Travel Plans: My dream trip to the USA TheTravelHack March 5 USA 50 Comments Tweet TweetI am so excited to share my next big trip with you all. In my February review I mentioned that I had a big and exciting trip coming up and here it is….! On April 9th I’m flying out to Miami and then I’ll be flying out to LA to begin a tour with Trek America. Miami I’m still feeling a little shocked because my trip to Miami was actually won in a competition. This part is for anyone who never enters competitions because they’re sure they won’t win! That was me just a few months ago but you’ve got to be in it to win it. Last August I was invited to a media event by Virgin Holidays and Hip Hotels to launch their new COMO hotel, Metropolitan on Miami Beach. They were giving away a prize for two people to go and stay in the new hotel but, like most people, it hadn’t even entered my head that I could win. It was a simple ‘names out of a hat’ type competition and thanks to the London Underground I was running a little late. I was so angry at myself because I hate being late and arriving at events feeling flustered but it turned out to be the best thing possible. My name was the last one in the hat therefore it was the first one out! When my name was pulled out of the hat I almost didn’t believe it was me. I shuffled to the front of the room and accepted my prize like it was no more than a box of chocolates. I smiled but probably looked a little ungrateful because it wasn’t until I was on my way home and it really sunk in that I’d won! I phoned my boyfriend like a hysterical woman, ‘We’re going to Miami!!” and even my fellow train passengers shared in my excitement. I later found out that I was free to extend my trip and fly home with Virgin Atlantic from any US airport. This was when things started to get really exciting! I’ll be travelling with my boyfriend who has limited holidays so we were restricted to three weeks in total. The USA is so amazingly huge so we decided to take a tour to make sure we see as much as we can in a short amount of time. This is the tour we chose and just some of the things we’ll be doing: The Westerner 2 with Trek America 1. Los Angeles 2. San Diego 3. Lake Havasu 4. Grand Canyon (already excited about a helicopter trip) 5. Las Vegas 6. Sierra Nevada 7. Yosemite National Park 8. San Francisco 9. Monterey, Big Sur and Pacific Coast 10. Santa Barbara 11. Back to LA I have just over a month to research and plan my trip. If you have any suggestions for things to do, especially in Miami and LA, please let me know! We’ll be camping for a lot of the trip so if you can recommend any great camping products please let me know that too. I’m thinking about some kind of inflating mattress that isn’t too heavy and can quickly inflate. 50 Responses Becky Padmore March 5 Oh congratulations! We did almost the same trip for our honeymoon and loved every minute of it! Becky Padmore recently posted..Highlights of Sri Lanka’s southern coast by David’s Been Here Reply TheTravelHack March 14 I remember you telling me about your honeymoon and how you loved it so much it inspired you to start blogging and travelling. Now I’m even more excited! TheTravelHack recently posted..Staying stylish on the slopes: Packing for a ski trip Reply Ed Rex March 5 I’m so utterly jealous. I’ve always wanted to do this tour! I expect a whole lot of goofiness from you to make me there in spirit! Ed Rex recently posted..Annoying Things I Do as a Deaf Traveller Reply TheTravelHack March 14 Haha, OK Ed, extra goofiness so I feel like you’re there! TheTravelHack recently posted..Staying stylish on the slopes: Packing for a ski trip Reply Kirsten March 5 This sounds so exciting! I’m heading to San Francisco and doing some of the Pacific Coast/Big Sur in August-September so you’ll have to give me tips. Enjoy! Kirsten recently posted..Travelling back in time in Bruges Reply TheTravelHack March 14 Of course! I’ll do my best to get as many tips as possible! TheTravelHack recently posted..From Heritage to Adventure: The Ultimate Turkey Experience Reply PurpleTravelKate March 5 That sounds like an AMAZING trip and that hotel in Miami looks gorgeous. I’d have to say, a movie stars’ home tour would be top of my list in LA. Have a great time! PurpleTravelKate recently posted..Purple Tips: 16 Holiday Facts About Spain Reply TheTravelHack March 14 Since you’ve said that I started looking into them and I’m booked on an Intrepid Urban Adventure tour around celebs homes. So excited!! TheTravelHack recently posted..Staying stylish on the slopes: Packing for a ski trip Reply Jessica March 5 That is a great trip, you are going to love it! Reply TheTravelHack March 14 Thanks Jessica! I’m so excited. TheTravelHack recently posted..February on The Travel Hack Reply Scarlett March 5 Oh I’m SO EXCITED for you, this is my absolute dream! You’ll have to report back what you liked and disliked so I can plan mine better x Scarlett recently posted..The big ‘feminism’ debate. Reply TheTravelHack March 14 Haha, of course. I love it when you can do that so you can miss out any boring bits and jump to all the good stuff! TheTravelHack recently posted..What do you miss most while you travel? Reply Suzanne (The Travelbunny) March 5 Wow that’s some trip – you’re gonna have a blast. Looking forward to reading about it already! Suzanne (The Travelbunny) recently posted..Touring Iceland’s Golden Circle Reply TheTravelHack March 14 It looks incredible doesn’t it. I’m actually looking forward to writing about it, videoing and photographing it too! TheTravelHack recently posted..February on The Travel Hack Reply Maria March 5 You are seeing some beautiful parts of the West Coast! Congrats on winning!!! Having spent 3 summers in LA and done trips to several of these other cities, here are some recommendations: LA – The city itself is boring and hot, go to the beaches! Do Venice Beach, sure, but also check out Manhattan, Hermosa, and Redondo beaches. Go to the Getty and Griffith Park (especially in the morning) for some beautiful views. Hollywood is ugly but if you have a chance, take in a show at the Pantages. Walk around UCLA for a beautiful campus. Drive or bike Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and take in the gorgeous view of the ocean. Take a trip to Acadia and eat at Din Tai Fung if you like soup dumplings. Go to Palos Verdes (PV) and hike to the lighthouse – you will be rewarded with a STUNNING view of the “beach cities” of LA. If you have any other time, try to go to Catalina Island!! San Diego – Cabrillo National Monument on a sunny day. Best view of SD. Check out Sunset Cliffs and the Ocean Beach tidepools. San Francisco – Ride the trolley. Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge (will take time, bring a jacket!!!). Check out the California Academy of Science (and if you can, go to Nightlife at it). Go to Fisherman’s Wharf and enjoy the seals. Go to Chinatown and find the Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Factory. Grand Canyon – Just take it all in and don’t rush it. Vegas – Take the public transit monorail and see the end of the line. Vegas is super fun even without gambling. The casinos are super cool architecturally and have tons of art. Also try to get out and go hiking if you have time. Miami – Enjoy, it’s a totally other country down there. Besides maybe Miami, do not expect to go swimming. The Pacific is FREEZING and even with a wetsuit it’s cold! If you can get out to go surfing, paddleboarding, or snorkeling, do it, even if it’s freezing. Enjoy your trip! I can’t wait to see what you do. Maria recently posted..Subscription Review: Graze Reply TheTravelHack March 5 Thank you so much Maria, that’s all so useful!I’m going to try and do everything you’ve suggested (including staying out of the sea in Miami!) Reply Renuka March 5 Congratulations Monica! You have inspired me to participate in such contests now. Thank you! Have an incredible trip! Renuka recently posted..My 5 Worst Travel Experiences So Far Reply TheTravelHack March 14 Yey, I’m so glad I’ve shown that normal people really do win contests!! Good luck! TheTravelHack recently posted..Travel Plans: My dream trip to the USA Reply Kristin March 5 Woohoo — so exciting! I’ll be doing part of this trip — from LA to San Fran via Big Sur — in April so I’m looking forward to seeing what you get up to Kristin recently posted..Hovercrafting in the Luleå Archipelago Reply TheTravelHack March 14 That’s awesome. We might even cross over in some parts! TheTravelHack recently posted..From Heritage to Adventure: The Ultimate Turkey Experience Reply Anna - The Blonde Banana March 6 Sounds like a really amazing trip! Funny how I’ve never been to most of these places even though I live in the US. I’ve been to San Diego and LA but that’s it… I hope to make it to San Francisco soon though. Congrats!!!! Anna – The Blonde Banana recently posted..Dreaming about summer… (and a bit of appreciation for winter) Reply TheTravelHack March 14 It’s the same for everyone! We all seem to travel to the other side of the world but barely explore what’s in our own backyards. And when you live in the States your backyard is massive! TheTravelHack recently posted..Travel Plans: My dream trip to the USA Reply Anna L March 6 I’ve done a U.S. tour myself, albeit more south and east coast. California is a very “interesting” place – in all ways possible. Winning competitons always seems surreal, I actually won a trip to Budapest and I continued playing back the the XFM show to make sure my radio airtime wasn’t hallucinated. Enjoy! Thumbs up! Anna L recently posted..San Sebastian Carnival in Pictures Reply TheTravelHack March 14 Haha, that’s a bit what I was like. Other people win competitions but I don’t! TheTravelHack recently posted..Travel Plans: My dream trip to the USA Reply Breezy March 7 A Californian through and through, I was born and raised in the Sierra Nevada foothills, but I’ve lived in or near all of these locations, except Miami. I have so many recommendations! Here are the first that come to mind: Hike to Havasupai Falls at the Grand Canyon. Camp at Joshua Tree. Big Sur is magical. Carmel is so charming. Don’t be afraid to be a total tourist in San Francisco. Take a ferry to Catalina Island (you can stay in touristy Avalon, or camp at the more rustic Two Harbors). See how the locals spend a Saturday in LA by taking a picnic lunch to Malibu Wines. It’s outdoors, they’ll have live music and, of course, lots of wine to taste. Surf in San Diego. All of these California stops have AMAZING places to shop and eat, so map out some restaurants ahead of time (Cafe Gratitude LA, Grace’s Table in Napa, Mikuni in Tahoe…) And if you like beer, there are so many awesome breweries (Sierra Nevada, Stone, Lagunitas) These places are all near and dear to my heart – you’re going to have a wonderful trip! As a local, I’m forward to reading about it! Breezy recently posted..Runaway Dinghy: A Lesson in Knot Tying Reply TheTravelHack March 14 Thank you SO MUCH for these recommendations. I really appreciate it and I’ll definitely be adding them to my ever-growing list of things to do and see while I’m away! TheTravelHack recently posted..From Heritage to Adventure: The Ultimate Turkey Experience Reply Julie March 8 Sounds like this trip is going to be amazing! I wish you the best! If you visit LA, you should go to Manhattan Beach too! It’s a really pretty place and only 20 minutes from the city! Reply TheTravelHack March 10 Thanks Julie. I just Googled Manhattan Beach and it looks lovely. Hopefully I’ll get chance to visit! Reply Bridget @ A Traveling B March 9 What a fantastic itinerary! It is one of the best trips you can do in the US, in my opinion. Miami is known for its Cuban food (and for good reason) so make sure you scope out some good places to try it. Also, they have some really great food tours. You will fall in love with San Diego! Make sure you go to the zoo (it is one of the best in the US) and if you are into the microbrew scene, it has an incredible number of up-and-coming breweries! Bridget @ A Traveling B recently posted..Austin Eats Reply TheTravelHack March 10 I’m actually booked onto a food tour in Miami already. It’s good to know that it’s a great city to do a food tour. Hopefully we’ll get the chance to try some Cuban food. Reply Alexis Kensey March 10 Visit Carmel which is around big sur and montery! And eat at Casanovas and have something from Carmel Candy Co. It is seriously a can’t miss spot! SO perfect!!! Reply Alexis Kensey March 10 VISIT CARMEL!!! Eat at Casanova and get a treat from Carmel Candy Co! It is such a can’t miss spot just south of Big Sur! Alexis Kensey recently posted..SUMMER RECAP 2013: Saranda, Albania Reply TheTravelHack March 10 Mmm, that sounds pretty good. I’ll definitely look out for it Alexis, thanks Reply Silvia March 12 Ahh this sounds amazing! You’re going to love every place, I promise. Can’t wait to read about it! Silvia recently posted..Postcards from Northern Laos Reply TheTravelHack March 14 I’m so excited. I’m even excited to write about it myself! TheTravelHack recently posted..From Heritage to Adventure: The Ultimate Turkey Experience Reply Catherine March 13 Wow, you’re so lucky! Sounds like it is going to be an amazing trip Catherine recently posted..Exploring My Neighbourhood Reply TheTravelHack March 14 It does doesn’t it. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever done before so I really can’t wait! TheTravelHack recently posted..Staying stylish on the slopes: Packing for a ski trip Reply Angela March 19 Holy Crap! I´m super jealous that you´re doing this. It´s going to be AWESOME!! Looking forward to read all about it! Angela recently posted..Sticky Cinnamon Scones Reply TheTravelHack March 21 I’m getting so excited it’s a bit ridiculous now! Reply Elle-Rose Williams March 21 This sounds incredible! I’m heading to the states in the summer too – but not covering anywhere near as much ground as you! You’ll have the most incredible time! Where are you most excited for? x Reply TheTravelHack March 21 How exciting, where are you going? I really can’t pick one thing I’m most excited about. I can’t wait to see Miami and then camping in Yosemite should like it will be amazing. I really want to take a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. I wasn’t too fussed about Vegas but I’ve been reading about it a lot recently and it looks like it will actually be amazing. Arrggh, so excited about everything! Reply Weekend Reads: The USA Edition | The Travel Hack April 5 […] just 3 days to go until I leave for my epic trip to the States, all of my blog reading attention has been going towards the USA. I’m so excited about this […] Reply My secret to packing light | The Travel Hack April 7 […] travelling to the USA for three weeks (whoop, 3 weeks in the U. S of A, Baby!) and packing light for this trip has been […] Reply Daidri | Thee Getaway Gal April 10 So incredibly fun and you are heading to some incredible places and some where I live! You’ve just recently left so I hope you are having a great time in Miami and that the rest of your trip is successful! I wish I were going on that helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon as well. Beautiful! Daidri | Thee Getaway Gal recently posted..Italy Reflections: The Roman Colosseum Reply Corinne April 12 Monica, You are going to love it! You have a lot of cool places on your list. And what a great time of year to go. It will be beautiful. Take lots of photos, and I can’t wait to hear your impressions! Corinne recently posted..J is for Jordan (A-Z Blogging Challenge) Reply Victoria April 23 Congratulations Monica! I haven’t yet been to Miami but I’m sure you’re going to love it. I have however, been to all the National Parks and the surrounding area in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah. We managed to do that all in just under a month and in January. Amazing. We even fitted in Disneyland, California. So I’m over 10 years old. Whatever!! Have a great trip. Victoria recently posted..The food of Poland and how much I have to eat! Reply Sunset Sunday: Gliders in San Diego | The Travel Hack April 27 […] Today’s Sunset Sunday comes from San Diego from the first evening of my trekamerica road trip. […] Reply A Lady in London April 29 Amazing itinerary! It looks from social media like you’re having a great time so far! A Lady in London recently posted..Lady Loves Spring in London Reply TheTravelHack April 29 I’m having such an amazing time thanks Julie. I came home yesterday but I’m wishing I was still out there! Reply Travel Reads: Books to read before an all-American road trip | The Travel Hack June 20 […] (If you aren’t sure what I’m up to in America then check out My Epic Trip to the USA.) […] Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. 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