First time in the (NE) US - Help requested

Travel Forums North America First time in the (NE) US - Help requested

1. Posted by Ginsberg (First Time Poster 1 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!


I am a 19 year old student in England and am currently in a gap year, which I have spent working and travelling. My next destination is the US, though due to my shortage of funds, I will only be able to visit the North East (New York, Washington DC and Boston, possibly also Chicago and Philidelphia) on this occasion.

I have never been in the US before and I have a couple of questions, mainly financial as I have to keep this trip as cheap as humanly possible.

1. What is the cheapest and easiest way to get from JFK airport into New York City, and back again, and does it run 24 hrs?

2. What is the cheapest way to get between cities like New York City, Washington DC, Boston etc. Is it by bus, or by train, or is there some other way?

3. How cheaply can I eat in the US? Could I get by on a food budget of $10 a day?

4. My evenings are all full as I will be doing standup, but if anyone has any suggestions of things in the mentioned cities which would be good to do in the afternoons, please let me know.

5. How easy is it to get around cities like New York and Washington DC? Can it be done cheaply, using subways and buses, or am I in for an expensive experience? How much should I budget for daily transport?

6. Is there free entry to all museums and art galleries? If not, are they expensive?

7. Any other comments and suggestions would be welcome.

Thanks alot for your help and time.

2. Posted by Wonkerer (Respected Member 592 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Ah, lots of questions. I'll see what I can do . . .

  1. 1 - the cheapest way to get from jfk into the city is to take the airtran to the subway - it'll take a while, but won't cost much - i'm not sure of the exact hours - maybe check this link for the time you are looking for

  2. 2 - I'm not sure about Boston, but getting btwn NYC, DC, and Philly there are lots of buses, which are definitely cheaper than the trains - there have been other posts on which buses are the best, but the cost shouldn't be more than $25, probably a little less

  3. 3 - $10 a day for food is tight, but you could do it if you're thrifty - it would help to buy things at the grocery store - if you have access to extra hot water (a coffee pot perhaps) you can make instant oatmeal for breakfast - using this same idea you can make couscous or cup 'o noodles

  4. 4 - while not the closest view, you can see the Statue of Liberty for free by taking the Staten Island Ferry back and forth

  5. 5 - getting around DC and NYC via public transportation is quite easy - depending on how long you are there getting a weekly metro card is probably the best deal if you are going to be using it a decent bit (this also helps with transfers between buses and trains which can be a bit confusing at times) - otherwise just put a chunk of money that you'll use up while you are there on a card so you don't have to get new ones all the time

  6. 6 - museums and such are mostly either free or expensive - most museums in NYC you have to pay to get into, but a lot have a free time of the week so look into that - in DC all of the memorials are free, as well as all of the Smithsonian museums

  7. 7- my favorite memorial in DC is the FDR memorial - it's great any time of year! - the International Spy Museum in DC, while pricey, is a great time, but be sure to give yourself at least 2 or 3 hours - in DC the Kennedy Center has free concerts every night at 6pm on their Millenium Stage and you don't even need a ticket - here's a link to that

I hope this all helps you out! Happy travels

[ Edit: Edited on Jul 19, 2007, at 8:09 PM by Wonkerer ]

3. Posted by Ham Radio (Respected Member 285 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

In Washington DC take in the 14 Smithsonian museums. They are free, and easily accessed from public transit on the Mall.