Do you love to travel, but due to life’s commitments don’t always have the time? Do you like exploring new places, but can’t always afford a week away? I think many of us can relate, and that’s ok! There are many ways to feel like you’ve been on vacation without traveling too far or breaking the bank. For my family, a recent solution came with a night spent in New York City. Hotel and all.
For those of you who read this blog you know that my family and I live in the suburbs of New York City, about 35 minutes outside of the city. You also know that one of my favorite topics to talk about is local travel; one doesn’t need to go far away to experience the thrill of discovery and exploration. And one doesn’t need to spend a million dollars to have a vacation either.
Fall is always a hard time for us to travel, much as it is with a lot of people. The kids are back in school, studies have begun, and people are convening for all sorts of events after the summer holidays. Fall, calendar-wise, is busy. My girls also play soccer and don’t like to miss weekend games, and in fact I coach soccer, and I don’t like to miss games either. So we are generally around for most of the Fall, and don’t have much time to travel. What’s a travel-loving mom to do?
For us, the answer is day trips. Or in the case of a recent outing, a night trip! Being outside of New York half an hour away, I never really thought to spend the night at a hotel in the city. We’re so close. Why would we? Well, I’ll tell you why – because it was fabulous! Here’s what happened…
It was recently my daughter’s 10th birthday. For the past couple of years it’s been tradition to see a Broadway show every November for her birthday. I was late in the game this year and couldn’t find any decent Saturday or Sunday tickets to School of Rock, her musical of choice. And then it hit me: Election Day (a no-school day) at my girls’ school was on a Tuesday. Boom. Next thing I knew we had purchased tickets to School of Rock for that Monday night. No school on Tuesday = Monday night becoming a Saturday.
The great thing was, being a Monday night, tickets were cheaper and we saved a considerable amount of money on 4 tickets. But the really great thing was, I realized – why spend the night at home if we could spend the night in the city? The show was at 7:00 p.m., we wouldn’t get home until 11:00, and then have to pop back on the train again the next morning. You see, we had plans with my brother in New York on Election Day. So I figured, we might as well spend the night, and make a night and day of it.
With the busy Fall we’ve had and not being able to get away, it was the perfect solution to all our travel cravings – a night out in the Big Apple! Being tourists in our own backyard. It was a great way to get away from the every day and have that exciting feeling of being somewhere different, and it also didn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
Speaking of cost effective, I just have to mention alternatively seeing a taping of a live talk show through the website 1iota (if Broadway isn’t your thing), as I just learned of it and think it’s genius! You can sign up to see talk shows like Kelly and Ryan for free. Yes, free! My daughter is getting more and more into talk shows, and I think this may be calling our name next year.
But I digress…back to our 24 hour whirlwind. I did a search for hotels on Trip Advisor and found a great deal at a perfectly nice hotel in Midtown, the Park Central Hotel. We’re not talking amazing, but the rooms were modern and clean, the beds some of the most comfortable of any hotel I’ve been to, and a nice, big lobby to greet us. It was $159 before taxes – for NYC that is a steal! Especially for 4 people! My other go-to site (or actually, app) is Hotel Tonight. But for 4 people you are not guaranteed 2 beds so I didn’t want to take the risk.
Anyways, there are ways to stay in and experience New York without breaking the bank. It’s just all about timing. And there are ways to feel like you’ve escaped the mundane hum-drum of the every day: our night consisted of dinner at Trattoria Dell’Arte (a New York pre-theatre classic), a walk through the theatre district, a Broadway show, dessert after, and TV in bed. Pure bliss!
The next morning we (my girls and I – husband went off to work) went out for breakfast at a local diner and then headed up to the American Museum of Natural History. There are some interesting exhibits going on right now, plus the museum is located on the edge of Central Park, so we figured we could have a quintessential New York fall day consisting of a museum, stroll through Central Park to see the changing trees, followed by lunch. We met up with my brother and nephew and did just that.
The whole day was made easy by the fact that we spent the night in the city. No train, we could just walk out of the hotel into the streets of New York like a tourist and go play! It was a totally different take on our time spent in the city, and a special way to celebrate my daughter’s birthday.
When we came back home, it felt as if we had taken a mini vacation. We’re not in the city all that often, so for my girls it was an amazing way to experience the buzz of New York. So if you’re in need of an escape, but don’t have the time or money for a longer vacation, consider a night out in the city. Not just in New York, but whichever city you may live near. It can make a world of a difference!
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