carried on my walk to stop by The Row, on 71st Street. I walked in and it was the same worker who served me last year. The worker said "hi, oh hi. I remember you. You're from Scotland. You stopped at the store, when it first opened and bought sunglasses. Do you wear your sunglasses?" Me "Scotland isn't the weather for sunglasses haha".

I then heading onto the MET museum, to see the rooftop looking over Central Park.

I had a few hours left in New York and still didn't get time to stop at the M&M store. I managed to meet up with Carla in Times Square, before we split up trying to pick up last minute sweets to bring home. 

I waited on Carla at the end of the road, then we headed to pick up our suitcases from the hotel. We all then got a taxi, back to JFK airport. 

Things you'll learn from New York :

There's no such thing as, breakfast, lunch and dinner. You just stop when you have time. The meals in America are big, so you don't need 3 meals anyway.

You don't get a lot of sleep, as you are trying to make the most of being in the New York. 

Most of the streets are up and down and across ways, so it's easy to navigate around the City.  
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Making History | Crossing the Queensferry Crossing

The Queensferry Crossing opened on Wednesday and my Dad wanted to go for a drive across, so I headed along with him.  I think everyone had the same in mind, as the queues to the Queensferry Crossing were miles long. Once we were on the bridge it took about 5 mins to cross, then we went around the round about and back across.

Well it's a bridge, but it wasn't the same without the famous bump, bump, bump, when you drove across the Forth road bridge. I actually miss the bump, bump, bump, when you are driving and the bumps. Never mind everyone will be getting chucked back to the Forth road bridge over the weekend, for the events. Then chucked back to the Queensferry Crossing next week for the official opening. 

How pretty does the Forth road bridge look from this angle ? It's like Scotland's version of the San Francisco Golden Gate bridge haha.
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