Monday, January 18, 2010

Planes, Trains and....Buses.

If you move to New York City as a young man or woman you will soon learn about all of the various forms of transportation. Why? Well if you're like me it's because you have no car.

Since Thanksgiving I've been on 6 planes, 4 trains, 4 buses, a gazillion subways, and in a handful of airport AirTrains and taxi cabs. In my adieu to traveling for a bit and getting back to enjoying my life here in the city, I'd like to give my personal feedback on a few modes of transportation to and from this big ol' apple.

Planes

With all the recent security breaches, it's a wonder we don't have to arrive to our terminal looking like this.


While flying is sometimes your only option, it can definitely be a headache with lost luggage, missed connections and stuffing every small liquid container you own into a Ziploc baggie. (For your information, the beautiful & nostalgic snow globe precipitation does constitute as liquid. Ahem.) But, like I said, sometimes it's your only option. If you're flying into NYC, you have the choice of flying into LaGuardia, JFK or Newark, NJ. If I have a lot of luggage I prefer to fly out of LGA because it's the cheapest cab ride from my apartment and office. If I am traveling for a weekend (and I can somehow manage to not pack 5 pairs of shoes), I prefer flying out of either JFK or EWR as I can save $ by taking other transportation and just carrying my bags. Here's the scoop: For JFK, the AirTrain links the Howard Beach A and the Sutphin Boulevard E, J, Z subway stations, and LIRR's Jamaica Station directly to JFK's departure terminals. For EWR, you can take the NJ Transit from Penn Station and then connect to an AirTrain that will take you directly to the airport as well. You can also check out Super Shuttle, something I've been meaning to try, and share a ride to the airport.

Trains

Trains, to me, are the way to travel if you're looking for a no-rush leisurely venture. You simply show up 20 minutes before departure and hand someone your ticket. You bring your luggage with you wherever you go, which is fine, as you have ample room to store it...and your legs! You don't have to turn off your phone and you can stand up and walk between cars whenever you want since the conductor is not yelling that the seat belt light is 'on'. I've taken the train from NYC to my parents' home in VA for many holidays. I remember I once completely spaced out at my stop and the conductor not only made sure that I knew we had arrived ("oh right. we're here. heh."), he helped me off the train with all of my luggage and stood with me, tucked out of the pouring rain, while my stepdad brought over an umbrella. He somehow sensed I was worried about getting my suede boots wet. I know, so "girl" of me - but c'mon, talk about service! The one downside is the that you really must set aside a full day for travel if you're going a long distance - but, if you have the time, it's totally worth it.

Buses

The great perk about traveling by bus is you can get tickets for as little as $1 if you buy them far enough in advance. Yes, one dollar. "One small fry, one 4-piece chicken nugget...oh, and one bus to New Yawwk, please!" I've taken many of the Chinatown buses to other Northeast locations, a few different buses to DC and I've recently tried out Megabus (a double-decker) for the first time. While riding on the top is a wee nerve-wracking if traveling in snow, the drivers seem to be pretty reliable. One guy told me during an awkward-we're-waiting-in-line-together-chatty moment that the bus companies now have the technology to track the drivers' MPH and they'll get a nice little phone call if they're speeding. I will say there are a few things to remember when traveling by bus. If you're trip is over 2 hours, pack a snack/meal/drink. Sometimes they stop for a break....sometimes they don't. Unfortunately, they don't ask your opinion. You will either be shivering or passing out from heat stroke. Layer. And as during any kind of travel, you will meet some interesting characters. One lady sat next to me and proceeded to call every contact in her cellphone's phonebook and then fell asleep with her head stuffed up inside the sleeve of her puffer coat. Yes.

However you choose to travel, it's always an adventure.


until next time,

g

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