Travel is a great way for dads to connect with their families. Each summer, my family takes a vacation to relax and explore. This year, my kids wanted to visit New York City because they’ve heard so much about it. After some careful planning, we went to The Big Apple and had a great time.
If you are planning a trip to NYC, here are a few tips that can help make you the ultimate Travel MANager for your family this summer
Prices for plane tickets fluctuate constantly. To get the best price, try to book on a Tuesday and plan to stay over a Saturday night. When returning to airline websites, clear your browser cache and cookies. Airlines track return visits and will sometimes increase the price. You can also use travel aggregator sites such as Kayak to set-up flight alerts to get the best price. Try to book as early as possible to get the best seats. I use an app called Seatguru that rates airline seats. Also, sign up for airline frequent flyer plans. Last year I used my points to take my whole family to Washington, D.C. Before you leave, make plans for transportation to and from the airport. If you plan to drive, you should seek cost-effective airport parking options.
When searching for hotels, you must consider many factors such as price, location, and amenities. My go-to hotel is Homewood Suites by Hilton. The rooms are big enough to accommodate my family and the hotel offers free breakfast and free evening meals on weekdays. These meals help to reduce the cost of the overall trip because we don’t have to eat out as much. An added bonus it that it has a kitchen where we could cook food or reheat leftovers. For my New York trip, my kids and I stayed at the Homewood Suites in Manhattan. It was within walking distance of many of the popular New York attractions. An added bonus was that it’s located in the Garment District which appealed to my fashionista teenage daughter.
Finding activities that the whole family will enjoy can be challenging, but it becomes much easier when everyone has some input. My kids and I sat around my computer and searched for fun activities that we would all enjoy. We settled on visiting the Empire State Building, Times Square, Museums, Central Park, Statue of Liberty Cruise, and shopping. My daughter wanted to go to the H&M and Macy’s flagship stores and my son wanted to visit the NBA, Lego, and Nintendo stores. We saved money on our sightseeing by buying a CityPass which saved us 40% off the regular prices.
Although New York is chock full of amazing restaurants, they aren’t always appealing to kids. In my case, I have to avoid restaurants that serve shellfish because my daughter has an allergy. I used my apps Yelp, AroundMe, and Urbanspoon to find a few restaurants that my kids enjoyed. Shake Shack was their favorite.
Getting around New York is fairly easy because of the abundance of public transportation. Not only can you hail taxis on any corner, but you can also use the Arro app to reserve rides. Uber is also a popular way to travel around town. Uber often offers free rides and huge discounts to new customers. Be sure to download the app and check for specials. We used Uber to and from the airport and traveled by taxi while in the city. New York is also home to one of the most robust subway systems in the world. You can download the NYC subway app to plan trips around town.
Explore New Paths
Although it’s great to have an agenda for your trip, some of the most memorable moments occur when you go off the beaten path. New York is an incredible city filled with interesting things around every corner. While walking down the street, my kids and I happened to encounter a cool band playing in the plaza near Madison Square Garden. I was also able to introduce them to cannolis at a local bakery and we watched some street performers dazzle us with acrobatic dance moves.
Factor in Time for Rest and Relaxation
You may be tempted to pack in as many activities as you possibly can, but factoring in time for rest and relaxation is important. I have the stamina and attention span to spend the whole day exploring the city for interesting things, but I know that my kids don’t. They need a little time to recharge their batteries. We decided to spend the morning exploring, and return to the Homewood Suites after lunch to rest. Our favorite place to relax was the rooftop lounge. If you don’t get to see everything you wanted to, that’s okay. You can always plan another trip to the city. What’s most important is enjoying a few precious moments with your children.