I can’t quite believe that I hadn’t been abroad for a holiday in about three years. The last trip away I went on was a family holiday to Florence, Italy back in 2015. The rest of the time off I’ve had in between was mainly spent at home and just catching up with life, or even just working through my annual leave… haha! So this trip felt like a real treat for me.
I found cheap flights online so I thought, why not? £300 return, can’t really go wrong there! I was slightly worried about what the weather was going to be like in October, but actually I was pleasantly surprised with temperatures reaching the mid 20s. To be fair, even back home in London it was very similar with very little rain.
I booked to stay at a AirBnB in Brooklyn. It was one of three private rooms within a flat. I would say that it was quite pricey considering it was a shared property. There wasn’t much to do in the neighbourhood but it was quite convenient to get into Manhattan using the subway.
I was slightly nervous about the flight because I hadn’t actually flown long-haul since going to Hong Kong 10 years ago. I didn’t really have any problems with jet lag. I flew out of London at 5pm and arrived at 1am (10pm local). Getting some sleep on the flight definitely helped. Slept through the night and was right as rain the next day. Coming back home took a little more time to adjust. Got back to London at around 8am and crashed out for the whole day as soon as I got home. I quite literally dropped all my luggage at my front door and jumped into bed.
I am such a planner. I like to know what I’m doing, when I’m doing it and where. The problem with this trip was that I had very little spare time in the weeks coming up to the trip. I had done very little research and literally had nothing planned out for the week. I even left my packing to the very last minute, which I never do!
Navigating the subway system was a challenge. There are so many different lines both numbered and lettered with different colours. It was such a puzzle to try and get your head around. What I like about the London Underground is that there are signs and maps absolutely everywhere and you also know exactly which direction you are travelling in. The really confusing thing about the subway is that there are signs that say things like “To Lefferts Blvd or Far Rockway. PM rush hours also to Rockway Pk. Late nights A on local track”. If you are a tourist, with little knowledge of the the geography of New York City, then the subway is definitely tricky to use. Some signs even say things like for late nights, transfer to another line, but then there is no sign to tell you how to get to the other line. If it wasn’t for my phone and GoogleMaps, I don’t think I could have managed to get around.
When I think of New York, the first thing that popped into my head was Grand Central Station. I had recently just watched the first episode of Gossip Girl, so decided to start my visit there. Then I went on to visit all the tourist destinations including Central Park, Empire State Building, Brooklyn Bridge and Times Square throughout my stay. I also spent quite a bit of time shopping too. 5th Avenue reminded me of Oxford Street, but grander. And of course the majority of my money was spent in Sephora picking up gems that are slightly trickier to find in the UK.
Grand Central Station
Empire State Building
New York Public Library
I had a lot of fun on my trip to New York and I would love to plan in a few more trips for myself next year. I think the experience would have been even better if I had done a lot more research about where to visit, where to eat and all the other things in between.