In November of last year, Ellis and I were relaxing in a cosy wine bar in Stockholm’s Arlanda airport (see our blog post on Stockholm, here) waiting for our flight back to Gatwick. After an expensive couple of rounds (as you do), we were toying with the idea of another trip after Christmas. Having had such a great time away in Stockholm, we didn’t want the fun to end! A few potential destinations were thrown into the mix; Vienna, Oslo, all ideal locations. But it wasn’t until Ellis received a generic mailing list email from booking.com which gave the suggestion of New York City that we thought “right, let’s look at this”. With Ellis looking at hotel deals, and I looking at flights, we were zoned in…
Within a matter of fifteen minutes, we had booked flights from Heathrow to JFK via Skyscanner for a bargain and made reservations at the New Yorker, a Wyndham Hotel for 6 nights! Probably the most spontaneous trip we have ever booked. The adrenaline mixed with the wine was a crazy feeling. Checkout our Skyscanner flight booking blog post for tips on how to get the best deal!
It is now the beginning of February and take off from Heathrow is a little under 2 weeks away. We haven’t done as much planning for a trip anywhere near as much as we have done for this one… That’s probably to do with the vast amount of sight seeing and galavanting that’s required to get the full experience, regardless of what you want to get from your trip.
Anyway, here’s the prep that WE did…
Applied for Visas
This is an essential one. You need a visa for any travel into the United States and was one of the first things we did (it’s easy to forget!) We got ours from here
Booked our seats
For this 8 hour flight from Heathrow to JFK we didn’t fancy sitting at either end of the plane from each other… The chaos ensues when you depart the plane alone and need to get your luggage from the conveyor belt without your other half who may have your passport! So we bit the bullet and paid the £170 to choose our seats prior to check in to ensure we’re sat together. Virgin Atlantic allow 24 hours prior to departure to check in online so we didn’t wanna risk checking in online along with everyone else and not getting two seats together.
Created an itinerary
This is essential, with a capital “E”. NYC is smaller in size than London but has a slightly larger population. Everything is packed in to the 5 boroughs, and there’s plenty to do there that can keep you busy for well over a week. I’ll be honest and say that Ellis did most of the planning! We both made suggestions on what we wanted to do while we’re in New York and I left it to her to figure out the logistics. The main thing to do is find out what’s close to what so you’re not making too many returning trips! It’s also a great idea to check opening times and days of each attraction. On too many occasions have we turned up to a museum or whatnot and it’s not open on the day we planned to go! Major ball buster. It’s also wise on doing research on entrance fees (some places are free at certain times or days of the week) Check out our NYC itinerary here
Booked car park
We always try and do this in advance and do it online (like everything else these days) The more in advance you book it, the higher chance of getting a bargain. Besides, once you book online once, you’ll probably be put on a mailing list. You’ll end up regularly getting emails many with discount codes in. We use either purple parking or looking4parking regularly, great comparison sites.
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