Travel Planning- New York City

Every year, my department closes for a week in the summer so that the individuals who participate in the services offered can go to camp. That means VACATION for me! This year I decided that Bean and I would go to the Big Apple. I wanted to make the trip last year, but we were not able to fit it in. We have time now and we will be going with my mother.

I always like to let Bean know that we are going on vacation at least a week in advance so that she can get mentally prepared to take a plane and be in a new location. I told her with three weeks to go this time. I now realize that it was much to soon. The first thing that she said when I told her we would be going to New York City is, “I’m so excited! I get to see the talking animals!” I stopped for a minute and thought “What?” Then it dawned on me she was speaking of the zoo animals from the movie Madagascar. I told her, “No honey, remember, the talking animals went into the wild.” We had to watch the movie so that she could see for herself that the animals really left the zoo.

This trip was much more difficult to plan than Costa Rica or any of the places that we went last year. I always set a budget for a trip and the cost of a decent hotel room for a week in New York   threatened to blow the whole budget. I feel like I will need a vacation from my vacation because the planning has been so intense.

Here are a few things that I have done to make Bean and my mother’s first trip to New York City truly memorable and fit our budget

1. Airline

For those of you who haven’t flown a budget airline like Spirit before, I highly recommend that you try them. The thing that I like about them is that you go with the expectation of receiving nothing but a seat and that is exactly what you get. Whereas, if you try another airline, you might expect to get at least a free drink and not even get that and you are disappointed.

I chose to fly with Spirit because the tickets were super cheap and being a minimalist, I do not need to a carry on. Bean has her backpack. I have my tote and my mother will have her tote as well. That is all we need…along with a seat.

2. Lodging

So that the most fun we will have won’t be looking at the walls of a hotel room, I did A LOT of looking for a place to stay. I looked at budget hotels, hotel deals, hostels, and Airbnb. The best option for us was Airbnb. (It is air bed and breakfast for those who don’t know). That didn’t prove too easy either as the first few people I asked seemed to be a little apprehensive about having my delightful Bean in their home.

I did find a place that seems to be on a lovely street in a decent neighborhood. We are not as close to Midtown as I would like, but for my mother and Bean, the location looks good. If you have not used the service before, make sure that the references are good and the host communicates with you. If you just want a cheap place to lay your head at night, then any listing will do.

I was sharing with a friend that we would be using Airbnb in NYC and Bean overheard me. She proceeded to tell anyone who would listen, “We are going to New York City and we are going to have breakfast in bed!” My mother and I are going to make that happen for her on at least a couple of mornings

3. Transportation

As my previous posts state, I am not a fan of driving in a big city when there is public transportation available. I don’t often take cabs, and have never tried Uber, so we will be using the transit system. For a week of unlimited rides, we will pay $30. I don’t know how that can be beat. I am looking forward to people watching and comparing the users of this system to the one that I take on a daily basis.

 4. Activities

This is the second area that threatened to blow our vacation budget. I wanted my mother to see a Broadway show, just because that is something you MUST do when in New York. She said she didn’t need to see one. I was fortunate to find discount tickets through travelzoo.com.

There are many websites with information on how to have a great time in New York City without spending your life savings, but the best one I found, I stumbled upon it by accident. When visiting Paris a few years ago, I came by chance on a tour group that was pay-what-you-want. I did my search and found it again. There may be others, www.freetoursbyfoot.com is amazing. They have a wealth of information on boat and ferry rides, museums, theaters, bus tours, walking and bike tours and so much more. I highly recommend looking at this site.

Here you have it, my basic list of everything that I did to make this trip as amusing and inexpensive as possible. While on vacation, I will post a few photos of our activities here and on our facebook page which you can view at www.facebook.com/myspoclife . Remember to like our page!

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