New York City, New York, United States- Kali
POWER OF SOLO TRAVEL | MY TRIP TO NEW YORK CITY
Have you ever felt like you need to get away? Perhaps to the other side of the world? Okay, well I’m not headed to the other side of the world but to the other side of the United States. It’s finally Saturday and it’s been a long awaited week.
Let’s rewind to Friday. It was about 5:00 P.M. and here came the feeling of wanting to be anywhere else but here. Don’t get me wrong I love my home, but it was just one of those overwhelming feelings of getting away. I value traveling, it is one of the best experiences you can give yourself. I’ve grown up around airplanes and the thought of heading to the airport and hopping on an airplane was the most exciting feeling I could ever feel. Needless to say, I hopped on that plane this morning (Saturday). Usually, I hate waking up early but I’ve been up and ready to go since 4:30 A.M. It was easy getting up knowing I was going somewhere exciting. I booked my flight last night and here I am sitting on the airplane an hour until I land at my New York City destination. You may be wondering, why am I going? I could ask myself the same thing, I’ve never been to NYC so it’s going to be a completely new and incredible experience. I’ve been warned there are a lot of people and it’s a pretty busy place. The closest I’ve come to NYC is probably downtown Chicago. Apparently it doesn’t quite match up. I’ve thrown myself into this great journey this weekend and I’m proud to say I’m doing it solo.
Today, I’ve put together a guide on my very first experience to NYC! All of my first impressions, must-seeings, and the favorite, where to eat! This guide will be targeted at solo female travelers, because I am one. If you aren’t a solo female traveler, then feel free to stay and read, because this may help you on your trip to The Big Apple.
My plane touched down at 10:20 A.M. Eastern time, and I had to catch my flight home at 4:30 P.M. That would give me approximately 6 hours. I thought to myself, “Oh great! That’s six whole hours to explore New York City. I have enough time to see everything I want to see!” Nope. Wrong. Let me just say, NYC traffic. I like to think of myself as a city girl at heart, but honestly I’m from a small town in the South. However, I’ve been to big cities before and I should know what to expect! I always heard that New York City is 10x worse than Chicago. Yes, I could agree, but it wasn’t what I was expecting at all. I was under the impression that I wouldn’t be able to move down the street or see anything or be able to get anywhere. By the time I was off of the airplane I went to baggage claim to grab a shuttle and head off to the city. Make sure you compensate time for the walk to baggage claim, paying for a shuttle, waiting for the shuttle, getting on the shuttle, making about 3 more stops on the shuttle, and sitting in traffic in the shuttle. Honestly, it wasn’t that bad but I didn’t get to Grand Central until 12:15 P.M. Having not ever been to New York City I was constantly on my Maps navigating. I figured out that the walk from Grand Central to Times Square would take me 20 minutes to walk there or a 17 minute Uber ride. It was a no brainer, I definitely got my steps in today. If you are going anywhere in NYC, I recommend walking and not driving. You will get to your destination a lot faster.
Times Square was the first destination on my list! I’ve seen a ton of pictures of Times Square but it was so exciting to finally see the beautiful site! Let me remind you I only have about 2 more hours by this point so I wasn’t able to go into many stores. Next time I’m in NYC I’m doing some major shopping! I was able to go into the Starbucks and grab a cup of coffee.. the Chestnut Praline to be exact (It’s the best fall city drink).
I was blown away. As I was walked down Broadway, there were people everywhere! I approached Times Square and it had lead up to all of my expectations! People dressed up in costumes, show performers, tourists, and everyone in between! I needed a whole two weeks to just go through every shop! I’m jealous of the real New Yorkers because I doubt they are ever bored! There’s always something to do or see! However, on the flip side, there are constantly tourists everywhere and I can’t imagine living that day to day.
For food, there are a crazy amount of options too. Although, I wasn’t there long enough this time, there are so many places on my list to visit. I’m sure you could visit five different restaurants a day and you still wouldn’t get the whole New York City experience. The variety is also incredible. You have healthy options, pizza options, foreign options, honestly anything you can think of, NYC never disappoints.
I ran into M&M World which was so cool! I don’t believe I’ve ever seen that many people in a store before. It was a total of three floors full of M&M’s, aka a chocolate lovers dream. I was very pleased because they were all color coded too! Unfortunately, time didn’t permit me to buy anything because the lines were wrapped around the store, you would of thought it was Black Friday or something.
The one true struggle of solo traveling, you don’t have anyone to take your pictures. But don’t worry I asked a complete stranger and it turned out fine!
MY FLIGHT HOME | AN EMERGENCY LANDING?!
All of my travelers out there know how hard it is to go back home after vacation. After my adventure into the city, it was time to hop on my shuttle back to LaGuardia International Airport. As I said before, I love flying and there’s never exactly a time I would complain about going to the airport. My flight was supposed to leave Laguardia around 4:30 P.M. and get back home around 6:30 P.M. Ultimately, it was a great flight that would get me back home before dark. That wasn’t exactly the case. I was hanging around LaGuardia before my flight, I grabbed some lunch and a couple souvenirs and went back to my gate and worked on my laptop. My flight was through Delta and they are awesome, usually I never have any problems or complaints. It was almost time to board around 4:00 P.M. and the gate agent came over the intercom and told us our flight was delayed an hour. I’m not one to care so it didn’t bother me at all. Our plane pulled up to the ramp and we began to board around 4:45 P.M. again, it was no big deal. We took off and started our journey home. It didn’t go that smooth though, fifteen minutes after departure the Captain came on the intercom and told us they had some bad news. They told us that we were experiencing loss of airspeed and that they were working with the controllers to get us into JFK since it was the nearest airport with a long runway. We didn’t get too much detail but as we were on our final approach into JFK there were firetrucks and emergency vehicles lined up awaiting our arrival. Seeing that was very scary because no one on the airplane knew what to expect. Since we didn’t have a ramp we would taxi into, we sat on the airplane for more than an hour after the incident. They were able to transport all of the passengers, including myself, into a terminal to wait until we found out more details on getting to our actual destination. By that time, it was almost 8:00 P.M. and we had to wait until a whole different airplane and crew arrived from LaGuardia. We sat and waited until we eventually took off around 10 P.M. I didn’t complain because we were all safe and that’s better than being sorry. I finally arrived home at 1 A.M. this morning (Sunday) safe and sound.
My biggest takeaway from this little trip of traveling solo was truly an experience like no other. I was forced to be only with myself and make my own decisions. I am beyond glad that everything happened for a reason and that everyone handled the situation flawlessly. Huge thank you to Delta for accommodating all of the passengers and making sure we all got to our destination safely.
THE POWER OF SOLO TRAVEL
I really think that traveling by yourself is the best way to find and shape yourself. It makes you deal with certain situations that you have to figure out on your own. You can’t turn to your best friend or mom and discuss the action you will take to get out of a sticky situation. You may run across some things that you’ll have to take a step back and think about. On the flip side, it’s been an amazing experience that no one besides yourself knows how it feels. There’s just something very special about being independent and making your own decisions in a completely different environment.
I stepped out of my comfort zone, and headed to New York City by myself. I’m pretty good at navigating through cities but NYC was a different beast. It was intimating at first, but I quickly learned to just enjoy the journey. Take a breath and relax. Life’s an adventure.
This year I was blessed to have the opportunity to travel. I realized quickly that my family and friends never had the same schedule as me and they are never able to travel with me so that rules out the “travel buddy” aspect. That means it was time to bite the bullet, and travel solo. I truly believe traveling changes you if you give it the chance. Since my childhood, I’ve always been a shy girl. I hated ordering my food at a restaurant or small talk. But that all changes when you travel solo, because you are forced to come out of your shell! I know a lot of people who are afraid to spend money on travel and are just comfortable in their everyday routine. Yes, I get it..traveling is expensive but it is the greatest thing you can do for yourself. I’m not telling you to go out and spend a crazy amount of money on a plane ticket. Start off small, go on a road trip, get a cheap flight, go and explore. There is so much to see in this world of ours. There’s so much adventure and sights to enjoy if you just give it the chance.