Hay blog! You would think that I would have many multifarious (if not infamous) things to say about NYC, and Key West and my triumphant return to Chicago etc but...I was too busy actually doing things and then falling asleep tiredly to blog. Am a hack, a bad writer, etc. But you will forgive me for these awesome travel tips I picked up. (Photo is from my ride on the BQE to LGA leaving Brooklyn.)
*When I found out I was going to NYC for four weeks or more I needed to go get A Giant Bag. I thought it best if I just threw in all sorts of outfits because apparently I have an identity crisis that cannot survive one major urban oasis to another, let alone bridging two seasons. I did a quick yelp search and found the Luggage Warehouse. Got in there, found the second to largest bag of a color other than black (black rolly bags are impossible to find in a luggage carousel). It was a lovely light blue, and priced at $65. I negotiated him down to $50 because of a very minor scratch and was on my way. Don't spend a lot on big bags, especially if they are going to be oversized (weigh more than 50lbs) because they are going to get wrecked to all high hell by the baggage handlers. I know how they treat things because I dated one for more than a year. Don't put fragile on it either as this is just a challenge to these guys, who are potheads, drunks, and total ne'er-do-wells, but generally good people. If I had to do it again I wouldn't overpack as much, and just buy another bag at the end of the trip after shopping for what I really want to wear. You can actually check two bags (on American Airlines, at the moment) for $60, but one giant bag over 50lbs will set you back over $120. Ouch! Weigh your stuff at home if need be, and carry a nylon duffel bag inside your big bag. The heaviest items are denim and shoes, and if you can have an emergency take-away bag to pull out near the zipper just in case, you can save some money by checking two or carrying one on.
*One time I was trying to fly to from Chicago to NYC to visit Andrea, but it was the last flight of the night, was delayed and then cancelled because it was too late, and I had to go home until the next day. Although these flights come up cheaper, try to take the second to last flight, because if its cancelled or delayed you are f-ed. Apparently you can't fly into Laguardia after midnight or so. I'm not a fan of early morning flights (makes me queasy) but I believe those are usually much cheaper as well, if you're an early bird. You crazy bitch.
*I like to bring an empty water bottle (recycled plastic or even your favorite travel bottle) as paying more than $4 for water in an airport makes me insane. I'll spend over $30 on a bar tab but water? Come on! Just put it in your bin separately with the cap off so they see that you are doing it intentionally. This kind of behavior puts you in the "expert lane" (if it exists, currently only at Midway, or Columbus, Ohio) which is seldom populated with people who even have their IDs out of their wallets when they get to security. Sigh.
*I'm never hungry when I'm getting ready to go the airport, but once I leave the house I am starving. I hate paying big money for a soggy airport sandwich, but if you are lucky enough to find a bagel shop, or a Dunks, you can get a breakfast sandwich (with or without egg) for less than half the price, and get an iced tea if you didn't bring a water bottle and you can refill with water before your flight. Satiated and caffeinated for travel, score!
*Check in online so you get the good boarding group and secure your place, but then print the e-ticket at airport. I was quite proud of the smartphone option until I realized I could get held up at security (their machines go down and you have to stand alongside for a few minutes - *ages* in security time) and also phone service is spotty at airports so I often lose the webpage as I'm waiting to board. When you're confirming online at home check the available seats as you might be able to get something closer to the front or bulkhead, which is handy if you have no bags to wait for. If you don't score, ask at the gate counter if there bulkhead or emergency exit seats available (because in the end, its more legroom). They often hold these seats empty in case of handicapped or family needs, but they are the last to get sold.
*I went through the full body scanner once, and vowed to never do it again. Not only do I think its a violation of my privacy, and I since read that the initial reports of (safe?) radiation levels were underestimated, they also don't really work for security purposes. They don't check the sides of the body at all, so they are a waste of time and money. What I did notice though is that every security area seems to have one line that does not lead to the body scanner - find it and relax. If you do face one, just ask for a pat down. It only takes a few minutes, don't listen to what the drop-out, wanna-be-bouncer at the scanner says. Its your right to ask for an alternative.
*I found that if flying to a popular vacation destination such as Florida or Colorado its cheaper to fly in on a Tuesday. I know not most people can swing this for a long weekend, but I saved about $150 on my last trip, mostly because I wanted to be there early anyway. Who wouldn't want to spend 2 days in Miami before Key West?
Ok next is my NYC highlight post, as some friends are going in July. I'm not sure if I have a lot of restaurants to recommend (although I went to some good ones) but man did I have a good bar tour. I loved pitting my NY friends against each other. "That's not the oldest bar in New York, I'll take you to the oldest bar!" I was out every night. What a blast.