Date: May 28, 2014
I finally made it! After hours and hours of flying, I finally made it to Sydney, Australia. I flew from Boston to New York City (JFK), had a six-hour layover in JFK (I recommend staying in a lounge for these long layovers), flew to Los Angeles (LAX), and then had an almost 15-hour flight to Sydney. All my flights were great and I would definitely recommend Virgin Australia for the LAX to Sydney portion of the flights: great service, good space, and yummy food!
I’ll be honest, when I first saw the city, I felt like it was any other city. The most exotic part of arriving was seeing the cars drive on the left and hearing the Australian accent. Nothing looked too special, but the good thing about this is that I felt very comfortable where I was, since nothing seemed completely out of the ordinary. I knew, though, that there was so much more to see and learn (and I had no idea what was coming).
Our taxi driver drove us to the Meriton Apartments, located in Waterloo, Sydney (the cab ride was $35, split between two). This apartment exceeded my expectations for sure, so you may want to check them out if you plan on visiting!
Shortly after, we took a short walking tour around Waterloo, seeing the major hotspots, restaurants, supermarkets, bus stops, and train stations of the area. I noticed Waterloo is very diverse, so you can find any ethnic restaurant around here: Jamaican, Indian, Turkish, and Chinese cuisines were some that I spotted.
After that I just walked around with my roommates, ate some great gelato at Messina, exchanged some money at a bank, and found a great SIM card for our phones from Optus. Our night then consisted of trying to beat jetlag, going for dinner nearby, and getting a good night’s sleep for our next day’s adventures!
• If you have a long layover before arriving to your destination (over 4 or 5 hours), stay in a lounge to have some food, wi-fi, and possibly even a shower!
• When you find yourself on such a long flight, as was the almost 15-hour flight from LAX to Sydney, try to sleep on the plane when it’s nighttime at your destination and try to stay awake when it’s daytime, if possible, to avoid jetlag.
• Check out the Surry Hills area in Waterloo for ethnic food.
• Look for local banks to exchange money rather than doing so at an airport (the rates are much better). Try exchanging money back home if possible (or bring a “travel rewards” credit card with you to avoid international fees).
• Check out Messina for delicious gelato!
• Try out Optus if you need an Australian phone number. They even have a plan where you can use unlimited social media (Facebook, Foursquare, etc…).
• If you plan on buying groceries, check out Aldi supermarkets for cheaper prices.