After we had booked flights to New York for a week during our Easter break I suddenly panicked a little and wondered if it was going to be ok with 4 kids under 10 or whether it would be really hard work.
- We booked the trip during a quieter period. This was in some ways a co-incidence as our Easter break/Spring break didn’t really coincide with many others in the UK or the US. This did mean that the attractions were a lot quieter, there were less queues and overall the kids coped better.
- We booked the trip when it wasn’t too warm and it wasn’t too cold. Both extremes make travelling with kids harder. Not impossible by any means. A friend and her family still had fun during the polar vortex but I think our trip with bright blue skies and decent medium temperatures probably made the trip a little easier all round.
- Make your airport experience as easy as possible. If you can fly from the closest airport from you. We didn’t manage this and really struggled with the drive home from the airport when we landed in Heathrow 4 hours away from home on a busy Monday morning. Do book convenient onsite parking and airport lounges if you can, they make the whole experience more relaxed and enjoyable from the off. We use Holiday Extras to arrange all this and have never been let down.
- Don’t attempt to get the subway into Manhattan after a long transatlantic flight. It’s not worth the saving. Taxis in New York have to charge a set rate from JFK to central Manhattan which really is worthwhile. Even better if you’re travelling as a larger group why not book a fun limo!
- Spend some time before you go working out who wants to see. I used my now patented* (*joke) post it note method so that everyone had a say in where they wanted to go, even down to a pizza night treat or an American girl doll shop visit. Doing this and then moving the post it notes around means that you can work out a plan.
- The next job is to work our where everything is and how to get there. Group things that people want to do into areas and then you’re not travelling from one side of New York to the other. It’s an enormous place! By way of example we wanted to do Bubbys, the High Line and the Vessel, and we also had the Intrepid Air and Space Museum on the list. These are all actually walkable once you get to Bubby’s, walk north along the High Line, get to the Vessel, and finish off at the museum. It made for a lovely day that was easy for everyone.
- Buy tickets before you go if you know what you want to see. This saves you standing in line. Saves you time and helps you budget too. We used Citypass and you can see our review of it here – to check if it works for you as a family.
- Stay in an apartment with space. I think this was a huge plus point on our trip to NYC. With jet lag the kids has space to relax and watch tele/play iPads without all being on top of each other in a hotel room. It gave us the opportunity to make breakfast most days in the apartment too, saving time and money and it also meant once the kids were in bed us adults had the chance to have a few glasses of wine on the sofa rather than hiding away in a bathroom. We were hosted in our apartment by Home Away.
- Take snacks and if you’ve room breakfast cereal. This seems like a crazy thing to say when there is plenty of food in NYC but when you get there late and the kids will wake early with jet lag on that first morning. Being able to feed them cereal was a real plus point. The snacks I took were also healthier them most things we found in the supermarkets closest to us and whilst ice cream donuts and burgers were clearly eaten a lot, it was handy to have raisins, granola bars and breadsticks off set the meals!
- Try not to fit too much in and listen to the kids too. I think most people who watched our instagram stories would say that I didn’t follow this rule, but we did crash quite early every evening and eased off towards the end of the week when the kids were tireder, spending more time sitting in the sun in Central Park.
If you have any top tips on how to make a trip to New York easier with Kids then I’d love to hear them!