I cannot believe that I’m finally taking on this tour. I have been wanting to do this tour for 10 years and after many attempts I have finally paid in full and I’m going on this trip of a lifetime.
The day was quickly arriving July 18th I was departing Brisbane to arrive in Los Angeles and where I was going to have this amazing journey with new found friendships. The beauty of doing a contiki trip is that once you are paid in full you can search the tour and connect with other travellers – a good way to break the ice once you see them in person.
I met 1 girl in person Ree – as she was from the Gold Coast and I live in Brisbane and then on the day that we flew out I met Julianne from Rockhampton. I flew Virgin Australia and the other two girls flew Qantas. I was super excited that I had friends already before our tour even begun.
We departed at different times and arrived within 30 mins of each other – Go figure with airlines!! We landed and made our way to the pre hotel accommodation – The Custom. We dropped our bags off In Julianne’s room and made our way to Universal Studios where we walked around and enjoyed the atmosphere.
That same day inside Universal Studios we met three more travellers on the same tour Simon, Tash & Paul. Because we have been speaking some what before hand it felt so comfortable seeing them in person. Highlights from Universal Studios was Harry Potter world. Ah-Mazing!! Although Orlando is that much more better but I will talk about that a little later on.
Ree, Julianne and myself decided it was time to leave and make our way back out to our hotel, which was a good 30-40 mins away. I remember I was slowly going in and out to sleep, Ree was absolutely passed out and Julianne was just sitting there in our uber. Thank god for Ubers..
We all walked back into the hotel and ree and I wanted to check into our room, and just as we walked inside we noticed Emily and Mikela sitting there & just naturally again we said hello. We got our room keys and made our way up. I remember the front desk telling me I had someone already checked in and I’m like okay I hope she’s nice – haha she was the best – Sarah!! Both Sarah and Tash are my closest friends from this trip and I’m forever grateful that I met these stunning girls.
Julianne and I planned something for dinner, Ree was obviously going for a nap and of coarse she didn’t wake up so we left without her. Both Ju and I made our way back into Hollywood walk of fame where we met up with Simon, Tash and Paul for dinner. That day was a massive day when I think back. But hey say goodbye to jet lag – hello Grand Southern Tour.
Day 2. Rolled around and we were waiting for our new friend Ashleigh to join us. She too was flying in from Australia. Sarah was getting ready to head to Universal Studios and I was getting ready to head out with the other girls – Today I was driving in LA. Nervous as hell!! Ash finally arrived and we made our way out the airport to pick up the car. First thing first was to find a mobile store so we can get American SIM cards. Success. Then we made our way to Santa Monica – I have been here before but the other 3 haven’t so I was like lets go.
We spent lunch time out there and then decided to make our way to the Hollywood sign. Because we had a car we were able to go to the better lookout and get a closer look. Success. Except for the fact that I missed the turn off and ended up on the 101, we got stuck in bumper to bumper traffic and I’m like get me off this highway!! We made our way back to Hollywood Walk of fame where we did the Madame Tussards Wax Museum.
We then made our way to Rodeo Drive. We were a bit late so shops had shut so we turned around and made our way back to the airport to drop off the car and head back to the hotel. We got back around 7pm – I walked into my room thinking Sarah would be back nope, She was having the time of her life at Universal Studios, she was having so much fun that she didn’t get back until 10-10:30pm!! She’s crazy!!
Dinner again with all the girls and then it was time to get ready for our new adventure together with everyone else. I remember feeling nervous and excited. Nervous – will anyone like me. Excited – that I get to see a side of America I haven’t yet explored. Well at the end of the journey I couldn’t have asked for a better group to share this amazing journey.
Day 3. We had to meet in the lobby to meet our trip manager Phil and everyone else that were coming on this journey of a lifetime – most of us travellers were from Australia. I had already connected with some of the other travellers through Facebook so I naturally said hello or waved, but there was so many people around I was like where do I begin. We all finally got everything ready – Sarah and I quickly made a Starbucks run and before we know it we boarded the bus and started our journey to Las Vegas.