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Visiting New York City as part of a road trip.

Coventry, United...
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Visiting New York City as part of a road trip.

Hi all,

I have booked return flights from the UK to Boston, for this summer, with the intention of taking a four week road trip around the east of the states. It'll be me, my 17yo daughter and my 14yo son travelling.

We are planning to visit New York from August 14th - 17th. I will be driving our rental car, however, and am not too keen on driving into NYC, due to traffic and the costs of tolls, parking, etc. So, I've been looking at other posts on staying outside of NYC next to PATH stations and getting buses, and have looked at loads of hotel options with parking and transportation options. My head is now whirling with what is the best way to go about this, however!

As you can imagine, flights, a rental car and a month's worth of accommodation makes for rather an expensive trip! I'm therefore trying to keep costs down by looking at cheap hotel/motel choices. I obviously understand that NYC is going to be a more expensive place to stay than other destinations on our trip, but I would rather not pay more than $120-ish (with tax) per night. It would seem that my best bet would be to book somewhere with parking, close to a PATH station, as I'm getting the impression that buses are a bit of a nightmare.

My best options so far seem to be:

* The Best Western Robert Treat - $115.66pn (incl. tax), parking and near PATH station

* Howard Johnson Inn, Queens - $115.80pn (incl. tax) parking... I think it'll be okay for transport?

* Howard Johnson Hotel Newark Airport - a steal at $80.26pn (incl. tax), but I'm not sure how arduous the journey into NYC will be?

What do you think? I really don't mind a commute into NYC each day, as I've done the same in the past whilst travelling into San Francisco, etc. If there are any other options I haven't thought of, however, then please tell me!

Thanks in advance...

Brooklyn, NY
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1. Re: Visiting New York City as part of a road trip.

There is more than one Howard Johnson in Queens. Thy are not all equally well placed. Which one do you have in mind?

The Howard Johnson at Newark is not near a PATH train. The train from the airport costs $25 per person round trip. That turns your $80 hotel into a $155 hotel. Not a steal.

New York City, New...
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2. Re: Visiting New York City as part of a road trip.

They're all pretty terrible options and your budget is unrealistic for a room for 3 people I'd rather see you skip NYC for this trip if you have to. Coming all this way to see NYC and staying somewhere else makes little sense to me. Where do you go after NYC and where will you be coming from? What about leaving the car in one place and you staying in another?

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3. Re: Visiting New York City as part of a road trip.

Here are the cheapest options I see that make any sense:

Long Island City is the area of Queens just east of Manhattan. It's industrial looking but gentrifying with some good hotels a short subway ride from Manhattan. None of the hotels there near a subway station have free parking as they don't have enough spaces for all guests, but some have a few spots and there are plenty of open garages in the area. I would not leave anything in the car while it's parked, but you should be able to find parking for ~$10-15/day. There are some hotels there that do have free parking but those are not near a subway and are therefore not convenient for your purposes. The 2 cheapest I see that are decent are:

Comfort Inn Long Island city $133/night plus tax for a double double including breakfast on kayak.com free cancellation, free wireless internet. NO Parking. You'd pay extra to park nearby.

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g48080-d281640-…

La Quinta Long island City $150/night plus tax for double queen beds, free breakfast, free wireless no parking.

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g48080-d570101-…

Further from Manhattan in Queens:

The Floral Park Motor Lodge does have free parking but instead of the subway, you'd be taking the commuter train (Long Island Railroad) which will cost more than the subway. A double double there is ~$120/night plus tax and also includes free breakfast and wireless.

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g47727-d99248-R…

The Pan American hotel in Queens is about 30 mins. from Manhattan, has free parking and is ok. $109/night plus tax for a double double, free parking no b/f on kayak.com

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g47681-d126259-…

http://goo.gl/maps/Qe6X5

These are better than your picks because they're closer and safer. Newark is an hour away or more. There are 2 HoJos in Queens, one in Flushing and the other in Queens Village and neither are very good.

New York City, New...
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4. Re: Visiting New York City as part of a road trip.

I really dislike Newark, and there will be travel costs into NYC each day.

The Travel Inn is available for $225 per night and includes free parking - and is in Manhattan. I would go for that. Driving in Manhattan is actually easier than driving in Boston. It's a grid and most streets go one way. It is near impossible to get lost.

For an easy subway ride into Manhattan, you could book the Country Inn & Suites Long Island City for $160 per night plus tax. Parking available for $15/day.

New York NY
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5. Re: Visiting New York City as part of a road trip.

The Comfort Inn that nywhiz recommended is an excellent choice. I know you weren't being intentionally vague with your itinerary however it is vague nonetheless.

I love road trips and I've driven all around the U.S. I am happy to make recommendations and suggestions. Not far out of Boston is a place called Portsmouth New Hampshire - it exudes charm like few places in North America. It is even pleasant in the winter but it is really delightful in the summer.

Ogunquit Maine, also north of Boston, is great. Portland Maine is a very charming place too.

The Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts are well worth a visit.

How far afield are you interested in going? Rochester NY and Buffalo NY have some things worth visiting. You can even go to Niagara Falls. Are you looking for big cities, countryside, mountains, the arts (museums), outdoorsy, sports, relaxing by a pool???

What I recommend for people coming down from Boston who don't want to drive in New York City is to simply park at Metro-North's Stamford (Connecticut) train station. Super fast and frequent commuter trains connect Stamford with New York Grand Central. Then you're on the subway and can get to a hotel like the first one nywhiz recommended very easily. You're in town and along the subway for the duration of your time in NYC. No hassling with tolls, parking, NYC traffic, etc.

Metro-North's White Plains NY commuter station is excellent too.

If you're already west of the city, try New York Waterway's ferry terminal in Weehawken NJ.

Staying at Newark Airport will be an absolute nightmare. If the best you can do is Newark Airport, plan a separate trip next year or the following year. Don't waste your time, money and don't give yourself the aggravation of staying in New Jersey if you want to visit New York City. Seriously.

By the way, if you are interested in Frank Llloyd Wright, a visit to Falling Water in Western Pennsylvania is very well worth a visit.

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6. Re: Visiting New York City as part of a road trip.

I guess you're locked in to your flights. If not, I'd look into an "open jaw" ticket, flying into Boston and leaving from someplace toward the end of your trip.

Assuming you have to fly round trip to Boston, I wouldn't get a rental car there. You certainly don't need one to see Boston. I'd take the train to New York, where you definitely don't need or want a car. You might pick up a rental car when leaving New York, although you'll probably get a better rate outside the city. You could return it in Boston, although there would be dropoff charges. Alternatively you could return it in New York and take the train to Boston.

Having a car in Boston and New York will limit your trip. As you've already seen it limits your hotel choices.

Coventry, United...
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7. Re: Visiting New York City as part of a road trip.

Thanks for the responses, everyone.

To answer a few questions...

Thanks for the advice on Newark airport transportation - that's exactly the kind of detail I needed! If it's going to cost $25pp dollars to travel in, then it obviously wouldn't be cost-effective.

The Queens Howard Johnson Inn is the one on Jamaica Ave.

We are now locked into the flights, but, besides, it's a lot cheaper to buy return tickets from the same airport and there's also a huge surcharge on car rental if you drop off to a different destination.

We're actually not flying all that way for NYC - my priority is visiting Maine! Obviously though, it makes sense to take in as many places as possible whilst we're there, as flights aren't exactly cheap. Until now, I've so far visited St Louis, Chicago, Miami, Orlando, and did a road trip around California and Nevada (Las Vegas, Yosemite, San Fran, LA, San Diego) last year. This is a part of the States I haven't been to before, and I like to visit different areas each time.

So, our itinerary goes like this:

Fly into Boston, drive straight over to Maine - four nights in Bangor.

Drive towards Niagara Fall, stopping for one nights in Montpelier and one night in Johnstown on the way. Spend two nights over the border for Niagara Falls.

Drive to Charlotte, with one night in Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Charleston - spend two nights in Charlotte.

Spend a relaxing four nights in Chesapeake, stopping in Wilmington for a night, on the way.

Two nights in Washington DC.

Three nights in Philadelphia.

Three nights in NYC (or just outside!)

One night in Rhode island, then onto Boston to stay for one night before our flight home.

So, a fairly hectic trip, but with enough stops with multiple night stays to be able to relax a bit!

As you can see, we'll be driving into the NYC area from Philadelphia.

Is there any reason why the Robert Treat is a bad idea? It's supposed to be right near the PATH and has 3.5/5 on its tripadvisor page. I had looked at the Pan American, my whiz, but it comes in at $143.12pn with taxes. The Floral Park Motor Lodge is actually allowing me to choose a queen bed room for the three of us (perhaps they provide a rollaway?), and that's coming in at just $112pn. Is the location for these two hotels that much better than Robert Treat, though?

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8. Re: Visiting New York City as part of a road trip.

If you are starting from Boston, explore the city for a few days without a car, rent a car for whatever area exploring you want to do, but make it a circular trip so you can return the car to Boston and take the train to NYC. From NYC, you can also go to Philly and DC by rail. Again, if you want to do some exploring, rent a car for just the exploring part, then get rid of it for your city times.

If Niagara Falls is on your agenda, there are very affordable flights from Boston and from NYC (BUF airport). Fly there, rent a car for your stay, fly on to your next destination.

New York City, New...
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9. Re: Visiting New York City as part of a road trip.

First, for futures, you are just wrong about flying in and out of different airports being that much more expensive. It isn't and will actually turn out cheaper than backtracking HOWEVER, you are correct that one way car rentals are much more expensive so in order for an open jaw ticket (in one airport and out the other) to make any sense you have to use public transportation for part of the trip. If you've not already rented the car for this upcoming trip say so and people might suggest some alternate routes. Some of the stops you intend making have me scratching my head BIG TIME. Maine is gorgeous but what about the rest of the northeast/New England? New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island..... You're letting Niagara Falls lead you into the midwest instead of spending time in New England which is closer and nicer. Cleveland? Why? I realize we all have different styles of travel but imo you're shortchanging almost every stop you make (and some are not worth making) and trying to cover much too much. If Maine is your primary goal, why only spend 4 days there out of a month????? Ok, rant over.

The PATH station near the Robert Treat hotel is Newark Penn station which is a 10+ min. walk in an area where you don't want to be walking so now you're depending on a hotel shuttle to get back and forth. Once you get on the PATH train it's a 40 min. trip to Manhattan. The area is not very nice. I wouldn't want to be walking around there much at night. The location of the hotels I gave you in Queens are much safer. I'm not suggesting a queen bed for the 3 of you but 2 doubles.

Coventry, United...
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10. Re: Visiting New York City as part of a road trip.

christnp: I'd actually much prefer to drive than fly - some of my favourite days on last year's road trip were the times that we were driving from one place to another! It's a great way to see the country.

mywhiz: From the UK, it is actually much cheaper to book return flights. A one way ticket to Boston, for instance, came in at more than the return! We're covering Vermont and Rhode Island by staying in Montpelier and the Coventry area. We'll obviously drive through New Hampshire on our way to Maine, and will stop for an hour if we see anywhere nice.

In my experience, I actually much prefer 'real' America to the big 'tourist-attraction' type cities; hence overnighters in places like Cleveland! I have always wanted to visit Maine, but also want to see as many areas as possible - I guess I enjoy the contrasts.

Is Newark really that bad? I work in the most deprived area of my city, with disaffected teenagers, so don't scare easily! I quoted the Queen-bedded room price at the Flora, simply because it's cheaper than a 2 double room. Do you have any idea what the cost of a train ticket (Long Island Railroad) into Manhattan is from the Flora?