I have always wanted to go to New York City for the holidays and be there for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I am a total Christmas nut, and NYC seems so magical during the holidays (especially in Home Alone: Lost in New York and my personal favorite, Elf). This year we are a bit closer since we just moved from Miami to Virginia and we didn’t have Thanksgiving plans, so I thought, “Why not?! I am not going to wait any longer to cross this item off my bucket list. We’re going to NYC for the parade!”
With my husband on board, I started researching options. Granted, I started planning this sort of last minute, in late October, but I was still able to sort out some great options.
First, I knew I wanted to watch the parade, but not fight the crowds. My husband and I are not fans of crowds (this may be a byproduct of being in the Army and/or deploying to combat zones), and we didn’t want to have to keep constant tabs on our preschool-aged daughter. So I looked at parade-viewing parties, parade viewing brunches, and hotel rooms with parade views.
Second, I knew I wanted to see a show, preferably the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular.
Third, I knew we had to get there via air (Richmond – NYC), train (Richmond – NYC), or drive (7 hours in no traffic). Trains in the US are often more expensive (and of course, slower than air; however, I always check, because I love trains). We opted for flight given all the metropolitan areas we’d have to drive through to get to NYC and the likelihood of holiday traffic.
Fourth, I knew I had to make a reservation for Thanksgiving Dinner ahead of time to ensure a nice dining experience. I actually spent a lot of time looking into this because I am a foodie and we have a preschooler with us. I wanted a combination of good food and a semi-kid-friendly experience.
Fifth, I wanted us to spend four nights so we could enjoy a good portion of NYC.
With these considerations in mind, I asked my network of fellow travel experts for advice. Not only did they recommend great ideas to entertain my daughter such as a stop at Dylan’s Candy Bar and a trip to the Central Park Zoo, but they mentioned things I hadn’t thought of such as watching the balloons get inflated the night before the parade, taking the Staten Island Ferry for a free and excellent view of the Statue of Liberty, and looking at the vacations packages offered by New York City Vacation Packages (NYCVP).
Sparing you a lot of details, I found that getting a package from NYCVP was actually more economical than putting the package all together on my own (a la carte). After further research, I found booking a suite with a view of the parade was more cost-effective than attending a parade viewing brunch, but more expensive than an outdoor parade viewing party. Given my initial requirements, I opted for booking a suite with a parade view.
I figured, we could buy a bottle of champagne and make our own mimosas while in the comfort and convenience of our own hotel room (possibly still in our PJs) where my daughter could basically do whatever she wanted while we watch the parade.
Through NYCVP I was able to book our flights, a parade view suite at the Residence Inn-Times Square, orchestra seats at the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, and airport transfers to/from the hotel. In addition to this NYCVP threw in extra perks. If you are still not convinced I saved nearly $2000, let the numbers speak for themselves:
You may be asking at this point, why would I go to a travel consultant to do this work for me when I can just go to NYCtrip.com and do this all myself? Good question. Here are some considerations:
- It is the same price whether you book it through me or another travel consultant as it is if you book direct on NYCtrip.com. And….
- I will take the time to research the a la carte options for you to make sure you are getting the best value. This can save you hours upon hours. If an a la carte itinerary provides the best value, I’ll create a custom itinerary for you that will give you the best vacation experience possible.
- I understand and pay attention to the fine print. I mentioned before that I am a foodie. I could’ve booked Thanksgiving dinner with NYCVP; however, I wasn’t impressed with their options. I did a lot of research to find the
best fit for our family and made a reservation at a different place. As a travel consultant, I’ll take the extra steps to do this for you.
- This is my profession and I surround myself with experts
in travel. If I don’t personally know the insider tips on a destination, I’ll ask my fellow travel experts and share these with you. For example, I may not have discovered NYCVP without my network. I may not know to take my daughter to Dylan’s Candy Bar, watch the balloons get inflated the night before the parade, or take the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty if I didn’t have access to a network of true travel professionals. I will go out of my way to provide these extra tips for you and help you make them happen with reservations, tickets, etc.
If you are interested in booking or learning more about our NYC holiday trip fill out my trip form or schedule an appointment to chat with me. There is even still time to plan a last minute December trip to NYC or go for New Year’s Eve! Or, for the best set of options, let’s start planning an NYC trip for your holidays next year.
Stay tuned for a review of our trip! I am sure we will be posting on social media next week as we experience it. Please follow us if you haven’t yet so you can keep up with our travels!