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5 Day triangle trip with Empire Vacations

Gosford, Australia
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5 Day triangle trip with Empire Vacations

Hi. Will be staying in New York for about 5 nights in September & meeting my daughter after she has finished her Contiki tour.

We want to then do a guided tour to Niagara Falls, Washington & Amish Country.

Have researched the internet & Travel Agent brochures & can only find 2 guided tours that fit in with our dates.

I am looking at the 5 day triangle trip with Empire Vacations which sounds really good but they have mixed reviews on TA which has put me off doing this tour.

The other one with Adventure World has 2 nights in Niagara Falls & then 2 nights in Washington so there are 2 days that you would spend 8 hours on the bus where as Empire has the 4 nights spread out more which would break up the time on the bus & they have more stops & things to see.

I know that we can do day trips to these attractions but this way would be easier & cheaper.

Has anyone either done this 5 day trip or have any suggestions for other guided tours.

I do not want to hire a car or catch a train.

It is doing my head in!

Brighton, United...
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1. Re: 5 Day triangle trip with Empire Vacations

Personally I would look to do these as two separate trips.

Washington is easily doable from NYC either by bus, train or as an organised day trip tour. I know you said you weren't keen on train but it's really very easy and theres a fab trip report here from someone who has very recently done it as a day trip via train: tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g60763-i5-k72665…

Niagara falls is a long trip by road, personally I would look to book a flight from NYC to Buffalo and not waste precious sight seeing time stuck on buses. From Buffalo airport you can simply take a taxi to Niagara Falls. It's doable to return back of NYC the same day or book a hotel if you want to spend longer there.

Gosford, Australia
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2. Re: 5 Day triangle trip with Empire Vacations

Thanks for your advice. I am now thinking of doing what you suggest flying to Buffalo for a day trip to Niagara falls. Then maybe doing an organised day trip to Amish country and catching the train to Washington on our last day, staying overnight & then flying from there for the last leg of our trip to Orlando & Miami.

New York NY
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3. Re: 5 Day triangle trip with Empire Vacations

These tours just may be the biggest mistake you ever make. These tours cater to extremely old people with all kinds of health and mobility issues - they're a total nightmare. If you can figure out how to use a computer and get yourself to Tripadvisor then you do NOT want these tours.

Niagara Falls is extremely easy and extremely do-able on your own. You simply fly jetBlue - an excellent and very reliable airline - from New York JFK to Buffalo NY (JFK - BUF). You can fly up in the morning and back in the evening or you can choose to stay overnight in Niagara Falls (a rather sad town stuck in an economic depression). The Falls are beautiful - the town is not charming. You're going for the Falls, not to see and stroll a charming little town filled with pleasant shops and cafes (sadly). Very very easy to do on your own.

Washington D.C. is also much better done on your own. You can just as easily fly NYC - Buffalo and then Buffalo - Washington and then Washington - New York. That will actually be less expensive.

Washington D.C.'s Reagan National Airport (DCA) is just outside the center of town in Washington D.C. (the subway and taxi's are readily accessible).

Traffic in the Northeastern U.S. is horrendous and you do one of these bus tours and your vacation will be nothing but sitting in a traffic jam with people that may or may not die before you get to Niagara Falls or Washington D.C. - don't do it.

New York City, New...
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4. Re: 5 Day triangle trip with Empire Vacations

Agree with what's been said. These tours attract older people who can't/won't travel on their own or non English speakers. Going by bus to Niagara Falls is a huge mistake. These locations have nothing to do with each other. The way the tours make it cheap is by staying in the middle of nowhere. ;) I don't think you'll find a decent day trip to Amish Country from NYC. I think they go from Phil. Rather than all the to-ing and fro-ing, you might consider leaving NYC....go by train to Phil. and stay there overnight. Do a tour of Amish country from Phil. and then continue on to Washington from Phil. by train or bus.

New York City, New...
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5. Re: 5 Day triangle trip with Empire Vacations

I'm assuming you have a particular interest in Amish "country" but I'm not quite sure what it might be - if it is not that important to you, then I'd bypass it altogether - I've been there and still not sure why.

I think - if possible - three nights would be a nice minimum for DC - I lived there and there is a lot to see that is often not included on the usual tourist trail. So - I'd do the Falls and DC - but, that's me; I'm sure you have a reason for the other leg.

And, two nights at the Falls would be a sad mistake, in my opinion.

You have gotten great recommendations -

Toronto, Canada
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6. Re: 5 Day triangle trip with Empire Vacations

I agree with what's been said so far. I think you would find a trip to Amish country different, but far from memorable, and your time would be much better spent seeing more of Washington, DC.

As for Niagara Falls, the part worth your limited time is the Falls, along with the rapids along the Niagara River. The town of Niagara Falls, Ontario can be a fun get-away destination for a short break for locals from nearby cities, but not worth trading in time spent in NYC or Washington, DC for those travelling from far away, imho. Although the close up view of the Horseshoe Falls is much better from the Canadian side, if travelling across the border is going to be complicated for you, I wouldn't give it another thought and would see what I could from the U.S. side.

Philadelphia...
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7. Re: 5 Day triangle trip with Empire Vacations

I agree with others. Some people seem to like "Amish country," but I can't figure out what the appeal is, aside from gawking at people who prefer to live a secluded lifestyle. And a tour like what you've described is going to mean a lot of time sitting on a bus, which sounds terrible to me. I think it's better to plan your own trips to Niagara Falls and Washington.

New York City, New...
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8. Re: 5 Day triangle trip with Empire Vacations

I agree with what's been said above. You say you're ending your trip in Florida, so I'd suggest buying a 'multi-city' or 'open-jaw' ticket into NYC and out of Miami. These types of tickets can be searched for easily (most airline and travel websites have a 'multi-city' option), often cost little to no more, and will prevent you from backtracking.

If I understand your post, you have 10 nights before Florida? Start with 6-7 nights in NYC, then fly to Buffalo to spend a night at Niagara Falls, then fly from Buffalo to DC and spend 2-3 nights there. Fly from DC to Orlando, then continue on to Miami for the last part of your trip.

For all the flights, buts especially the domestic US ones, I recommend searching for fares on kayak.com.

Have fun planning!

Malinta OH
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9. Re: 5 Day triangle trip with Empire Vacations

Don't spend the night at Niagra Falls...there is nothing in that town worth your time, do the fly in and out on the same day, once you see the Falls thats it, although it would be nice for you to see them by day and by night, they have colored lights around the falls. I agree it is better seen from the Canadian side but if you don't want the hassle then view from the US side, I think you can walk or taxi across the border once there?? but not for sure on that one. Amish country in Pennsylvania is very small next to the US largest Amish community in Holmes county Ohio, I would skip that and spend the extra day in DC or if traveling by train, spend the day in Philladelphia and see the Liberty Bell and some of the sights there. Have a great trip!

Gosford, Australia
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10. Re: 5 Day triangle trip with Empire Vacations

Wow! Thanks everyone for the great information.

You have definitely turned me off the bus trips.

I will definitely fly to Buffalo as suggested & maybe stay overnight if we can get cheap accommodation so we can see the falls at night. Any recommendations where to stay?

My daughter will have a Canadian Visa as she is doing a Contiki tour of Canada.I was also going to get one so we could see the falls from the Canadian side.

Can you get a bus to the falls, both Canadian & US side or would it be best to get a cab? Or do I hire a car which I didn't really want to do as I'm not confident driving on the other side of the road.

We would then fly to Washington & stay 1 or 2 nights.

My daughter really wants to see the Amish, her travel agent said she really enjoyed it.

So if I can't talk her out of going there we will fly to Philadelphia & do a tour from there, stay the night & then fly to Orlando.

How long would it take on the bus from Philadelphia to Amish country?

So much to plan. Lucky we aren't going until September!