it's classified

so, it's not news that this year i'll be thirty, but maybe what is news is that for my birthday this year, boyfriend and i are planning a wee jaunt to the big smoke... new york city, baby! it's all still very much in the planningplanningplanning stages so far - dreaming up holidays is expensive and exhausting, that's for sure, but my gosh, aint it fun to plan! (just me? planosaurus rex)

while we wait for the travel specials and hold our breath for cheap flights across the pond, we spend our nights trawling classified pages like craigslist and localmart in the us for short stay or sublet accommodation - anything that could save us a few pennies on the other end; we're very aware of the heightened cost of staying in the city, and are happy to cut corners on things like that. i'd rather end up staying on the other end of the brooklyn bridge than pay double to stay in the city. travelling in and out (or walking across that giant bastard) would still save us more than what we'd end up spending to stay somewhere more central, and - to be honest, i think there's something 'authentic' about staying out in the suburbs!

the other thing we're careful to plan ahead is tipping for service. friends who have gone for holidays have warned that this is something you mustmustmust take in consideration, and it's always a non-negotiable expense. it angers me here at home to have to pay a service charge for something i (or the employer) have already paid for; those in the service industry in the uk are paid a reasonable rate per hour, and the cost of the labour that goes into cooking and serving my food is inbuilt in the price of the meal. so why am i paying an additional 12.5%..? in some places, and where the service is impeccable or someone has gone out of their way, then sure; i'm happy to leave a cash tip. that's my choice, and it should not be in the fine print of my dining experience. those places that love to tack it onto my bill and then only give a portion to their staff; no. just no. you get nothing from me.

obviously this isn't the case in the states, and most of the people in the service industry barely scrape by, and live from their tips. i am to understand that food - generally, is a lot cheaper too, so adding a tip - anything from 10 to 50% to the bill is expected, but... everywhere? starbucks, where i order with one person and collect from another? do i tip both? the team at subway, where three or more people contribute to my sandwich; who gets the tip there? what if i'm at the same bar, being served by the same bartender all night - do i tip every time? so. many. questions.

lots of things to wonder about before the big trip, but if you have any tips (ha) yourself, please do leave them below; i'd love to hear your stories!
*post written in collaboration with brand*