Contiki Grand Southern Tour Part Four

Found the most famous house on the planet today 🇺🇸🏡 #Washington #whitehouse #heyobama #noregrets #USA

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Hey everyone,

I’m back at home safe and sound now but am missing Contiki so so much! I miss everything about being on tour, from the bus to my friends to the stopovers, I just want to be back on the road again! I thought I’d wrap up part four of the Grand Southern by recapping what we did during the last few days on tour. Here goes…

Washington D.C.

After departing Charleston during the early part of the afternoon on day 23 we crossed the border into Richmond and made our way towards the nations capital, Washington D.C. We stopped at Arlington National Cemetery, where JFK is buried along with thousands upon thousands of US soldiers, and also witnessed the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier which takes place each day every hour on the hour.


We will remember them 🇺🇸

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After leaving the Cemetery we passed the historic Pentagon building whilst en-route to our hotel and then, after dinner, we headed back onto the coach for an evening tour of the city and were treated to glimpses of the historic monuments lit up in all their glory. We drove along the National Mall, past the Capitol Building and the Washington Monument, and caught sight of the White House and the Jefferson memorial. We made special stops at the iconic Lincoln memorial and the new Martin Luther King memorial which opened in 2011.


Reflecting in #washington 🇺🇸 @contiki @statravel_uk #contiki #grandsouthern #noregrets #america #USA

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On our second day we fully explored the city and started early by reserving  our tickets to ride to the top of the extraordinary Washington Monument. From here we made our way to the Holocaust Museum, which was incredibly moving and so well put together by the organisers, before heading back to the Lincoln memorial and reflection pool again. We then visited the rest of the memorials in the city including the stunning World War Two memorial, the poignant Vietnam and Korean memorials and the FDR  memorial before making our way back to the Monument ready for our ride up in the air. We rose just over 555feet into the sky right to the top of the Monument for the most amazing panoramic views across the entire city – something I will never forget!


Wish I was back exploring #Washington 🇺🇸🇺🇸 @contiki @statravel_uk #grandsouthern #contiki #noregrets #america #USA #DC #capital

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The evening was taken over by baseball (yay!) and we got another chance to see this American sport being played live but this time at a Major League level as we watched the Washington Nationals take on the Cincinnati Reds at Nationals Park. The evening was fantastic and the atmosphere was amazing as we were in the central stands right at the heart of the action.


Another #baseball game last night with my #contiki fam ⚾️⚾️ #Washington #DC #noregrets

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Our third and final day in Washington was kind of spent chilling out as I had seen all the landmarks I wanted to see so me and two friends headed to the local zoo before grabbing lunch and doing a little bit of shopping. We made our way to quirky Georgetown for dinner (and cupcakes) before heading back to the hotel where we had our white t-shirt signing party and said a mini goodbye to everyone as, for some, it was their last night on tour. Anyone that knows me will know I am AWFUL with goodbyes so I spent most of the time sobbing, writing messages through teary eyes and remembering all the amazing memories I had made on my trip!


White T-Shirt signing party on our last night in #Washington 👚👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 #Contiki #family #noregrets #stopcryingjess

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New York City

HAPPY 4TH JULY!! Our final official day on tour came round soo quick I kind of didn’t want us to reach New York for fear of the trip being over too soon! On with the journey though and we stopped off at Philadelphia whilst en-route to the Big Apple and devoured a classic Philly cheese steak sandwich for lunch – it’d be rude not to, right?! We also saw a few sights including the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, where America’s Declaration of Independence was signed 240 years ago to the day! The vibe in Philadelphia was pretty special as it was 4th July and there were street parades, fancy dress and music on every corner!


We made good time and arrived in NYC early afternoon, watching the iconic skyline come into view as we rolled in to the city via the Lincoln Tunnel whilst listening to Alicia Keys classic Empire State of Mind played on the coach speakers – good choice John (our TM)! I was officially due to be flying home a few hours after arriving in New York but, being the crazy, spontaneous travel lover that I am I decided I was having TOO MUCH FUN to leave and forked out a whopping £471 to postpone my flight back to London by 24hours!!!! Possibly the most crazy travel decision I have ever made but I 100% stick by it and I have NO REGRETS as I was able to spend one more night with my Contiki family on 4th July in New York City – I couldn’t have asked for a better end to my adventure if I’d tried!


When you remember that this time yesterday you were in #newyork 🇺🇸🇺🇸 #America #USA #NYC #reflections

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We rocked up at a rooftop bar overlooking the Empire State Building and had dinner and drinks before counting down to the legendary 4th July fireworks shortly before 9pm. Unfortunately there was a bit of a storm and it rained heavily but, instead of dampening out spirits, it made us ten times rowdier and 50 of us ran down to the Hudson river to watch the incredible fireworks display start with a bang. I’ve seen a fair few fireworks in my time and this display was right up there with the London New Years Eve show – it was breath-taking and so fitting for 4th July celebrations, I really didn’t want the night to end so we continued partying until the early hours on our last full night together.


4th July fireworks in #NYC 🎉🎉 #USA #america #contiki #grandsouthern #independenceday #newyork

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I spent my last day in America with my partner in crime, also called Jess (great minds..) and we had a ball exploring the Big Apple! We hopped on a couple of tourist buses and saw all the landmarks comfortably; we passed the Empire State, Madison Square Gardens, World Trade Centre, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and of course Central Park. Sadly we didn’t have time to wander round all of these amazing attractions but we did make our way through the dazzling lights of Times Square and Broadway which in themselves were incredible. I saw as much as I could in the few hours that I had and I will certainly be back to do it all properly sometime soon!


Last day on tour 🇺🇸🎉 #NYC #timessquare #america #USA @contiki @statravel_uk #contiki #noregrets

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Concrete jungle where dreams are made of 🇺🇸 #newyork

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Jess and I said our goodbyes shortly before 6pm where I headed off in a Big Yellow Taxi to Grand Central Station ready for my flight back to London Heathrow from JFK airport – we shed so many tears and held on so tightly to each other that I didn’t want to leave at all! Miss you Jess, until next time!! <3

So that’s it, I can’t believe my time on Contiki has come to an end! I have had the time of my life exploring so much of America and making lifelong friends. I’ll write a full in-a-nutshell review of my tour once I’ve caught up on some much needed sleep, but for now  I’ll leave you with this famous Contiki saying… ‘travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer’.


Love Jess x


Jumping in my last big yellow taxi 🇺🇸🚕 #newyork

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So after 28 amazing days the time has come for me to leave the US of A and travel home from my first solo adventure! I've white water rafted in Durango, helicoptered over the Grand Canyon, parasailed on Daytona Beach, been speed boating in Miami and celebrated Independence Day in New York! I've had the time of my life with the most amazing people making 52 new friends as well as hundreds of new memories that will last a lifetime! Honestly the best thing I've ever done and I'd do it all again in a heartbeat. Now it's time for me to fly home from NYC in my contiki top and cowboy boots in true tourist style! Til next time America… Mum I'm coming homeeee 🇺🇸🎉💖 #noregrets @contiki @statravel_uk @travelstarwarsjoe

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Contiki Grand Southern Tour Part Three

Last night in #florida 💖🇺🇸 #staugustine

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Miami rooftops 🎉🇺🇸 #saturdaynight

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Hi guys, part three of my Contiki trip is here!

After we left Orlando we visited three other cities in the state of Florida before making our way down to Georgia, Charleston and Raleigh. We’ve had a hectic week exploring lots of different places; highlights have included parasailing on Daytona Beach and hopping on a thriller speed boat ride in Miami! Here’s how the past few days have turned out…



I'm in Miami bitchhh! 🇺🇸🎉🇺🇸🎉 #noregrets #grandsouthern #miami

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I was sooo looking forward to reaching Miami as it’s somewhere I have always wanted to go and I certainly wasn’t disappointed! We spent time on the famous Miami beach swimming in the sea, checking out the trendy range of bars, shops and restaurants and hitting up some of the many clubs dotted around this iconic city. We also went on a thriller speed boat ride across Biscayne bay and ventured out to Star Island where we saw the homes of famous A-listers including Brad Pitt,  Jennifer Lopez and Sylvester Stallone. Miami was incredible and I would go back in a heart beat!

Daytona Beach


Another day another beach 🇺🇸🌊 #daytona

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We made our way to Daytona after spending two nights partying it up in Miami so it was a welcome break when we were able to chill out on the beach and soak up some sun! We ventured down the promenade, visited the arcades and rides, hit the shops and also had a little movie night down at the local cinema. My absolute highlight was parasailing along the beach; being hoisted 600ft up in the air, cruising along with the waves lapping down below and watching dolphins swimming in the distance – possibly one of the best things I have ever done in my life!

St Augustine

St Augustine 😍🇺🇸 #Florida #contiki #noregrets

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Ah this place is so beautiful!! I didn’t expect much from this little town at all, but St Augustine has been one of my favorite locations on the tour so far! We explored the historic fortress, cobbled streets and old buildings during our short stay and it was one of the most picturesque places I have ever been to. For those of you who like Spain or anywhere with a Mediterranean vibe, this is the place for you- it really is beautiful!


I went to infinity and beyond in space today 🇺🇸🚀 @nasa #USA #america #nasa #contiki #noregrets #kennedyspacecenter #grandsouthern

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After our stay-over we made our way to Savannah via the Kennedy Space Centre and stopped to explore NASA HQ for a while! The centre was interactive, informative and so interesting and we certainly saw some iconic space sights during our day there – we loved going to infinity and beyond!


Arrived in #Savannah and it is BEAutiful! 🇺🇸😍 #Georgia #america #USA #contiki #noregrets #grandsouthern @contiki @statravel

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Much like St Augustine, Savannah turned out to be one of the highlights of my trip! We spent two nights in this beautiful city exploring the cobbled streets, local restaurants and bars and soaking up the Georgian history. We also took a ghost tour around the haunted streets of the city stopping at a couple of spooky sites to see if we could check out some paranormal activity. Savannah is a beautiful place and I’m thrilled to have spent two nights there exploring everything properly!



#Charleston 🇺🇸🇺🇸

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This was one of my favourite spots but unfortunately we had barely any time at all to explore this little gem! Brimming with cute café’s, shops, bars and restaurants, the city’s harbour also boasts resident porpoises and other sea life. There was so much history and culture on offer in the city and I just wish we had the time to see more!

#tbt to this place in #Charleston 🇺🇸 #America #USA #contiki #grandsouthern #noregrets #throwbackthursday

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On our way back from Charleston we stopped at Magnolia Plantation & Gardens, home to America’s last large scale romantic style gardens. This is also the site where a number of slaves were kept during the slave trade in America and we learnt a lot about the history of this as well as exploring the beautiful gardens, local petting zoo and original house owned by the Drayton family.




We literally only had one night here in this little place and really didn’t get to explore much of it at all, but we did have dinner and check out the adventure land where we acted like big kids playing go karting, laser quest and mini golf! I’m not sure what there was to explore in Raleigh but it looked super cute.. answers on a postcard please!

I can’t believe that I’m now on the final stretch of this trip and in just a few days time it will all be over! I am having the time of my life and so don’t want to go home! My final few days will be recapped in part four of my blog and I’ll post this ASAP.

Speak soon!

Love Jess x


Savannah ghost hunting with my #contiki fam 👻💀👻💀

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Savannah and Charleston, you've both been beautiful!! Next stop Washington DC 🇺🇸🇺🇸 #noregrets #contiki #grandsouthern

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Contiki Grand Southern Tour Part Two


Baseball baseball ⚾️⚾️ #Memphis

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Hey everyone!

Part two of my American adventure is here! Sorry about the wait but I’ve just been having too much fun to blog 😉 Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been everywhere from New Orleans to Miami and I’ve had a blast! Here’s what I’ve been doing…


Ah Texas you stole my heart! I absolutely loved my time in this state and Fortworth/Dallas were one of the highlights for me. We strolled around the western town of Fortworth and explored the historic stockyards before making a day trip to Dallas. We visited the Sixth Floor Museum, the site where the late president John F Kennedy was assassinated, and paid tribute to him at one of the many memorials around the city. We also visited the Dallas Cowboys football stadium for a private tour which was a fantastic experience and somewhere definitely worth stopping if your a sporting fan! There’s so much I haven’t seen of Texas and its one of my favourite states so I’ll definitely return one day!



Stockyard station at #fortworth 🐴🚂 #Texas

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After crossing the Mississippi river, stopping at Texarkana, and being in two states at the same time, we made our way towards the rock n roll city of Memphis, Tennessee. We toured Graceland, the home of Mr Elvis Presley, and visited Sun Studios where the likes of The King, Johnny Cash and Jerry-Lee Lewis recorded. We also hit up Beale Street for some epic nightlife and watched a minor league baseball game at the Memphis Redbirds Autozone Park. Memphis was such a vibrant city with so much to see and do; if you’re a music fan this is most definitely the place for you!




New Orleans

New Orleans was a funny place for me, I still don’t know how I feel about it and I’ve been thinking about this since I left there! It’s not that I didn’t enjoy myself, it’s just that I felt there wasn’t enough to see and do to make it stand out for me. I felt the whole place was hot, busy and slightly smelly but that may have been all the sewage problems! Having said that, I had a fantastic time alligator hunting on a swamp boat and enjoying some authentic jazz music down on French street!



We also explored the local flea market to pick up some bargains and saw the fairytale square of Jackson Square both at night and during the daytime. I may need to return to central New Orleans in order to get the most out of this city as we were staying in the downtown area, but I’d love to hear your thoughts or tips on how I can get the most out of any potential future visits! I also did an Instagram takeover for Travelex UK during my time in the city – head over and check out their Insta page to see my selection of photos!



Panama City beach

Panama City Beach was one of the hidden gems of Florida and I had a wonderful time with the most amazing view from the hotel room! We spent most of our time at the beach, having dinner and exploring some of the local shops. Panama was beautiful and I really could have done with one more night there!


Orlando was one of the highlights for me, mainly because I went to the happiest place on earth!! For any of you that know me well enough, I’m the worlds biggest Disney fan and have been wanting to visit Walt Disney World for as long as I can remember. My dreams finally came true in Orlando and I spent 15 hours running around the parks like a child from dawn til dark! I watched the parades and the fireworks, went on tonnes of rides, ran around after characters and just soaked up the Disney atmosphere in full. I had the time of my life at Disney and can’t wait to go back one day! 💖



After Orlando we ventured to other parts of Florida and have just been to Georgia for two nights checking out the charming city of Savannah! As you can tell, I’m a little behind on the blog posts but I’ll write again with part three ASAP.

Don’t forget you can still follow my adventure on snapchat @jessica16_x as well as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Until next time!

Love Jess x


Finally found my dream horse 🐴🐴 #Dallas

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#Texas you've been a blast! Next stop #Memphis 🔫🇺🇸🎉 @contiki #noregrets #USA #america #contiki #grandsouthern

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Contiki Grand Southern tour part one

Howdy everyone, this post is brought to you live from the US of A! For those of you who don’t know, I’m currently on the adventure of a lifetime road tripping across America for a month with Contiki Tours. Our 27 day vacation takes us to 20 states between LA and NYC passing Vegas, Miami and Washington along the way. We’re currently on day 7 of the tour and here’s what I’ve got up to so far…

Los Angeles 


So I was literally only in LA for one night before the tour started and sadly I didn’t get much chance to explore the city. I hopped in a taxi from LAX airport straight to Downtown LA where I stayed at the trendy Miyako Hotel. I met some of my Contiki tour friends at one of the nearby bars and then headed to bed after over 13 hours of travelling ready for the tour to begin the next day. LA I will be back!

Las Vegas


Goodbye #Vegas you've been amazing! Next stop Grand Canyon! 🎉🇺🇸 @contiki @statravel #noregrets #contiki

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Wow, what an experience I had! I danced, I drank, I gambled and I fully embraced the Vegas spirit by exploring a number of the mega hotels, catching a Cirque Du Solei show and cruising along the iconic strip in a limo – it doesn’t get much better than that! Particular highlights included the Bellagio fountains, a pool party at MGM Wet Republic and seeing dolphins at the Mirage Hotel Secret Garden attraction. Unfortunately I was really sick the first night (no shock there) but I made up for it on night two and partied until the early hours. Vegas, it’s been a blast!

Grand Canyon


Standard ohmygodlookatthat pose whilst in the Grand Canyon 😍🇺🇸

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I have no words that can describe how I felt when I saw the Grand Canyon for the first time, it was truly breathtaking! The landmark attraction is just incredible from every angle and photos do not do it justice at all. We stayed at Yavapei Lodge in the Canyon village so we were right at the heart of the action. During our time there we stargazed, watched the sun rise, hiked halfway into the Canyon and watched the sunset in the distance whilst enjoying a picnic at Hopi Point, one of the highest parts of the Canyon. My highlight though was taking a helicopter ride across the Canyon for the most incredible views I’ve ever seen! My time at one of the seven natural wonders of the world was absolutely amazing and something I’ll never forget.

After the Canyon we departed for Durango, Colorado via the stunning Monument Valley in the state of Utah. We made a very brief stop at the landmark landscape to get those all important photos and the views were amazing – definitely worth a visit for those driving along Route 66!



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Durango, Albuquerque & Amarillo


We’ve had a stretch of short one night stops at these three cities passing states from Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. We white water rafted in Durango and explored the mountain city before stopping over in Albuquerque for the night where some of the group went hot air ballooning across the valley. Amarillo was the location for our U.S. freedom party where we dressed up in red, white and blue to represent the colours of the American flag and we all tucked into some hearty Texan steak for our group dinner.


🎉🇺🇸 #santafe

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This is #texas 🇺🇸🎉 @contiki @statravel_uk #contiki #noregrets #USA #america

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I’ll be blogging again in a few days where I’ll bring highlights from Dallas and Memphis and I’ll also be doing an Instagram take over for Travelex UK live from New Orleans as we get further in to the tour. Don’t forget to follow my journey on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook and add my NEW snap chat account @jessica16_x

Til next time!

Love Jess x



Ready, set, USA here I come!

Ahhh my last day at home before my big American adventure tomorrow!! ✈️🇺🇸@contiki #noregrets

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Guys, I can’t believe I’m saying this but this time tomorrow I’ll be boarding my plane to Los Angeles ready to start my big American adventure!!!! OHMYFREAKINGLORD!!! Time has literally flown by since I booked my trip with STA Travel back in January (shout out to Joe for being so amazing) and I cannot believe the big day is almost upon me…

For those of you who don’t know, back in March I announced that I’d quit my office job in order to travel the world, grow my blog and try to make a career in the travel industry. First on my wanderlust list is an epic road trip with Contiki Holidays across America, from LA to NYC, taking in the bright lights of Las Vegas, Miami and Washington along the way. Back then it all seemed like a fantasy, just a distant dream, but now it is actually happening and it’s just starting to feel a tiny bit real!


I’m not sure what I’m more excited about; the prospect of taking a helicopter ride across the Grand Canyon, or doing a swamp boat tour down in New Orleans! What I do know though is that I’m going to have the adventure of a lifetime and make so many memories. What’s more is that I’m doing it ALL BY MYSELF with no one to hold me back or bring me down and I am so excited to stand on my own two feet, experience a totally different life and just enjoy my month long adventure with my fellow Contiki travel mates.

Now that I’m all packed, my dollars have arrived and I’ve checked into my flights online I can finally start to countdown to my American adventure and look forward to my epic trip ahead!


For those of you that are wanting to come along for the ride please follow me on social media as I won’t have the time to write actual blog posts until I return to the UK in July. I’ll be posting as many photos as I can though as and when I have WiFi access so that I can keep in touch with my friends and family back home. As always, you can follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well as my new Snapchat account @jessica16_x

So I guess this is it… see you on the other side!

Love Jess x