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Unread 10 Mar 18, 03:47 PM  
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Loftus
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The "I won't be killed in my sleep because I changed accomodation" New York trip - September 2018

A, hopefully, tongue in cheek pre-trip title.

There was no plan for any biggish holiday this year. My youngest is getting married and we have his stag trip to Berlin coming up shortly, before the wedding in August. I have some contributions to make to that and so was going to use the time to save and gather some more Avios points.

However I had a Lloyds Avios upgrade voucher burning a hole in my Avios account and kept thinking about how I could use it to get a relatively cheap trip somewhere. A few quick Googles and a look at some sporting schedules and a return trip to New York looked like a decent option.

First thing to do was get a new ESTA as my previous one had expired. There was a heart in mouth moment when it took 24 hours to be approved. I began to think that the difficult immigration officer I encountered in DC last year had put a black mark against my name, but it eventually changed from pending to approved. Phew!

I used the voucher and 26,000 Avios points to book return World Traveller Plus flights from Heathrow to JFK, out on the 26th September and back on 1st October, at a cost of 449.51. Then it was time to think about accommodation.

I travel solo and when you're in New York the plan is to spend as little time as possible in your hotel room. For this reason I do begrudge paying the ridiculous prices you can be charged for some bang average accommodation in the Big Apple, particularly when there's only one of you occupying the space. On my previous two trips I had stayed at The Milford (now The Row) and a Hilton Garden Inn. Both of those were coming in at around 200 a night and the cheapest were around 130.

I decided to look a little further afield as I'm perfectly happy using the subway and I had read some good things about Long Island City and how easy it was to get into and out of Manhattan from there. It was then I came across The Local, a hostel with some decent reviews on Tripadvisor and the hotel sites. Now I'm old and so not what you would class as a typical hostel user. I have used them a few times in Europe for short stays as part of a group, but this would be the first time I would be doing so solo - hence the pre-trip report title. However I read a few reviews from more senior travellers and those, and the 250 price tag, make me take a leap of faith and book it. It has the added bonus of being close to a subway station on a line that links to the JFK AirTrain, so transfers will be cheap and easy.

To top it off I booked a night in the Heathrow T4 Premier Inn for 45 and will use the free bus service to hop to T5 for my early flight.

So flights, 5 nights in New York and a night at Heathrow for the grand total of 744.51. I'm quite happy with that. I could have done it a little cheaper by paying outright for economy flights with Delta or Norwegian but I don't mind the extra 70 or so for the slightly better WT+ cabin.

As for what's planned when I get there. Mostly sport! I plan to see both New York City and the Red Bulls play and catch a New York Mets baseball game. I have my fingers crossed that the NFL schedule will allow me to see one of the two NY teams as well. Other than that I'll go up to the One World Observatory and do the Top of the Rock at sunset as I haven't done either in my previous visits. I aim to take in the Manhattan skyline from one of the parks on the shore of the East River on Long Island City and also take the cable car to Roosevelt Island. I'll also be keeping my eyes open for any concerts I might like that I can fit it. But it will also be great just to be wandering those streets again.

Edited at 09:12 AM.
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Unread 10 Mar 18, 06:33 PM  
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Melbatb
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We stayed in LIC when we went at Christmas 2016. We were 50m from the subway and it was only 3 stops from Lex Ave. If you want a cheaper meal head to Astoria at the end of the line and there are lots of local restaurants aimed at the locals rather than tourists!

We enjoyed our walk on Roosevelt Island - a piece of tranquility!

Have a fun trip!
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Unread 10 Mar 18, 06:46 PM  
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Gev
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Looks great! I'd love to go to NYC, but will just have to stay on my bucket list for a while. Will you book tickets for your games beforehand or wing it when you get there? Xx
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Unread 10 Mar 18, 06:59 PM  
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Loftus
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I'll monitor the prices and sales, although they're not that expensive right now. I'll definitely buy before I go, either from the official sellers or StubHub.

I'll have a look at Astoria and there's a decent BBQ place and a traditional diner around the corner from the hostel.
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Unread 12 Mar 18, 02:58 PM  
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Loftus
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So much for the monitoring. New York City FC, Red Bulls and Mets tickets have been purchased.
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Unread 27 Mar 18, 11:01 PM  
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Loftus
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Well I need a new thread title as I have cancelled the hostel after getting a great rate for the Freehand Hotel instead. Twice the hostel price but a bargain for Manhattan and a great looking hotel that's only recently opened.
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Unread 28 Mar 18, 11:45 AM  
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Melbatb
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That sounds great! New hotels always seem to offer bargains!
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Unread 28 Mar 18, 12:04 PM  
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spenners
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Thanks for posting about this trip. I just booked flights for Feb 2019 and have started looking for hotels, thanks for the info about the Freehand. It looks like a great hotel
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