On Thursday it was off to Panama city Beach! 😎We made a stop off at the Air Force Base (I think that’s what it was) in Alabama and just had a quick photo stop with the planes etc… and got something to eat.We drove for a couple more hours and then stopped off at this shopping center and got some actual lunch.
I had Pita Pit (first one I’ve seen here) but it deff wasn’t as nice as back home. They didn’t toast it at the end or have any pineapple :|:|When we got to Panama city we checked in to The Days Inn.
Panama city is where they would have Spring Break in America and I can see why. You can drink on the beach!
They have about 100,000+ college and high school students go in March & April so I can see how it’s get crazy.
Their slogan is “The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches” due to the unique sugar-white sandy beaches of northwest Florida. It looks so nice!We had a really nice view from our room as well!
As Brooke left yesterday to go back home to Australia, I have Amy as my new room mate. Yay! Someone who’s into make up and fake tanning like me haha.Once we’d unpacked a bit. I headed across the road to the alcohol store and bought some Smirnoffs. As you can’t bring glass onto the beach I bought a big pink party cup to pour it into and then joined everyone else on the white sand.We went for a swim and the water was so nice. There were a few little fishes swimming around my feet as well. Plus some dolphins in the distance!At around 5.30pm I headed back my room and had a shower to wash the salt water out of my hair.
We all met at the bus at 6.45pm to head to Hofbrau House for dinner. A German restaurant a few minutes away.
I had some chicken schnitzel thing which was all good.After dinner we headed back to the Days Inn and a few of us headed to the pool and had a few drinks.I stayed a couple of hours but headed back to my room to finish off my blogs and try and get a good sleep.
I had a really dry throat when I went to bed and this morning when I woke up my glands are all swollen :|:|
I was waiting for my time to get sick on this trip!
At least tomorrow we’re going to Universal Studios in Florida so I’m going to try and have an early night so I’m not hungover on the rides.
*sigh* I’m so gutted I’m sick. I nearly made my entire Contiki without getting sick but oh well!
I have yet to see if a backpack worked out better than a suitcase on my travels but I thought I’d write a little blog about the two and how I decided to purchase this snazzy thing instead of taking a suitcase with me.
I got it on sale the other day from Kathmandu (www.kathmandu.co.nz) for NZ$270
If you look closely it has little wheels on it!
Now it’s not one of those trolley bags where it has the handle and wheels and you can drag it around like a suitcase (Pictured below)- this one just has wheels on the bottom. From what I’ve read and heard, the trolley bags are really uncomfortable to carry as it has such a hard back and they’re heavier because it has the handle that pulls out which adds more weight to it.
When I was looking at bags I had two things in mind. It had to be big enough to carry all my stuff, and it had to be light!
I’ll have trouble later on because the bigger the bag, the more stuff you’re going to want to have in it!
I’m lucky in a sense that when I fly TO America, I’m only allowed 23kg’s but on the way back I’m supposedly allowed 30kgs. Yay!
I’m going to try and take less than 10kg’s over so I have lots of room for shopping 😉 , but we’ll see…I’m going for 3 months so that’s quite a few bottles of Fake Tan.
The bag I got is called a Terrane Wheeled Trolley Backpack.
It doesn’t stand up by itself so if I do want to stand it up it has to be leaning against me. (Unlike a suitcase which will sit by itself)
It has the custom C-3 harness which is easily hidden by zipping up the flap – great for when it’s going on the plane and you don’t want the harness to get tangled up with other passengers luggage!
It’s 70L and I’m thinking it doesn’t quite look like enough room….
I haven’t tried putting in all my stuff yet as I have a few months till I leave for my trip but I might this weekend.
The weight of the bag itself is 3.44kg’s (Including the day bag attatched) so I’m going to see if I can pack about 8kg’s. I’ll use the day bag as my carry on luggage 🙂
It’s worth noting that there’s 2 sizes of this bag. Depending on your frame – so if you are going to go ahead and buy a backpack make sure you get it fitted in the store or ask them how to fit them properly. They’re meant to sit on your hips, not just hang off your shoulders like I thought!
The straps on the bag I ended up buying were slightly smaller than the one on display (I’m assuming the one on display was for taller/wider people)
I also liked how this bag zipped open like a suitcase. I hate having to rummage through my whole bag just to find something at the bottom!
When I went to Thailand with my friend, I bought a different friends backpack with me. It was great as we stayed in Phuket, travelled to Koh Samui, went to Phi Phi Island and Koh Phangan.
We didn’t just stay in one place so it was easier to heave something on my back and travel around like that.
The only time it got annoying was when we were on Phi Phi Island trying to find some accommodation in the sweltering heat and I was walking around for an hour carrying 20kgs on my back.
Pro’s of Backpacks
– Better mobility Stairs at a hostel? I’d rather carry a backpack than lift 23kg’s up 4 flights of stairs.
– Roads/un-even surfaces I don’t have to worry about dragging a suitcase down a cobblestone road in Europe.
– It helps to check out of Hotels easily When I want to go, I can go. I don’t have to worry about leaving my suitcase at reception until my flight later than night. (Even thought I might take advantage of free storage after check-out anyways)
– Your hands are free! When you’re paying for stuff or having a browse in a store you don’t have to worry about putting your suitcase down and leaving anything behind.
– They’re durable The backpack I bought is meant to be able to withstand wear and tear pretty well so here’s hoping! x
– Cost Some are bloody expensive! I’m happy I got mine on sale but still – $270! This better last me lots of trips.
– They can be a burden on your back If you don’t get them fitted properly I’m sure they’ll end up hurting your back but I’m hoping mine will be fine 🙂
– Hard to organize As mine opens up like a suitcase I’m hoping that it’ll be easier to find stuff then having to dig right down to the bottom for a toothbrush.
-Safety Unless you have locks on all the zippers, someone can easily come up behind you and sneak something out of your bag without you realising.
When I think of a suitcase I think, Holiday
Like an actual relaxing by the pool, drinks in my hand, book in my lap-type holiday.
When I went to Bali last year having my suitcase was perfect. My partner and I stayed at hotels for long periods of time and we always travelled by Taxi so we never really had to carry our bags. Even if we did have to roll them anywhere there was always someone willing to take them for us (At the hotels, not just some randoms)
– Your belongings won’t get damaged Well, not as much… I wouldn’t be taking a laptop in my backpack but I would in a suitcase (And just stuff it in between some towels)
– You won’t get a sweaty back and yucky bag straps Nothing worse then walking around with a bag on your back all afternoon and having a massive sweat patch. Plus all that sweat getting on the straps! gross.
– Easier access You open it, and everything is spread out for you to see! Easy 🙂 and so much tidier.
– Some are waterproof
– Much easier to clean
– You can wheel it around (And it makes a good seat) Obviously.
– Harder to carry up stairs
– Rough ground, grass or sand Those wheels will not glide through/on very well…
-Size They can be bulky and hard to fit under beds in hostels or in lockers
– More can go wrong with wheels If one’s broken, you pretty much need to get a whole new suitcase for your travels. Or you can just wait until you get home and half wheel it around.
I’m not going to go into my exact dates of when i’ll be flying, for safety reasons but i’ll write my destination plans! I’ll be flying up to Auckland to spend the night with my best-friend before I leave on my trip. She’s currently pregnant with her first child so by then i’d have had lots of cuddles with her new baby boy!! First stop is San Francisco – I’ll be staying there for about 5 days and i’m really hoping to go to Alcatraz while i’m there! And maybe even do a little bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge 🙂
Next stop is Los Angeles 🙂 I’ve heard mixed reviews of this glamour town but I feel it’s a must see! I’m worried i’ll overspend here!
I’m then heading off for a Contiki Tour across the United States! If you’re un-sure what Contiki is – it’s a Travel Operated Coach Tour which operates in Europe, Egypt, Australia, New zealand, North & South America and Asia.
They do three types of tours –
-Camping Tours (which are the least expensive as you rough it a bit but are really popular with gap year students) -Budget/concept tours (you stay in backpacker style accommodation or specialized contiki villages and get to meet lots of people, great if you’re going solo like me!)
–Superior Tours (most expensive of the tours but you stay in tourist hotels with nicer accommodation)
I’m doing a budget high-energy tour! So my days are spent discovering the sights and thrills of America and partying it up at night. The tour promises twin-share accommodation, breakfast each day plus some dinners at hotels and local restaurants, sight-seeing tours of the major cities and some included activities such as a limo ride down the Las Vegas strip.
As this is my own honest opinion blog, i’ll be writing an honest post about the whole experience when i’ve finished it!
I’ll be starting in Los Angeles and visiting Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida, South Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey and finishing up in New York 🙂 I’m very excited! As i’m going solo I hope to meet lots of other travellers in the same kind of boat as me. I have a tendency to get really run down when I party too much so I hope that doesn’t happen while i’m on the trip. (It has a bit of a reputation for being a party tour) Then I spend around a week in New York City at the end of my tour!
I’m most excited to see New York. As far back as I can remember I’ve been dreaming of the day i’ll see NY. When I was little I was obsessed. (I probably watched too many TV shows that featured it haha) I still haven’t booked my accommodation for here so any recommendations for a solo traveller would be great 🙂 Then I’m off to London for a few days before I start another tour!
I’m going to be doing a Top Deck tour for a few weeks around Europe.
It’s very similar to a Contiki (With the ages being 18 to 30-somethings)
But from what I’ve read/heard, Contiki is very party orientated and quite rushed and Top Deck is more about the sights and they have better food apparently!
I’ll have to write another Blog at some point about Contiki vs. Topdeck because when you research online – there’s half the world saying “CONTIKI CONTIKI!!” And the other half is “NOOO Top Deck is the BEST!”
On the Top Deck I’ll be visiting Paris, Switzerland, Venice, Germany & Amsterdam 🙂 then I’m back in London for a few days before I head over to Croatia for a one week sailing trip!
It was very hard choosing whether to do the Greek Island or Croatia for a sailing trip. I’m really gutted I’m not doing the Greek Islands but I couldn’t do everything on my budget 😦
I had to keep reminding myself, ‘The Greek Island will still be there for another day…’
Plus I heard Croatia Sailing is very ‘In’ right now.
When I’m finished up in Croatia I’m off to Rome as It wasn’t included on my Top Deck tour and I really want to see Italy!
Then It’s off to Dubai for a few nights!
Since I’ll mostly be staying in Hostels & Backpackers, or be with other people on my tours – Dubai’s one of the places I’m slightly nervous about so I won’t be staying in a hostel over there. I’m trying to find some good accommodation that doesn’t cost the earth 😦 I’m really excited to go to The Mall Of Dubai though! I feel I’ll spend a good 2 days there.
I read alot of Flight Attendant Blogs about girls working over in Dubai for Emirates etc… and I get so envious of their lives that it makes me really want to be a flight attendant!
Then It’s on my way home with a stop off in Singapore on the way back. 🙂
Phew. That’s alot of travelling.
I have a long stop over in Australia on the way back home as well. It’s at an odd hour though so I won’t be able to leave the airport and go for a browse or anything. Not that I’d want to I don’t think! I’ll be absolutely knackered.
I can’t sleep on planes.
Me + Flying nowadays isn’t the best thing for my nerves. And can you believe I want to be a flight attendant!
I think with all this stuff happening to planes lately it’s just put me on edge so the slightest bit of turbulence on a flight, my eyes are open and I’m alert.
I’m going to book in with a Hypnotherapist before I go so hopefully that will help 🙂
I hope you’ve enjoyed my itinerary!
As I’ve only just started up my blog, feel free to follow me!!! And ‘like’ any of my posts so I know at least someone’s reading them but my friends 🙂