Friday, July 30, 2010

New York Touring Tips

Keeping up with my pledge here is the post on our New York trip. Instead of going on saying how great the trip was (yup it was indeed greaaat!!) I am going to say my tips on how to save better and see more on a trip to New York. I may not be the frugality expert to give my tips, but I did have my own ways of sightseeing New York.

How to get there??
We took a rental car and drove up to New Jersey. Now the question comes why New Jersey, why not New York. The answer –
1. Staying in New Jersey is way cheaper than staying at New York whatever be the star rating of the hotels you are looking at
2. New York is at a very close commutable distance from here and there are multiple options how you could reach New York - all of them equally exciting. (We took the Lakeland Bus service which took us to the port authority bus terminal, the busiest terminal in US - one of the places to see in NY)
3. If you ever took a car, parking is either complimentary or real cheap at the hotels in New Jersy whereas, in NY, it could easily be anywhere between $15 - $25
4. Even better if you flew to NJ. You could stay at a hotel closer to the airport and almost all hotels near airport has complimentary shuttle to airport from where you can take subway to NY

Plan ahead to save on attractions
Next, all the attractions at New York are really worth seeing and if you are planning to cover most of them, there is no better way to do it other than getting the coupons. You have a variety of coupons to choose from depending on the length of your stay.
Check out these links for the passes they offer

1. The New York Pass
2. New York City Pass
3. New York city Explorer Pass

We took the 2 day pass from “The New York Pass” as we were going for a long weekend. Even otherwise, I find that this is the cheapest amongst all the ones available and offers 55 attractions that you can see with the pass. So the next question is how to use your coupons to the fullest. (Remember that the New York pass comes with $10 coupon on the store and $10 coupon at their restaurant –don’t miss to use it)

How best to use the pass?
To gain profit out of your pass, you must plan to visit as many attractions as possible without compromising the time that needs to be given to each of them. If you are only planning to visit the Empire State building and the Liberty Island, please DO NOT buy the pass. Buying the pass is only meaningful if you use it well over than what it cost you actually. So even before you go to NY spend some time to look up at the list of attractions – again the New York Pass website has the most comprehensive list with links for each of them. You can see them clicking here. There are around 4 cruises (including night time cruise) including the Liberty Island ferry. So if you are a fan of the boats/ferry/sail plan your itinerary around these cruises. You can look up at the time when each of the cruises starts from their respective websites and make sure you reach to the deck at least 15 minutes in advance. Yeah! that is one advantage of your pass, you can skip lines at most places (except the Empire State Building)

How to draw out the itinerary?
Notice that each attraction is a hyperlink in the website. Clicking on the link will give you the webpage of the attraction where you can find the address for them. Span the attractions over your days of visit. Most importantly, plan them based on their address so that you don’t waste time travelling from one end to the other of Manhattan to see the attraction.

Commuting to the attractions
If you have a iphone/Blackberry/any3G phone, I would advise against the Red/Blue Bus that you can hop on/off to see attractions. The reason - they are costlier than what they are worth. Have Google maps installed in your phone and there is no better way to navigate around.
If you don’t have one (which I seriously doubt :) ), do take the bus or else you would lose time and energy trying to get from one place to another. You can see the details here for Red Bus or here for the Blue Bus.
But if you do have the technology in hand, you can get one day unlimited fun pass from MetroCard for $8.25 as compared to close to $60 for the hop on/off bus for a day. This can be used in both the bus and in the subway. Trust me it is exciting!! Your Google maps will show the next available public transit to reach your next destination. Walking up to the bus stops/subway stations is again great because NY Street is where all the action is. I actually had a neck ache craning my neck to see those massive sky scrapers.

These are the basic tips that you can consider before your trip. So enjoy your trip!!!
Please do share your ideas and experiences on New York trips. I’d love to hear them

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