Last summer I visited the United States once again, and it turned out to be quite an adventure. The thing is, I hadn’t planned for anything like that, but fortunately, I had a lot of help from an unlikely source when it came to setting things up. The company called CheapOair set everything up for me and my friend, and their service was absolutely fantastic.
The whole trip was organized in a matter of minutes thanks to them, without the slightest problem while we were away. As is usually the case with pleasant things you don’t expect, the trip was a memorable one and I was extremely happy I got to make it. Allow me to share all the details with you because if you’re going to the States too you WILL want to hear about this. Let’s get started!
STARTING OUT FROM NYC
So, as I said, I was in the US last summer. More precisely, I was in New York City with my friend Joanna. Now, this was a half-business-half-leisure trip because the two meetings I had to attend were ten days apart. Therefore, we were planning to stay there for two weeks and afford ourselves a vacation at the same time.
I wanted to go all over the East Coast and explore the cities there a little bit, but I didn’t have a clear plan on how to do it or where to go exactly. Planes seemed like the best way to travel because wasting time and energy on the road or in a train seemed pretty uncomfortable. Besides, I had to stay fresh for the meeting ahead.
Fortunately, Joanna had shown me the deals I could get with CheapOair. She swore that they would set everything up for me and that all I had to do was give them a call and talk to one of their team members. Since she is also an experienced traveler, I decided to take her at her word and give it a shot.
So I called the company and a guy named Mark picked up on the other side. I explained the situation to him, emphasizing that I don’t have a clear idea of where to go, and his reaction amazed me a little, to be honest. First, he shared some of his own experiences with me and proposed several interesting destinations. It was a chit-chat between two travel-lovers and I could sense the enthusiasm in his voice.
Finally, we agreed that I should go to Richmond first, since I hadn’t visited that city, then from there a trip to Atlanta for some excellent food (Mark was very passionate about that) and finally a visit to Miami for some great nightlife. Joanna didn’t care too much where we were going, as long as there was some traveling involved, so once our itinerary was agreed on, Mark worked incredibly fast – he sorted out the tickets, gave us what turned out to be great seats and even booked hotels for us.
He even canceled the rooms in our New York hotel and found us a better one at a better price, and the new accommodation awaited our return to NYC. In just 20 minutes, everything had been organized and, to tell you the truth, I was a bit in shock. CheapOair acted incredibly quickly and had arranged an incredible experience for us.
So, the next morning we checked out and headed to Newark airport. Everything went without any hiccups and we were in Richmond in time for a slightly late lunch. So, after checking into our hotel we grabbed something to eat and then went on and explored the city centre a bit.
RICHMOND AND ITS HISTORY
Now, this city is rich in history and was the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War. However, it also has loads of beautiful green spaces and places to visit, as well as loads of entertainment venues, so you simply cannot be bored. Our first stop was Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which is something everyone who comes here really should visit because it really is a top-class museum covering thousands of years of art from all over the world. After a couple of hours there, we went to the downtown area in search of a nice bar where we could grab a drink and Saison was just what we needed. Interesting food (our burgers were fantastic) and loads of different drinks on offer make this place a great choice for a night out.
On our second day in Richmond, we wanted to explore the city’s past a little, so we first went to the White House of the Confederacy to learn more about that period of the city’s history because it was all pretty distant to us. Fortunately, we were able to get a guided tour (I sincerely recommend that, the guides are excellent!), and the next 45 minutes were very interesting and enlightening indeed. We also visited Hollywood Cemetery, which is where many Confederate soldiers and even three presidents are buried (one of them, Jefferson Davis, was the only Confederate president). With an impressive 90-foot pyramid dominating the area, this is really a fascinating place.
After lunch, we went to see Maymont, a huge and incredibly beautiful estate that was donated to the city in the early 20th century. Fantastic gardens, a petting zoo and otters in the nearby rivers create a place of real serenity. It’s a great way to spend a couple of hours out in the open, under the sun. Once that was over, we went back to the city centre and had a couple of drinks before heading back to the hotel. Our flight to Atlanta was scheduled for the next morning, and once again CheapOair made good on its promise – everything worked perfectly.
ATLANTA AND ITS FOOD
Here too everything went smoothly. We boarded the plane in Richmond and our hotel in Atlanta was waiting for us. I had already spent one day in Atlanta before, but Joanna hadn’t so I was in charge of how we’d spend the time here. Naturally, we first went to lunch for some excellent Southern food. Mary Mac’s Tea Room is the way to go here because not only have they been around for more than 70 years but their chicken is simply heavenly. Add to that a glass of sweet tea and you’ll immediately see what Southern hospitality is all about. But there are plenty of other dishes to choose from if you don’t feel like eating chicken.
Atlanta is known all over the world for two things – CNN and Coca Cola. The CNN Center and World of Coca Cola are fairly close to each other and a great way to spend an afternoon, which is exactly what we did. You can learn a whole lot about these two global powerhouses when you enter these places, but we liked the Coca Cola museum more – it’s much more relaxed and you can actually try various products there! While there is a lot of fascinating things to see at the CNN Center, World of Coca Cola is just good clean fun.
After making sure everything was in order with our further CheapOair reservations (which, of course, it was) the whole of the next morning was dedicated to the incredible Georgia Aquarium. This is the biggest indoor aquarium in the world, so you simply have to put aside a big chunk of your time in this city to visit it. Loads of incredible animals can be found there, but there is much more you can do than just to observe them. There are interactive displays and permanent exhibits, meaning you can learn a whole lot here, especially if you have kids with you.
South City Kitchen was the name of the place where we had lunch (another fantastic place, incredible barbecue), and after that it was time to visit the one place no visitor to Atlanta should miss – the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historical Park. You can learn all about the life of this great man here and see the house in which he was born, the church in which he preached and the place in which he rests now. Do be prepared for crowds, though, as the park is one of Atlanta’s biggest attractions, but a big plus is that you can enter and see everything for free.
The last thing on our list of things to do in Atlanta was Atlanta Botanical Garden. This is a fantastic place where you can spend hours surrounded by an incredible amount of rare and beautiful plants, plus there are also plenty of interesting events organized here every so often. We managed to enjoy some cocktails here and relax a bit in this magical surrounding. The garden is massive with plenty to see, but it seems to be particularly beautiful at Christmas time when everything lights up in a sea of colors. Too bad I wasn’t there to see it, but oh well – that’s how it goes when you travel a lot 🙂
MIAMI AND ITS BEACHES
The next morning we were on our way to another city, to the last leg of our East Coast trip – Miami. By now I was absolutely confident that choosing CheapOair was the right thing to do because we really didn’t have to worry about anything concerning the organization of our trip. Once again, everything had gone smoothly and we were in our hotel in Miami in the early afternoon. Even the lady at the desk commented on how they had been getting a lot of guests through CheapOair lately.
Of course, there was only one thing to do at that point: hit the beach! Therefore, we spent the rest of the day in South Beach, enjoying the sandy strips, beautiful parks, bars and everything else Miami is famous for. It was nothing but procrastination for the rest of the day, with a great view of the Atlantic Ocean and an occasional snack when we got hungry. This was indeed rest and relaxation at its very finest and even if you only have one day in Miami you should head to the beach for at least a couple of hours. It what the city is all about.
Since we had a day more in Miami than in the other two cities, we decided to afford ourselves a day trip the next day. Our choice was a trip to the Everglades where we were able to hop on an airboat and get up close and personal with alligators. On top of that, the view of the city’s skyline is very impressive, so consider visiting this national park if you want to get a real sense of Florida’s nature. It is spectacular.
Fortunately, the Everglades trip isn’t so long, so you’re left with plenty of energy when you come back. That was important because we wanted to check out the famous Miami nightlife that evening. Once again, South Beach was the place to go. It’s incredible how many choices for clubs you have there, literally for every taste.
And there are so many people outside and you simply can’t resist the atmosphere all around you. You realize immediately you’ve come somewhere special. We spent the night hopping from one place to another trying to take it all in, but one night is simply not enough to experience everything. Finally, when our legs simply couldn’t take it anymore, we returned to our hotel.
Obviously we had to sleep in after a night like that, but we didn’t want our last day in Miami to go to waste. Little Havana was the perfect place to spend the afternoon, primarily because of the chilled-out vibe the place has. Just walking around in this picturesque neighborhood was great after the night we’d had and some local coffee did wonders for us. Of course, we absolutely had to get some Cuban sandwiches here, and watching the locals play dominos in a park was somehow surprisingly relaxing. You simply get the feeling here that everything is a little bit easier and less stressful. Do yourself a favor and visit Little Havana when in Miami. It’s not hard to reach it because plenty of tourist buses come here.
After some good night’s sleep, it was time to finally return to New York. All in all, the trip was as good as anyone can hope for, with no problems with planes and hotels, great weather, loads of incredibly friendly and some beautiful US cities. There are plenty of fascinating things to see, and I wouldn’t change a single thing on our trip.
I have to say, though, that the help I got from CheapOair turned out to be invaluable because not only did we get some excellent deals, but we also saved a lot of time and everything was so much less stressful. “Go Ahead, Be Cheap” is their motto, but after a trip like this I agree with that wholeheartedly. You really should be cheap and let these people help you out. On and Mark, if you’re reading this, thank you so much for all your advice and your help – we had a blast!
Brought to you by CheapOAir
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Anca is a travel writer and the founder of One Day Itinerary - the biggest collection of travel itineraries for those who are time-limited or just want to maximize their time while traveling. Although she easily becomes homesick for Croatia, she thinks travel is essential to her happiness. She has traveled to more countries than she is years old and doesn’t plan on changing that fact. In her travel guides she aims to inspire people to travel whenever they have a spare day (or two).