Have you ever come across the New York Destination fee? Or New York amenity fee? Or resort fee? No? Well, me neither. Until our recent NYC trip. Seems this kid has many names. And is common practice in quite a few US cities (Las Vegas being a really notorious one apparently). Until about two years ago, this wasn’t a big topic in New York. But things change. To save you the same nasty surprise we had checking in, let me tell all you need to know about the New York destination fee. What you get for it (or not), how much it is per night and if there is a way to avoid it.
Have you ever been to Antwerp? I’ve been twice. The first time was with uni. Four days on the art and architecture in Antwerp. Many many moons ago. Second time was a work trip. Flying into Antwerp in the evening, quick stroll around, work and back home next day. But Mr T had never been. So, when we decided to spend a week in Zeeland, I knew that I also wanted to do a day trip to Antwerp. As it was quite close.
Earlier this year I spent a whole week in Slovenia. And I got to spend quite some time in Ljubljana. Although sightseeing time was limited to the evenings, I got to see quite a bit. So, if you are thinking about heading to Ljubljana any time soon, let me tell you what to do and see in Ljubljana.
There is something very special about Vienna. First time I visited Vienna was over 20 years ago, for a long weekend with a few friends. And whilst it was quite nice, I somehow never returned. Until five years ago, when I started working with my Austrian client. And since the client’s head office is located just outside Vienna, most of my Austria trips started and/or ended in Vienna. Giving me plenty of time to explore Austria’s capital and absolutely fall in love with Vienna. So, if you are planning on visiting Vienna for the first time, here’s my essential travel guide for Vienna.
What do you do if you find yourself in Rome with two hours spare? Whether you have a stopover in Rome before travelling onwards or have some time after a business meeting, every now and then you might end up with a few hours to kill. Obviously the easiest would be to head to a nice café, sit in the sun, enjoy an espresso or two and watch the world go by. And I can think of worse ways to spend time. But after all, we are talking Rome here. The eternal city. So why not make the most of it? What to do in Rome in two hours (I pretend) I hear you ask?
London might lack the impressive skyline of New York or Singapore. But even though London’s buildings aren’t as high, they certainly aren’t less impressive. In the last ten to fifteen years, there has been a huge number of new additions to the London skyline with buildings like 30 St. Mary Axe (the Gherkin), the Shard, the Walkie Talkie, to name just a few. This paired with the iconic and historic London landmarks, like Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the London Eye make it a unique scenery to explore. So, if you are wondering where you could find the best view of London for free, you’ve come to the right place.
Spending an extra night in Paris? Sounds marvellous. Who wouldn’t be up for that? Spoiler alert – I wasn’t. When I tell you that the only time I actually saw the Eiffel Tower during my recent trip to Paris was when I finally took off from the airport, you might get an idea of why being stranded in Paris and spending an extra night there wasn’t too high on my agenda. You guessed it. We are not talking an extra night in the heart of Paris, we are talking being stranded in Paris Orly… the airport. Which clearly wasn’t my idea of a fun Friday night?
But I might be getting a little ahead of myself here. So let me start at the beginning…
Visiting Philadelphia had been on our radar for a while. Before we decided on a road trip through New England two years ago, the original plan was to visit New York, Philadelphia and Washington. But the road trip eventually won the game. So during our last trip to New York City we decided to venture out a little and finally take a day trip to Philadelphia from New York. After all, it is only 1.5 hours on the train. Easy peasy.
There is a direct Amtrak train from Penn Station to Philadelphia 30th Street Station. To get the best price, we booked our train tickets to Philadelphia a few weeks in advance and committed to fixed trains rather than flexible tickets. Which meant we only paid $156 return for the two of us. Out of curiosity we checked the ticket prices the morning of our trip and it would have cost us a whopping $330 if we’d bought the tickets on the day. That is double the price for the exact same trains! So good thing we were prepared (for once).
When you think of New York City as a concrete jungle, you are only partly right. Yes, New York is home to some of the biggest and best skyscrapers and it is built on a fairly tight grid. But it is also full of greenery.
The best known is probably Central Park, which is a world in itself. So if you are heading to New York, make sure you don’t miss it. And to get you going, check my 10 recommendations of what to do in Central Park (and the one to give a miss).
But Central Park isn’t the only green on offer. Far from it.
Head to the West and you will find the ‘High Line Park’, an elevated linear park that spans from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District all the way up to the 30th Street.
For me a big part of any New York City trip is shopping. I love to shop. And I can go on for hours (ask my family, they all had to suffer endless shopping trips with me over the years… and lived to tell the tale). Whilst there are loads of shopping opportunities in London, New York City is a totally different ball game. So find out more about my best shopping places in New York.