Viewing Platforms In New York (Manhattan)

It’s been a while, I’ve been doing some exploring around the globe and spending more time writing content for other people than myself, but hopefully in this new year, I’ll be able to share all the latest with you.

Recently, I spent a fair bit of time in New York City and over the next little while I will give you all my tips and tricks to seeing New York. First, I’ll start off by talking about the different viewing platforms.

Empire State Building

If you’ve ever seen Sleepless in Seattle, you’ll have seen a sneak preview of what it is like up in the Empire State Building. But unless you’re first in the morning or there last thing at night like they were, it probably won’t be so empty. But that is ok, because with so many other attractions you have to line up for ages so you want to be there first thing in the morning. But with the Empire State Building, what really impressed me was their crowd control. When we went first thing in the morning, it was fairly quick to get in. When we went in the afternoon, the line was hallway around the bottom of the building. Yet the line moved quickly and there was a lot of staff making sure things were orderly and being available to provide information. They also kept spaces near doors clear for those going to other places. Then inside there was more moving through the line, going through security scanning and then finally up to the first inside viewing platform. But again the line did keep moving. The inside viewing platform is particularly great in winter (the time I was there) as it is warm. That is on the 80th floor. You can then either take the lift or the stairs up to the 86th floor to the outside viewing platform where they also have the famous binoculars. For a keen photographer like me this was the best place to get photos through the fencing. But going up there at night in winter like we did was pretty chilly. Both viewing platforms offer a good view of the city and particularly of the Freedom Tower.


One World Observatory (Freedom Tower)

We had to check out One World as it was the newest, the tallest and offered a Winter Wonderland experience. The Winter Wonderland experience was a quick animation in the lift about how New York’s skyline has changed and virtual frosted windows which didn’t work the day we were there. For One World you have to line outside in the freezing cold with a line that doesn’t seen to move (especially if you’re in the voucher line like we were). There is one staff member on waving people through, a lack of information available and did I mention cold? Once you get inside to buy your tickets you can’t go straight up like you did in Empire, you have to come back at a certain time (so I’d recommend buying your tickets online for a set time if you can then just showing up 20 minutes before that time). Out the other side of the Freedom Tower is the Westfield mall and it is in here by the Subway that you line up at your time. It also means you can fill in time there out of the cold in winter until your timeslot. Lining up, the staff weren’t particularly helpful and got annoyed if people lined up too early. Once inside, you are taken up in a lift to floor 102 then run through a couple of presentations before you get to the viewing platform. The viewing platform is inside and at night very reflective. They also ran other presentation up on the viewing platform that you could choose to listen to which was very informative. The view here is the best of the bridges such as the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and the Hudson River. You can also dine up there with a panoramic view.

IMG_3527.JPGTop Of The Rock

We choose not to do this platform in the end because it was near the Empire State Building, but it is best to do during the day as it offers a great view of Central Park. You can also see the classic Empire State Building. It looked like more of the lining up was done inside so it may also be a better winter venue.

So if you’re going to New York, these are all good spots to see the city from, but if I had to pick one, I’d definitely pick Empire State Building.

Krystal xx

Defining the age of term ‘Child’

In one of our family discussions over Christmas, it came up about child fares versus the legal term child.

In legal terms you are a child until you become an adult which is legally defined on average as somewhere between the ages of 18 and 21, depending on where you live. As a result, you are generally not legally allowed to live independently until this age or able to financially support yourself.

Yet if you are on a plan, you can only have a child ticket until you are about 12, at theme parks I have seen the child age limit range between 10 & 16, movie theatres often seem to classify a child somewhere between 13 & 15, and even public transport will only accept older children paying a child’s fare with a student ID. If they are 16 and don’t have one, tough luck.

But child support payments must be paid until children are legally adults, children most likely won’t be properly employed until they are legally adults. Many young adults these days still are not financially independent for a couple of years due to studying at university. So how is it that commercial places can get away with claiming 12 year olds aren’t children?

There are three ways it can be looked at. The first is to say that a child shouldn’t be classified as anything else until they are legally an adult. The second way to look at it is based on financial independence; the idea that a parent paid less for a dependant. The third way to look at it is based on size. On a plane for example, there can be a large 13 year old who is the same size as an adult female.

However, other than size there is no excuse for these commercial places to put the child age so low just to make extra money and even for a plane the size is a flimsy excuse, I doubt the plane would need more fuel just because it had a few taller children on it.

What do you think? Is this just another way to make money or is there a justified reason for the age of a child being ambiguous in commercial places.

Krystal xx

A Quick Break Down On What To Look For In A Suitcase

I am a suitcase person. I’ve got more suitcases than I need and I am very picky about what kind of suitcase I’ll use.

These days, suitcases usually have 2 or 4 wheels and are either a soft or a hard case. Although there are exceptions, I will be focusing on these standard suitcases.

2 Wheeled Suitcases

These are the wheeled suitcases pretty much everybody has used. They have 2 wheels on the same side as the trolley system and you tilt your suitcase to move them. These wheels can often be slotted into the bottom of the suitcase to an extent because they don’t require 360-degree movement. These days, 2 wheels often seem to be on cheaper suitcases, but are sometimes offered on more premium brands. Often these wheels are considered to be in line skate wheels.

at_large_orange_24 Wheeled Suitcases

These are all the range today. These suitcases have a wheel on each corner and allow your suitcase to move in any direction. Often the wheels on these suitcases are considered to be spinner wheels or 360 degree wheels. They are essentially the same thing; wheels that can move at any angle. These wheels are more convenient as they allow a full range of motion and stand upright, rather than requiring you to drag the suitcase behind you. In general, you will be able to move faster with a loaded 4-wheel suitcase that you will with a loaded 2-wheel suitcase.

Soft Case

A soft case is often made of nylon or polyester and is usually lighter than a hard case. A soft case is also more likely to include an expander than a hard case. A soft case is also unusually rain resistant (this means your stuff won’t get wet in showers but it will in full on rain). A soft case is ultimately for someone who is not expecting a lot of rain and likes to pack as much as they can into their suitcase. The expander allows for that extra purchase to be shoved in, while the lighter weight means you can include slightly more in your suitcase before you hit the airlines weight allowance.

Hard Case3bsamsonite-cosmolite-jockumklenell

A hard case can be made from several materials, but the best are made from materials such as polycarbonate or Polypropylene. Cheaper suitcases will use ABS or ABS mixed with stronger thermoplastics such as polycarbonate. A hard case is usually water proof and materials such as polycarbonate are also quite flexible and resistant to impact, making them more difficult to break. Hard cases are also often heavier, with polycarbonate being one of the heaviest and polypropylene one of the lightest.

What You Should Look For In A Suitcase

  • Strength
  • TSA Lock & cable locking system
  • 4 wheels
  • Flexible handle & handle that adjusts to multiple heights
  • Less outside compartments
  • A colour that easy to identify (so not black or grey)

Krystal xx

Travel Hotspot: London

Everyone seems to being going to London at the moment, so I thought I’d make it my next travel hotspot. London is a fantastic city to visit; there is so much to see and do as well as so much culture and history.London (64).JPG

Because there is just so much to do in London, if you’re not driving and even if you are I recommend using a hop on hop off bus such as Big Bus Tours as your taxi around the city.  These buses have bus stops near pretty much every major tourist attraction in the city, and you can hop on and off them all day long. They also include a guided tour. London (23).JPGBecause the buses have an open top, you can also see several places from the bus as well as you could by getting off the bus. The bus companies also offer extras such as including a river Thames cruise.

There are certain iconic things such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Parliament Buildings, Westminster Abbey, The Tower Of London, The River Thames, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street and The London Eye. New buildings such as The Gherkin are also worth a look. And many of these can be seen driving past on an open top bus or walking. But some are also worth going inside such as The Tower Of London.  London (79).JPGPlaces such as Madame Tussauds, Hamleys and Harrods are also worth a visit.  If you have time, a walk through Hyde Park or Kensington Gardens is also nice.
Before taking a trip to London I recommend researching the many sightseeing places to figure out what you want to see. Then go to London with a plan and make sure you allow plenty of time, I think London would have more things to see and do than any other city I’ve visited.

Krystal xx


Travel Hotspot: Los Angeles

Los Angeles would have to be one of the most famous cities in the world and with good reason. It is the home of Hollywood, many people of influence and has a lot to offer.

IMG_2006.JPGLos Angeles can be divided into several parts, for example Hollywood and downtown LA. Each part has a completely different experience and look to offer. We did the whirlwind tour of LA, so I do hope to get back there one day soon.

What we focused on was the big attractions and theme parks. The 5 that come to mind are Disneyland, Universal Studios, Legoland, Hollywood Walk of Fame and Knott’s Berry Farm. My recommendation would be to do Disneyland last and IMG_2090.JPGUniversal second to last because these would be the two biggest attractions (with Disneyland obviously being the biggest) and doing your theme parks this way means each day is more impressive than the last. A lot of people do Disneyland first and then say they find the rest of the parks not as exciting in comparison, so start small. I would also say allow a full day for each, except Disneyland where I would allow 2-3, depending on if you are doing just Disneyland or the adjourning California Adventure Park as well.

IMG_2299.JPGSo for those not familiar with California Adventure Park, it has been described as the Disneyland for adults as it includes a few more thrill seeking rides. However, I feel like it is really just an extension of Disneyland, though I find the original Disneyland IMG_2596.JPGhas a bit more of a magical feel to it for me. So I’d recommend Disneyland itself if you only have time to do one, but both are worth a visit.

That is a lot of theme parks though, so we try to either take enough time that we can go to a theme park each second day and do things like sightseeing and shopping on the other days. Or do half when we first arrive, then visit other cities/countries, then half on the way back through, before heading home.


Happy Travels

Krystal xx


Travel Hotspot: Paris

I was talking to a colleague at work today and it came up about how much I love France, particularly Paris. So for my first travel hotspot it only seemed fitting to cover one of my favourite cities.

France (28)When I think about Paris, the first thing I think about is the first time I saw the Eiffel Tower or le Tour Eiffel. Driving into the city and seeing the tall structure in the distance for the first time was surprisingly magical. Then seeing it up close was also pretty exciting. But the most magical would be seeing it lit up at night from the Trocadéro. There was definitely a magical atmosphere there. I will say there is nothing like seeing it for yourself. I’ve seen so many pictures and never thought twice about it, but seeing the Eiffel Tower in the person really brought home the message that I had made it to Paris.

IMG_5554 (2)

Paris has so many fantastic sites to see, and plenty within walking distance of each other. From great museums and art galleries like the Louvre, to the Notre Dame to further out places such as the Palace of Versailles. If you have time, I also recommend walking the city streets and trying food from slightly outside the touristy areas. You get a real sense of the real Paris that way and in some ways that is more beautiful than the glitzy touristy Paris.

IMG_5344 (2)Along with many museums and art galleries there is also several gardens in Paris, so if you love a pretty garden, you’ll have plenty of choice. I spent the most time in le Jardin des Tuileries because it is conveniently located right beside the Louvre where I also spent a bit of time.

IMG_5317 (2).JPGThe Seine is also a site to see as is L’Arc de Triomphe. The roundabout where the arch stands is also the most intimidating roundabout I have been on in my life. While you’re there you should also check out the Champs-Élysées. There are of course many great places to shop in Paris as well.

IMG_5277 (2)There is so much to see in Paris and if you are short on time I’d recommend a bus tour like Big Bus tours. They are fantastic for getting around all the biggest attractions. If you’re trying to cut time or costs, also remember that you can sometimes see all you need from the outside.

And finally, remember to keep money and any other valuables concealed under your clothes so you don’t lose them.

Krystal xx