Thursday, March 19, 2015

Traveling: Top 10 Tips

Hi guys! So, I get a lot of questions from my friends about traveling. I don't think I do it that often but I travel at least twice a year just for overseas vacations. I have become pretty familiar on "What to Do" regarding traveling and I thought it would be fun to do a Top 10 as I am leaving Friday for a new adventure of my own! 

Hope you guys like this. Please also stay tuned for a project I am working on for travel!
 I really love traveling. Just as much as fashion. There! I said it.



10. Do your Research

 That being said, I have a LONG list of places that I intend on visiting before the age of 30. I tend to plan my vacations based on where I am interested in going and MOST importantly, price.  I try and keep my trips under $1500 for flight & accomodations, but I know everyone has a different budget. This is why I suggest doing your research about where you want to travel & what you want to do there. Try to go in the off season & read, read, READ. I cannot stress this enough. When traveling, do as much research as possible to do what YOU want to do, not what guide and tourist books tell you.

9. Book Early!

There are many times that I have waited until last minute to book a flight or hotel. Of course, I had to pay an arm and a leg because I took too long to decide or thought I could get a better deal. This is rarely the case. As a frequent traveler and flyer, I try to go before or after the "season" when cities are their busiest. Always try to book at least 3 months in advance if you can, I tend to find the best deals at that time. 

8. Write it Down

I tend to write down a lot of the things in general. Whether it be tourist sightseeing or a restaurant I want to try out, I write it down so I don't forget it! I also make tons of lists of what I need to buy before a trip, and that really helps me focus on what I need vs want. Write out what you plan on doing during your trip, places you want to go and things you want to see! It will be much easier to plan out your days if you do this, especially if you are on limited time like I usually am!

7. Tourist Shit Stuff

Is not for everyone. I personally don't care for many of the facts on the hop on hop off tours, I really don't even remember it. What I do remember are my own personal experiences and the people I have shared them with on my trip. If you are not a history buff, then I wouldn't waste too much time and money on tours unless a certain place interests you. For instance, I went to Istanbul's Hagia Sofya and booked a guided tour because I wanted to know more about this particular sight. I feel as a versed traveler that the best experiences are those that you get when walking off the beaten path, finding a spot where locals are, and experiencing something you wouldn't normally do at home.

6. Transport To/From Airports

I know you're thinking "Really, Niki? Transportation?"! I know, but it's always overlooked, even by yours truly. You can save a TON of money if you pre-plan your transportation between the airport & your accommodations. Try to book shared shuttle services or see if where you are staying has any public transportation nearby. Taxis/cabs overseas tend to price gauge when they see you are a foreigner, and being taken advantage of BLOWS. Especially if you happen to be in the UK where the dollar is basically worth a penny. Having luck with Euros for now! Just don't share a cab with a cute guy at the airport who wants to see where you're staying..nah'm saying? #taken

5. Carry on

Carry-ons are supposed to be your friends people. Do NOT forget about what you are putting in your carry-on! Make sure everything is up to TSA & foreign requirements so you don't screw yourself before you even leave the country because you forgot to put your $100 perfume in your check-in luggage. Trust me, I've been there. Also please don't be that person at security who DOESN'T take their laptop/ large electronic devices out of their bag. Just don't. I...just.. you'll thank me later!

5.Weather

I have literally been buying new clothes for this trip for the past month. I know I have a problem! Let's address that later. Make sure you check the weather of your destination a few days in advance to make sure what you are packing will be appropriate. Weather is also important to check because if there is a gloomy day in the forecast, it may be a better idea to do indoor activities that day vs. exploring. I mean, unless you're into that type of thing. DO YOU.

4. Customs + that Quill & Ink from Calligraphy Class

You know I don't own a quill and ink. But please be sure you are prepared for the annoying little customs slip they pass to you before you land with a pen! Don't be that person without one asking to borrow some strangers' pen. You'll thank me for that later too. Customs can be a breeze if you are prepared. Customs workers are fun too, so just be cool, answer their questions and you'll be outta there in no time! Unless you're coming back from Colombia, they have DOGS! No petting aloud, it's not that kind of thing.

3. Airport Outfit

No matter how I get to the airport, I will not be wearing heels. I'm not sure why women do this to themselves, I mean who are you trying to impress? You're literally leaving. Being as comfortable as possible yet looking chic is still doable ladies. I like to wear my workout leggings, sneakers, a loose tank & jacket for when I get on the plane. I may throw in a scarf if I'm feeling a little sassy. Just be comfortable, wear socks because you'll have to take your shoes off, and relax!

2. Luggage

Be sure to get a good quality piece of luggage. It will last you years and you won't regret spending the money on it when you see someone else's handle snap off. Not fun people, not fun at all. You can always find deals at department stores like Macy's or even off brand retailers like TJ Maxx & Marshalls. Just remember, it has to hold all of your essential belongings while luggage handlers throw it onto belts and into storage on the plane where turbulence, air pressure, and all these other wonderful factors will have a play. #justsayin



  



1. OUTFITS 

Obviously this is my #1. I coordinate and plan my outfits using the weather and my schedule so that I do not waste precious space in my luggage. It all comes back down to my wardrobe huh? Full circle!
I like to plan my outfits because women always tend to over pack. Don't forget you need room to bring things back, so save yourself some space and plan out a a few options for yourself! I am bringing an excessive amount of shoes on my next trip, I should really narrow that down. But we all know I won't.


I know this was long, but I hope you enjoyed this and found it helpful!

Thanks for reading.

xo.

Niki



Thursday, March 12, 2015

Casuale



Questions I got whilst wearing these jeans: Did you get into a fight with a pair of scissors?; do you REALLY need extra ventilation?; why did you pay more for these versus a non-destroyed pair of jeans?; Where are the rest of your jeans?

 So many questions, one answer: I love destroyed denim!

I have been eying these jeans for a few weeks finally picked them up. They are super cute, fit well (post cuffing), and are just overall a great pair to add to my collection. The material is very soft and easy to wear all day. Great for dressing casually like I did, or you can even dress these up with a cute top and heels.



Top, Jacket, Bag & Jeans: Zara. Shoes: Madewell (on sale). Sunnies: Ray Ban here.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Afternoon Affair





I created a list of "Things I Want to Do in NYC" for myself this year.

 High tea, or Afternoon Tea, happened to be one of those things. Read more on my experience below!

 

 

I decided on going to the Ritz Carlton Star Lounge for this experience after extensive research. If you love tea like my friend Lucia and I, you should definitely try it out! We chose the Traditional Tea package, which included any one kind of tea, assortment of small sandwiches, and petite fours. There are different kinds of packages you can buy, which you can find out more about here. 

As far as tea goes, we had the Masala Chai Tea & Old Blue Eyes. Each person is allowed to have one kind of tea, but you can share the teas. The sandwiches & petite fours varied, and we truly enjoyed everything. Food highlights included the lobster sandwich, a chocolate layered cake, freshly baked scone with cherry preserves, and the fruit tart (pictured last). Everything was extremely well crafted and presented. We were so full after all of the food! It was actually surprising being that the portions were small. 

This was a great experience for us because it was something different. I will be posting more of my experiences on my list of "things I want to do in NYC", so stay tuned for more posts.

 

 

Top & Skirt: H&M. Jacket: 1. State (old but you can get the new collection here). Shoes: Madewell. Bag: Givenchy Antigona. Hat: Bershka (old but similar here)