Spend The Holidays With Me In West Palm Beach, USA!

Me, at Delray Beach

Hey everyone!

So, as many of you know, this holiday season I headed down to Florida with my family. Since I had all my holiday posts planned, written and queued up for the duration of my getaway, I saved all my travel posts for after the holiday season. So, without further ado, here are my Florida travel posts as promised! Today, I’ll be sharing with you guys the first portion of my trip, Christmas in West Palm Beach, USA. Stay tuned next Sunday for part two — Spend A Weekend With Me In Disney!

To start off my trip, I headed back to Toronto for a bit, where I rested up and did my gift swap with my family. While it was a little non-traditional, it saved us from having to waste luggage space bringing everything to Florida — which would have been a huge pain for my family, since they’d just be bringing it all back home anyway. Going home was great — it’s always nice to spend some part of Christmas at home — plus I got to see my cat Dmitry.

My baby!

Shortly thereafter, we got on a plane and headed off to West Palm Beach. Florida can be very hit of miss this time of year when it comes to the weather — so we prepared for everything. Thankfully we did, since the weather was pretty all over the place during our stay — but we didn’t have to let it ruin our vacation.

Our Accommodations

Florida, USA

Surprisingly, in all my travels, I’ve never stayed in an Air BNB before (that I can recall). However, this trip wasn’t just a regular family getaway — my whole extended family was meeting up for this vacation. We rented a home in town that fit all of us, which was interesting as a first time Air BNB stay.

It was a pretty decent place overall, but it definitely had some flaws. The place was a large, rather empty home put up for rent on Air BNB while it was on the market to be sold — so it wasn’t actually anyone’s current home. It was large enough for my whole family, but it felt empty still — it kind of lacked a lot of furniture, as well as a certain charm. Maybe that’s just my opinion since I had to share a tiny single-bunk bed room with my sister and they didn’t have anywhere near enough hand or shower towels — but overall, it wasn’t terrible. I’d rank it a solid 7/10, and I’d definitely consider trying out Air BNB again.

I may or may not have totally forgotten to take photos of our place…… so here’s a screen shot of my insta story! Apologies for the poor quality 😦

Things To Do

During our stay, we were located in the Delray area — which is a cute little beachside town. While we were mostly there to spend time with family and enjoy the holidays (rather than explore), there definitely was a few activities I’d recommend if you ever go to visit the area.

Hit The Beach
Delray Beach

Delray Beach is a small, beautiful and pretty secluded beach, especially for Florida. If you’re going to visit the area and are looking for a beach day, I’d totally recommend it. It’s a lot quieter than other nearby beaches I’ve been to — making it far more relaxing and more fun to explore or spend the day at. If you’re there for the day, I’d definitely recommend walking down the coast for a bit or just sitting and soaking up some rays (weather permitting, of course).

Explore the Town
Atlantic Avenue

Beachside towns are always the best to explore. If you’re in the area, the absolute best place to look around is Atlantic Avenue. The entire street is completely made up of cute restaurants, beach clothing stores and local art shops — there’s hardly a chain store on the entire strip, meaning you get a little break from the same-old same-old and really get to look around at something new. I’d totally recommend going for an afternoon just to wander — no need to worry about time, directions or anything, this area is best experienced plan-free.

Places To Eat

This entire area is full of every kind of restaurant, fast food or take out joint imaginable — so no matter what you want, you’ll be totally covered. It certainly was a little tricky being a group of 14 looking for places to eat — it did tend to limit our options, but we still had a couple really great meals.

Papa’s Raw Bar
Soft Shell Crab at Papa’s Raw Bar

While this is a fish and seafood restaurant, I can attest there really is something here for everyone you’re travelling with. The menu features multiple categories, including sushi, burgers, salads, tacos and hibachi, so everyone can find something on the menu to satisfy their cravings. Plus, I gotta say, the fried rice was pretty much to die for. Check out their website here!

Doc’s All American Burger Shack
Root beer Float at Doc’s

This cute little roadside take-out joint was pretty much the epitome of classic American take out food. They had burgers, fries, shakes and floats — and absolutely all of it was delicious. We stopped in for a quick snack but honestly, all of us were super impressed with what we ordered. Sometimes, simplicity and classics really are best.

While this trip may not have been all about adventure and exploring, it is what makes the West Palm area perfect for a family vacation. Not only is it simple and easy, there’s absolutely guaranteed to be something for everyone. Whether it’s activities or food, this little town has it all — Florida is really one of those places that has everything you could ever need. If you really are feeling up to a little adventure, there’s countless types of day trips all in the nearby area as well. If you want, there’s Miami, the Everglades, Disney World, plus so many other beaches and, of course, a whole ocean to boat around.

Florida, USA

Stay tuned next week to hear all about my weekend trip to Disney World — I’ve been plenty of times, so I’d consider myself a bit of an expert for anyone looking to plan a trip there themselves. I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas, New Years and holidays — if you went on a winter getaway yourself, I’d love to hear all about it! Drop a comment below and let me know where you went and how it was!

Xo,

Meredith

Spend A Weekend With Me In Hoi An!

Friends Made In Hoi An!

Hey y’all!

Okay, so this entry is going to be a little different from the others. I honestly wasn’t all too sure how to go about writing this one, as this stop on our trip was VERY different from the others. While many of our other stops have either been predominantly focused on culture, food, exploring and hiking, this one was much more about socializing and making friends.

During our stay in Hoi An (which was really only about three days), we stayed in the Vietnam Backpackers hostel. It was almost like an all-inclusive style hostel, complete with bracelets to load money on, a pool, and a restaurant/bar. There was honestly little need to ever leave, which made it the perfect place to make friends. In our short time here, Nylah and I met and befriended people from England, Italy, France, Australia and even a whole bunch of people from Canada.

The hostel threw daily events meant to facilitate meeting other travellers, such as barbecues, beach parties and full-moon style glow parties. The Vietnam Backpacker hostel chain is known as being a bit more “party-focused” than most hostels, which certainly has its upsides and downsides. I’ve heard from other people on our trip some of the other locations can be a whole lot — they’re often pretty loud and busy, and can get a bit overwhelming with trying to balance sightseeing with the hostel culture in other cities. However, others said they were super fun and exactly what they were looking for.

I can certainly vouch for a lot of other hostels not really creating much of a social environment — many of the other places we’ve stayed at guests have stuck to themselves and we hadn’t met many other travellers. However, Hoi An is the perfect location to stay in a hostel with this kind of environment. It’s pretty small, so it’s easy to see the town as well as get to meet other young travellers from all over the world!

Plus, if you’re thinking of visiting Hoi An, there’s still plenty to do and see. Here’s a couple of the best places I saw during my stay!

Check Out The Local Restaurants!

Hoi An Serene Garden Restaurant

The town of Hoi An has plenty to offer in terms of food. Depending on where you stay, it might be a trek, but we’ve recently been introduced to Grab, the Uber of South East Asia, which made getting around super easy. In particular, our two personal favourites were Burger Craft and The Serene Garden. At Burger Craft, we all got the O Canada burgers as a joke about half our group being Canadian, but thank god we did because they were beyond fantastic. All of us collectively agreed it beat out any burger joint we had been to in our lives. This includes the Burgers Priest (if you’re from Toronto), Five Guys and even In-N-Out. Seriously.

The other restaurant, The Serene Garden, was a little more upscale but absolutely worth every penny. The lemongrass BBQ beef I had was to die for, and the cocktails were amazing. 10/10, all 6 of us who ate there said it was spectacular.

Head Into The Old Town!

Hoi An Old Town

The town of Hoi An is a mix between a smaller town vibe, like Ninh Binh, but also the hectic nature of Hanoi. It’s a perfect mix of culture and getting outside of the cities. I’d certainly recommend going at night since it was both so beautiful as well as a much more manageable temperature out, however. While you’re in town, there’s many outstanding shops to check out, as well as the rivers and lanterns, which were beautiful. Pro Tip: if you go at night you can even take a boat along the river to see the lanterns!

Hit Up The Beach (Or Kahunas!)

View From Kahunas Bar

Hoi An was the first real beachside stop we’ve had on our trip, but it was well worth the wait. The beach was so beautiful and vast, and the water was perfect for swimming in. (I wish I had photos for you guys but I got a little caught up in swimming while I was there and didn’t even consider it). Furthermore, if you want to stop in for drinks, our hostel had a pool and bar on the beach called Kahuna’s, which was a great place to go for chill vibes and drinks beachside.

That’s all for Hoi An! Next week we head off to Ho Chi Minh city (formerly known as Saigon). It’s our last stop it Vietnam before we head to Cambodia, so stay tuned!

Lots of love,

Meredith