Believe it or not, I am finally back home in the UK after three months in the United States and although I definitely needed to stop travelling and catch up on some sleep, I miss it so much already!
I have quite a few posts planned in regards to my summer in the US, however I first wanted to just summarise where I actually went. So that is what this post is for!
Obviously my summer started with my 2 months working in Walt Disney World in Florida and so that is where I was based for the majority of my time but as soon as I finished work, as per the terms of my visa, I had a month to travel before having to head home and so I wanted to fully make use of that and explore as much of the country as possible.
Leaving Orlando, Alice and I headed for Los Angeles and straight to Anaheim because where else should you go after spending a whole summer in Disney World…? Disneyland, of course! We spent 3 nights in Anaheim and stayed at the Travelodge Inn and Suites, Anaheim. I had actually booked the room here a while in advance with £0 deposit and Free Cancellation after anticipating the hotels would get busy and overpriced due to D23 Expo at the same time. It was a nice hotel and for the price we paid and its location (a 25 minute walk to Disneyland) we were very happy with it.
After a few days of extra magic in Disneyland we headed to Hollywood Boulevard in LA to explore the city, hike to the Hollywood sign and stroll along Santa Monica Pier! Here we stayed in USA Hostels Hollywood which was an incredible hostel. We were in an 8 bed female dorm with an en-suite and it was kept immaculate and all the staff were lovely. The provided breakfast was also substantial and there was tea available 24/7, which I was very happy about! I would definitely recommend this hostel to travellers looking to stay in the central Hollywood area of Los Angeles.
San Francisco & Yosemite National Park
Our next stop was San Francisco, where we stayed one night before heading off to Yosemite. We took a 2 day tour with Extranomical Tours to Yosemite and had an absolutely amazing time. We booked into the Tent Cabin accommodation which was perfect for our night there and the transport to and from Yosemite with Extranomical was very convenient. We were then in San Francisco for another 3 days and while there we stayed at HI San Francisco – Fisherman’s Wharf. As part of the Hostelling International group this was a reliable and well rated hostel. The location was incredible however I wasn’t as impressed with the facilities as I had hoped. We stayed in an 8 bed female dorm again but with a shared bathroom this time. I would probably look elsewhere if I stayed in San Francisco again, however for a few days it was enough for us especially with such a great location. While in San Francisco we visited Alcatraz Island, biked across the Golden Gate Bridge and visited the Walt Disney Family Museum!
Las Vegas & National Parks Tour
Upon leaving San Francisco I said goodbye to Alice, as she had to head home for a hen-do and was then joined by my friend from home, Riya. Our first stop was Vegas, which was more than I could have ever imagined it would be! While in Vegas we stayed at the Luxor Hotel and Casino, a supposedly budget hotel for Vegas standards but to us it was luxury and after being in hostels, a fancy hotel room was a dream! We spent 2 nights in the hotel and a day exploring the Strip before heading off on a tour with Bindlestiff for 3 days exploring some of the amazing National Parks America has to offer! The two nights spent on the tour we were camping, with all equipment provided, and it was such an amazing adventure. I would highly recommend a Bindlestiff Tour and would attend again myself. There will be a more detailed blog post talking all about this trip coming soon. Once we were back in Vegas we stayed another two nights in the Luxor and tried our hand in the casinos before heading to our next destination.
Our next stop was New Orleans, Louisiana and once again, this city was a whole new world in comparison to everywhere I’d been previously on this trip and especially compared to Vegas! The culture and architecture the city holds is incredible and there is so much to experience, namely food, drink & music! While here we stayed in The Quisby which was a hostel about 45 minutes walk from the French Quarter but very easy to get to and in a nice area. I was very impressed with this hostel too, it was very clean and the staff were lovely. We stayed in a 4 bed female dorm with an en-suite which was a lovely room and we were lucky enough to have the room to ourselves for our 4 nights there. Our time in New Orleans was basically endless fun, coupled with a Ghost, Voodoo and Vampire Walking Tour which I’d highly recommend as well as a Cajun Swamp Tour, in which you get extremely close to many alligators!
We then flew further east again to DC and were in the capital for 3 nights. Here we stayed at HI Washington DC, another Hostelling International Hostel which had an excellent location and pretty good facilities. We were in a 10 bed female dorm with a shared bathroom for the floor. The pace in DC was again very different from anywhere else we’d been and it was a very relaxed few days wandering around the National Mall and all the museums & government buildings. We also visited the Zoo which to our surprise was free!
Our final destination was Boston and while here for our last few days in the US we stayed with our friend who has been studying at Boston University. Our time there was spent wandering the city, eating some really good food & exploring Harvard. It was definitely the most chilled stop of our trip, mainly because by now we were exhausted and also because it is less of a touristy city. Nevertheless we had an amazing time and it was such a lovely end to such a wild adventure!
So, that’s where I went, where I stayed and a brief summary of what we did in each place. As I mentioned above, I will be writing some more detailed posts specifically on the National Parks I visited as well as some other posts I have in mind such as how to do Las Vegas on a student budget. If you have any other requests or specific things you’d like to know about my US travels or about my time working at Disney (because there is still so much to say about that too!) then either comment on this post or send me a message on Instagram and I’ll be sure to write about it.