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First time visit in January to NY from S. Africa!

Durban, South Africa
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First time visit in January to NY from S. Africa!

Hi all,

My husband and I are planing a trip to NY in January and have read how very cold it will be. Coming from a rather warm climate where winters can get to as low as only 46 deg f / 8 deg c I am just a little concerned. Will any of the big tourist attractions be impossible to do over this period should it snow? We will be prepared with many layers but worry that it may be impossible to do Statue of Liberty and Empire State Building etc.

Also trying to budget, could anyone help with cheap meals and from where so that we can budget accordingly ie nearest burger outlet etc. Food is not a biggie on our trip so really not concerned about fancy expensive meals.

Plan to do a day trip to DC via bus as well. Is this recommended? What is the best budget way to do this. Do it ourselves or go the guided tour route?

Thanks for all the help and look forward to responses!

PS any other tips would be great thanks!

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Terrigal, Australia
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1. Re: First time visit in January to NY from S. Africa!

hi,

welcome to the forums - can't answer most of your question/s - but certainly interested in the replies as we will also be there in late january

personal experience form our 2012 visit - consider train to DC - www.amtrak.com - buy your tickets well in advance to save a lot of $$s - clean, efficient and safe - some also have free WiFi !

buses may look a bit cheaper - but from my previous research - if you are day-tripping - time is an essence - apparently buses are traffic/weather/roads dependent - so any delays can chew up a major part of your available time - whereas trains are not necessarily restricted .......................have a great trip !

New York City, New...
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2. Re: First time visit in January to NY from S. Africa!

You will not have a problem visiting any of the big tourist attractions. Things don't really close because of bad weather in NYC. You are also very unlikely to see much snow. It does get cold in NYC (last year it got down to about 10 degree Fahrenheit a few days, but the temps you're more likely to see in January are probably closer to 25-40), but it very rarely snows. When it does snow, the snow is usually cleared or melted off the roads within a couple of hours.

As for cheap food, you'll be in the US- land of cheap fast food - so no worries there! There are McDonalds and Burger Kings all over the place and a number of pizza joints that sell slices for $1 each. Also try the Halal guys, a delicious food cart with meat and rice, on 53rd and 6th with enormous portions for a few bucks. Chinatown also has some great and inexpensive food.

I agree with the recommendation to take a train and then do a self guided tour. DC is not the big and you can manage to see the highlights on your own. Buses take a long time and traffic in both NYC and DC is bad.

Edited: 01 August 2014, 12:35
Queens, NY
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3. Re: First time visit in January to NY from S. Africa!

I agree with the above. Buses just aren't as good an option in the NYC area as they are in SA. The roads between NY and DC are very congested, and the bus often takes up to 5 hours each way - makes it hard to do a day trip. Also, winter weather might slow down the buses. Going by train is absolutely the way to get to DC if you don't have much time to spare.

Portland, Maine
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4. Re: First time visit in January to NY from S. Africa!

For DC you will probably want the Northeast Regional Amtrak trains, which are fine. You can take the usually much more expensive Acela trains, but they don't save much time. They're primarily used by businesspeople on expense accounts. Booking in advance is the big money saver. The base fare for advance purchases should be around $49 per person each way, and you do need to book specific trains.

Terrigal, Australia
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5. Re: First time visit in January to NY from S. Africa!

ps................

again from our 2012 day trip to DC - train from Penn Station in NYC - about 3 + hours + (get very early train) - train arrives @ Union Station, DC = walk out front of station and there is a stop for the HOHO bus - straight onto bus for guided tour for orientation - then spend rest of time - walking to highlights/tourist sites ............>

Durban, South Africa
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6. Re: First time visit in January to NY from S. Africa!

Thank you all for the wonderful hints and tips! Amtrak train it is!!

Any hotel recommendations? options are The Belvedere Hotel, Row (formerly Milford), the Time Hotel and Holiday Inn Express.

thanks again.

7. Re: First time visit in January to NY from S. Africa!

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