TOP FIVE PRE-PACKING TIPS:
- Will you have access to a laundry at your accommodation? We did the entire time which was great for underwear, shorts, jeans and tops that were constantly on rotation.
- Do you plan to do much shopping whilst you’re overseas? The only thing I was definite on purchasing was a winter coat in New York, other than that I purchased some Nike sneakers (which Rhys put in his suitcase) and some jewellery.
- Think about how much your cosmetic bag weighs. Including my deodorant, hairspray, hair brush, FAKE TAN etc, my beauty bag was 2kg. So technically I’m down to 19kgs for clothing once I included my shoes!
- DO NOT pack your hairdryer, straightener, curler etc. Hair dryers are available in most hotels and you can always request a straightener or curler be delivered to your room. The voltage is much higher in Australia which means our 240V electronics were no match for the 110V in the US.
- How many bags/clutches do you really need? I fly with my large Mimco bag to carry our drink bottles, a book, moisturiser etc. During the day I had a small, black crossbody Mimco bag. Of an evening I would sometimes take this or my patent leather nude clutch. Once we got to Maui, I didn’t even take a bag to dinner.
NEW YORK: Baby she’s cold but worth it. We arrived December 21st and at this time of year you’re sharing the city with SOOOOO many people. You really need to plan your days in the Big Apple because once you’re inside, layers are not required.
- Days spent mostly outdoors like bike riding through Central Park or walking the Chelsea Highline require thermals, a goose down jacket or something similar. My Kathmandu goose down jacket was incredible because it kept the bitterly cold winds out. Most days were between 2 and 8 degrees. I would often wear one long sleeve thermal top under this jacket, my jeans, comfy walking sneakers/flat boots (waterproof just in case it snowed), throw on my gloves and beanie and be done.
- The days walking in and out of cafes, shops and attractions require a little less. Forget the beanie and scarf. Gloves are a good idea if you’re a cold frog. These were the days I wore my knee length coat, jeans and an ordinary long sleeve top. Thermals were too much indoors.
- Of an evening I loved a little glam. Replace your sneakers for thigh high boots. Add a statement belt, some fabulous earrings and a bold lip and suddenly your day look is ‘smokin’. A dress and coat option is great if you only have to walk a block or two.
NYC HOT TIPS:
- Any restaurants you have in mind – BOOK! We learned very quickly we needed to plan what we wanted to eat over the next few nights otherwise waiting times were anything from 45min. These were our faves: Dos Caminos- Mexican, located in Times Square and we went twice! Amazing service. Then there’s Joe’s Pizza, just around the corner from our hotel and the queue moved really quick. There’s very little seating which is why everyone stands out the front of the restaurant eating their GIANT slices of pizza. The Food Hall located at The Plaza Hotel is crazyyyyy. This particular day we were walking along and saw a small door crowds were constantly coming in and out of and we thought ‘why not, let’s see what it is’. We had no idea what was underground. A giant food hall with everything from fresh pastries, donuts and chocolate to lobster, dumplings and pasta. The decor is dreamy, a very old and charming New York vibe.
- When booking a Broadway show don’t worry about where you sit in the theatre because the theatres are small anyway.
- Saks Fifth Avenue was my fashion museum experience, eight floors of heaven.
- Get to a Knicks game, the atmosphere at Madison Square Garden was exactly like the movies, think ‘How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days’. Lovedddd this!
- Get downtown, one of my favourite days was walking the Chelsea High Line, nearly 2.5km, this walk will take you to the heart of the meat packing district where gorgeous boutiques, funky cafes and the Chelsea markets await.
- Ride the subway, it’s cheap and so easy to get around. You will see all walks of life in one carriage and I loved it.
SAN DIEGO: They say it doesn’t rain in sunny San Diego…..well it did. Our visit to San Diego was purely to catch up with friends and by doing this we got to experience a different side of San Diego.
- San Diego is far from the trend setting scene of New York so pack your ripped boyfriend jeans, a collection of tees and a leather jacket.
- I loved adding fine jewellery to any jeans + tee look, it’s simple yet stylish.
- As for shoes, it definitely wasn’t as cold as New York so this is where my only pair of slides would come in handy.
SAN DIEGO HOT TIPS:
- Visit Hotel Del Coronado, this iconic beachside hotel was used in the film ‘Some Like it Hot’ starring Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe. We booked the Sunday brunch and let me tell you, I have never seen a buffet like this (drool face).
- Throughout the city there are dockless ride sharing scooters. Like an Uber but a scooter! You’ll see them all over the city because once you’ve finished with it you literally leave it where your ride finishes.
- Make sure you visit the gas lamp district (as the name suggests but these lamps are a little updated), right in the heart of the city. So many cool restaurants and funky bars.
LAS VEGAS: America’s playground.
- A little cooler then San Diego so changing up my coat and leather jacket was dependent on what we were doing for the day. The Grand Canyon at sunrise – freezing! Once we landed in the canyon you could hear a pin drop, there was no wind but it was bitterly cold.
- Take your cocktail dress! You will never be too dolled up in Vegas, you will see a diverse range of fashion but those that make the effort take it very seriously.
- I always wore heels of an evening. By only packing a black and a nude pair, I would alternate each pair based on my outfit.
- My leather jacket became my evening layer if needed but you’ll find unless you’re going outside, you won’t need it.
LAS VEGAS HOT TIPS:
- We stayed at The Palazzo, oh my goodness! You could stay there a week and not leave your hotel. From the shopping mall to the casino, restaurants and bars, this hotel had everything. Not mention our room was incredible, not expensive but beautifully spacious with a GORGEOUS floor to ceiling marble bathroom.
- Check out Black tap Craft Burgers and Beer – offering award-winning craft burgers, famous CrazyShake™ milkshakes, craft beer, and cocktails, this place is sooo good.
- Visit Top Golf, this is anything but a golf driving range, it’s an experience. This complex holds over 100 hitting bays, five bars and two pools (not that we swam) and the place was packed. Eat off the menu as you play or simply sit back and enjoy the GIANT sports bar this place has to offer.
- If you’re going to do the Grand Canyon I would highly recommend flying AND landing! We chose the sunrise flight which means you’re up early but it’s well worth it and you’re back at the hotel by midday. With limited time in Vegas we didn’t want to spend 12 hours on a bus, yes we paid more but this was the highlight of our entire trip. You know when you look at photos of places around the world and when you get there it can sometimes let you down…..this exceeded expectations!
MAUI + O’AHU: Oh My Goodness. We live in a beautiful part of the world so in a way Maui felt like a version of home.
- Bikinis and dresses are the only things you’ll need. Even in the middle of Winter, we enjoyed 27 degree days and delicious balmy nights. Never too hot.
- I honestly lived in my swimmers everyday. I packed two linen shirts and would wear them casually around the pool with my denim shorts or dress up of an evening with mini-skirts.
- Heels are not required but a little Summer dress is essential for those evening walks down to Whaler’s Village (like an outdoor shopping centre with alfresco dining).
- For our day trip out to Mollikini Crater my Seafolly one piece was ideal with denim shorts which again I then wore as a body suit to dinner one evening.
- O’ahu and in particular Waikiki is similar in terms of what to wear day and night. No one dresses up, you’re on island time.
MAUI + OAH’U HOT TIPS:
- Drive around the West side of Maui, everyone drives the Road to Hana but I loved the other side just as much, if not better. It feels like you’re driving along the cliffs of Scotland and then around the tight corner you’re suddenly driving under gorgeous rainforest tree canopies. At one point we were driving past sloping farmland (yes there were cows) and waterfalls whilst on the opposite side was the ocean, incredible.
- Visit Front St, the main street of Lahaina, lots of shops and restaurants that we spent an afternoon just wandering.
- I would highly recommend staying at the Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa located just a few kilometres from Lahaina. It’s huge which means it doesn’t feel like each guest is on top of one another. This stretch of beach is shared with quite a few other big name resorts and between the ocean and their properties is a path that takes you as far a Black Rock Beach, a popular snorkelling spot. This walk was close to 2km but about halfway was Whaler’s Village. This path was lined with palm trees and if you wanted would take you from each hotel bar to the next.
- Remember to include a few days where your day consisted of nothing but sleep-ins, poolside cocktails and evening walks up to Whaler’s Village for dinner.
- Before flying home we stayed in Waikiki for two nights which was more than enough. When they say it’s like the Gold Coast, it really is. The main street is fun, lots of shopping and beachside restaurants but after two days you want to see more. The Cheesecake factory is a must but it’s also on everyone else’s list so make sure you book! There were 33 types of cheesecakes……WHAT?! Lucky for us we already had dinner but dropped into The Cheesecake Factory for dessert where we met the nicest young couple who offered to take us for a drive the following day. He had lived in Oah’u for a few years and knew the island so we took a 45min drive out of Waikiki and found a secluded beach that was known for its caves. What a perfectly unplanned day! The drive alone showed us a totally different scene to that of Waikiki. So my biggest recommendation would be to not stay in Waikiki for too long and see what else this gorgeous island has to offer!