06 July 2008

Travel Tips from New York to San Francisco

All in one summer, and it's only early July. Family and a consulting job took me around the country, with a high number of destinations for someone who doesn't travel for a living: New York, Princeton, D.C., Hot Springs, and San Francisco. Here are my new finds at destinations that were not new.

New York or, better, New Jersey: A generous client had previously put me up in a hotel in mid-town, literally a half-block from the headquarters. But this summer I was going for two weeks and couldn't bring myself to expense that same hotel. I found an economical alternative through www.nyc-jc.com with multiple housing options in Jersey City. I stayed at their Columbus location, which is a block away from the PATH train, with round-the-clock 18-minute transportation to Manhattan. A little exploration through the PATH suggests my next experiment: staying in Hoboken for an even shorter commute at 12 minutes. (Hoboken environs are beautiful, as the bonus.) My per night cost dropped from $325 (tiny hotel room) to $165 (1-bedroom apartment). Had I rented a studio (still with full kitchen), the cost would have been a little more than $100/night. I cannot imagine staying in Manhattan ever again.

Princeton, New Jersey: This tip is actually based on a hotel I had used before, but is now in new corporate clothing (AmeriSuite partnering with Hyatt). The newly re-named Hyatt Place Princeton insists on greeting travelers with a self-check-in machine that required (for me) a clerk's attention, anyway. I'm forgiving Hyatt for the silly machine because the nightly rate went up just a little, and the location has a major plus: next door to the Market Fair Mall on U.S. Route 1. I've also stayed in Princeton proper at the historic Nassau Inn. The town is charming and you can enjoy the shops and restaurants for days. But for convenience, I have stuck to the Market Fair Mall location and had movies close at hand.

Washington, DC: What I have to say is not new to anyone who has been to DC. Public transportation is a joy in this town. I think I have finally found the cheat sheet to help me re-orient to the city each time I go: pocket-sized "insideout" guide with popout maps, 64-page city guide, compass, and pen (ISBN 978-0-7627-4739-9).

Hot Springs, Arkansas: Dim memories assure me I "did the baths" decades ago, but this summer I renewed the experience at the Buckstaff and learned new things. First, the cost of mineral baths has gone up. (Solution: let your sister pay.) Second, a good masseuse can change your life. The massage felt great, but it was the tip about Blue Emu that has changed me forever. She told me that the product is popular among old people for their knees, so I might want to try it on mine, and it's also on sale this weekend.... Three drugstores later, with no jar of Blue Emu in sight, I took to heart what she said. I mean, Hot Springs attracts many retired people and they all must be using this product. Whether the product will cure everybody's ailment, I cannot say. My improved joints may be the result of daily emu oil or the placebo effect that develops from my investment in this four-step process: (a) finding it, (b) purchasing it, (c) fiddling with it, and (d) defending it. (I fully accept that the placebo effect in modern medicine comes in at about 50%.)

San Francisco: The Hilton at 333 O'Farrell Street continues as my favorite holiday hotel. It's a nice place. The rooms are great. The location is superb. And the prices are amazingly low: the hotel mainly serves conventions and meetings, so holidays are quieter and non-business travelers enjoy easy access to the city.

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

1 comment:

Adonis said...

Wow!! Thanks for sharing your experiences for traveling from New York to San Francisco.