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Best way to see NYC, Niagra and WDC X-Mas 2014

Cairns, Australia
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Best way to see NYC, Niagra and WDC X-Mas 2014

Hi, My family and I are travelling to NYC and will be spending Christmas with family on Long Island. While we're there we would like to travel to Niagra falls and Washington DC. Can anyone suggest the best (and most budget conscious but suitable for families) way of seeing this. We'll have about 2 weeks in total. Am conscious of the weather so would prefer not to drive ourselves, although happy to go on bus tour etc. Also any recommendations for family friendly budget accommodation in NYC would be appreciated. Really need something with at least 1 bedroom so us/kids in a separate room so we can get some sleep!

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Best way to see NYC, Niagra and WDC X-Mas 2014

I would totally skip the Niagara visit and am sure future posters can give you all the better reasons other than it is rather far from NYC and you have too much on your plate. To get to DC from NYC, take the train. It is a 3 hour trip from Penn Station. Do give your budget in US$ for your hotel keeping in mind that there is a 15% tax added, your bed configurations and your exact dates of travel as rates can vary drastically on a daily basis. Apartment rentals in New York are generally illegal for less than 30 days.

If you have not purchased your airline tickets, I would suggest you do open jaw: arrive in either DC or NYC, train in between and fly out from the other end.

Cairns, Australia
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2. Re: Best way to see NYC, Niagra and WDC X-Mas 2014

Thanks for that. We definitely want to do Niagra. We have a total of 7 weeks in the US, and just in early stages of planning, so times in each destination are still flexible at this stage. It is likely to be the week before and the week after Christmas. not really sure how to reply re budget - we are looking at staying for as cheap as possible, but at least 1 bedroom. Would you recommend a tour to DC or just going ourselves? Also need options for accommodation in DC. Thanks.

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Best way to see NYC, Niagra and WDC X-Mas 2014

you really need to come up with the specifics, including the dollars and cents to be able to get any sort of help. Go to DC by yourselves. Post your questions in the DC forum. December is not the time to go to Niagara. Am sure someone in NYC will chime in (they are probably asleep) with better reasons other than weather. I believe the better side is the Canadian side.

Brooklyn, NY
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4. Re: Best way to see NYC, Niagra and WDC X-Mas 2014

If you want to go to Niagara from NYC, fly. A bus there is 7 hours one way! I would never put myself through that!

I arranged a trip to Niagara and flew and it was a great time.

Flushing, New York
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5. Re: Best way to see NYC, Niagra and WDC X-Mas 2014

The distance from NYC to Niagara Falls is about 658 km. Washington is closer and far easier and cheaper to reach. The area just south of the falls at Buffalo, NY, is notorious for heavy snow fall due to the lake effect. Winter is not the best season for a visit. The Canadian side offers the better view of the falls and be certain to carry all necessary travel documents for the border crossing.

With a map of Washington, you can pretty much guide yourself. Most of the major attractions are clustered around the National Mall. However, a tour might provide discounted hotel rates and likely a sightseeing bus ride around the city. Read up on Washington and decide what you really want to see and whether a tour goes to these places.

New York City, New...
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6. Re: Best way to see NYC, Niagra and WDC X-Mas 2014

The only sensible way to see Niagara Falls from NYC is to fly.

kayak.com

is a good website to check airfares. It's cheapest to fly to Buffalo, NY. But weather is very unpredictable at that time of year and you can get plane delays/cancellations because of it.

For Washington, the train is the preferred transport.

amtrak.com

is the train website. The cheapest fares are typically $49 each way from NYC and must be booked at least 2 weeks before travelling or more. It's not necessary to take the fast train (Acela) which is much more expensive and doesn't save that much time. There are buses like

megabus.com

boltbus.com

greyhound.com

that are cheaper, but the train is somewhat more reliable and not subject to road delays.

You can pick up bus tours in both locations but getting there on your own will be the cheapest way to go. Inclusive tours from NYC by bus are expensive and not very good.

As for a hotel in NYC

nycsalisbury.com

radiocityapartments.com

affinia.com

beaconhotel.com

san carlos

Best Western Hospitality

milburnhotel.com

Residence Inn Midtown East

are some of the hotels that have 1 bedroom suites. Hotel prices in Dec. fluctuate wildly by date. If you can avoid staying in NYC at the beginning of the month, you will find rates drop dramatically around the 18-28 and then go back up for New Year's and then back down in Jan. In fact, Jan. is one of the best times of year for hotel bargains.

New York City, New...
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7. Re: Best way to see NYC, Niagra and WDC X-Mas 2014

In December, it is typically bitterly cold and snowy up in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls area. Weather may prevent you from getting in or out by any means, and driving/bus could be truly treacherous. The seasonal attractions at the Falls will be closed; pretty much all you'll be able to do it take a look at them in the bitter cold. Sorry, but I think you need to really think twice about this...

Syracuse, New York
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8. Re: Best way to see NYC, Niagra and WDC X-Mas 2014

If you haven't been discouraged about going to Niagara Falls in December (& you should. I live a couple of hours east of there & it can be brutal weather) both the Sheraton & Marriott hotels offer Falls Views hotels where you can see the falls from your hotel room, if the budget allows.

Olney, Maryland
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9. Re: Best way to see NYC, Niagra and WDC X-Mas 2014

You can fly easily from Washington, Baltimore, or NYC, to Buffalo, NY, which is only 25 miles from Niagara Falls, Ontario (better than Niagara Falls, NY). And DC and New York are equidistant from NF (400 miles), so you could start your trip by flying into Buffalo from Australia (you'd probably change in Chicago or Detroit), seeing NF for 2 days, then flying to New York, then train to DC, or in the opposite direction. Also know that Toronto, ON, is also a one-hour drive from Niagara Falls, so your trip can be through there. Buffalo is easy to drive through. Toronto is crowded, but luckily NF and Toronto (Pearson) Airport are west of the city, so you miss a lot of traffic by starting at the airport. BUT, Toronto is a great place to visit too. And with 7 weeks, you could spend a week in those 3 big cities (NYC, DC, TO), and even see Boston and Philadelphia, too + Niagara Falls.

Toronto, Canada
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10. Re: Best way to see NYC, Niagra and WDC X-Mas 2014

Re post # 8

Just like there are many NYC hotels with Times Square in their name, but they have no view of Times square, be aware that many NF hotels will have Fallsview in their name but do not offer views of the Falls from their rooms.

About 15 years ago we stayed at the Mariott Fallsview Hotel in one of their falls' view rooms when there were not as many large hotels nearby. We had the singularly most amazing view of our lives with floor to ceiling windows looking out over the Niagara River as it cascaded over the Horseshoe Falls. There was even a small sliding window panel, about six inches tall, that you could open to hear the roar of the water. Incredible.

Sadly, there have been so many more hotels built up in that one spot that you are no longer guaranteed an unobstructed view but there are still a few around. It doesn't hurt to mention that you are travelling all the way from Australia and see if they can set one aside for you, especially if you come during the week in December when it is relatively quiet.

Edited: 21 April 2014, 20:20