The Top Black Friday Deals for all your Travel Dreams

Overwhelmed by the Black Friday offerings? No time to spend your precious hours crawling the internet for the best deals? Don’t worry because that’s what this Concierge is here for. Check out the best deals on the web this week and get planning your next trip!

Overwhelmed by the Black Friday offerings? No time to spend your precious hours crawling the internet for the best deals? Don’t worry because that’s what this Concierge is here for. Check out the best deals on the web this week and get planning your next trip!

Global Givings

Not yet sure where you want to go? There are literally thousands of global deals around this weekend to inspire you. For example, get 40% off a host of hotel rooms at LateRooms.com.

laterooms.com/en/deals

Black Friday deal

 

For flight tickets, Ryanair has had a week of deals and now there’s 10% off 1 million seats from travel between April and June 2018. Here’s the best bit… there’s also 20% off checked bags!!!

ryanair.com

Black Friday deal

 

If you fancy something a little more tailored to your every need, holiday companies are also on the Black Friday bandwagon. Travelbag have a whole host of deals, from opulent resorts in Mauritius, Bali and Thailand with large savings and up to 3 free nights.

travelbag.co.uk

Black Friday deal

 

Meanwhile, Topdeck Travel elongated sale has discounts of up to a whopping 70%, including their Road to Marrakech (£382.50), Sydney Discovery (£123) and Tropical Discovery: Queensland (£123) tours.

Topdeck.travel

Runs right through until Tuesday

 

Finally, Loveholidays has 50% off all holidays. There’s even an extra £50 off for holidays over £1000.

loveholidays.com

Black Friday deal

 

London Loving

Need somewhere to stay on your next trip? There’s no better London location than Covent Garden and the Strand Palace Hotel has a 40% off deal for stays from December through April 2018.

strandpalacehotel.co.uk

Offer open Black Friday to Cyber Monday

 

Whilst you’re in town, enjoy the best view of London from The View from the Shard… for today, get your tickets for a bargainous £10! There are more options in their online store as well. The building is beautiful and everything about it is luxe.

theviewfromtheshard.com

Black Friday deal

 

After a few days in the capital, why not kick back on the Devon coast in a cozy cottage to enjoy the run up to Christmas. Cofton Holidays are offering 50% off holidays up to 22nd December 2017. For example, Linney Cottage sleeps four people, has a hot tub and an enviable location by a nature reserve and beach and costs from £365 for a week. It’s a steal! There’s even an onsite pool, sauna, steam room, gym, restaurant, pub, and fitness studio, as well as plenty of play areas for children. If you’re feeling adventurous, guests get free access to the Woodland Adventure Area.

coftonholidays.co.uk

Offer open Black Friday to Cyber Monday. Quote discount code BF50.

 

European Extras

If your New Year’s Resolution is to finally experience those geysers, Iceland airline WOWair has deals of up to 40% off. Flights from London Gatwick and Edinburgh to Iceland from 10th January and 15 May 2018. This is valid for bookings made on Monday 27 November 2017 (midnight-midnight).

wowair.co.uk

Cyber Monday deal with the promo code is WOWCYBERMONDAY.

 

If you’ve been inspired by my post on German Christmas Markets, Superbreak is offering 20% off its very own German Christmas Market River Rhine Cruise, bringing it down to £399 per person. You’ll depart on 17th December and sail for 5 nights with all your meals provided.

superbreak.com

Black Friday deal

 

Last but not least, we have all lusted after those Santorini instagram pics but the associated price tag has often got in the way. Which makes it a perfect Black Friday deal! All your wildest dreams could be realised next May, thanks to Olympic Holidays. They’re offering 7 nights at the 5* 9-Muses from £439 per person, including flights from London.

olympicholidays.com

Book by 26th November

5 New York Gems Not to Miss

You’ve a little more time in New York than a long weekend. Or this isn’t your first rodeo in the Big Apple. Or maybe you just don’t love major tourist attractions. No matter your reasoning, I’ve got the perfect spots to add a little something something to your NYC itinerary…

You’ve a little more time in New York than a long weekend. Or this isn’t your first rodeo in the Big Apple. Or maybe you just don’t love major tourist attractions. No matter your reasoning, I’ve got the perfect spots to add a little something something to your NYC itinerary…

The Standard

This is a top spot to watch an NYC sunset. The elegant cocktail bar of The Standard is the perfect stop after an afternoon stroll along the Highline and a foodie stop into Chelsea Market. We enjoyed American G&Ts (Dorothy Parker and Brooklyn) with our sunset, looking out over New York’s beautiful skyline. There’s often a huge queue outside the hotel for the rooftop bar’s separate entrance (even on a cool October evening like when we visited) but this Concierge’s top tip is to pop inside and take the elevator to its inside sister bar, which radiates Madmen-glamour.

G&T at The Standard, New York    Sunset at The Standard, New York

Museum of Chinese in America

After filling your boots with all the yummies that Chinatown has to offer, why not stop in at the incredible MoCA. There so much that commends this museum – the artistic and effective way the exhibits impart information, the fascinating and evocative content and the telling of stories largely untold. I’d make this a New York essential, Nomads.

Paper sculpture at MoCA

Ellis Island

Many daytrippers forego Ellis Island and its amazing immigration museum in their visits to the Statue of Liberty. But they are missing out, Nomads! The renovation of the Ellis Island facility to what it would have looked like, the collection of so many first-hand accounts and the fantastic audio walking tour make this a unique insight into what it was like to arrive in the USA for many thousands of migrants who make up modern-day America. It seems particularly important to visit now with the current rhetoric on immigration in US politics and makes for an emotional but meaningful day.

Reception hall at Ellis Island

MoMA at Night

Visiting MoMA on a day of the week that they’re open late increases your chance of seeing a serendipitous pop-up event (like a saxophonist serenading one of Louise Bourgeois’ gigantic spiders) and finding yourself completely alone with a Monet or Van Gough. The night time makes any museum magical in this Concierge’s book, but add art and it’s something very special indeed.

Louise Bourgeois Spider at MoMA

A Last Supper at The NoMad Restaurant

How cliché that I’d recommend a restaurant with half of my name in it. But honestly, Nomads, I’ve dined across the world and this is the best food I’ve ever eaten. We devoured three courses that had such complexity of flavours and yet were so delightfully simple to eat and enjoy. The dining room was cosy and intimate and I wanted the wardrobe of all of my fellow diners. This was five-star dining and SUCH a treat for our last night of celebrating my 30th in the Big Apple. Once again, props to Concierge Husband for finding this stand-out.

New York Chinatown – How to DIY a Tour

A fun alternative activity to the normal tourist circuit in New York is getting lost and stuffed in Chinatown and there have been a billowing of food tours to help you test out the best of the best. However, this Concierge loves taking her time and getting distracted and popping into whichever shopfront entices her, especially when it comes to food. So after a little research, I decided to self-tour Manhattan’s Chinatown. Here’s how you can do the same…

A fun alternative activity to the normal tourist circuit in New York is getting lost and stuffed in Chinatown and there have been a billowing of food tours to help you test out the best of the best. However, this Concierge loves taking her time and getting distracted and popping into whichever shopfront entices her, especially when it comes to food. So after a little research, I decided to self-tour Manhattan’s Chinatown.

First of all, to show my props, not only am I a foodie travel blogger, I also lived in China for 4 years and I could live on a purely Asian diet. So I have a high bar. Living in Ethiopia, we actually do quite well for Chinese (and Korean) food but LORDY do I miss dimsum. So we 100% had to spend some solid hours in Chinatown, stuffing our faces.

 New York street with cop car and fire escape

Here’s how you can do the same…

First of all, Mott Street is a great street to situate yourself in Chinatown. There are all sorts of interesting wares being sold and smells invading your nostrils. After a little time perusing, it’s DINNER TIME.

Believe it or not, the main event at Fried Dumpling is… fried dumpling. My research led us here for some good… well, fried dumplings and they were the good stuff. Grab a stool, make sure you get some fresh ones and pour on your soy and sriracha (or some vinegar if you can get it). The wrappers all over Chinatown are not going to be China standard, but the fillings were yum and this place has such low prices, it’s wild.

 Best fried dumplings in New York

Mei Li Wah Bakery is a necessary stop for the best pork buns in Chinatown. The BBQ pork is fantastic; melt in the mouth with a delicious sauce. In the steamed version, the dough was a little dense and whilst we were sat, a line of people appeared for the baked version, so I’d recommend the latter. Apparently, this is where Chinatown locals come for their pork buns and that’s recommendation enough for me. (I also loved the Nom Wah version – the pork wasn’t quite as good but the caramelised onion is a nice touch and it was doughy doughy goodness.)

 Mei Li Wah Bakery BBQ Pork Buns

Vanessa’s Dumplings is another Chinatown institution and beloved of all. Whilst it’s a little out of the way, it’s well worth the meander; their dumplings are impressive and there’s a fabulous choice. Try the chicken and basil boiled dumplings, the monthly special and the sesame pancake with Peking Duck.

 The outside of Vanessa's Dumplings in New York Chinatown

No Chinatown trip is complete without some soupy dumplings (xiaolong bao), Concierge Husband’s favourite type. Shanghai Cafe Deluxe is a solid pair of hands for some high-level soupy dumplings. There’s a minimum spend, so we took our’s to go and sat in the park, but the menu looked delightful, so consider adding an extra couple of items and parking yourself in one of their booths. Worried about 3rd degree burns from soup spillage? Here’s a failsafe guide to eating your soupy dumplings with at least some dignity.

 Xialongbao

By this point, you’re probably craving something sweet, Nomads. Golden Fung Wong Bakery has freshly baked fortune cookies and authentic almond cookies. Actually everything looked good, but those are what we tasted. On our visit, we were delighted to spy mooncakes in an abundance of flavours and picked out a pineapple-flavoured beauty.

The neon sign of Chinatown's best bakery, Golden Fung Wong

If you’ve still got space, at Taiyaki my favourite Chinatown snack has got a trendy (and tasty) upgrade. Here the fish-shaped waffle is still partially filled by custard or red bean paste but topped up with a yummy soft serve. Drizzled over my matcha and sesame ice cream, I opted for condensed milk, pop rocks with a stick of mochi in the side. NOM.

 Taiyaki

However, if you’re looking for whimsy, Chinatown ice cream factory serves up scoops of ice cream in taro, egg custard, red bean, pandan, green tea, black sesame, lychee and many more!

If you’re less concerned with touring and just want great dimsum, Nom Wah Tea Parlor did not disappoint. I’d almost forego the others next time and head straight there. It’s so evocative of the old teahouses in Hong Kong with the big ceiling fans and the fabulous vintage posters and the formica tables. The food made for two elated travellers; yummy soupy dumpling, cheoung fun with a sweet oozing sauce, stuffed tofu skins to die for, moreish shu mai and shrimp dumplings, I mentioned the excellent buns. And the selection of teas, Nomads! It’s the oldest spot in Chinatown and so reknowned that we were worried it would be a tourist trap, but we left floating along the street in a dimsum daydream!

 Dimsum at Nom Wah Tea Parlor

 

Need more dimsum?

Dimsum Go Go

Jing Fong is a huge dimsum parlour just waiting for you

 

Need more dumplings?

Golden Steamer; ignore the name and try the pumpkin or BBQ pork buns

 

Looking for Chinese dishes?

Tasty Hand pulled noodles

Xian Famous Foods

Little Alley for great Shanghai food and a HUGE soupy dumpling

 Two old ladies eating dim sum at Nom Wah Tea Parlor in New York

What to wear on a flight

All this flying has got me thinking about my perfect travel outfit and I’ve a few essentials to share with you.

What to wear on a flight

What to wear on a flight by thenomadsconcierge featuring gray shoes

Well, Nomads, I’ve been a little quiet recently as I’ve been flying about all over the place with unreliable internet. More to come on that in the coming week once I’m caught up but meanwhile, all this flying has got me thinking about my perfect travel outfit and I’ve a few essentials to share with you.

I’d describe my in-flight style as practical chic. I gave up on dressing up for flights when I gave up on getting upgraded… even on honeymoon & my 30th. Thanks a lot for introducing the extra hurdle of Premium Economy, airlines. So I hit unsubscribe on all those flight hacker emails and donned leggings and an outfit that actually works for me.

giphy (2)
Old me at Check In.

These are my top items:

A breathable jumper / sweater – temperature regulation on board is my nemesis; I flit between shivering and sweating like some feverish shilly-shally. I like to wear breathable fabrics when on an airplane, like bamboo, merino and other wools, avoiding any blend that is too synthetic. Try this one with its nice neck line.

Cozy socks – bamboo or wool socks for the win, Nomads. No icicle toes here. These are fab, I can imagine being in front of the fire in a farmhouse in them.

Leggings with plenty of support – if I’ve only got a short haul flight, I’m often found in my signature look of black jeans. However, for long haul a whole other level of support is needed. I like compression leggings for keeping it all in with a decent waistband and avoiding achy legs / lessening DVT risk. I’m desperate to try these – aside from great reviews, they’re made from recycled water bottles! A fact I would definitely tell every surrounding passenger and perhaps ask the pilot to announce it over the tanoy.

Footwear for easy security checks – don’t be that person, Nomads. You know the one I mean. The one who is NEVER READY for security checks. Have your electronics in an easy place to pull out and for goodness sake, pick shoes that are easy to remove if you’re in a country that requires it. I love these, a very on-trend way to avoid eye rolls from the ballooning queue behind you.

Sunglasses – we all need a little glamour in our lives, Nomads, and as long as I’ve remembered to pack my contact lens pot in a suitable spot, I’m all about sunglasses as I waltz through the airport, avoiding the imaginary paparazzi. What a duty-free treat if you’ve some shopping time before boarding. If not, I am in love with these ones. Though I do need them a little less now I’ve discovered moisturising eye patches to pop on mid-flight.

A blanket scarf – in the lifelong battle to overcome chilly flights, the blanket scarf is King. Consequently, I am aaall about the layering and optional extras. I love this scarf because it is made in my temporary home of Ethiopia and from a designer I’m borderline obsessed with (see bag selection too!).

A great bag – Ethiopian leather is amazing and I love how Zaaf incorporate little cultural nods into their chic designs. I’m dropping massive hints to Concierge Husband about this one.

10 Terrible Hotel Room Features

Hotel rooms can feel like bliss… beds so big you can get lost in them, fancy bathrooms, the leather bound guide to the hotel (first stop for this Concierge) and a mini bar filled with chocolate & fizzy stuff. But it’s not all a bed of roses. This Concierge asked her fellow travel bloggers what their pet peeves about hotel rooms are…

Hotel rooms can feel like bliss… beds so big you can get lost in them, fancy bathrooms, the leather bound guide to the hotel (first stop for this Concierge) and a mini bar filled with chocolate & fizzy stuff. But it’s not all a bed of roses. This Concierge asked her fellow travel bloggers what their pet peeves about hotel rooms are. And it was a little troublesome…

1. The weird glass wall between bedroom & bathroom you get in some places. AWKWARD.

lucy3

2. Overly tucked in bed sheets

“The funny runners on the bed and decorative pillows (yuck!!) and tucked in sheets so you feel like a mummy.” – Annika

out of bed

3. Cheap Soap in the Shower

“Really really rough towels, brick pillows, no outlets next to the bed, mold in the shower floor, cheap soap!” – Chala

source

4. Bad WiFi

“Any form of bad Wifi:

– Wifi that you have to pay for. Come on, it’s 2017!
– Wifi that only works in common areas.
– Wifi that you have to log into with a silly little password on a silly little piece of paper that expires every 30 minutes.
– Wifi that is slower than molasses in January. ”

– Kelly from GLOBAL-GOOSE.COM

the-internet

5. No safety precautions

“No peep holes on the door. That’s just not safe! Or no deadbolt / lock that can’t be accessed from outside” – Stephanie from joyandjourney.com

ross

6. Plastic shower curtains

“I have a thing about shower curtains, I freak out if they touch me! I was once in a hotel room in Paris with a tiny shower, the curtain was definitely going to touch me, I made my husband sit outside the shower and hold the curtain out so it couldn’t get me?” -Naomi from naomi-parry.com

giphy

7. Blinking Lights

“The fact that there are a MILLION blinking lights from the TV, phone, and other such sources. I like it dark so I have to drape towels, sweatshirts, and whatever else I have over them all. So annoying!” – Heather from arttraveleatrepeat.com

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8. Flooding Bathrooms

“Showers that flood the entire bathroom without any way to clean it up and leave the entire room smelling musty.” – Lauren

GIF-SORCERER-MICKEY-BOOK

9. Badly positioned sockets

“I hate it when the plug is nowhere near the bed or a mirror. I have had to sit on the floor whilst charging my phone before and under the bed is NOT what you want to be seeing in a hotel room. It also means drying/straightening/curling you hair using a tiny hand mirror or phone camera….not ideal.” – Rosie from Flying Fluskey

phone-charge-3

10. Bad ventilation

“When the bathroom doesn’t have a fan in it. Or a loud enough fan!” – Jacqueline

bathroom-animated-gif-21

What are your pet peeves, Nomads?

What to pack in your carry on for a better flight

Having spent a significant amount of time at 40,000 feet, what goes into my carry-on for flights has become a finely tuned list, which I’m willing to share with you to make your flying experience just that little bit sweeter. Sleep and hydration are the goals and I’ve got some goodies for you…

Travel Hack - What to pack in your hand luggage

Having spent a significant amount of time at 40,000 feet, what goes into my carry-on for flights has become a finely tuned list, which I’m willing to share with you to make your flying experience just that little bit sweeter. Sleep and hydration are the goals and I’ve got some goodies for you.

1) Noone needs a stiff neck, Nomads, and a neck pillow is a necessary precaution. I’ve tried many; I like a memory foam or microbead pillow but I’ve recently switched to this little stroke of genius (not pictured) that wraps your neck up like a fleecy supportive hug.

2) I’m not a great fan of sleeping pills on flights as this Concierge likes to keep her wits about her. But Nomads, I do need a little something something to help me drop off onboard and that something is tea. I know, I know, I’m living the British stereotype but I recently discovered Sleepytime Extra, which sounded just like my jam. I always have a teabag or two tucked away in my tote so that I can nod off without too much tortuous tossing and turning.

3) This Concierge is not as young as she once was and, whilst most of my travel beauty regime can wait until I’ve tapped into my hotel room, these eye treatment masks are discreet enough to pop on during a long haul flight and prevent scaring the immigration officials with Extreme Panda Eyes on arrival. As long as you remember to take them back off again. These are a little cheaper.

4) Cabins have the driest air in (/above) Christendom, so I always pack a lip balm or vaseline.

5) This Concierge loves to coo over a baby but also really needs her peace and quiet to catch 40 winks. Noise cancelling earphones are an investment but if you are a regular traveller, definitely feel like a luxury. Plantronics Backbeat Pro, Bose Quiet Comfort 35 and the catchily named Sony MDR-ZX770BN come recommended. (Looking for in depth reviews? Try out my fellow blogger’s round up.)

6) We’re almost there, Nomads, conditions are almost perfect to fall asleep right before the cabin crew come and wake you up for duty free shopping… REALLY, JUDITH? Next step, complete darkness. My recent discovery is a moulded eye mask, which cunningly solves the age old problem of eye masks squishing your peepers.

7) Did I mention the extreme drying effect of planes, Nomads? I love a witty water bottle or travel mug to fill with water once I’m through security so I keep hydrated even if the drinks trolley gets caught up in a mid-aisle traffic jam.

8) My burden to bear in life is Cold Tootsies Syndrome, so I’m never without a thick pair of socks to warm up those feet mid-flight.

9) We’re finishing on a high, Nomads, and a life-changing invention that I want to introduce you too. This travel sling hangs off the tray table in front of you and provides a cosy hammock for you feet, so you can stretch out and get comfy. Do it, you’ll thank me later.

Any additions for me, Nomads? Comment below!