The Grand Canyon is the most spectacular natural landmark in the world. Yes okay, that might be a matter of my personal opinion but seriously it’s out of this world! I visited the canyon back in 2015 and I haven’t stopped lusting over it since! It’s by far my favourite National Park in the world! If you’ve ever wanted to take an epic helicopter ride you’ll never forget, camp alongside elk and be one of 5 million people who visit a destination each year, then The Grand Canyon has got you covered. I’m going to share with you exactly why you should visit The Grand Canyon.
Random Fun Fact: If I had never visited The Grand Canyon then Dave and I may not be together, it was a major conversation starter when we met!
So why exactly should you visit The Grand Canyon? Here’s my 9 Reason’s
1. You have to see it to experience it!
Visit The Grand Canyon solo or with friends. No matter what you’ll have an incredible experience!
The world is full of epic photographers these days right? Some of the most talented photographers can capture a moment and you feel like you’ve been pulled right into that moment. Many photographs do places fantastic justice, however, the photographs of The Grand Canyon just DO NOT do it the justice it deserves! (& there are some captivating ones out there!) Nope for me, you’ve just got to go and see the canyon for itself to understand how breathtaking this place really is! I am telling you now you won’t regret it!
2. Experience the Most Epic Helicopter Ride
One of my best life experiences to date!
Now I’m not a fan of flying. I do it because it’s the only way to get to some of the world most beautiful destinations and I think that’s probably why most people grin and bear it! So when I got the opportunity to fly in a helicopter over and into The Grand Canyon I’m going, to be honest, I was sceptical and terrified! I’ve read about plenty of horror stories that involve a helicopter!
However, my travel mates on this trip (who had already done the ride) managed to persuade me otherwise and I’m so glad they did. This is easily one of the most incredible life experiences I’ve had whilst on the road so far! Imagine zooming above a forest for miles and miles and then wow, all of sudden the floor feels like it’s disappeared beneath you and your gliding over The Grand Canyon? Pretty exhilarating huh?
3. The Sunrise/Sunsets
Dreamy sunsets in The Grand Canyon
I’ve seen some pretty gorgeous sunrises and sunsets over numerous cities and national parks but this one tops them all. There is nothing quite as beautiful than watching the sun rise and fall onto the wonder that is the Grand Canyon. Again there are no photographs or words to describe how brilliant the views are at dawn and dusk.
4. One of the Most Visited Tourist Landmarks – In the World!
No filter necessary!
The Grand Canyon attracts way over 4 million people every year! & I wish I could be one of those people every year! That amount of people isn’t even imaginable to people like you and me! So there’s got to be a reason why so many people visit? Because it’s bloody wonderful! With so much natural beauty to see and so much to do you can soon see why it’s such a popular tourist destination! From hiking, walking, to rafting, camping and helicopter a ride there’s something for everyone! & after all over 4 million people can’t turn up and be disappointed, can they?!
5. Great Exercise
If you’re like me and love to travel but also love to eat everything that you see then you can easily hike off a good chunk of that junk food whilst hiking the Canyon! Or at least a mouthful! There are numerous different hiking trails in the canyon, some easy and some pretty hard! What I will say Is that the canyon is steep no matter what hike you do if you go below the rim it will be a climb to get back out! And the only way out is UP! We embarked on one of the nicer hikes the Bright Angel Trail which is around 9.9 miles. For some tips whilst you hike the canyon, which I learnt unfortunately from experience, check out the extra tips at the end of this post!
6. The Canyon is still impressive from the top!
You can find OOH AAH POINT on the South Kaibab Trail!
The great thing about canyons is that you are looking down into them! So basically the main attraction is how deep they go! And seeing as you can drive right up to the rim of the Grand Canyon there really is no need to venture any further down into the canyon if you don’t want to! So if your unable to walk long distances due to health reasons or hiking just ain’t your thing you can enjoy the wonders literally a few minutes’ walk from the car! Pretty awesome!
7. Camp with Wildlife
Have you ever camped with elk wandering around your tent? Nope, I hadn’t either until I camped out in the campsites of the Grand Canyon! There are so many to choose from! Luckily I did my trip with Trek America so the campsite was all already booked and planned out for us but if you have a look around online there are plenty of options to choose from! Check out the Westerner 2 tour by Trek America, one of the tours where they visit The Grand Canyon here!
8. The Most Impressive Land Mark in the World
Now again this is subject to my opinion which by the way is usually right, David wouldn’t agree! But even though it isn’t the biggest canyon in the world I reckon it’s probably one of the most impressive. I honestly smile anytime I think of the few days I spent here, from the amazing hike to the breathtaking helicopter ride I was literally speechless for the majority of the trip here & that’s something you don’t often see! The biggest canyon in the world is Yarlung Zangbo in Tibet China at a whopping 19,715 feet deep! It makes The Grand Canyon look like a baby at just 5,697!
9. You won’t ever forget it!
This is an experience of a lifetime and I can guarantee that The Grand Canyon will leave a mark in your heart forever, I know it has on mine and I cannot wait to return for take 2!
So if you’ve come to the end of this post and are still pondering whether to visit the Grand Canyon then I want to know, WHY? Let me know in the comments!
For those of us travelling in style what’s the trick to surviving long haul flights? And by style, I mean those long haul flights around the world in economy seating. These long flights from the UK to Sydney or New York to Dubai can consist of uncomfortable of cramping legs and no sleep. Let’s face it the space you get on these long haul flights is more often than not lacking. There’s usually always someone nearby coughing and it’s impossible to get warm. Long haul flying isn’t my favourite thing in the world but I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that sitting on a plane for 24 hours is a small price I’m willing to pay to reach beautiful destinations. That said, I believe there are definitely a few things you can do to make long haul flying easier including what you bring in your carry on bag!
Surviving Long Haul Flights – Tips For BEFORE the Airport
The enjoyment of flying starts at home. Not in the airport or the taxi, home. Before even setting off to the airport make sure you are organised! This is one of my biggest tips to surviving long haul flights. I’m a planner so I like to plan and be organised and when it comes to long haul flying if you aren’t organised then you’re already setting yourself up for failure.
Before I even leave home I make sure I’m as prepared as I can be which means, knowing the flight times, which terminal we depart from, what time the taxi needs to pick up us, how far away the park and ride is from the actual airport, is my suitcase weighed and within the limit? Have I got all of my carry-on essentials in my bag? Not around the bag or to quickly pick-up on my way to the airport. These simple things sound so easy but so travellers fall at the first hurdle. If you’ve not weighed your bag prior to take-off then how can you be surprised if you get stopped at the check-in?
In my experience of flying if all goes well on the ground it’s a lot more likely that I’m going to enjoy my flight. So before we even talk about which carry on essentials you must-have for your next long haul flight make sure you’ve figured out all of the following before even leaving the house to reach the airport:
Before Setting off to the Airport Check:
Passports/Travel Documents are in the carry-on
You have the correct VISA for the country you’re travelling too
Luggage is weighed and under the weight restrict for the airline
Carry-on Luggage is within the weight and size limits
Everything is packed the night or day before. EVERYTHING
Know the exact flight time/departure terminal
Know the other logistics like, taxi times, make sure you make time for extra traffic if driving make sure you know where the airport parking is, what time the shuttle services are.
Devices are charged
Podcasts and Movies downloaded
Kindle books downloaded
Being organised can do wonders for your mental health and I feel so much less anxiety before a long haul flights knowing that I’m already organised.
Surviving Long Haul Flights Tips For In the Airport
Before getting the big bag of long haul carry-on essentials lets talk about making life easier in the airport. Airports can be stressful. I have no idea about you but every time I go through security ir passport control I feel like a criminal or fraud – the human is wild right?! But once we are through those gates and into the departure lounge we can sit back and relax. Here are 5 top tips to making your experience at the airport before a long haul flight as smooth as possible:
Arrive with plenty of time – no matter where I’m going I always leave 2 hours for domestic flights and 3 hours for international, just do it.
Preparing any liquids into plastic bags before the airport!
Make sure all electronics like laptops are easily available to easily remove from your carry-on luggage at security.
Get a security fast pass – I’ve never done this my parents swear by it and being avid travellers themselves my mum and stepdad know a thing or two about airports! They pay from 5-10 GBP each trip and fast track through the ques!
Find out your gate number as soon as possible and before it shows keep checking the board for updates. If you’re sat down situate yourself near a board which will tell you the gate number. It’s no good checking half an hour prior to take-off and realise your flight departs from the gate furthest away. These days airport terminals are BIG!
If you’re really snazzy or have the budget then why not book a lounge? You can get deals on Group On a lot for airport lounges! Although, I’ll a little bit more about airport lounges in the Tips for on a Layover Section of this post!
Surviving Long Haul Flights – In-flight Essentials!
What you pack in your carry-on luggage makes all the difference to how great or morbid your long haul flight maybe! These days with the advances in technology you’re allowed to use most devices on a plane which makes entertaining yourself a whole lot easier. We always fly with a bag of carry-on essentials whilst the other bag has the in-flight ‘goodies’ inside. Bring a travel blogger means a lot of tech, none of which I want to put in my checked bag so one of the carry-ons we take always has, the cameras, tripod, laptop and Ipad inside. Before we know it we already have one full carry-on bag!
So because there’s two of us we pack the other bag full of the good stuff! From beauty to eating the best things that keep us sane and feeling fresh during a long haul flight are found in this bag! So what exactly do we have in this ‘goodie’ bag?
Headphones – no matter how far we are travelling my headphones are always the first item in my carry-on. During most flights, I’m plugged in whether that’s to a movie or podcast I rarely have my headphones out.
Empty Hot Water Bottle – Did you know you ask the cabin crew for some hot bottle? Simply fill up your bottle to keep yourself warm – I’m always freezing during long haul flights which makes surviving them even worse!
Blanket – a small blanket never goes a miss because the ones you get in economy seating, let’s be honest, are crap.
Water Bottle – Take your empty water bottle and make sure you ask for freshwater during the flight. Staying hydrated will work wonders for your skin and how your feeling by the end of a long haul flight!
Earplugs – Need I really explain why?
Hard Boiled Sweets – To suck on during landing to avoid the altitude pressure from affecting your ears!
Beauty Items for the Carry-On Luggage
One of the best ways to leave a long haul flight feeling good is to bring a few beauty essentials on board with you! I have a few tricks which leave me feeling so much fresher once I that plane:
Fly with no makeup on – I don’t often sleep very well on long haul flights so I’m often rubbing my eyes and having no makeup on just feels so much nicer than having a face full for what could be 24 hours!
Wet Wipes – I hate wet wipes. They’re bad for the environment and not great for the skin but I do make an exception when flying. I buy a tiny packet of 25 which lasts almost one year. Give your face a wipe a few times during the flight to help your face feeling fresh.
Moisturiser, Cleanser and Toner – Pretty self-explanatory. If you think you can cleanse and tone on the plane then give it go but for me, that’s a little too much work BUT I do use them during the layover at the airport.
Rose Water Face Mist – Just makes your face feel nice!
Toothbrush – Take your toothbrush and brush your teeth on the plane – it works wonders!
Lip Balm – Planes are horrible places for the skin. The air is just circulating and it’s so so dry so keep those lips hydrated with some balm!
Flight Socks – So worth it!
The Best Snacks to Survive a Long Haul Flight
With so many goodies on the menu, it can be so tempting to overindulge on long haul flights but the best thing for your body is to say no! These days most long haul airlines give out snacks and meals as part of the seat ticket and by all means, take full advantage. But, if you find yourself peckish in-between then have sure you have a healthier option in your carry-on. Most airports have somewhere you can pick up some nibbles from before boarding so grab some nuts and dried fruit as a go-to snack rather than chocolate or sweets! And don’t forget to drink lots of water and no alcohol! Don’t get me wrong I enjoy a cocktail or two but not on a plane.
Surviving a Long Haul Flight – Airport Layovers
The majority of long haul flights will have a layover of some sort. The longest flight I’ve taken so far was from the UK to Brisbane Australia. It was one of the most exciting flights of my life honestly, I just could not wait to arrive! But that flight was certainly the definition of ‘long haul’. We had a layover in Abu-Dubai which was supposed to be about 5-6 hours but ended up only being 3 which quickly turned into literally 2 hours. But to secure cheaper flights more and more travellers are being faced with longer airport layovers, so how you make them as fun and as stressfree as possible?
Get Out and Explore!
If you have a layover for let’s say 16-24 hours then get outside of the airport if you can. A lot of countries have transport visas or layover visas so before you go do some research about the requirements and the nearby destinations. You never know what beautiful places could be waiting for you just around the corner – just arrive back at the airport with plenty of time before your next check-in time!
Surviving Long Haul Flights – Rent a Bed in the Airport
A lot of airports these days have little areas where you can sleep! I know in Dubai and Singapore you can hire a little pod to sleep in for a few hours. It’s a great way to pass the time and get some rest as well because we all know sleeping on a plane just isn’t the same as sleeping anywhere else!
If you have the budget the go all out and book an airport lounge. I’ve never actually done this but I think I will for our next big flight. My mum took advantage of an airport lounge on her way back from Australia and she said it was perfect. She had a shower and tucked into the amazing food on offer. Make sure you frequently check deal websites such a Group On or Wowcher for cheaper airport lounges.
Other Things You Can Do to Survive that Long Haul Flight
Yoga – We had a lady get up and do some yoga on the aisle. My confidence would never let me do so but she was killing it and I bet she felt lovely afterwards.
Keep MOVING – Not many us will fancy stretching or doing yoga in the aisle but moving around in flight is so important. Moving will reduce the risk of blot clots and swelling to the body!
Meditate – Use and app or just do some controlled breathing to music, no-one needs ever know!
Wear comfy clothes! – never ever wear restricting or uncomfortable clothes for flying!
Board LAST – It never ceases to amaze me how many people stand up and queue to get on that plane! Just stay seated relax for longer and don’t step on that plane until you really need to.
After reading this post about how to survive long haul flights there is no excuse not to be feeling your best during the flight! But what about after?
After the Flight
My number one tip for after a flight is to get out into that fresh air! I always like to be organised as well and make sure I know exactly how I’m getting from the airport to my onward destination. There is no point feeling fresh and relaxed after a flight if you’re going to get all stressed in the airport soon after landing. Of course, the only time this is an exception is if you lose your luggage!!!
I really hope you enjoyed this little post on surviving long haul flights. As travellers, we often spend a lot of time in the air so it’s good if we can feel our best doing so! I always book flights using Sky Scanner for the best deals! Sky Scanner now tell you which airlines are eco-friendly which is amazing to achieving more of a sustainable planet. Sometimes flying is inevitable but if we all choose an airline that’s making an effort to put out fewer emissions! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post if you did please let me know! I would also love it if you could share this with your friends!
New York City is extraordinary. With a population of approximately 8 million people in a land area of just 789km squared you’ve got to wonder what all the fuss is about! The big apple has so many different attractions it can be overwhelming when deciding which ones to go see! I had five days to explore all New York had to offer and whilst I visited all the main attractions we certainly didn’t have time to do everything – In one visit that’s damn right impossible! That said I’ve put together my Top 10 Things to do in New York City!
Top Tip: Have four full days AT LEAST to make the most out of your trip to the most vibrant city in the world!
1. Times Square
Times Square: Top 10 Things to Do in New York City
They weren’t lying when they said that New York is the city that never sleeps! Times Square is one of the only places I’ve been in the world that is still bustling with bodies and animation at 1 am!
It’s the entertainment hub of NYC filled with restaurants, shops, street food and of course the gateway to Broadway! The bright lights of Times Square attract more than 50 million tourists annually! Definitely worth a visit to grab some amazing New York street food and smuggle some gifts for your loved ones back home – (who are insanely jealous that you’re in New York and there back in Blighty) If you’re prepared to queue then hit up the TKTS box for discounted theatre tickets daily!
Tip: any time of the day you go WILL be busy so be prepared for some pushing, shoving indefinitely strangers in your selfies!
2. Grand Central Terminal
Grand Central: Top 10 Things to Do in New York City
‘Spotted in Grand Central Station’
So how long did you think you’d have to wait until the gossip girl quotes start coming in? Yes, I spent quite a lot of this trip pretending I was Serena and Blair but Grand Central Terminal was the one landmark that took me by surprise! After all, it’s just a train station right? Wrong! Grand Central Terminal is an experience! I felt like I’d been swept up into a million movie scenes the moment I walked onto that shiny concourse. From the buildings fascinating architecture, American flags, endless rows of shops and a locally sourced food market, it’s a far cry from a train station.
It’s the Dorchester of train stations. With its astronomical mural on the ceiling, Grand chandeliers and an Oyster Bar that first opened its doors in 1913! Grand Central Terminal is not to be missed. Our hotel was on 42nd Street, Lexington Avenue which meant we walked through the terminal twice every day and it took my breath away every. single. time.
With the mix of luxury shops and a whole floor dedicated to the dining concourse its hard to know whether to shop or eat! Being the foodie I am I opted to eat! It was a hard choice with 22 eatery’s to chose from! Do we go sweet or savoury or both! We opted for a chicken gyros from Eata Pita which were to die for & Finished with a muffin from Magnolia Bakery (the best cake makers in the state of New York – I think!) But there’s much more to choose from including coffees, pizza, ice cream and bagels! Grab something to go whilst taking the exit via the Grand Central Food Market. And better yet if your exploring New York on a budget the terminal is free!
3. Top of The Rock!
There is only one word to describe the view from the top of the Rockefeller Centre: spectacular. You can see the whole of the city beneath you at 360 degrees! It’s incredible and not even great writing could justify how special it is! I guess you’ll just have to go and experience it for yourself! A lot of tourists head straight for the Top of the Rock Observation Deck which granted is on the top floor but costs $40 each so it ain’t cheap.
On my visit to New York thanks to my blog savvy mum who had done her research, we did things a little differently! We booked a swanky table at Bar 65 just three floors down from the observation deck. With a cocktail in one hand, we headed outside to enjoy the view for as long as we wanted! There was no obligation to buy food and certainly no rush to kick us out – we were there for hours! Go just before sunset and see the view in all its glory in the daylight, sunset and at night time when the skyscrapers are glowing. This is a brilliant option if you’re looking to get a little bit more for your money!
Tip: The bar is swanky so make sure you’ve got a cocktail dress in your luggage for the occasion! You never who you might bump into!
4. Central Park
Beautiful views over Central Park: Top 10 Things to Do in New York City
The thing that I love the most about this city is its ability to surprise! In a city full of skyscrapers located on fifth avenue is over 800 acres of greenery! Madness right? It’s the biggest park in the city of New York and is incredible! Better yet it’s absolutely free! Of course, true to 21st-century fashion there’s a ton of activities in the park which could rob you blind if you let them! But the best way to explore Central Park is on foot taking in the scenery!
Once inside the park, there’s a mountain of fun to throw yourself into! Anything from the Central Park Zoo, a rowing boat on one of the many lakes, visiting Alice in Wonderland herself or pay tribute to John Lennon at Strawberry Fields! Something to note – the park is huge and you will need all day if you plan to see the whole thing! Luckily if you’re strapped for time you can hop on and off the subway or hire a cycle!
Tip: Buy a map from one of the guides inside Central Park! They will only set you back a couple of dollars and you will get lost if you don’t get one! Especially if you’re on a time limit! Also, they are a great souvenir!