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Chicago to NYC (driving vs. flying)

Chicago, Illinois
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Chicago to NYC (driving vs. flying)

Hi all! We (family of 4, 2 teens) want to go to NYC the 2nd week in August for 6 or 7 nights. I am trying to decide if we should drive or fly. Seems with flights, air transport it will be just over 1000.00 and driving with 2 nights hotel during travel to and from, gas , parking etc. we're looking at about 800.00, so similar.

What route and overnight stops would you recommend on way there and back?

Also, we would give ourselves more time if driving, so wouldn't cut into NYC time that much.

Any opinions?

Cleveland
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1. Re: Chicago to NYC (driving vs. flying)

Are you interested in doing anything between Chicago and New York?

Possibilities would include Cedar Point in Sandusky and Waldameer/Presque Isle just west of Erie. There are many other possibilities in Ohio depending upon your available time and your family's interests -- e.g., the Lake Erie islands (South Bass and Put-in-Bay and Kelleys), Cleveland's West Side Market, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Ohio Amish country and a hardwood zipline. You might catch a concert, from classical to country to rock at Blossom Music Center, located just off I-80 in the midst of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and one of the nation's best summer music venues.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blossom_Music_Center

Niagara Falls also is a possibility, although a more lengthy detour.

You'll likely want to take I-80 much of the way, depending upon your diversions.

Keep in mind that parking in NYC can be brutally expensive....there are airport hotels in Cleveland (e.g., the LaQuinta) which allow travelers to leave their car at the hotel for free during their trip, and which offer free shuttles to and from the airport. So you could drive part way and fly the remainder. Don't know if this would save you much money, but it might allow you to visit Cedar Point (a favorite of most teens) or some other attractions.

Good planning!

Uden, The...
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2. Re: Chicago to NYC (driving vs. flying)

With 6-7 nights for NY I'd fly. A car in NY is a pain in the **** and you won't use it. Not to mention parkingspots and fees.

There's enough to see on your way by car as TE says though.

Tet

Illinois
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3. Re: Chicago to NYC (driving vs. flying)

If it were me, I would fly unless I was really interested in seeing the sights along the way. It's about 800 miles each way. Have you looked at the rates on Southwest? They are currently only taking reservations through August 10, but they are showing rates as low as $93 each way for early August. As in Chicago, you would probably want to stay in a central area, and the cost of parking a car would be substantial.

Chicago, Illinois
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4. Re: Chicago to NYC (driving vs. flying)

I don't know why I'm so undecided about this. I know we wouldn't drive around the city in our car, it's just a safety blanket. I am much less freaked out about driving or cabs than public transport, which seems overwhelming to me. If I could just feel confident enough about not getting lost on the subways etc. it would sway me.

Also, we will probably split our hotel time.

Tet, Hyatt Regency Newark for 3 nights looks nice, but the skyline view king is 450.00/night. Would get the kids a cheap room.

Then we would move to midtown for 4 nights. Not sure about splitting up the hotels either, but don't want to be on the train all day every day either.

Additional thoughts?

Uden, The...
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5. Re: Chicago to NYC (driving vs. flying)

Hi Tqluvtotrvl (whatever gave you the idea to use a screenname like this -lol-)

Let me tell you this. I have not used public transport for at least 30 years and this was our first visit to New York (actually only Manhattan and SoL).

The Path train brings you in 6 minutes to WTC. And the Path station is 50 yards ffrom the Hyatt. The lobby at the Hyatt has all info for trips to Manhattan, Ellis Island, SoL, NY Waterway etc etc. There even is a desk for travellers in the lobby. I just pickup a map for the NY subways and studied it.

After the first ride on the subway it already felt if we had done this many times before. It really is easy and very well arranged and folks in the subway will help you if you lose track.

Just take cheapest room in this hotel. You won't be in your hotel much and the moment you step outside the hotel you'll have the most gorgeous views on Manhattan.

This hotel is at the Exchange Place. Owen Grundy Park is right next to it

http://vangrundy.blogspot.com/ The name park is deceptive but there are many chairs and tables, big fixed umprellas and the evening views on Manhattan WOW. An surrounded by the Hudson.

You don't need to have breakfast or dinner at the Hyatt. Many places just outside and a lot cheaper. The Promenade in Jersey City also is nice and you are on a 10 minutes walk to the NYWaterway.

Keep an eye on the hotels website. Prices vary and maybe even call the hotel to get a great deal. We payed and average of some $ 150,-- in september. This really is a great hotel and the doorman will help you with all you need also. And if I can manage the subways you can. Trust me ;) DW liked the gym and even the (indoor) pool was good.

Tet

Richmond, Virginia
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6. Re: Chicago to NYC (driving vs. flying)

I would fly, unless there really is something you'd like to see on the way. A road trip only seems to make sense in your scenario if you are interested in touring along the route.

<<I am much less freaked out about driving or cabs than public transport, which seems overwhelming to me.>>

Take a deep breath - the subway system is easy! Subway maps are simple enough to figure out quickly, and as you pull into each station, it will be clearly labeled which station you're at, so you won't miss your stop. When walking, NYC streets are numbered so it's hard to get lost. If you're at 14th Street and need to get to 15th Street, you know it's just one block away :) Plus, all tourist attraction websites will have directions to get there by public transport, listing stops and then walking directions. By the end of the week, you'll be a pro.

If you are truly worried, you can map out routes ahead of time on Google Maps, which has a public transport option which details which subway line to take in which direction, which stop to get off at, and walking directions from that point onward. Or, there's an app for that ;) Still worried? Buy tickets for the hop-on/hop-off sightseeing buses for the first day until you get your bearings. That will literally drop you in front of major attractions and provide some commentary along the way.

Even if you drive to the city, you're very likely going to just leave the car in a parking garage for the entirety of your visit. I promise you, driving in Manhattan is NOT something you want to do on vacation.

Illinois
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7. Re: Chicago to NYC (driving vs. flying)

I think you will do fine with the subway, especially if you have a chance to map out where you want to go in advance. That being said, I'll share our experience. We were in New York City for a college visit, and having taken the Long Island Railroad from the LI airport, we arrived at Penn Station and quickly found our way to the subway that would take us to our hotel in Soho. After riding for a short time, we couldn't clearly hear the announcement about what station we were stopped at, and hesitated just a bit before deciding this was indeed our stop. Our 18 year-old son exited the train, and to our horror the doors closed. I will never forget the expression on his face as the train pulled away, leaving him alone in a totally unfamiliar city. He didn't have a cell phone and we weren't even sure if he had any money or knew the name of our hotel. We determined that we were still two stops from our destination, and got off at the very next stop. Several trains went by until we saw a tall young man resembling our son exit up the steps. We yelled and ran after him, only to be faced with empty sidewalks at street level. It was like a scene from a movie. After that, we went to our hotel and my husband went looking for him (in a city of 8 million people!) Luckily, our son had a book to read and when he got concerned he found a pay phone and called me on my cell. He ended up attending college in New York, and was riding the subway like a native almost immediately.

One tip: we always print out detailed city maps (large so that I'm not squinting!) before we leave home. I mark the places we want to visit, restaurants, parking, etc. so that we have no worries when we arrive.

Edited: 04 December 2011, 01:47
Chicago, Illinois
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8. Re: Chicago to NYC (driving vs. flying)

It's become more clear that a car is a liability in NY, so that is the way we'll go. I will make sure to print out plenty of maps, etc.

Now to decide if we should split our stay 3/4, or stay one place for the 7 nights.

Just to get an idea of travel time- How long would it take to get from the Hyatt Regency/Jersey City to Midtown (lets say time square) via the subway system-How many train switches would we have to make?

Also, is there a preferred airport? Newark seems cheapest, but haven't heard great things about it.

Thanks for everyones input. It is coming together nicely.

Cleveland
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9. Re: Chicago to NYC (driving vs. flying)

Suggest you also ask your questions on the NYC forum now that you've decided against a road trip (are you certain your teens wouldn't like a trip to Cedar Point???).

One key point -- NYC is a huge city. Try to group nearby attractions together as much as possible so you aren't traveling back and forth across the city wasting time.

As for the subways, and the city as a whole, the only thing I've never found easy is the concept of uptown and downtown, used instead of north and south, but read the first paragraph under geograpy at the following link. You really don't need to know it anyway if you think in terms of addresses.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhattan

To answer one of your questions, Southwest flies into Newark Liberty.

Tip: Visit the Empire State Building at night for shorter lines. Be certain to go on a clear day/night so you're not fogged in, although that also is fun in its own way.

Have a great trip!

Minneapolis...
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10. Re: Chicago to NYC (driving vs. flying)

I recommend staying in one hotel for the entire 7 nights in or close to mid-town (unless you can save big bucks in Jersey City). No sense wasting valuable vacation time unpacking, re-packing, checking out and then checking back in. Also the views of Lower Manhattan from Jersey City are nice but I am not sure I would pick a New York City area hotel based solely on that criteria.

Also, I have flown into Newark numerous times and have never had any problems (although it takes a little longer to get into mid-town from Newark than JFK or LaGuardia). I always choose the NYC airport based on cheapest airfare (and have flow into one airport and out of a different one if that saves money).