If it were currently financially possible to travel the world, I would be booking my airport/train tickets in a heart beat. I'm a big believer in that everyone should see as much of the world as humanly possible. It's pointless to work your whole life, retire and then be unable to travel because you find yourself no longer able to. The same goes for staying in the same place for all your life and going on holiday to the same places. THERE'S MORE OUT THERE PEOPLE! I've already got a new year's resolution for 2017 to do a bit of long weekend travelling here and there where possible! I'm going to get myself one of those scratch off foil maps to motivate me to do it.
Accor Hotels have hotels in more than 90 countries stretching across all continents and have currently got a competition for bloggers and vloggers to win a 9 night trip for two exploring Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin. One can only dream of how amazing this trip would be. Think of all the Insta-worthy pictures I could take?
And the competition? To write about a place you most love to visit. This year I got the incredible opportunity to go to New York with my mum, see the blog here. As it was a belated 21st birthday treat, this was a trip that had been long awaited and planned for. My mum had been before so she'd planned a rough itinerary of the places to see and visit whilst we were there. We only had 4 days and 3 nights there so as you can imagine, it was jam packed. New York is a place, like London, that is buzzing with life and it's the city that never sleeps. With it's tall buildings and iconic tourist hotspots like Times Square, you can't help but get swept away by the magic of this incredible city. So what would I say to someone spending 24hrs there? Well read on my friends, read on!
Stay somewhere as central as possible
We stayed in the incredibly beautiful Waldorf Astoria Hotel during our stay. Dripping in elegance and style, the Waldorf Astoria is what you would typically imagine a New York hotel to look like, regal and architecturally stunning. Failing that, there's always Accor Hotels (hotel promo on point).
Wake up early
The flight is pretty long haul but it's important to try and avoid the dreaded jet lag. You want to make the most of your trip so where possible, wake up early so you can make the most of the day! I mean, it's hard not too when the yellow cabs are blaring their horns and every building has all their lights on...
Eat like the God/Goddess you are
You've probably heard about portion sizes in America right? They are literally a food culture after my own heart. I LOVE FOOD and the Americans aren't stingy with their portion sizes, that's for sure. For breakfast, try somewhere like Pershing Square which is right opposite Grand Central Station, a stunning building both inside and out may I add. Pershing Square reminds me of the Central Perk Cafe in the show Friends, from the outside. Inside, it's a weird mixture of old American style with hints of...I want to say Spanish detailing? Try this place if you want to gently ease yourself into American food as there portion sizes are a lot more reasonable. Otherwise there's plenty of corner cafes offering up stacks of pancakes dripping in maple syrup and topped with bacon!
Buy all the passes for the open top tour bus
This is by far, the first thing you should do at the beginning of your day, so you can use it throughout on your travels. We purchased ours from the hotel but guaranteed you will be hounded by ticket guides that are placed all over the streets of New York. I think we had a freestyle pass, so we weren't restricted on when we had to get on and get off. Prices vary and can be found here.
Tourist hot spots
Now just like any major city, there are an abundance of famous locations of which are teeming with tourists. The top five I would recommend are:
9/11 Memorial Museum and Ground Zero
Ground Zero is one hauntingly beautiful tribute to those who lost their lives on that unforgettable day back in 2001. The memorial museum is bitter sweet as you see so many incredible tributes and testimonies from families, friends and strangers that it makes it ten times harder to walk around and see items that were found in the wreckage. Literally small items like glasses, wallets etc showed all that remained of the person who owned them.
The Statue of Liberty
It's probably one of the most iconic statues IN THE WORLD! It's also what you see in most American movies based in New York. So, make sure you take the ferry over to the island where she proudly stands. It's an incredible sight as you approach it and like many tourist spots, it has a handy audio guide which provides lots of interesting facts and history of the statue's lifetime since the idea was conceived.
Top of the Rock
This place tops all of the viewing spots in my opinion. It's probably one of the best 360º views that you can get of the city and it looked so beautiful at night with all the buildings lit up. They have several levels of viewing points so there isn't a single angle you can miss!
Times Square is the most memorable of them all. For someone who loves performing, this area is buzzing with life, with feature of musicals/plays and advertisements plastered all over the electronic billboards.
Now unfortunately myself and my mum didn't get to go into the park itself and only saw it from the outside, on the tour buses. Like a lot of American things, they don't do small scale and this park looks HUGE so be sure to check this out on my behalf and tell me what it's like!
And for the evening...
When you've finished exploring as much as you can physically do, be sure to find yourself a theatre deal for the evening. TKTS is smack bang in the middle of Times Square and it's where you can get great deals on theatre tickets. If you're looking for something unusual, go to Ellen's Stardust Diner where you can eat whilst being sung to. Yep, the waiters and waitresses are your very own personal record players. All of them are the next up and coming stars of Broadway, so your getting more than just your burger and chips with this diner!
And the best free thing to do? Just walk around the blocks, take in all the different avenues, stop in at various buildings just to explore. We visited so many places and did so much in such a short space of time that you could take a day just walking around. It's a place you'll fall head over heels in love with. I promise you that.
On the Accor's portal you can find a great range of accommodation to suit all budgets from Sofitel to ibis, via Pullman, MGallery, Mercure and Novotel. So make sure you check them out here and wish me luck! Hopefully I get to travel a lot sooner than I hope...
If you want to enter the competition, then see below.
HOW TO ENTER
1 – Pick your favourite city
2 – Create a post/video describing how you would spend 24 hours there
3 – Contact us on Twitter: @AccorHotels with a link to your post or video
4 – Include the hashtag: #AccorHotels24hrs
Best of luck! Let me know in the comments below where your favourite place to visit is.