Monday, February 6, 2012

Frivolous Travel Lessons Learned

Notes I need to review next year when traveling to New York for the winter SCBWI conference:

1. If you're going to take the subway to and from the airport (JFK), bring a small enough suitcase (even if you're checking it) that you'll be able to navigate the escalators. Also keep in mind that stairs are the way out of most subway stations, so don't pack too close to the 50-pound limit.

2. If you're staying at a hotel that's not within easy walking distance of the conference, bite the bullet and buy the one-week-unlimited subway pass. You may not think you'll need it, but you will.

3. Seriously, don't pack the exercise clothes and shoes. Even if you've been working out every day and your hotel has an awesome fitness room, don't do it. The tennies take up too much space in that little tiny suitcase and the unused workout attire will just give you a guilt trip. If you want exercise, walk to the conference instead of taking the subway--there'll be plenty of time to hit the gym machines when you get home.

4. Pack fabulous-looking but comfortable shoes. Shoes that can be walked in, for distances longer than anticipated (yeah, I'm talking to you on this one, Dana, although your heels did look amazing).

5. Don't quote me on this, but American Airlines was way more lax about the size of carry-on luggage than I found Delta Airlines to be last year. Tops, though, for flying to NY is JetBlue, who lets passengers check one bag for free.

6. Free breakfast as part of a hotel package is basically useless, since you'll never have time to eat it; free internet, however, is extremely helpful. Also, if the wireless connection isn't good, ask for a blue cord, which leads to a trouble-free connection (important if you're staying in a century-plus-old brick-and-mortar hotel).

7. Nine blocks is a healthy walk; twelve, sort of a nuisance (unless you're trying to get some exercise), completely justifiable in taking the subway.

8.  Paying a cab $45 plus $5 for the bridge toll into the city from the airport is legit (we weren't sure, since I usually cheap out and take the subway).

9. Consider rush hour traffic if planning to take a cab back to the airport--the subway might actually be faster during the late afternoon hours, since it doesn't contend with auto gridlock.

10. Forty-degree weather with rain is enough to wash the ice off the sidewalks, rendering rain boots unnecessary. If snow's still on the ground and puddling up the gutters, however, go ahead and pack 'em for January.

Hope this helps anyone who might be traveling to New York for the first time during the winter! Friends~please leave your tips in the comments. I want to hear your advice!


Adrienne said...

Great travel tips! For me a fridge in the room is a must have - it saves a lot if you can avoid eating every meal out, even on a short trip.

Ara Burklund said...

Thanks, Adrienne! Good idea! : )

Cat Winters said...

It sounds like you didn't necessarily need the exercise room if you got that biceps workout with your suitcase.

How was the hotel?

Ara Burklund said...

Ha! Sure did! My shoulders got a workout, too.

The hotel was great! My room was super tiny but it faced an interior courtyard, so it was super quiet, which I enjoyed.

Cat Winters said...

I'm so happy to hear that hotel worked out! I'm sure an interior courtyard would be a much quieter option there in the city.

Did they say anything about next year's dates?

Ara Burklund said...

Not that I know of--instead, they kept talking about the August conference in L.A. I'll check through my folder again, though, since I could have missed something.

Leslie Rose said...

Can I just go with you and Dana next year so you can remind me of all these things?

Ara Burklund said...

That'd be fun! Definitely come with us next year, Leslie!!! : )

Suzanne Casamento said...

The comment on not bringing workout clothes made me laugh out loud! I made that mistake twice. You're right about the walking-it's enough.

And I couldn't agree more about the small suitcase. Dragging a big one through the subway stations is hellacious.

Ara Burklund said...

Thanks, Suzanne! I'm glad I'm not the only one who's made that mistake more than once! Best intentions, right?

Dana Elmendorf said...

HEY! In my defense, we were getting off one train and bam, should have been at the restaurant! lol. I didn't know there was a 5K in the middle or I would have worn my practical shoes! LOL. (They did look good didn't they?)

Ara Burklund said...

They looked super cute!!! I just didn't remember it being so many blocks to the restaurant. All part of the NY experience, I suppose. ; )

Lo said...

Love this! My husband and I have more disastrous travel stories than we want to remember, although they do make great stories now. :) Neat blog!

Ara Burklund said...

Thanks, Lo! Nice to meet you. : )