How often can we pinpoint a moment of significance? A place or conversation that stretches us, or imprints a lasting feeling and ultimately broadens our opinion of the world?
Coming to New York City on the 31st of December 2011 for the very first time did exactly that to me. A tangible magic floated through the cold streets, and as I looked up in awe and wonder, I knew that every hyped up story I had heard about this city was absolutely, 100% true! Although it was New Years Eve and the hype was of course on steroids and encouraged by every passing visitor, I’m lucky to have been back a few times since then and can happily say the magic & wonder of the city is still very much present.
I am now in The Big Apple for the third time, and still feel it a privilege to still experience the joy I felt the very first time I was here. Officially this is a (once-in-a-lifetime) ‘Family Holiday’ brought on by my Brother’s wedding in a couple weeks. However I was cheeky enough to ask my parents to fly me out a few days early so I could get the opportunity to explore a bit on my own first! Photos.. Videos.. Stories.. I’m so excited to be able to share it all with you! So hold tight people, we’re going on an adventure!
Back to the beginning, Monday morning -5am. My alarm goes off and excitement floods every bone in my body as I get myself up and ready for the airport!
Although most people consider me to be an “experienced” traveller, I still struggle to keep under the 23kg bag weight limit & get to the airport on time, so you’ll understand why a sense of relief came over me when I arrived at the airport exactly 2 hours before take-off (the recommended time). It took me 47 minutes (literally) to get from the car to sitting down with a cup of coffee outside my boarding gate. Stress free check-in, limited trouble at security and ZERO money to stop in at duty free, so really all was on track for an on time take off… *FINAL CALL FOR ALL PASSENGERS FLYING TO NEW YORK ON….* My selfi-vlog-video was interrupted, because, well, (moment of truth) I was sat outside the wrong gate!!?! What? Not something a travel-blogger should ever do? right? Consider it a lesson for all of you, don’t get too relaxed about travel, silly mistakes happen to the best of us! ha. Fear not, I didn’t miss my flight and had already had a dose of entertainment for the day!
A review of the flight; my ticket was booked with British Airways but I flew with American Airlines, which happens often with airline alliances, sharing is caring and why send off two half-empty planes when you can just send one? Good business. However, not massively impressed with American Airlines, aside from the fact that they served bottled water with everyone’s meal (AMAZING! EVERY AIRLINE SHOULD DO THIS!). Overall I got the feeling I was on a ‘domestic flight’; small plane, no inflight entertainment, very average food and super relaxed air stewards. And more importantly, a badly designed airline travel magazine.. (Sorry, the designer in me was shocked.) Anyway! Not massively important, just a review for anyone not sure what airline to travel.
Getting from the Airport to Manhattan is super easy, especially since you have plenty options! As you arrive at the airport you’ll see plenty signs pointing you in different directions, the determining factor is how much dollar you’re willing to spend! Getting a cab is direct, hassle free and of course- way overpriced. Your next best option is the Air Train. Only costs $5 and all you have to do it catch it to Jamaica Station which is the stop to change at if you’re looking to get to Manhattan, specifically Midtown – catch the train heading to Penn Station to get into the city pretty quickly! (All this will cost you about $7)
General travel tips I learnt specifically from this trip.
- Tie your hair up when travelling. Constantly swinging bags over your shoulders means constantly ripping hair out as it gets tangled up in the straps. Avoid the headache. Seems like a silly and obvious tip, but you’ll be surprised… (or maybe that’s just me)
- While we’re talking about hair, pack a small can of dry shampoo, flights have a way of making hair super greasy.
- When you land at JFK there are plenty charging stations before you leave the airport if you need to look up your hotel address (or instagram the first holiday Starbucks you’ve just purchased) and don’t have any battery left.
- The money exchange at the airport ripped me off. COMPLETELY! Rather wait till you get into the city or better yet, change money at your local bank before you leave!
- When you get on the train, stick your ticket in the seat headrest so that you make the conductors life easier (and you end up looking like a local who knows what’s up!). See photo below.
- Make sure you bring the RIGHT travel adaptor. Seems super basic and logical but I got it totally wrong this trip! (Had to spend $34 to buy one here. booo.)
Now… there’s a lot more I could write but the city is waiting!
So on that note, may you never lose your wander… Ash xxx