Experienced New York Traveler….NOT!

pod 51 bunk bedIf the travel bug bites you, you are infected for life. I have a particularly bad case of it. So bad that for fun I sometimes look up travel deals to various places. One day I found a good deal to New York City. I mused on it for awhile, and casually brought it up to my friend Kat later on that week. “That would be so much fun to go!” She said. “And we could even afford it.” We grinned at each other, and the plan to go to New York City was hatched.
It wasn’t supposed to be a secret, but then I brought up the idea to Kat. “How much fun would it be to be in New York City and nobody know about it?” We laughed and the idea grew even more. We found a flight that left Sunday night and laughed even harder at the thought of going to our¬†religious meeting, looking all innocent, then that night taking off and everybody not even suspecting. We kept a eye on the prices, and then pounced and paid for the trip the following day.
Since this would be my 3rd trip to New York City and Kat’s 2nd we both knew what we wanted and what we did not want. This was on our list of Things to Do:
1.9/11 memorial museum
2.Go see a Broadway Show-or 2
3.Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island
4. Go to the Met
5.Walk Brooklyn Bridge
6.Go to the Top of the Rock
7.Explore Central Park
8.Go to Bethel
There was one place that I insisted on going to that was not on Kat’s list. The MOMA(Museum of Modern Art.) I had recently become obsessed with modern art and had a list of artists I wanted to see at the MOMA. Kat and I agreed that we would go do our separate things then meet back up later. I slowly worked on Kat though, showing her the art I wanted to see at the MOMA and she eventually agreed to going to the MOMA too.
We looked at the various savings passes and debated on what ones to do. We finally chose the package deal of visiting the MOMA and the Top of the Rock. Since there was no passes that included the Statue of Liberty and the 9/11 museum we paid for those tickets ahead of time. My #1 tip about visiting the Statue of Liberty Island is to pay for your tickets ahead of time. If you wish to visit the crown you have to book months in advance. We had a chance to book them, waited a few days and missed out on them. And if you don’t buy the Pedestal tickets you won’t get to visit the museum inside the Statue of Liberty. Which honestly for me was a big waste of time. While booking the tickets for the 9/11 museum I also downloaded their free app and listened to it.
While figuring out our trip, Kat and I made an itinerary. We decided what to do on what days, and figured out alternatives if need be. We left enough room so that we wouldn’t be rushing from place to place without really enjoying the moments. Alas, as you will find out even the best laid plans tend to go awry. But not always for the worst-sometimes for the best!
We debated on buying the tickets to the Broadway show ahead of time or buying them at the TKTS booth the day of. We researched it, found that it wasn’t really that better of a deal, and decided to book them in advance. This way we could choose what show to watch, when to watch, and what seats we wanted. No heads or feet being cut off for us! At first we decided on only one Broadway show, then decided on two. Phantom of the Opera and Cinderella.
With everything being set (we thought in stone) we planned our wardrobe. I looked at our itinerary and decided what days I would wear what. I LEFT MY HIGHHEELS AT HOME.
The night of our trip dawned. We packed our carryon’s and headed to the airport. I let Kat deal with the checking in, and we went to stand in line. Behind airport security there was a massive white tent. “Do you know what that is?” Kat asked. I shook my head and Kat said, “That’s where the Ebola quarantine is.”
“REALLY?!” I asked.
Kat laughed and said, “Your so gullible. They are remodeling a coffee shop.” We laughed and I took a picture of it. I sent it to my mom to try to scare her but she wasn’t scared for even a second. After passing thru security we found our boarding area and loaded onto the plane. Since it was a red eye we wore pajamas and prepared to settle in for the night. A passenger loaded and sat right behind us. We didn’t pay attention to him till five minutes later he was snoring so loudly that the whole airplane could hear him. Kat and I laughed because it was so funny, but others on the plane were upset. It did keep me up, but I was fine with it because I had a book that was so engrossing.
Hours later we landed at our layover and switched planes. It was exciting for me because we had landed at the exact location my book had taken place at. The book was so good that I was trying to finish it before the plane ride was over.new york flight
When we arrived at JFK we changed into regular but temporary clothes. We had yet to shower and planned on really changing when we got to our motel. But we didn’t want to wear our PJs onto the subway and AirTrain.
I had never dealt with the AirTrain before, and let me tell you it’s complicated. We tried following the AirTrain signs. This way-no this way-or you can take this way too! UGH! Finally, we found it and were confused what to do. What train do we take? Where are the directions? Thankfully there was an airport lady there to help us. We hopped onto the¬†AirTrain and rode it to the end of the line, where the subway station was to take us to New York.
We paid for our AirTrain, then tried to pay for our subway tickets. Our cards wouldn’t work. And since we had taken separate lines we were holding lots of people up. What was going on? How come our cards weren’t working? We got out of line and tried to figure out what was going on. We stood in line AGAIN and tried to pay. Still nothing. It was so embarrassing, and we were about to give up until a nice gentleman came up and asked what was wrong.
“We are trying to reload our cards so we can take the subway.” I explained.
He turned over our Metro cards and showed us that they said AirTrain. “This is an AirTrain card. You need to buy another card for the subway. But don’t throw this card away because you can reload it if your taking the AirTrain again. And don’t get them mixed up, because they do look the same. Always look at the back.” We thanked him profusely and this time our cards did work. We grabbed our suitcases, and we walked thru the turnstile. Except I got my suitcase handle stuck. We yanked and pulled, again holding up the line till a nice Jehovah’s Witness came over and helped me. We thanked him and visited a little bit, then ran to catch our subway train before it left us.
We made it to our stop no problem, checked our google maps to see where our motel was and headed that way. Except…we couldn’t find it. “It says it should be right here.” Kat stressed. So we rechecked the address and had to find the motel the old fashioned way. I’m still not sure why it didn’t give us our directions correctly.
When I had checked out the motel on TripAdvisor many people stressed to book a room on a higher level. But we arrived early and the front desk said the 2nd floor was open to check in right now, if we wanted. Kat and I decided to take the room because what else would we do? Most of the reviews on TripAdvisor complained about how small the rooms were. So I came prepared. I like to say the motel is IKEA packaged. We had a bunk bed, a sink, two TVs, a desk and a small closet. Very small, but it was fun. The bathrooms and showers are shared and outside the rooms. They have lights in the rooms to tell you when one is free. We grabbed our stuff and went and cleaned up.
When planning our trip we had figured that Monday would be the easy day since we didn’t know if we would be exhausted from our flight. But our showers refreshed us and so we decided to seize the day and head out for a day out on the town.
motel pod 51 lobby


Hi! My name is Tana Buckminster and I am a travel writer for my travel blog, Road Trips With My Mom. I like to go on adventures, visit museums, and see new places. Come follow me on my adventures!

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