Ever since my long miserable day (okay, it wasn’t that bad) waiting in line to get A’s passport, I’ve been itching to travel… While originally we wanted to go somewhere internationally, after looking up flights to cheap places we decided to stay in the country and head to New York. We couldn’t pass up $200ish tickets! (Mind you though, New York was competing with Spain, Japan and even Thailand which had tickets for around $400!!!!) But Kp and I have been talking about going to New York for years, so we decided to not use A’s new passport and just stay domestic.
Let me tell you, if you didn’t already know but google.com/flights lets you put in dates and you can zoom out and look at the world and see prices for different cities! You can adjust different filters (nonstop, price, etc.) but if you’re open to traveling anywhere, this could be a good place to start.
Anyways, New York. I was a bit hesitant going to New York with a 11 month old… it just seemed like a lot of walking, a lot of eating, a lot of nightlife, etc… basically all things that we would be slowed down by with a baby. But then I reminded myself that life now is going to be with a baby so we could either just stay home or do things slower and travel. We’ve traveled a few times this past year and we’ve had no regrets!
I’m typically an obsessive trip planner; I like to squeeze in as much sights, as much food, and as much entertainment as possible, and must find the most efficient way about it all. And New York of all places seems like a prime city to plan well, but I decided to do ZERO planning and just have a list of places it would be nice to go to and go from there. I must say, it was very refreshing way to travel. We ended up making it to the Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial, Times Square at night, Manhattan Chinatown for Dimsum, SoHo, Central Park, the Met, 5th Ave / Madison Ave shopping, Rockefeller Center, the heavily guarded area around Trump Tower, Facebook NY, Central Terminal and Macy’s Herald Square.
Foodwise, we did the best we could with our stomachs, but really you can only eat so much! Our favorite was probably Ippudo Ramen, which we almost didn’t make it to, but managed to go early for dinner another night and got a table right away! And besides that, we loved loved loved the bakery across the street from our friend’s place that we stayed at. Sullivan St. Bakery. We went 3 times in the 6 days we were there, and if I could have redone a few days’ breakfast, I would have gone there instead!
And just a few things that worked out well for us traveling in NYC with a baby:
- Don’t bring a carseat! We’ve transitioned A into a convertible car seat which is SO BIG, and we didn’t want to lug it around the airports just to use a couple times. Since our flight was landing in the evening and we didn’t want to worry about taking buses / shuttles / trains into Manhattan, we booked a car with a car seat through Jupiter Car Service. I was a bit hesitant after reading mixed reviews of the company, but it worked great! You provide them with your flight information and I guess they track it so they know approximately when to pick you up. The driver texted me when I landed so I would have his number and just told me to call when we were ready! He picked us up a the curb and had a carseat installed already. Easy! It wasn’t the cheapest option. We paid ~$90 for the 30 minute ride from Newark Airport to Manhattan, which included tolls and tip. On our way to the airport we decided to catch a shuttle instead and that worked out well since it was the middle of the day! And only $34 for all of us. If you have a tons of luggage, I’d suggest just hiring a car, but to save $60, we thought it was worth it!
- Bring an umbrella stroller, and get a light one!! We didn’t have an umbrella stroller and were planning to just bring our Ergo but people recommended we bring one. Thankfully, my sister gifted A with one for her birthday just in time, and a really nice and light one too! I’m SOOOO happy we had it. The first day we just used the Ergo, and by the end of the day our legs we KILLING us. It’s soo much walking and sometimes A would want to get out of the carrier and then we’d end up having to carry her… sooo tiring. Anyways, we used the Uppababy G-Lite, and it was great! Easy to carry up and down the stairs, even with A in it, easy to fold up and maneuvered great! 100% recommend!
- Don’t bother looking for the elevators! Thankfully we were staying with a friend who has nieces and nephews who come to visit her often in New York and she suggested that we just lift the stroller up (Kp in the front and me in the back) and just carry A in it to go up and down stairs. This was definitely a good workout, and it saved us SO. MUCH. TIME. not having to wander around everywhere looking for an elevator. It’s true, we’re slow going up and down stairs and people behind us might get annoyed, but my NY friend said locals do this, so we figured we’d do it too!
- Use the emergency door in subway stations to wheel the stroller through! If you’re traveling with two adults and one of you is wheeling the stroller, the other person can just swipe the metro card twice, and then open the emergency door from the inside for the other person. We would have never known to do this if it wasn’t for my NY friend! Thanks Janet!
- Bring a blanket for baby, and extra socks for gloves! We went in late February, and while it wasn’t TOO cold, compared to the locals, A was probably underdressed in her stroller. Everyone seemed to have a sleeping bag sort of thing on their stroller, but we’re from California! so there’s no need for that here. We improvised with a blanket and socks, and worked well enough!
New York turned out to be a lot of fun, even with a baby! And I’m so glad we decided to go! This past year, (A has since turned 1) was such a fun year of traveling with her, and for those of you who are on the fence about going, you should definitely just go! And take advantage of babies being free before they’re 2! We’ve been looking at our calendar and planning trips for the rest of the year, and 2 seems like it will come too soon!