Destinations, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco Bay Area, Tips and Tricks, Washington, DC

Don’t Go It’s A Tourist Trap

Don’t you hate it when you ask for travel advice and someone tells you not to go to the one place that you have always wanted to go because it is a tourist trap? Whether it is The Empire State Building in New York, The White House in Washington, D.C., or The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, tourists spots are popular for the simple fact that tourists want the experience that they have to offer. It’s no wonder that tourism is a multi-million dollar business.

Standing across the street from the touristy La Bodeguita del Medio in Cuba.

I get that we want people to have an authentic experience when they visit a destination, but I always encourage first time visitors to do all of the touristy things just in case you don’t get a chance to go back again. The next time you visit the same destination, I say you should explore the off the beaten path hidden gems. I grew up in San Francisco which is one of the most touristy destinations in the United States. Whenever family and friends visited San Francisco they wanted to go on the cable cars, view the Golden Gate Bridge, and go to Fisherman’s Wharf. I was always happy to oblige because my hometown is a beautiful city and I love to show it off. I am also a big fan of the hop on hop off buses like Big Bus which lets you visit all of the touristy spots in one day at your leisure. Click on the link to book your tickets in advance.

The next time someone tries to dissuade you from seeing a popular tourist destination just politely thank them, then ask if they can offer helpful tips for getting around the long lines and the crowds.

What touristy spots have you been told not to visit during your travels? Share them in the comment section. Remember to like, subscribe, and share!

Budget Travel, New York

How I Spent 24 Hours in New York City

IMG_0175The first time I visited New York I instantly feel deep in love with the energy of the city. I developed a fascination with New York through reading books and watching syrupy sweet Rom-Coms about the magic that New York creates. It was my dream to live there at some point in my life. Fortunately, I was able to spend 15 years of my life in New York and I continued to be madly in love with the city for most of that time.

About 5 years ago I packed my bags for good and moved away from the hustle and bustle of New York. The fast pace and expense of living there started to wear on me and I needed a change of scenery. Just because I moved away from New York doesn’t mean that I don’t still consider it one of the most amazing places in the world.

For this quick jaunt, I hopped on an intercity bus between Washington and New York at Union Station. My preferred method of traveling to New York in on the train, but the bus is a lower cost option and you can usually snag a last minute reservation.

I made a reservation at the Hilton Garden Inn near Columbus Circle on the west side. There were several other hotels on the same block so the area was quite touristy. I knew I was only going to be in town for 24-36 hours so I needed a clean and safe place to sleep for less than $200 a night. The Hilton delivered with a price that was reasonable and if you sign up for Hilton Honor points you can save a few extra dollars if you are traveling on a budget as I was. I was stunned by the amazing view from my room on the 35th floor. The nighttime view was breathtaking (see above!) The hotel is also very convenient to the theater district, Lincoln Center, Central Park, and a Times Square.

After I checked into my hotel room I freshened up then quickly hopped on an uptown bound subway to Harlem to get my hair done for my birthday. Another blogger recommended Natural Sisters Salon for a blow out, so that is where I headed. It was as if I had never left New York, but I was amazed at how much the neighborhood had changed since I moved away. The salon did a nice job with replenishing my tresses with in-house custom made conditioners, steam treatment, and what is called a silk press.

I had been traveling all day so I was anxious to head back downtown to my hotel. I didn’t plan my meals, so I suggest you might want to make a reservation for dinner and brunch if you will be staying in a touristy area. Sadly the food that I had was disappointing, so I can’t offer recommendations based upon what I ate on this trip. There are wonderful restaurants in the area including Patsy’s Pizza and Serafina.

The next day I was a bit under the weather so I stayed in my room and relaxed all morning. I opted for the late check out then wandered around Times Square a bit before heading to the bus stop to catch the bus back to Washington, D.C.

Watch the video below which captures the relentless energy and vibrancy of New York and documents my birthday jaunt.


Have you ever visited New York City?  What would you recommend as a must do in 24 hours? Share your tips in the comments.