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!