Sacrifice the Long Vacation Now to Behoove Retirement
While definitely not easy, and not always glamorous, I am a dedicated travel junkie with a very serious goal: travel quickly to any and all destinations that pique personal interest. Why would I do this? I can remain fiscally responsible while attaining life-altering, ego-boosting, and personally evolving trips as a younger traveler, so as to build a comprehensive knowledge base for longer travel during retirement. In other words, getting a quick travel fix now, so as to not have to delay all gratification until retirement while obtaining knowledge and experience for future use and never sacrificing personally-defined quality for sheer trend or quantity.
The New York Experience: Three Days Equaled the Perfect Amount of Vacation
While slightly pertaining to the Aesop fable, I have always been more of a suburban mouse – and had always wanted to experience New York City, but through the guided eyes of a city mouse, or a NYC local who would know the best and secret spots to show a first-time traveler. Previous excursions through school and business amounted to just that, school and business-oriented with little to no personal time for travel adventure.
While the book, magazine, and online research route proved beneficial, from New York City for Dummies and multiple issues of Travel + Leisure, all the way to Yelp.com and TripAdvisor.com to specific websites such as NYCGo.com and ILoveNY.com, (yet while not quite venturing as far as the multiple recommendations for AirBnB.com), most helpful remained the advice from friends and colleagues both in-person and on Facebook as to what to do, where to eat, and where to stay, since they knew my personality best and understood the aforementioned fable. Advance planning, in addition to knowing yourself well, your budget and preferences, as well as your quirks and idiosyncrasies will also help a weekend vacation go from merely tolerable to monumentally unforgettable.
Suburban Mouse Gets Just a Taste of City Life – and It was Plentiful and Good
I had heard from several NYC cohorts that if travelers could not discover why the sobriquet “The City that Never Sleeps” applied, then the traveler simply had not experienced the city correctly. “The time to sleep is on the plane!” said another cohort, “or in the cab to the next destination,” said still another colleague. Stopping short of doing either, I opted for four hours of sleep per evening, generally from 5am-9am, equaling about 12 hours of sleep for a 72 hour round-trip journey. After internally reviewing the journey on the plane ride home, I decided that this was the correct route to take, since many of the most memorable experiences seemed to occur before the city had fully woken or after everyone had already fallen asleep.
Three Nuggets of Advice for a Successful NYC Trip
At present, New York City is home to approximately to 10 million people and like any other city in the United States, it has its own ebb and flow, culture, climate, history, and vibe that is to be respected and appreciated. This reviewer recommends taking the same safety precautions in this city as you would your own or any other: be alert, use common sense, always consider your intuition, and consider traveling with friends if you do not feel comfortable or able to defend yourself in the event of catastrophe, which can come in many forms and with little or no warning. It’s rarely prudent to be imminently ready to battle, but it’s always wise to prepare for it, just in case.
Veterans of 21st century travel will tell you that all travelers will most likely experience airport delays of some sort, and it is no reason to panic or become ill-tempered. Anger and blame are usually counterproductive to the task at hand, in this case, your vacation, so travel delays are just a fact of traveling, part of the learning process, and in an optimistic mindset, can still be considered as part of the journey. Consider traveling light, one carry-on bag and one personal item, no checked luggage, another advantage to trips of short duration. Take the time in an airport to read, write, shop, meditate, eat, stretch, meet new people, or any other myriad assortment of tasks that could most likely be done if one were on the plane and in the air.
Finally, consider keeping an open mind. The less in the way of overblown expectations, the more likely travelers are to be awed and surprised. For example, I was able to see many touristy sights, find a staggeringly gorgeous view of the NYC skyline from the New Jersey side, see a Common Rotation concert, meet several cast members from television’s Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, and dine in my first Jewish deli, among other personally-rewarding experiences – and all even after a slight fender-bender on a double-decker tour bus. All of the above, including a 12 hour airport delay made the journey unique, priceless, and one of the most impressive weekend getaways in my repertoire, which is really one of the manifest functions of traveling on a budget.