Tuesday, December 29, 2015

United States of America - East Coast Itinerray

Map: We visited White Mountains (New Hampshire), Boston, Washington DC, Orlando, and New York

Pending the detailed travelogue, here goes the brief itinerary of our recent, first time, family trip to the United States:
December 8, 2015
Left Karachi through Emirates. Luckily, got a good fare and that too at the last minute!

December 9, 2015
Reached New York's JFK Airport. Took AirTrain to Manhattan.
From Manhattan caught Megabus to Boston - 5 hours. Pre-booked online.
Reached Boston, Massachusetts. Stayed with Noman's family.

December 10, 2015
Did day trip to White Mountains, New Hampshire. Drove through the scenic Kancamagus Highway - courtesy Noman.
Stayed with Noman's family.

December 11, 2015
Roamed around Stoneham and Boston, Massachusetts.
Took overnight Megabus to Washington, DC - 10 hours.

December 12, 2015
Reached Washington DC. Visited the White House.
Stayed with Katie's family (Couch Surfing).

December 13, 2015
Visited the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and the Capitol Hill.
Took overnight Megabus to New York City - 5 hours.

December 14, 2015
Reached NYC early morning. Took NJ Transit to Newark Airport, New Jersey.
Flew through JetBlue to Orlando, Florida - 3 hours. Pre-booked online.
Stayed with Ryan et all (Couch Surfing).

December 15, 2015
Day trip to Wikewa Springs, Florida - courtesy Ryan.
Stayed with Ryan et all (Couch Surfing).

December 16, 2015
Visited Disney's Magic Kingdom. Stayed there till 12 am!
Stayed with Ryan et all (Couch Surfing).

December 17, 2015
Rested after a long day at Disney.
Stayed with Ryan et all (Couch Surfing).

December 18, 2015
Took Uber (first time) to the Daytona Beach, Florida.
Stayed at Day's Inn Daytona. Booked through booking.com while on the way to the beach! Got a value deal!

December 19
Took taxi to Orlando airport. Took JetBlue to Newark, New Jersey - 3 hours.
Stayed with Salman Mirza's family.

December 20 
Reached Middletown, New York State - courtesy Salman Karimi.
Stayed with Maria Karimi's family.

December 21
Did half day trip to Newburgh, Hudson River - courtesy Maria Karimi
Stayed with Maria Karimi's family.

December 22
Reached Queens, New York City.
Did Staten Island Ferry to see the Statute of Liberty.
Visited 5th Avenue, Rockefeller Center, Times Square for Christmas decorations and Light Show.
Stayed with Salman Karimi.

December 23
Visited Manhattan in the morning then headed to the Bronx Zoo.
Stayed with Salman Karimi.

December 24
Did morning walk on the Brooklyn Bridge and then some shopping!
Return flight from JFK Airport through Emirates.

December 25
Half of the day evaporated due to the time difference while rest of it spent in the plane and airports!

December 26
Arrived back at Karachi Airport safe and sound Alhamdolillah after two weeks of fun.
Comments on the Itinerary:
With some unwanted to and fro, I accept that it was not a perfect itinerary; did not get enough time for planning. For the starting point, I booked the return flight: Karachi - New York - Karachi. Usually I prefer 'open jaw' but Emirates fare for the simple return flight for this sector was too lucrative. Otherwise, landing into Boston and flying out of Orlando would have been a good idea, logistically speaking.
One of the targets for this trip was to take kids to Disney, Orlando. Therefore, I booked JetBlue for Newark - Orlando - Newark. There was not much thought behind choosing the Newark Airport except for that it was close to New York.
Washington DC came in late into the itinerary otherwise Washington DC - Orlando flight would have been a saner option than Newark - Orlando one and could have saved us from the hassle of taking bus from Washington DC to Newark via Manhattan!
Still we managed to squeeze White Mountains, Washington DC, Magic Kingdom Disney, Wikewa Springs Florida, Daytona Beach, Manhattan, Bronx Zoo, etc into our first ever trip to the US - again a big thanks to all the friends who supported us in making it possible.