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Niagra Falls Tour

Sydney
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Niagra Falls Tour

Hi All

My wife and I are travelling to NYC from Australia in May 2012 and wanted to do a one day tour to Niagra Falls. I've been reading that there a few tour companies that do this, but just wondering are there any companies that I should just avoid and any that people recommend.

I understand that this is a full day.

Also, do we need to organise Visa's before hand or does the tour company organise this so we can see the Canadian side of the falls.?

Thanks.

Thanks

New York NY
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1. Re: Niagra Falls Tour

I would strongly recommend against the tours.

They aren't real tours.

All they do is book the cheapest flights they can get, give you a taxi voucher from Buffalo Airport to Niagara Falls (which the cab drivers don't want because they don't make very much on them) and a ticket for something like the Maid of the Mist - all of which you can buy yourself. Then they take a big cut.

jetBlue is the best airline for flying between New York and Buffalo. Delta also serves the route. check www.kayak.com and enter NYC as your starting point and BUF as your destination. Put in the same date for outbound and return. Set it to show only morning flights on the way to Buffalo and only PM flights on the way back.

You can easily transfer between Manhattan and JFK Airport on the subway or LIRR / JFK AirTrain.

Simply take a taxi to Niagara Falls from the airport.

I do not know how visas work for Aussies going to Canada - I didn't know it was necessary for you to have a visa for Canada.

Gig Harbor...
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2. Re: Niagra Falls Tour

I would rent a car in Buffalo ,rather than take a taxi. Niagra Falls is pretty far from the airport, I can't imagine a taxi would be cheaper than a car

I picked a random date in July (the 11th) and a car ,taken at 9AM and returned at 7PM ranges from $60-$77 on hotwire

Edited: 25 April 2012, 15:00
New York City
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3. Re: Niagra Falls Tour

07suby, perhaps you can explain this to me -- and I really do mean this as a serious question. Why is it that foreign visitors so frequently want to pair a trip to Niagara Falls with a visit to New York City, when Niagara is 410 miles/ 660 kilometers from here? Washington DC (which is about 205 miles, or half the distance to Niagara) or Boston (about 215 miles) or even Montreal in Canada (about 330 miles) are all closer and easier to get to, but visitors constantly bring up a trip to Niagara Falls (which is actually closer to Detroit than to NYC) as if it were just a quick jaunt to a nearby suburb.

I don't get it...

Calgary, Canada
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4. Re: Niagra Falls Tour

GWB, if you're flying from the other side of the world, and NYC and Niagra Falls are both top on your list to see, why would you go to DC instead? Why would someone want to save 300km off their trip when they've already travelled 16,000km?

Yes, it's closer to Detroit, but why go to Detroit when you really want to see NYC?

For most people, this is a once in a lifetime journey. You don't take a trip like that and skip your biggest desires because something else you had no interest in was closer.

Calgary, Canada
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5. Re: Niagra Falls Tour

Oh, and it's possible that someone from, say, Europe might not realize how far the distance really is. "Oh, it's in the same state, surely the subway goes there, right?"

But Australians are very familiar with spread out places. They have the same jokes about tourists that we in Canada do, "So today we're going to drive from Vancouver to Toronto and if it's still early when we get there, we'll continue on to Halifax!" (That's about a week's worth of driving without any big stops). They also laugh at people who think Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns all together makes for a great 2 day trip. Compared to those distances, NYC and Niagra Falls really are close together, relatively.

Plus, if someone is advertising a day tour, obviously it's possible to do it in a day, so why not?

Suby, I'm not sure about the visa situation, but when we went to Oz, we had to arrange our visa in advance. It was very simple, almost just a notification that we were coming. No interview and wait for an application to be approved sort of thing. I suspect there's a reciprocal arrangement.

Edited: 25 April 2012, 16:50
New York City
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6. Re: Niagra Falls Tour

Amberm, the problem with your analysis is that if distance does not really matter, why does no one say "a day trip to the Grand Canyon", or "a day trip to Yellowstone", or even "a day trip to the Bay of Fundy"? What I suspect is that there is a mistaken idea that Niagara Falls is close to New York City -- and it isn't.

Calgary, Canada
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7. Re: Niagra Falls Tour

Some people DO make a trip to NYC and add in the Grand Canyon. It's obviously not a day trip, because it simply isn't possible. But if those are the 2 things you want to do, and you may never be in the US again, then you add in a few days (or leave NYC early) to pass through the GC on your way back to LA to catch your flight back home.

But for Niagra Falls, it is technically possible to do it in a day, so that's why people consider it. And if someone decided to make it a 3 day trip, then some people here would blast them for spending time in Niagra Falls when they could be spending that time in NYC. (I might be one of those people. Niagra Falls, Ontario is a tacky tourist town, Niagra Falls, NY isn't even that nice.)

"Close" is a relative term.

Brooklyn, NY
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8. Re: Niagra Falls Tour

Remember the person who wanted to do a day trip to LA?

Gig Harbor...
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9. Re: Niagra Falls Tour

But see, don't people look at maps anymore?

410 miles is significant! If I saw it advertised as day trip, I'd KNOW it was suspect. Or would make my own arrangements

Calgary, Canada
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10. Re: Niagra Falls Tour

I looked up the description of one tour. It says it's 14 hours. With 3 hours of flying (round trip), 2 hours at the airport (1hr per direction), 4 hours of transfer time (2hr at each end to account for traffic or border congestion), that leaves 5 hours at Niagara Falls. I don't think I have ever spent that much time there in my life. Nothing suspect about that to me.

Personally, if it was worth the trip to you at all, I'd plan an overnight so you can see the falls lit up at night. There are also fireworks over the falls on weekends. So book a hotel, and fly back first thing in the morning. But some people may assume that it's dark at night, so why not use that time to head back?

And yes, I'd probably not book a tour but just get there myself. But there are very few situations where I WOULD book a tour. Lots of people prefer having someone else arrange it, pick them up at the hotel, hold their hand through the adventure and return them to the hotel at the end. To each their own.

Suby, you don't need a visa, this is an official government of Canada website. www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/apply-who.asp

For anyone else who is reading this who might need a visa, I doubt the tour company would arrange it. Given the percentage of tourists who don't need a visa, I bet the companies would rather just not deal with the few who do need it.

One thing I would caution is that you make sure to go into Canada. If you are just looking from the US side, what you are looking at is the Horse Shoe Falls, and not Niagara Falls.