The Dad’s Guide to Planning the Perfect Family Vacation in New York City

tips for a family vacation in nyc

Planning a family vacation can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re looking for some tips on how to make the most of your trip to New York City with the kids, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we will outline everything you need to know in order to have a great time in the Big Apple!

Don't Just "Wing It" ... Plan your trip in advance

There are so many things to do in New York City, it can be tempting to just wing it and see where the wind takes you. However, this is not always the best strategy when traveling with kids. It’s important to have a plan and make sure everyone knows what they’re doing each day. This will help avoid arguments and keep everyone on track.

Start by making a list of all the must-see attractions in New York City. Once you have your list, you can start to narrow down which ones you want to visit based on your interests and budget. Once you have a solid plan, you can start booking your tickets and reservations in advance. This will save you time and money in the long run.

This is also an opportunity to involve your children in planning the trip. Depending on how many kids you have and how long your trip will be, consider giving each member of the family the opportunity to pick one activity to do. Give them time to research things they are interested in, costs, how to get there, and then have them share it with the family for you to approve.

By creating an opportunity for your kids to be invested in your trip it will help create interest while also taking some of the burden off of you in terms of having to pick everything that the family will be doing.

Finally, consider reaching out to dad bloggers that live in New York or may have written about their visits. These guys can often have some great tips that don't get included in the guide books.

Know How to Get Around

New York City can be a confusing place for first-time visitors. Be sure to do your research ahead of time and know how to get around using the public transportation system. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the layout of the city so you know where you are going and how to get back to your hotel.

When I travel to New York, I mostly rely on taxis since this city has one of the world's best taxi systems - usually even better than rideshare services and often cheaper. For instance, on my last trip here Uber gave me an estimate of over $130 for a ride between JFK airport and midtown but it was a flat rate of only $52 (though there are various surcharges depending on time of day and fuel costs). However, don't be tricked by the ads for taxi apps displayed in the cab. By signing up for these you may lose the flat rate fares set by the Port Authority.

Look For Ticket Deals And Discounts To Save Money

New York is a VERY expensive city for a family vacation but there are plenty of deals and discounts to be found. For instance, you can usually find last minute theater deals advertised by ticket brokers that can save you hundreds of dollars. Additionally, we love CityPass since it offers some great discounts as long as you are already planning to visit the attraction their bundle offers.

Pick The Right Neighborhood For Your Hotel

New York City is a large and diverse city, made up of different neighborhoods, each with their own unique flavor. When choosing a hotel, be sure to pick one that is located in a neighborhood that is best suited for your interests and budget. For instance, if you want to be close to the action and attractions then staying in Midtown Manhattan would be your best bet.

While prices may seem cheaper by staying in New Jersey or in one of the other boroughs for instance. However, by the time you add in transportation costs and time to get places it isn't always such a great deal.

This is generally speaking a time you should plan to spend a bit of extra money and shoot for a hotel in mid-town or "Times Square" since that will put you close to most major attractions.

You will still need to take a long cab ride (or subway) to places like Battery Park on the southern tip of Manhattan where the ferry leaves from to visit the Statue of Liberty but you'll be less than a mile from attractions like Central Park, Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, as well as walks along The High Line.

 

Consider Renting A Car To See Stuff Outside The City

Most people come to NYC on vacation just to do and see things downtown but if you are visiting the area from far away then it might be worth renting a car so you can go explore some other areas. You should plan to do this as a day trip instead of renting a car for the duration of your vacation since parking in Manhattan may be more expensive than the daily rental cost.

However, this will give you a chance to take a day trip and visit the Jersey Shore, Long Island Beaches, or even head upstate to Cooperstown for the Baseball Hall of Fame (about 4 hours drive).

Luckily there are a lot of options for getting a car rental NYC so you should look into who fits your budget and needs best.

 

This Is A Great Opportunity To Learn About Different Cultures

New York City is one of the most diverse places on earth. There are quite literally restaurants representing every culture and cuisine found anywhere in the world and this goes true for art and music too. Without traveling across the globe it can be difficult to expose you children to the notion of diversity like this but you should use your opportunity here to do so.

For instance, most Americans look at "Latino" or "Hispanic" as a monolithic culture but in NYC you'll be able to have dinner at a Bolivian restaurant for lunch followed by some plantains from a Puerto Rican street food vendor for a snack before going to a Guatemalan restaurant for dinner.

The same can be said for other cultures as well and this is part of the fun of being a dad. Your chance to open your kids senses to new ideas is going to be one of the best things about your vacation so make sure to do it right!

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