Advantages Of Traveling Solo

As someone who loves to travel (if you couldn’t already tell!), I also love to share that passion with others. Indulging in travel experiences with another person or even a group of people is something that is very special. In a way, it creates a bond that can never again be replicated. However, I have recently discovered there are many advantages of traveling solo. You heard that correctly…traveling alone. By yourself. The thought alone might terrify some. Especially when immersing yourself into a new, unfamiliar environment.

But just think about it for a minute, traveling alone makes trip planning easier. Getting everything ready for a solo trip – booking flights, making hotel reservations, and scheduling city tours – is such a breeze when you only have yourself to consider. Instead of have to dealing with the stress of the dreaded group text, the planning process will be head-ache free.

Once you arrive at  your destination, your days ahead are for you to control. Whether you want to lounge by the pool, hike up a trail or go to a museum, the only person who runs the show will be you – and at your own leisure! So whether you are a morning person or late-sleeper, it will be up to you to decide when you want to start the day. It’s a much less stressful experience than deciding everything as a group and honestly, makes for a more relaxing trip.

Also, it is much easier to stick to your budget. Have you ever tried to split a dinner check with a group of friends at a restaurant? Even though you have only had a glass of water and a light appetizer, you still have to end up paying for the more expensive meals your friends opted for. Basically, traveling in groups can be very expensive. Especially when the group democracy votes for the most expensive restaurant in town or an un-expected beer run, all of the costs add up. But when you are traveling solo, you make all the decisions! Sticking to your budget and being aware of where your dollars are spent will be much easier. 

Overall, there are so many advantages to traveling solo. Being independent in a new city can definitely be a little scary, however just think about how exhilarating it can be! I don’t want be cliche and encourage you to “find yourself”, but give it a try. Make plans for YOU. Meet new people. Try a new restaurant. And most importantly, revel in the fact that you are conquering the world on your own.

Until our next excursion…xo

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5 Ways To Be A Tourist In Your Hometown

Although traveling is such an important remedy, it can be sometimes difficult to pull away from reality. When finances, time and overall personal life does not align as perfectly as it should, a dream vacation is usually nothing but a faint dream. However,what if you could get away from reality, all while being in close vicinity of your home? Luckily enough, there are several ways than an individual can embrace the perks of traveling while being a tourist in there home town.

To say that we know everything about our home town may be a little bit of a stretch. Whether small or large, every town is filled with history, artifacts and hidden gems. So next time you’re in post-travel depression, not to fear! Here are five ways to be a tourist in your home town:

  1. Visit Local Attractions: Whether it may be a welcoming center, museum, historical landmark or park, visiting these attractions will definitely place you in the tourist mindset. Do your research and make a list of all the places you’d like to explore. Don’t forget your camera! A selfie for your Instagram will be the perfect way to get into travel mode.
  2. Have A Date With your City: Seriously. Take an evening to grab some dinner and a movie! Try a restaurant you’ve never been to and try a different cuisine. It might surprise you. Also, taking an evening stroll through your town might be a fresh perspective on an area you’re used to.
  3. Get A Room: As someone who loves hotels, reserving a room is a great way to get away from the daily routine. Take advantage of the ammentities that the hotel has to offer! A great idea also is to ask the desk clerk about things to do in the area. You might learn something about your town you never knew!
  4. Attend an Local Sports Event: Whether it may be a Major League baseball game or high school football game, this is a fun activity for all ages. Grab some peanuts and cracker jacks and enjoy the little pleasures your town has to offer!
  5.  Do Something Outdoors: Before moving to New Jersey, I had no idea about the fun outdoor attractions they had to offer! This could be anything from amusement parks, hiking on a local trail or taking a stroll around the park or waterfront. Each town is unique, so finding something fun to do outdoors could be a different experience for everyone. Take advantage of all your town has to offer!

So go out and explore your turf! More than likely, you’ll learn something you’ve never known before.

Until our next excursion…xo

Summer Vacation Packing Check List

As summer vacation is right around the corner, preparing a packing check list is a must! Keeping organized while preparing for a vacation is not only the best way to eliminate any unwanted stress, but also a great way to ensure that nothing will be missing. There is nothing worst than unpacking your luggage in your tropical destination only to find out you forgot a tube of sunscreen or your favorite pair of flip flops.

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Photo Cred: Mr. Kate

By following my ultimate packing checklist, you’ll be all set and ready to enjoy a fabulous summer vacay!

Important

  • Passport
  • Travel Documents
  • Wallet
  • Drivers Licsence

Basics

  • Swimwear
  • Underwear
  • Pajamas
  • Socks Beach Towel
  • Hair elastics/Bobby pins
  • Band-aids
  • Medicine/Vitamins
  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Luggage Tag

Clothes

  • Dresses
  • Skirts
  • Shorts
  • Jeans
  • Tanktops/Tees
  • Pullovers
  • Light Jacket

Shoes

  • Sandals
  • Sneakers
  • Heels

Accessories

  • Sunglasses
  • Jewelry
  • Belts

Electronics 

  • Computer/Charger
  • Camera/Charger
  • Phone/Charger
  • Memory card
  • Headphones

Toiletries

  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Dental Floss
  • Deadorant
  • Shampoo/Conditioner
  • Body Wash
  • Facial Wah/Soap
  • Makeup Remover
  • Sunscreen
  • Moisturizer
  • Body Lotion
  • Makeup
  • Hair Brush
  • Straightener/Hair dryer
  • Hair products
  • Tweezers
  • Razor

 

If you have checked off everything on this list, then you will be good to go! Also a simple reminder to pack in moderation – less is more! Only pack what is needed and what will fulfill the length of your vacation. For instance, you wouldn’t pack ten sundresses for a three day stay in the Bahamas.

Ready. Set. Vacay!

Until the next excursion…xo

New York State of Mind

New. York. City.

One of my favorite places to get lost. The brightest gem on the East Coast. Luckily enough, I am only a 45 minute train ride from the center of the world! However, whether you are close by or many miles away, traveling to New York City should be on everyones bucket list.

There is something so magical about walking through the concrete jungle that the feeling is almost indescribable. New York City is filled to the brim with things to do, places to go and people to see. And the special thing is, there is something for everyone! Everything about the city screams inclusion and excitement waits at the end of every street corner. If you have been to the city once or even a million times, it is impossible to be bored.  Although it has been awhile since my last trip to the city, I definitely wanted to share with you all why its so special.

I first and foremost, have to highlight the food. New York City is the epicenter of all things delicious. Whatever craving you are experiencing, you name it and NYC has it. As you’re walking through Times Square or 42nd Street, you are enticed by the largest array of restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, pizza joints and hot dog stands. Whenever I go, I always try to indulge in something new and different!

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Eclair Bakery, 305 E 53rd St.

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Best hotdogs in NYC! 2090 Broadway, NYC

The second best thing that I love about NYC is Times Square! There is something so magical about being surrounded by the bright lights, massive LED screens and the beautiful, busy-like atmosphere. Everywhere you turn there is something brand new to immerse yourself in and discover. Everything you need is right in the epicenter of Times Square, such as a many incredible restaurants, attractions, shopping stores and even entertainment. Something is always going on in Times Square, whether it may be a live performance or art display.

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Times Square, 2015

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Times Square, 42nd Street, 2015

After taking a peak at the beautiful lights of Times Square, the best way to achieve balance is to visit Central Park. Only a short taxi cab ride away, Times Square is a wonderful site to stroll through. The park is massive and during every season, there is always something going on! For example, I last visited the park  a few winters ago and they had everything from hot chocolate stands to interactive art displays. In the summer, yoga classes, sports events and other fun activities are available. Also, Central Park is located next to plenty of great attractions, such as The Met and the Museum of Natural History!

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Central Park, 2015

Finally, a recent discovery I made was the beauty of Soho. After jumping on the subway and stopping at Canal Street, it is amazing how you feel as if you were placed in a different world. Compared to the bustling streets of Time Square, Soho is a cool, collected hipster central! Walking the cobblestone streets and grabbing a latte at a local cafe made me feel like a savvy, chic new yorker. The buildings reflect early 1920’s architecture that not only brings you back in time, but helps you appreciate the beauty that is New York. Soho also has art galleries, museums, historical landmarks, theaters, restaurants and incredible night life. Basically, there is something for everyone!

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Soho, 2015

Although I haven’t even covered half of what New York City has to offer, these highlights definitely reflect what an amazing destination it is. Every trip to the city brings about something new and exciting, quite honestly, I don’t think many places yield that power. Adventure awaits in this concrete jungle and I have already made a list on the sites I must visit next time I am in NYC. I cannot wait for my next trip to the Big Apple!

Comment below what your favorite thing to do in New York City is!

Until the next excursion….xo

Dollar Store Packing Hacks

As I have started planning my mini birthday getaway (yay, Atlantic City!), I have started to plan what it is I will pack! Don’t get me wrong, I love packing for getaways because it literally places you in that “vacation mode”. But over the years, I have discovered a few mishaps when opening my suitcase after a long plane ride or a road trip…

For example, if I did not lock my lotion bottle all the way, I would be left with a sticky and messy suitcase disaster. I would find that my jewelry would become too tangled or lost in the suitcase abyss by just simply throwing it in a side pocket. Even worse, loose cables, such as my phone charger, headphones or laptop charger are always tangled in such a mess that the frustration begins to sour my vacation!

But not to fret…because there is a solution! After much travel experience, I have found that there are many great and most importantly, inexpensive hacks to make packing a breeze. I have even learned from Pinterest and other travel blogs that I follow that there are many cool and convenient hacks available…and thankfully enough, they work wonderfully!

Admittedly I am a dollar store fiend and I have found that most of these hacks can be accomplished by picking up simple things in one trip! Here are my favorite dollar store packing hacks:

  1. Seal lotion, shampoo and conditioner bottles with plastic wrap: This is by far one of the most important hacks I discovered. I went through a period of traveling where I always found my shampoo or lotion containers oozing from the caps. The best thing to do with containers with liquid is to wrap them up in plastic wrap. However, there’s a trick! You must uncap the container, wrap the plastic around the opening and screw the cap back on, that way it will ensure that the liquid remains completely inside. This is great and inexpensive way to save your product and avoid any mess!03c1c4e5c93b212e40c794c3369528b2
  2. Empty Chapstick containers hide valuables: If you are like me, whenever I am done with a tube of cherry Chastick, I’ll just chuck it away and buy a new one. However, by cleaning and using the empy containers it is a great way to hide valuables. Think about it, aren’t you a little paranoid about leaving your cash or jewelery behind on your beach towel when taking a dip in the ocean? Or when you throw your valuables into your suitcase? The best solution is to stick them in a convenient chapstick tube as a perfect disguise and storage device.
  3. Plastic Binders to keep wires untangled: I absolutely hate tangled wires. It is a extremely frustrating time to untangle wires on vacation when you should be immersing yourself in relaxation! This perfect dollar store hack is a great way to avoid the frustration and keep all wires (headphones, chargers, ect.) tangle-free!
  4. Pot holders make great heat-proof holders for accessories: I am always paranoid about leaving hot flat irons on a hotel counter or just thrown around in my bag. A great way to avoid any hot mishaps is to pick up a $1 pot holder or oven mit and place your accessories right in! This is also a great way to organize your luggage by exactly where your straightener or blow dryer is at all times!  
  5. Shower caps to cover the bottom of your shoes: When on vacation, I love to explore the surrounding area! For example, when I went to the Pocono Mountains in the fall, we spent an entire day hiking trails along the mountains. As you could imagine, my sneakers were covered in dirt and when it came time to pack them back up, I was super paranoid. I ended up stealing a roll of hotel toilet paper and wrapping them up that way! However, by simply purchasing a shower cap, it is the perfect way to cover the soles of any style of shoe.
  6. Contact cases are great holders for liquid makeup: Whenever I go on vacation, my makeup bag is always busting at the seams. Bringing a whole bottle of liquid foundation just seemed unnecessary when I would only be on a vacation for a short while. Therefore, purchasing a contact case and squeezing all you need in the compartments is a fabulous way to save space. And it doesn’t just have to be makeup! When using other products, such a moisturizer or lotion, it can also be conveniently placed in a contact case. 
  7. Pill cases are great for accessories: Let’s face it, packing accessories is never an easy task. Your favorite earrings are either thrown in a side pocket or tangled with an array of necklaces in a makeup bag. The best way to avoid lost or tangled jewelry is to pack them in a pill case! They offer them in a variety of colors at the dollar store and it is a great hack to keep all accessories organized. 
  8. Floatie + Wine Bottle = Genius!: This is by far my favorite hack! Since my next getaway will be for my birthday, I am beyond prepared to bring along a bottle of my favorite bubbly. The best way to avoid the breakage of wine bottles (or any glass bottle, when you think about it!) is to place a floatie around it! Pretty neat, huh?
  9. Straws are perfect for necklaces: Pick up a box of straws at your local Dollar Tree and you will not be disappointed! Everyone knows how frustrating it is when necklace becomes tangled. By stringing your favorite necklaces through a straw, it is a guaranteed to be in perfect condition. 
  10. Dryer Sheets on top of your suitcase: Although it may sound weird at first, placing dryer sheets on top of a suitcase is a great way to freshen up your suitcase! If you’re like me, I store my suitcase in the attic, which always leaves it smelling old and musky. With the dryer sheets, it is guaranteed to leave your belonging smelling great…even after the vacation is over!So, take advantage of these inexpensive hacks! Guaranteed you will not be disappointed.

Until the next excursion…xo

My Top 5 Favorite Diners In New Jersey

Although I have only lived in New Jersey for a couple years, I do know that we have the best diners…hands down! I am the biggest fan of diner food, so whenever it is time to grab breakfast (or even lunch, brunch or dinner!), you can most likely find me stuffing my face at one of my favorites.

When traveling through Jersey, whether it may be for a purpose or a random daytrip, I always make it a point to stop at a local diner and for two reasons. They always have the best food for the best price!!! Portion sizes at Jersey diners are always enough to satisfy your tastebuds and keep you full. Also, diner prices are never too pricey, so an entire meal is guaranteed not to put a dent in your pocket!

Whether you live in Jersey or if you ever plan to visit the Garden State, make it a must to visit a diner. Here are my top 5 favorites:

1. Pantagis, Edison, NJ

Pantagis is absolutely one of my favorite diners in New Jersey! It is open 24/7 so it is the perfect spot to enjoy a stack of pancakes at 3 a.m. The prices are solid (breakfast specials starting at $4.95) and portion sizes are worth every penny. They were also have the largest variety of bakery goods that are baked fresh every single day! The diner itself was awarded best diner for desserts in the State of New Jersey by Inside Jersey magazine. So if your sweet tooth is yearning for a place to dine, Pantagis is definitely the diner for you!

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3126 Woodbridge Ave, Edison, NJ 

 2. Amy’s Omelette House, Long Branch, NJ

Ahhhh, Amy’s! I discovered this treasure about a year ago and this place has literally changed the game on great diner eats. What is perfect about Amy’s is its location as it is located right next to the Jersey Shore. During the summer, this is the best place to dine before a perfect beach day! Regardless of the season, I always find myself traveling the extra mile for some great food. The atmosphere is super retro as the resutrant is decorated in antique items and old-school Jersey Shore memorabilia. The menu is HUGE and whatever you have a taste for, Amy’s is bound to have it. My favorite menu item is the pumpkin pancakes which are made to absolute perfection and is offered all year around!

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444 Ocean Blvd. N, Long Branch, New Jersey

 

3. The Colonial, East Brunswick, NJ

If you are looking for a diner with a classic feel, then the Colonial is the best diner for you. Once you walk in, you are immediately taken back to a different era. Each booth includes a mini jukebox and the sound of 1960’s music continues to hum through the speakers. The classic menu items (from what I have eaten) are delicious and they have hands down the best cappucino I have ever tasted. Also, they were recently named one of the best top 5 diners in Central Jersey by nj.com!

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560 Highway 18, East Brunswick, NJ

Clinton Station Diner, Clinton, NJ

During my fall road trip to Pennsylvania, I was super excited to make a special pit stop at the Clinton Station Diner and my goodness, I was not disappointed!  The place is cute and quaint, representing what looks like an actual train station inside. Once you enter, the first thing you notice are the model trains that are suspended onto the ceiling and they even go around the entire restaurant. Where we sat we were situated next to a working fireplace which was super cozy! The diner is open 24/7 and offers a large array of breakfast, lunch and dinner. Billboards around the diner advertise the Mt. Olympus – an actual 50lb Burger! Although I am not sure who could finish a burger of that standard, there were photos that displayed a few “burger champions”! So if you are looking for a diner with a unique feel and great eats, the Clinton Station Diner is perfect for you!

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2 Bank St., Clinton, NJ

The Reo Diner, Woodbridge, NJ

Since they have been open since 1935, the Reo is not only a historical landmark but a great place to dine. “Meet me at the Reo” is there signature phrase and I can honestly say that I have used it on many occasions. Even when I lived in Florida, I would visit Central Jersey during the holidays to see family and the Reo was always at the top of my list to eat when I was in the area…and still is! The Reo is an instant classic and embraces its historical roots with jukeboxes and Bon Jovi and other Jersey celeb memorabilia decorated on the walls. The food never disappoints and for someone who has a huge appetite, the portions are huge. I am a huge breakfast person (I can eat it at any time of the day!), so whenever I make it out to the Reo I always order a plate of buttery French Toast. To this day, it is one of my favorite foods! So if you’re looking for a simple, classic and hospitable place to dine, head to the Reo.

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392 Amboy Ave, Woodbridge, NJ

Leave a comment below on what your favorite diner is!

Until our next excursion…xo

Crafting The Perfect Roadtrip Playlist

If you have ever been on a road trip, you know that a musical playlist is an essential key. Whether it may be a three hour trip or a couple days on the road, jamming to the perfect playlist is the best way to make the most of your trip. Basically, it is the perfect way to make time fly by, as well as get into the “vacation mode”!

When making my playlist, I always plan ahead! That way I can plug in my USB cord and begin my perfect jam sesh. I love using Spotify, a music, podcast and video streaming service. It does require a monthly subscription, however since I am a college student, I do get a  killer discounts ($4.99/monthly vs. $9.99/monthly) Also, Spotify does provide a large variety of artists and albums for any genre of music that you may be interested in!

Spotify

On the contrary, there are plenty of other great music apps available, such as Apple Music, Tidal  and Amazon Music. Essentially, each app is unique, so I would highly recommend doing your research on which steaming music service fits your needs. Personally,  I love Spotify because of the wide variety my favorite artists and allows each user to create a personalized playlist with much ease.

The best way to make a playlist is to include what the tracks that you like best, of course! I always like to include upbeat and high-energy music on my playlist since it keeps me motivated behind the wheel. However, everyone is different! Therefore, always keep in mind when creating a playlist what music will keep you elevated and excited to continue on your journey!

I also like to keep in mind the interests of others who may be traveling with me. Not everyone has the same tastes in music. For example, I am obsessed with anything Taylor Swift, whereas my boyfriend (who is usually my roadtrip companion) loves heavy metal. Although they are two opposite genres, I always keep in mind to include a mixture of both in my playlist!

Below I included my most recent roadtrip playlist:

  1. Passionfruit, Drake
  2. Chained to The Rythym, Katy Perry
  3. Thats What I Like, Bruno Mars
  4. Dive, Ed Sheeran
  5. It Aint Me, Selena Gomez (feat. Kygo)
  6. Rockin’, The Weekend
  7. Bohemian Rhapody, Panic! At the Disco
  8. Everyday, Ariana Grande
  9. Play That Song, Train
  10. Gravity, John Mayer

As you could probably already tell…my playlist is a little all over the place…okay, maybe a lot all over the place! My top ten favorite tracks (at the moment) are from many different genres! However, this playlist is guaranteed to keep me positive and pumped for the road that lies ahead and that my friends, is what is most important!

Keep in mind that your playlist will always be unique to you and what will keep you pumped for the getaway that lies ahead!

Until our next excursion….xo