As one of the United States’ most captivating cities, drawing tourists from near and far, New York is busy year round and renowned for its incredibly high hotel room rates. Thanksgiving in November sees a particularly sharp peak in domestic visitors as they pack the streets for the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the Christmas/New Year period also sees an increased demand for hotels and flight tickets, as well as crowds at many of the city’s most popular sights.
The annual North American summer school holiday season also sees an increased influx of visitors to New York, and in addition to hot, sticky temperatures, good hotel deals and cheap flight tickets are almost impossible to come by.
If you want to avoid the tourist crowds and secure some cheap accommodation deals, then spring can be a good time to visit (if you don’t mind some drizzly rain), or rug up and head to New York in the midst of winter during January/February. Although the temperatures are at their lowest, so are the hotel rates and you may just glimpse the city covered in snow.
Because New York has so much going on throughout the year and its museums and galleries stay open regardless of the weather, no matter which time of year you visit the city, you are bound the experience the cultural vibrancy that makes this city so special.
If you want to avoid inflated flight ticket prices, then try and book your airfares as far in advance as possible, particularly if you are traveling to New York over the Christmas/New Year period. Because most flights to New York from New Zealand connect through the United States’ West Coast, cheap flight deals are difficult to find during the North American school holiday period.
Flights from Auckland to New York – 19 hours 10 minutes.
Flights from Christcuhrch to New York – 21 hours 44 minutes.
Flights from Wellington to New York – 21 hours 40 minutes.
Air New Zealand has flights to New York from Auckland which connect in either San Francisco with United Airlines, or in Los Angeles with American Airlines. You can also fly via Sydney with Qantas, or via Honolulu with Hawaiian Airlines, with flight ticket prices similar with either airline. From other New Zealand centres, such as Christchurch and Wellington, your best option for flights to New York is to either connect through Auckland with Air New Zealand, or opt to travel via the Australian East Coast with Qantas.
There are two main international airports servicing New York – Newark Liberty International Airport, which lies 24 kilometres to the southwest of Manhattan, and John F Kennedy International Airport, 20 kilometres to the southeast.
Both airports are serviced by a cheap and efficient AirTrain that connects passengers with the city’s subways and bus stations, and also provides a free means of transferring between terminal buildings. This is a great way to avoid New York’s notorious traffic and the trains are also eco-friendly, meaning you don’t have to worry about your carbon footprint. Tickets for the AirTrain can be bought from kiosks in the terminal building and onward bus or subway tickets bought at the corresponding stations.
There are also shuttle buses that service both airports with designated drop-off points downtown. These are more expensive, but ideal for people who don’t want to be connecting between different public transport options or hauling their luggage around.
If you want to be dropped directly at your hotel door, then the most hassle-free way is with one of the city’s metered taxis which can be found in taxi ranks outside all terminal buildings at both airports. Keep in mind that the meter does not include toll fares or tips, which should be added on at the end of the journey.
(prices quotes are from London)