Megabus launches new hop-on-hop-off tour buses in London

Back in my youth I chose to stay at home to attend university but that didn't stop me from taking advantage of friends who had moved away to study. I ventured to Leeds, Sheffield and Brighton over the years to drink WKD in grimy student clubs and I always took the Megabus. It was a lifesaver for a poor uni student who only worked in Next on the weekend. Even as I got older I was still a loyal user, choosing to visit Liverpool, Cardiff and Bristol on the bus. Once you're used to paying £2 return, you never really can justify the extortionate train prices. So when an email from Megabus dropped into my inbox to invite me to try out their new hop-on-hop-off bus trips in the capital. I'd never got round to taking an open-top tour of London despite living 30 minutes away and working in the city because they've always been so expensive and my dad has been a pretty good tour guide over the years. But Megabus have introduced sightseeing tours starting from a staggering £1 plus booking fee. Incredible right?!

You'll be taken on a two hour tour around London whilst taking in over 50 of the incredible sights. You can choose to get on at three different stops, including the London Eye, Tower Hill and Park Lane hotel. They run every hour so you won't ever have to wait too long to hop on a bus.

I was lucky to have an exclusive ride on the tour on the day we had the glorious heatwave in London. It couldn't have been a more perfect evening to be riding around in an open-top bus. As with all sightseeing buses, we had a running commentary throughout the journey of the different facts about the city. I always think I know everything there is about London but it seems I don't as there was quite a few tidbits that were brand new!

Thank you so much to Megabus for such a lovely evening and I'd definitely recommend it. The price just can't be beaten!


Hotel review: POD Times Square, New York City, U.S.A

When I was looking for a hotel in New York I had a few things on my list I needed to be ticked. It has to be in Manhattan, near Times Square and come in at under £900 for a week. Surprisingly this Wishlist was pretty hard to fill. Then I came across POD. Located just two blocks from Times Square on Broadway, the compact hotel had only opened earlier this year so was offering discounted rooms. We managed to score a double room for around £840 which sounds pretty expensive but it was one of the cheapest we could find in the location we desired.

I've described it as an American version of our budget travel lodges but I feel like this might be giving it a slight disservice. The rooms are pretty compact which didn't bother us in the slightest as we literally just used it as a place to sleep. But I imagine it would be slightly annoying if you had planned on chilling out a lot more in the hotel room. The bed was pretty comfortable, the TV had a great array of channels to choose from and the view was so quintessential NYC. Admittedly there wasn't really enough space to store our belongings but we made do and got round it in the end. I loved waking up to such an incredible view of the skyline.

They put on a complimentary breakfast consisting of plain bagels, coffee and croissants served at 7.30am which is great if you had an early start. They also put on neighbourhood walks which are advertised in reception. The concierge helped us booked a couple of seats on a minibus to the airport as we had an early flight - a great way to take the hassle out of getting public transport. All in all, POD was a great choice for visiting NYC and was absolutely perfect. I'd definitely stay there again if I find myself in the city once more.


Five resources I use to plan a holiday

If I'm honest I think I may actually prefer planning a holiday than actually going on holiday. I spend months planning each little detail from where to eat, drink and what to see. I pride myself on trying to find things that are a little different to the normal 'tourist trail'. I've had a few people ask me where I find all my inspiration so here are the top five resources I look to when I'm planning a trip. Beware - they also help to add 100 more different cities, towns and countries to your travel wish list!

1. Guide books
Every time I book a trip away, I always make sure I buy a guidebook. I swear by Lonely Planet and have a pretty extensive collection now. I've never had a bad meal from one of the restaurants suggested and the sights they recommend have always been spot on. They're so great to always have in your backpack to refer to as you seek out a new city. Other brands I love are Wallpaper and 500 Hidden Secrets of.... I try to buy a book based on the entire country and a more relevant one of the city I'm visiting. I don't really like the pocket guides as I don't think they have enough information in for my liking.

2. The Guardian
I'm obsessed with the Guardian travel section and have picked many of the hotels I've stayed in because of this website. I read it weekly and really enjoy the reader travel tips. They often bring new-to-me cities and countries that I would never have thought of visiting. The Malaysian one has been fantastic for helping me plan my trip to the country next February. It's such a great mix of travel inspiration and interesting travel news. It has a good selection of places to visit in the U.K too, so it's a brilliant source of information if you're planning a staycation.

3. Instagram
Ah I'm a sucker for visiting somewhere that I've seen on Instagram. I usually use this more for restaurant recommendations rather than places. Every now and again I'll have a browse through the travel Instagrammers I follow and save some restaurant recommendations - in case I ever find myself in that city! I also use it to look at restaurants I've found in my guide books. Quite often if you then click on the user, they will have been in other restaurants in the are so you'll then find even more options. I don't always go for ones that make a good picture, I try to look out for ones that look like they sell amazing local food. I'm more likely to save it if it's been snapped by locals rather than just tourists. One giveaway is if the caption is in the language of the country rather than in English.

4. Conde Nast Traveler
Despite being high end, Conde Nast does have some cracking budget hotel articles such as The U.K's best country pubs with rooms and Affordable hotels in Europe. I think I have placed every single hotel on my travel wish list. The website is really good for United States inspiration with so many cool and quirky towns and cities to browse. Quite often places, you would never have thought off but after reading about them you're so desperate to visit. Don't forget to check out the city breaks section either.

5. Blogs
Last but not least are blogs! I've really gone off of the over-styled, luxury travel blogs as I can't afford to live that lifestyle and they just seen all generic. I feel like most of the places they write about could be anywhere in the world, they all look the same. I feel they just wouldn't help me make the most of a country - I go on holiday to take a break from the norm at home. If I'm visiting somewhere new I want to go where the locals go and get out of my comfort zone. One of my pet hates is bumping into English people abroad or being surrounded by Brits. Says the girl who is actually going to Magaluf this year... Anyway I digress. Instead I'm loving the bloggers who visit places out of the ordinary, have down-to-earth writing and often stay in an AirBnB or affordable hotels. A few of my favourites at the moment include Vicky Flip Flop, Lost Without Purpose, Megan Starr and On The Luce.

How do you plan a holiday?


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