A few years ago the husband and I had a childfree break to New York – and it was fantastic! This time we took some of the kids with us – which had to lend itself to a ‘how a trip to New York differs when you take the kids’ blog post!
- Never trust a bargain airport aparthotel!!
When the husband and I have had an early flight we’ve always stayed on airport. But travelling with the kids meant it would have to be 2 hotel rooms – or try an apartment. Yeah – I failed with that one. The on site parking was good (although an additional overnight charge which I must have missed in the booking) but the slashed sofas / smashed window / ripped sheets / non functioning in room phone were all not the best – and cost almost £300. But hey ho, you live and learn, and we definitely won’t stay there ever ever again!!
- They will find the free wifi EVERYWHERE – so can be relied upon to provide this information quickly – be it the free airport wifi before the lounge, the lounge, the airport waiting for the baggage, the hotel whilst waiting to check in, random shops etc etc. Lack of availability of free wifi and the possibility that their social media streaks may fail is seemingly a fate worse than death.
- Travelling in the back of a New York taxi in a heatwave is unbearably hot! Now I don’t know this personally – because I always had the front seat (a ‘benefit’ of horrible travel sickness!) but the drivers and I were always lovely and airconned. However, the plastic screen between the front and the back means the cold air does not circulate – and so the back is ROASTING! We did find one driver who had improvised his aircon – which was very welcome!
I can also say that it would appear New York cabbies don’t like taking 4 customers! The huffing involved with removing things from the front seat seemed a regular occurrence. We are also spoilt with taxi drivers in the UK – and especially London – knowing their way about – it would appear that anyone can drive a cab in New York, even with minimal grasp of English let alone any ‘knowledge’ at all!
- Siblings will always fight over who has the best bedroom!! We stayed at The London last time – and after some research, found that their 2 bedroom suites were cheaper than 2 separate rooms in other hotels – so went for that! Actually the living room was big enough to house a roll out bed – so once child could be in there and one in the separate bedroom to avoid fighting! The only downside was that the 2 bedroom suites don’t have the view of Central Park that our one bedroom had last time – but that wasn’t a major issue. Sadly we didn’t celeb spot anyone in the lift this time! (Telling Billy Idol about working in WHSmiths in Acocks Green still ranks as one of the most surreal and random moments ever!!)
- Sights that can be Snapchatted / Instagrammed are key to the children! (I should have guessed this after a dog Snapchat filter was applied to the Mona Lisa in February!) They could tell what shops were nearby by the available Snapchat filters (who knew? Well, who over 40 knew?!)
- You can take kids to lovely restaurants (The Loeb Boathouse in Central Park, the King Cole Bar in the St Regis Hotel) – but they’d be just as happy at McDonalds or Burger King. #heathens
- For us and people of our age you can remember exactly where you were when 9/11 happened (the husband was having lunch in The Sports Bar on Broad Street, Birmingham – I was at the office of the aerospace company I’d started working for 10 days before) but for the kids it’s history. We went to the memorial and the museum – which are both really well done – but the emotions for the kids were very different than for us.
- Things end up REALLY expensive when you have to double up – so, for example, taking a bike ride round Central Park. We were right royally screwed by the 5$ per minute and 25 minute ride (which included the fighting amongst the drivers about whose fare we were, the stopping so we could walk through Strawberry Fields and then stopping at traffic lights IN THE PARK!) Anyway – 250$ later, and me moaning about thieving robdogs to 2 large Eritrean gentlemen and the lesson has been learned! Oh well – at least we got to pose in front of the fountain from Friends……..
- You can’t wing it with Broadway tickets! When the husband and I went to New York previously we watched The Book Of Mormon – which was BRILLIANT – but possibly the least child friendly musical ever! So we planned ahead and booked tickets for School of Rock – which is equally awesome (but with a lot less swearing and rude stuff!!)
- You might have the kids with you – but your husband will always be the biggest kid of them all!
- You can persuade them to walk further when it’s something interesting – in this case, walking the Highline! The 12 year old was insistent we did complete end to end too (he is slightly obsessive about such things – but it increased my steps for the day!!)
- Even when your kids are 14 and 12 it’s still really annoying when the flight home is delayed – but at least they managed to sleep on the floor!!
In summary New York was still so good they named it twice – just different going with the kids in tow – but so lovely to make memories. Also, when you’re used to 4 kids, going away with 2 was surprisingly easy – and we’ve already told the little 2 we’ll take them in a few years time. I wonder what will have changed in New York by then (this is said with the context that when I went in 1999 I didn’t go to the top of the World Trade Centre as I wanted to go to the shopping mall underneath – and said I’d do ‘Windows on the World’ next time I went………………)