Late Thursday night I returned from an amazing but exhausting week long trip to New York City, Philadelphia and Dallas. (see post here). Everything actually went perfectly! I landed in NYC on the first day of summer and the weather was outstanding! I enjoyed a bike ride through Central Park and long strolls through Harlem and Brooklyn throughout the weekend.
The accommodations at the AloftHarlem were sleek and swanky! I love the complimentary water bottles that all Starwood properties provide. Major perk!
My time in Philadelphia was short but I made the most of it. I checked in to the conveniently located Four Points Sheraton near downtown and was immediately met with Brotherly Love! I had plenty of restaurant suggestions and sightseeing tips offered by the great residents of Philadelphia. Since I am a vegetarian I couldn’t get any Philly Cheesesteak (womp lol) but I did indulge in Basset’s Ice Cream, America’s oldest ice cream company located at the historic Reading Terminal Market. I went on a tour of Historic Philadelphia on a double decker hop on/hop off bus. (Tip: this is one of the most affordable ways to navigate a city. No rental car or taxis needed!). Some of the highlights were: Home of Betsy Ross, Benjamin Franklin’s Grave, Liberty Bell and Philadelphia Museum of Art. I enjoyed the beautiful architecture and parks of this great city!
Dallas was hot and exhausting. The End. I did get to see my family briefly and catch up with a few friends so that was a bonus:)
This was my first experience hopping from city to city with no stops back at home in between. So here are a few lessons learned:
Be strategic. Unless you want to drag around an overweight 55 lb bag (and pay the $100 fee!) you will need to have a plan for your packing. I sorted out a couple “going out” outfits, one set of gym clothes, one business suit and a few “casual” clothes. My number one rule on long trips is: Don’t be afraid to REPEAT! Jeans and slacks can be worn at least twice during a trip. As long as the clothes are still clean, no one will watch that closely:) I also tried to stay within 2-3 color themes so I could reduce the number of shoes and accessories packed. Ladies, when it comes to handbags keep it simple: One large tote and a small clutch will do just fine!
Research. Yelp!, Trip Advisor and City websites are my go to sites when it comes to research (link). Never underestimate the power of social media too, send out a tweet or FB status to get recommendations from those in your circle. For NYC, I knew I wanted to spend time in Central Park so made sure I had enough time before my conference to visit. You always want to allow flexibility in your trip to just chill but its also a huge waste to go to a destination and never hardly leave the hotel to check out the famous sites. Kinda like going to San Francisco and not going to the Golden Gate Bridge. Makes no sense.
Oh technology. It’s not until I travel that I realize how dependent we are on technology now! Everything from maps to flight details are stored on our devices. It’s almost impossible to function without them. So needless to say you don’t want to find yourself without juice for your phone or tablet. Always have a backup battery, mobile charger (link), additional camera and portable Wi Fi device with you. I forgot my camera at the hotel and ran out of juice on my phone midway through my Central Park tour so I didn’t get many pictures. Womp! Also, next trip I definitely plan to go old school and go back to printing out directions and not totally depending on my phone navigation..lest I remain lost and confused!
So what travel lessons have you learned?