For those that are regulars to my site, will know that I share a lot of tips and advice on the US visa journey. It’s a long process that has often stressed me out due… More
I was fortunate growing up. From a very young age, every year we’d go on holiday in the caravan, sometimes multiple times a year. The first time I went overseas I was 11 years old, but this was a one off! Of course being a small child (and then a teenager) I equally loved the excitement of going away but then certainly done my fair share of moaning! Believe me, there was only so much scenery and walking that my small mind could deal with!!
My hometown in England was less than 40 miles from the London 2012 Olympic Park. The years leading up to the Olympics I watched a big ugly piece of waste land on the outskirts of London be transformed into the awesome public space that it is today. I’d go by on the train and see all these artist oddities popping up (ArcelorMittal Orbit and the Aquatics Centre…I’m looking at you!) and I too started questioning if it was all going to be finished in time! So imagine the disappointment when the ticket lottery started and I received a grand total of ZERO tickets for the events that I wanted to see. Just like that I thought I was going to miss out on something that people, some of who lived 1000s of miles away that managed to score tickets for! Never fear, if you miss out on tickets to the main Olympic event, there are other ways to get involved and enjoy the atmosphere!
So I may be the world’s worst travel hacker…when I moved to the USA, bearing in mind I had NO credit score, so it was like starting again, I just got whatever credit card that my local bank would give me. It’s one of those jobs that I’ve just never got round to changing BUT I do collect air miles and I’m close to getting a free Caribbean return flight! This is how I collect air miles without a credit card through the American Airlines AAdvantage program!
I still find it hard to believe that Hawaii is one of the American States. It sounds silly but it honestly feels like a million miles away from mainland USA! (With my Green Card I could technically live in paradise!!) If you’re looking for things to do in Oahu, in this post I share a whole range of things that I squeezed into a 1 week trip! Oahu is small enough to be able to see a good amount of the island in just a short time. We hired a car for half of the week to explore the parts of the island that are outside of Honolulu, allowing us to get out of the city and appreciate the quieter parts of Oahu!
As travellers, sometimes we have to get clever when it comes to finding flight deals. Back in the summer, it was cheaper for me to fly from Chicago to London Stansted, transferring in Dublin (and even getting a hotel for the night!), than it was flying direct from Chicago into Heathrow or Gatwick. One HUGE benefit of flying through Dublin, is that Dublin airport is one of only a handful of airports in the world where you can actually cross the American border while still being in a different country. Here’s my experience of clearing US Immigration in Dublin.
One thing that surprised me the most when I moved to Iowa, was that there was actually a ski resort! I’m sure I’m not the only one that would assume that Iowa equalled flat and all corn fields…how wrong was I! Sundown Mountain Dubuque has 21 ski runs (green, blue and black diamond) and 2 terrain parks. When it doesn’t snow, the resort is maintained by 150 snow guns (believe me, it’s cold enough for the snow not to melt once it is there!) and the runs are groomed daily!
Pinots Palette was founded in Houston, Texas back in 2009. There’s now over 100 studios across the country with 2 being located within Iowa (Dubuque and Des Moines)! The Pinots Palette tag line is “Paint. Drink. Have Fun.” and I can vouch that it is definitely a very fun and relaxed environment! Classes usually operate twice a week, with different seasonal painting each evening, so you could go back multiple times and not have to paint the same pictures over and over! The studios operate a ‘bring your own drink’ policy but provide glasses and ice buckets and all the necessary painting equipment for the evening!
I recently attended a local ‘Immigration Simulation’ event where everyone was given a ‘character’ with a back story as to why they are trying to get into America. They then had to live out the frustrations of the USA immigration process, and believe me it was just as frustrating as my experience. We were told that the process can take 16 YEARS to go through the whole process and become a citizen.