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Thread: US of A, never been, booked flights. Now what to do???

  1. #1
    Master
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    US of A, never been, booked flights. Now what to do???

    Ok, so long story short, never been to the states, never had any interest in going. 15yr old son said he wanted to go, wife chipped in and said she'd like to go.

    Booked flights to JFK this morning, 10 days in July. Thinking of doing the New York thing for a few days then I have no idea, a friend has suggested heading to Vegas for a few days, someone else to the Hamptons for a bit of a relax.

    I have no clue...................about anything! Must sees/do's in NYC suggestions welcome remember I have a 15yr old in tow and his number 1 destination is the Nintendo store, god help us all.

    Vegas I'm not keen on, Hamptons look nice, are they?

    All comments / suggestion. advice welcome for a USA virgin.

  2. #2
    Master
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    1st thing get your ESTA

  3. #3
    Master MarkO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lewie View Post
    1st thing get your ESTA
    https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/

    It's a long way from NYC to Vegas plus time difference - there is enough to do in just NYC if this is your first trip, if you want to explore further the East coast alone will fill your time - I would suggest to pick one or 2 locations unless you want to do a road trip
    Last edited by MarkO; 31st March 2017 at 19:25.

  4. #4
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    Loads to do in NY and surrounding areas. NY to Vegas isn't probably much difference as here to NY so like others have said, I wouldn't as its your first Trip. You're not that far from doing the New England tour of Boston etc, so if you want to travel maybe that. If you want to see a tackier Vegas you've got Atlantic City.

    Again as said ESTA forms and make sure you use the right website, there used to be one that charged etc.

  5. #5
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    You could easily spend 10 days in NY if you've never been before. Loads to do, tourist stuff is brilliant. There was a thread a while back with some great recommendations.

  6. #6
    Craftsman
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    Loads to do in NYC and easy ish to get up towards New England too.

    Other thing to look at is trains (in the US I know!) One part of the country with a reasonable rail system and you can travel down to DC via Philadelphia and other places if desired. Advantage is that stations are well placed for the city centres generally and no hassle of directions and parking.

  7. #7
    Grand Master PickleB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nev View Post
    Ok, so long story short, never been to the states, never had any interest in going. 15yr old son said he wanted to go, wife chipped in and said she'd like to go.

    Booked flights to JFK this morning, 10 days in July. Thinking of doing the New York thing for a few days then I have no idea, a friend has suggested heading to Vegas for a few days, someone else to the Hamptons for a bit of a relax.

    I have no clue...................about anything! Must sees/do's in NYC suggestions welcome remember I have a 15yr old in tow and his number 1 destination is the Nintendo store, god help us all.

    Vegas I'm not keen on, Hamptons look nice, are they?

    All comments / suggestion. advice welcome for a USA virgin.
    Buy a map (or Google it) and do some measuring.

  8. #8
    Grand Master
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    Pray you get a TSA agent that has small hands!

  9. #9
    Master MarkO's Avatar
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    If you stay in NYC area -

    Intrepid
    River Trip
    Statue of Liberty
    9/11 museum
    Central Park
    Bronx Zoo
    Empire State Building
    The HighLine

    I have taken train from NYC to D.C. which was easy - there is another whole week of entertainment just on The Mall in DC .

    Somethings you will need to plan in advance .
    If you wear a step counter I averaged 18k /day

  10. #10
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    NY in July is mostly hot, very hot. Not a problem in general, but you need to realise that it's hotter than the UK! In July and August, the east coast waterfront all the way from the north back to the south in Florida is very, very crowded. My former sailing companion used to work for NOAA weather on Martha's Vineyard. He told me that it's best to stay on the island because it's nearly impossible to reach the town during the summer. 15 days in the USA and spending it in a traffic jam... What MarkO writes are interesting sites! Intrepid is nice because they show movies on the flight deck in the evening. My wife and youngest went to see a Star Wars movie last when they visited NY last Summer.

    I wouldn't consider a trip across the country. An east coast-ish trip is fantastic too. In essence, the US is a bunch of large towns with virtually nothing in between. The country land is big and empty.

    Train to DC is nice. DC is a nice town, but don't use your rental car there. Best trick we learned from a seasoned US citizen: make a deal with a cabby to pick you up at the hotel every morning for a trip to something you like to see and agree on a return time. The towns of the Civil War are interesting as well. But again, with a lot of public during the Summer.

    When going 'up' from NY, you can visit Nigeria Falls (crowded, but not too hot in the Summer!) and driving upstate NY is interesting when you realise that only two hours from Times Square is enough to bring you in a totally different world: nature, woods etc. Take the road heading north along the Hudson River. Albany is nice too.

    Boston oozes its British history heritage. Perhaps not really what you want? If you go there, Fenwick Park is a 'must see'. My oldest wore a Tom Brady / Patriots shirt last time we landed in the USA. It even made the TSA people enthusiastic when they realised that a Dutch boy knew who Tom Brady is!

    Finally (for now, I will ask my wife for input as well): you need to go to an amusement park as well. Six Flags in NJ or another one. In many cases, you can get tickets online.

    Menno

    EDiT: first suggestion made by my wife: search for coupons on the internet: almost every 'landmark' (shops, museums, amusement parks etc) have coupons you can find on their website. Use them!

    M.
    Last edited by thieuster; 31st March 2017 at 21:59.

  11. #11
    Your lad may be bored in Boston, it's mainly US history. Loads in NYC as others have said. Use the subway - it's good. You could drive to New Jersey or even Washington?

    Your lad may not like Vegas - it's not very child friendly.

  12. #12
    Master MakeColdplayHistory's Avatar
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    Washington is good for a couple of days and only a 4 hour drive. Philly and Baltimore are enroute, both of which are worth a day.

    To be frank, a question 'ten days in the US' is a bit like 'how to see most of Europe in a fortnight'. There are a million different ways to do it but I'd stick to the East coast between NYC and DC, take some time to see the big stuff but also call into some of the smaller things too.

  13. #13
    Master thegoat's Avatar
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    In New York, use the subway. Getting from JFK to midtown is a doddle and a great way to reach the city.
    Coney Island is a blast for a day out. Again, easy to reach on the subway. Go to the baseball even if you don't understand the rules. It's a really good day's entertainment. Use the Staten Island ferry, its free and goes closest to the Statue of Liberty.
    New York accommodation can be pricey so look to stay a bit further out. New Jersey is a good place to start.
    Walk. Everywhere is a film set and you'll recognise places all the time.
    Central Park could easily cover two or three days.
    www.bigapplegreeter.org . Try and book a day with these guys. They'll take you to places you'd never even think of and it's a free service. Tips are not allowed although you can donate to the organisation.
    Last edited by thegoat; 1st April 2017 at 07:39. Reason: More info

  14. #14
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    Guys

    Thank you very much for taking the time with the input, will speak to the missus tomorrow to try and formulate a plan, quick convo after reading some of the replies is that Vegas is out and DC is a definite maybe.

    Anyone any experience of the Hamptons? it looks sort of nice but maybe a bit up its own a**e, anyone been?


    Cheers and than you.


    Nev

  15. #15
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    The Hamptons is very large; about 100 miles from the outer tip to Times Square. Traveling = ongoing traffic problem. I was looking on the internet for you because my wife told me that she and my youngest wanted to take a trip to the Hamptons last Summer as well, using the train. That train had to be pre-booked and she was too late. I stumbled upon this: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-t...true&r=US&IR=T Interesting stuff! The Cannonball Train leaves from Penn Station.

    One of my boys is 15 y/o as well and I would consider a day-long trip to all sorts of places known from films: Man in Black is a good example! My wife and youngest did this; they composed a tour together at home a travelled from spot to spot. It became clear to him that movies are made on different locations... She also used this: http://www.nycgo.com as a starting point for her stay with my boy in NY.

    The museums in both NY and DC are more into exploring than watching. I depends on your boy's attitude to this sort of things off course if it's worth doing (my oldest wouldn't be bothered, my youngest wants to stay forever in the NY museums, I think). The 9/11 Memorial is very, very impressive. Get tickets in advance and prepare for thorough scrutiny when you want to enter.

    As I wrote, my wife travels a lot around that area: Boston/Andover and NY for her work. She does this for 15 yrs now; every 5 or 6 weeks for a week. So she knows the her way around these towns. However, traveling alone is totally different from traveling with a family or a 15 y/o. Different points of view regarding different things. Make it a once in a lifetime experience for him and your holiday will be perfect as well.

    I will be back for more (if interested)

    Menno
    Last edited by thieuster; 1st April 2017 at 06:42.

  16. #16
    Master Ron Jr's Avatar
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    Avoid the Hamptons they are crowded, expensive and just not worth the effort. I live on LI and don't go there. If you want to go to the beach I recommend Robert Moses State Park (Field 5 is my favorite). If you want to get together with fellow watch collectors join the Dive Watch Connection forum and enquire about their weekly meeting called Red Bar. It is an evening meeting and some very impressive pieces are shown. The Museum of Natural History and Intrepid in NYC are must see as is the Bronx Zoo.

  17. #17
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    After New York City drive north towards Albany then east towards Boston then box south and over the ferry to Long Island and back to JFK.

    Have a great time and enjoy every bit.

    Jim

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by thegoat View Post
    New York accommodation can be pricey so look to stay a bit further out. New Jersey is a good place to start.
    We've got 3 nights as a family in New York on our way to the West Coast this summer. We haven't been to NY for a long time, and wow staying there is now pricey (thanks Brexit).

    That said, we are going to book slap bang in the middle of Manhattan. What the point otherwise. It's like taking a special trip to London and spending a few days in a hotel in Hounslow.

  19. #19
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    AirBnB can be an option too! Tons of addresses - sadly, not all send you a reply tbh.

    Basically, there are two major airports for European flights: Newark and JFK. Newark has a perfect train connection into the heart of NY Penn Station. For a more 'I am entering NY now' feeling, you can get a cab. But that takes longer. The JFK trip is the longest - about one hour to midtown.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by noTAGlove View Post
    We've got 3 nights as a family in New York on our way to the West Coast this summer. We haven't been to NY for a long time, and wow staying there is now pricey (thanks Brexit).

    That said, we are going to book slap bang in the middle of Manhattan. What the point otherwise. It's like taking a special trip to London and spending a few days in a hotel in Hounslow.
    All of this got me thinking about the hotel I need in Manhattan. I've been vaguely looking for a hotel for about a month now, and had resigned myself to paying around 230/night to be in a good location. I've used 'Hotwire.com' for about 20 years over many, many trips to the US, and always found it reliable as long as I booked a hotel with a customer score of at least 85% and a TripAdvisor score of 4/5.

    The downside of Hotwire is that it's an opaque booking site so, you don't know the hotel you're getting, but know the area it's going to be in (Hotwire is actually owned by Expedia). I'd been checking Hotwire for the last month and found hotels that where 200/night on their site, but I'd rather pay the extra few quid and know exactly where I'm staying. When you book Hotwire, you have to get a great deal to make it worthwhile.

    That great deal was tonight, based on the fact that reading your post spurred me into action to check out Hotwire again.

    I got 3 nights (Aug 9-12) in the 3 star Fairfield Inn and Suites (with breakfast and free wifi) Manhattan Central Park for 107 per night for the 4 of us. A few blocks from Central Park and Times Square, you couldn't get a better location. Plus the Tripadvisor reviews are excellent (4/5), and it's a Marriott hotel.

    Anyway, I've done the hard work and taken the risk on what was an unknown hotel, which has paid off for me. These deals don't hang around for long, so if your interested have a look on Hotwire pronto. The hotel come up as 'Midtown West Theatre District' at 81 per night. The taxes and fees bring it to 107 per night for the dates I booked. As I said and incredible deal for August holiday season in a fantastic location.

    Hope it helps.

    Dave

  21. #21
    Craftsman
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    NYC in July, plan in a visit to Coney Island. Its part of Brooklyn, and 45-50 min from the heart of Manhattan. Yes there will be mobs of people there, waiting to get on the rides and strolling the boardwalk, and that's exactly how its supposed to be. Loud, colorful, messy fun.

    And then make plans to get to the beach. Yes, technically there is a beach at Coney Island but that's not where you'll want to relax and have a swim.

    The closest really good beach is at Jones Beach State Park, about 40 miles from the city. The further out on Long Island you go, the better. Main Beach in East Hampton is really nice, they run a great fireworks show for the 4th (Fourth of July weekend is going to be a bit crazy if you're planning this trip for that time.) The beaches at the end of LI are really great, Montauk is also a big sport fishing town. At the other tip, Orient Point is a great hopping off point for a different adventure.

    There are ferries from Long Island to a few small islands off the coast. From Bayshore, Patchogue, and Sayville you can take a ferry to Fire Island, a 32 mile long spit of sand just south of the Long island shore. From Orient Point you can take a ferry to Connecticut, and then to Rhode Island's quiet little Block Island which is itself a special little treat.

    Fire Island National Seashore - Barrett Beach

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