Author Topic: Goal: Travel Hack a $5k NYC Vacation in 2020  (Read 1204 times)

Michael in ABQ

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 546
    • Military Saints
Goal: Travel Hack a $5k NYC Vacation in 2020
« on: February 03, 2019, 08:22:36 PM »
Later this year I'll be deploying overseas. My deployment will not be long enough to get the two weeks of R&R with paid travel so I am probably looking at somewhere around 7-10 days of leave with the travel costs on my own dime. I would like to fly home but due to the remote location I am looking at a minimum of about 30 hours of travel time each way with a round trip ticket in the $1.5-$2k range. My wife came up with the idea of her meeting me with the kids in NYC and spending 4-5 days there. We have six kids and have done little or no travelling with them aside from a couple of flights to see grandparents years ago when we only had 1-3 kids.

Because taking six kids on an airplane alone would be a bit much, we will probably invite her parents to come along and help. That way the odds are only 2:1 instead of 6:1.

I've tentatively priced out the airfare as about $2,500 for the nine of them to NYC via direct flight (JetBlue) and my flight to NYC would be around $800 - $1,000. Haven't looked into hotel costs yet but probably $200+ per night to be somewhere close to most of the major attractions.


I recently picked up the Capital One Savor card and the $500 sign up bonus. I haven't signed up for any other credit cards because I don't travel and most of the rewards programs and sign up bonuses are focused around travel. So, I'm looking for some advice on which cards to sign up for to be able to use miles/rewards for JetBlue and Star Alliance flights. I'm agnostic when it comes to hotels. We'll probably end up needing three rooms since we'll have 10 people total. I've got some points saved up with IHG but only enough for maybe a single night.

MrUpwardlyMobile

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 491
    • The Upwardly Mobile Life
Re: Goal: Travel Hack a $5k NYC Vacation in 2020
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2019, 08:29:42 PM »
Later this year I'll be deploying overseas. My deployment will not be long enough to get the two weeks of R&R with paid travel so I am probably looking at somewhere around 7-10 days of leave with the travel costs on my own dime. I would like to fly home but due to the remote location I am looking at a minimum of about 30 hours of travel time each way with a round trip ticket in the $1.5-$2k range. My wife came up with the idea of her meeting me with the kids in NYC and spending 4-5 days there. We have six kids and have done little or no travelling with them aside from a couple of flights to see grandparents years ago when we only had 1-3 kids.

Because taking six kids on an airplane alone would be a bit much, we will probably invite her parents to come along and help. That way the odds are only 2:1 instead of 6:1.

I've tentatively priced out the airfare as about $2,500 for the nine of them to NYC via direct flight (JetBlue) and my flight to NYC would be around $800 - $1,000. Haven't looked into hotel costs yet but probably $200+ per night to be somewhere close to most of the major attractions.


I recently picked up the Capital One Savor card and the $500 sign up bonus. I haven't signed up for any other credit cards because I don't travel and most of the rewards programs and sign up bonuses are focused around travel. So, I'm looking for some advice on which cards to sign up for to be able to use miles/rewards for JetBlue and Star Alliance flights. I'm agnostic when it comes to hotels. We'll probably end up needing three rooms since we'll have 10 people total. I've got some points saved up with IHG but only enough for maybe a single night.

With that size group, check Airbnb costs as well.

lizh

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 44
Re: Goal: Travel Hack a $5k NYC Vacation in 2020
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2019, 09:08:50 PM »
I would check Doctor of credit and read what he says about good travel cards. There is also a site "Travel Miles 101" that someone on this forum recommended to me. It can explain things as well.

I signed up for one of the Chase cards and got 50,000 points after I spent $4000.00 on the card in 3 months. (easy for my family and paid off in full every month) That is going to give me about 650.00 of credit that I can use to pay hotels and airfare.  I now am using Capital One venture card.  Pretty much the same deal with the 50,000 points however I missed the brief period that they were offering 70,000 points. But I hope to get an additional $600-700.00 for an upcoming trip from this card, too.  My trip in in May so that will probably all I can swing.

You can use the points for hotel or airfare and apparently it is pretty easy to redeem them.

The airbnb suggestion is a good one. Hotel rooms in NYC are VERY small so it is hard to jam a lot of people in as easily.  If you go with a hotel, depending on the time of year, you may want to budget more like $300.00. And EVERYTHING there is just more expensive.

Maybe Boston would be easier?  Hotels are pricey there as well, unfortunately.

good luck!

MrThatsDifferent

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1537
Re: Goal: Travel Hack a $5k NYC Vacation in 2020
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2019, 09:52:51 PM »
Your poor wife, 6 kids by herself!!!???

Anyways, NYC is expensive and with 10 humans, sheesh. Are you sure there isnít an easier, cheaper place to visit? Also, have you thought about using the train to get there? I love traveling by train.

If your heart is set on this, maybe look at staying in Brooklyn or New Jersey or Connecticut and booking an Airbnb in advance.

Unique User

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 647
  • Location: NC
Re: Goal: Travel Hack a $5k NYC Vacation in 2020
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2019, 07:34:35 AM »
We're going to NYC in June after multiple surgeries in Jan/Feb derailed our plans for Peru.  You should definitely look at AirBnb in Brooklyn.  We saw plenty of $100 a night places for a one bedroom, you can get larger places for probably $400ish a night which is less than 3 hotel rooms and you get a kitchen.  There are also several lower cost AirBnbs in New Jersey just over the river from Manhattan, but I'd be thoughtful on where the Airbnb is located and pick my arrival airport accordingly.  You probably want to map any potential hotel or AirBnbs, with six kids I'd want to be within a block or two of a subway stop.  I signed up for a Chase Sapphire and a Barclay Arrival card before we came to the conclusion that Peru was def off the table - both have great travel bonuses.  Good luck - 6 kids in NYC is brave!   

Michael in ABQ

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 546
    • Military Saints
Re: Goal: Travel Hack a $5k NYC Vacation in 2020
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2019, 08:22:04 AM »
Thanks for the Airbnb suggestion. Only issue might be finding something large enough for 4 adults and 6 kids that isn't a luxury penthouse running $5,000 a night. This is still in the very early planning stages. I won't even know when I'll get my leave until sometime in early 2020 once I'm already deployed.

The reason we're looking at NYC is that there's a direct 4-hour flight from here and a lot of international flights go through NYC so there's more options for me to get back to the US from there. Plus, it would be a great experience for the kids to see things like the State of Liberty, 9/11 memorial, USS Intrepid, and a bunch of museums - to say nothing of the experience of just being in a huge city and riding on a subway.


I'm not familiar with how all the different mileage programs work. In the past I've had a Southwest Airlines credit card that basically gave enough free points for one or two tickets, but I don't want to be locked into a single airline. I'm not sure if my flight will be with Air France, Turkish Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, or someone else. The bigger cost will probably be the tickets for my family. Right now it looks like JetBlue is the best bet as they offer a direct flight that's reasonable cheap. I see a lot of cards that offer 50,000 - 70,000 "points" but I'm unsure which of those points will convert into the airline miles or other travel rewards I'm looking to use.

MrThatsDifferent

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1537
Re: Goal: Travel Hack a $5k NYC Vacation in 2020
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2019, 10:12:54 AM »
Thanks for the Airbnb suggestion. Only issue might be finding something large enough for 4 adults and 6 kids that isn't a luxury penthouse running $5,000 a night. This is still in the very early planning stages. I won't even know when I'll get my leave until sometime in early 2020 once I'm already deployed.

The reason we're looking at NYC is that there's a direct 4-hour flight from here and a lot of international flights go through NYC so there's more options for me to get back to the US from there. Plus, it would be a great experience for the kids to see things like the State of Liberty, 9/11 memorial, USS Intrepid, and a bunch of museums - to say nothing of the experience of just being in a huge city and riding on a subway.


I'm not familiar with how all the different mileage programs work. In the past I've had a Southwest Airlines credit card that basically gave enough free points for one or two tickets, but I don't want to be locked into a single airline. I'm not sure if my flight will be with Air France, Turkish Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, or someone else. The bigger cost will probably be the tickets for my family. Right now it looks like JetBlue is the best bet as they offer a direct flight that's reasonable cheap. I see a lot of cards that offer 50,000 - 70,000 "points" but I'm unsure which of those points will convert into the airline miles or other travel rewards I'm looking to use.

You might need to get two close to each other. Iíve lived in NYC and canít fathom doing what youíre considering. Seriously. Thatís an intense city to keep track of everyone, feed, transport and house?!? 

Honestly, if it were me and the wife had 6 kids to watch, Iíd leave them with the grandparents and splurge on the wife, scout out the city and spoil her rotten. Then, bring the kids in twos on special occasions every two years or so. See shows on Broadway using tkts, go to free museums, get tickets for a talk show. NYC is very very stressful, especially for new visitors, sensory overload. Adding 6 kids and in laws to that seems like the worst vacation I could think of. Especially if you want to do it on the cheap.

With the kids, just find an amusement park that isnít Disney and take them there. Look at PA. You could take them to Hershey Park and lots of little places on a road trip. Spend a day in Philadelphia.

OzzieandHarriet

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 285
Re: Goal: Travel Hack a $5k NYC Vacation in 2020
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2019, 10:36:39 AM »
I agree with MrThatsDifferent.

I've spent quite a bit of time vacationing in NYC, just husband and I, doing it on the cheap for a few days at a time, traveling there by bus (usually ~$120 round trip for both of us - we live about a 4-hr drive away) and not doing major tourist attractions (we usually go there for concerts and artsy stuff), walking almost everywhere, not buying anything major, and we spend at least $1k per trip (I'm estimating, never added it all up). Double that times five for your ten people = $10k. And you would have airfare on top of that.

MrUpwardlyMobile

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 491
    • The Upwardly Mobile Life
Re: Goal: Travel Hack a $5k NYC Vacation in 2020
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2019, 01:17:55 PM »
Perhaps I am colored by where I live, but I donít think NYC is really a vacation destination.  The weather isnít good. There really isnít a lot worth seeing, and itís insanely expensive compared to basically anywhere else on the planet.   Itís really more a place you go when there is something specific you want to see or do and itís more convenient than seeing or doing elsewhere (I.e, seeing a show or attending some other event).

secondchance

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Re: Goal: Travel Hack a $5k NYC Vacation in 2020
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2019, 03:33:21 PM »
I live here and this sounds terrible. Where do you live? I've never said this before, but seriously, Disneyworld might be a better $$ call.

Anniemaygo

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 24
  • Location: Massachusetts
Re: Goal: Travel Hack a $5k NYC Vacation in 2020
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2019, 04:04:19 PM »
If your heart is set on nyc, look into staying in jersey and taking the ferry over.  Bigger and less expensive rooms.

What time of year, how old are kids and where do you live?  I agree with others that nyc may be a tough to do and not terribly enjoyable with a big crew.

Sugaree

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 527
Re: Goal: Travel Hack a $5k NYC Vacation in 2020
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2019, 06:01:41 PM »
Posting to follow mainly.  We're doing NYC for Xmas this year.  There's just three of us and I'm looking at being all in at just under $4k.  We're taking the train up and will fly back.  Train booked with CC points.  Plane isn't decided.  I think we have enough UR points, but probably want to save those for going back to Honduras summer after next.  Looking at between $200-250 a night for 7 nights.  Near-ish to Penn Station maybe.  We'll probably get a 7 day metro pass and am considering a New York Pass.  I need to run the numbers to see if it would be worth it.  Definitely want to see the Rockettes.

kimmarg

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 749
  • Location: Northern New England
Re: Goal: Travel Hack a $5k NYC Vacation in 2020
« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2019, 07:03:31 PM »
Definitely talk with your MWR office.  There are a bunch of military-only travel destinations that might suite your needs and budget better.  For example, to piggy back on Florida, how about this MWR resort? https://www.shadesofgreen.org/  Also they price based on rank so it could be cheaper depending on your status.

Michael in ABQ

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 546
    • Military Saints
Re: Goal: Travel Hack a $5k NYC Vacation in 2020
« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2019, 07:59:00 PM »
If your heart is set on nyc, look into staying in jersey and taking the ferry over.  Bigger and less expensive rooms.

What time of year, how old are kids and where do you live?  I agree with others that nyc may be a tough to do and not terribly enjoyable with a big crew.

Kids will be 1 - 11 by then. Our youngest will be around 18 months so leaving him and having my wife meet me isn't an option. I will probably get my leave sometime in the spring. We live in Albuquerque.

goatmom

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 290
Re: Goal: Travel Hack a $5k NYC Vacation in 2020
« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2019, 08:27:32 PM »
You might check some military discounts out.  I have stayed at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn.  Also, check out USO in Times Square for discount and free tix.  If you stay in NJ - the NJ transit gives military and dependents 1/2 price tickets.  I don't know when you are going but if it is in the summer - check out the Blue Star Program that gets you into a bunch of museums free. 

Rosy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2125
  • Location: Florida
Re: Goal: Travel Hack a $5k NYC Vacation in 2020
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2019, 07:53:35 AM »
If you want a great travel card with all around nice additional travel perks too, check out NFCU - they don't run promos as often, but you have time.
My favorite credit card - NFCU - Navy Federal Credit Union - Military Only
Their bonus offer is usually $300 sometimes $400 (spend $3K or $4K in 90 days)
3% on travel-related purchases and 2% on all other purchases - cash back or points for travel and gc.

I prefer a card with a lower interest rate just in case there is a month when I'd rather not pay off the card and they are generous with their credit limit.
They also offer zero APR and zero transfer fees for existing cardholders - usually Jan-Feb only.
Great bank - great CD and IRA rates and also plenty of other credit card choices.

You may want to rethink bringing all the kids on this trip. It isn't like your 18-month-old is going to remember a thing about going to NYC or more important remember even seeing Dad. Traveling is very stressful for little kids. Keeping them in their familiar surroundings may be a better choice if you have that option.

How about just taking the three oldest or the two older kids? It will mean something to them and make it a memorable trip for everyone.
If you really want to get the most out of your leave and your money - at least consider tweaking attendance a bit:).
Adding the grands to the mix is a terrible solution - if you were going to the beach for the day - great, but this is poking the bear.
Just sayin':)
Besides, this is a wonderful opportunity to give your wife a bit of R&R too:)

Thanks, everyone for chiming in on the military discounts - great info.

frugalfoothills

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 225
  • Age: 30
    • Bulls, Bears and Beers
Re: Goal: Travel Hack a $5k NYC Vacation in 2020
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2019, 12:19:20 PM »
You are a brave, brave soul. I travel a decent amount to NYC to visit a friend who lives in Manhattan and I always think to myself "what kind of masochist would bring their kids here!?!?" Will this be your first time there? If your heart is set on it then go for it, but I agree with some of the other posters that have suggested looking for other less populated, more child-friendly locations. It's honestly just a fucking zoo.

Michael in ABQ

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 546
    • Military Saints
Re: Goal: Travel Hack a $5k NYC Vacation in 2020
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2019, 07:42:51 PM »
If you want a great travel card with all around nice additional travel perks too, check out NFCU - they don't run promos as often, but you have time.
My favorite credit card - NFCU - Navy Federal Credit Union - Military Only
Their bonus offer is usually $300 sometimes $400 (spend $3K or $4K in 90 days)
3% on travel-related purchases and 2% on all other purchases - cash back or points for travel and gc.

I prefer a card with a lower interest rate just in case there is a month when I'd rather not pay off the card and they are generous with their credit limit.
They also offer zero APR and zero transfer fees for existing cardholders - usually Jan-Feb only.
Great bank - great CD and IRA rates and also plenty of other credit card choices.

You may want to rethink bringing all the kids on this trip. It isn't like your 18-month-old is going to remember a thing about going to NYC or more important remember even seeing Dad. Traveling is very stressful for little kids. Keeping them in their familiar surroundings may be a better choice if you have that option.

How about just taking the three oldest or the two older kids? It will mean something to them and make it a memorable trip for everyone.
If you really want to get the most out of your leave and your money - at least consider tweaking attendance a bit:).
Adding the grands to the mix is a terrible solution - if you were going to the beach for the day - great, but this is poking the bear.
Just sayin':)
Besides, this is a wonderful opportunity to give your wife a bit of R&R too:)

Thanks, everyone for chiming in on the military discounts - great info.

Whenever my leave occurs it will have been approximately 4-6 months since I've seen my family - so I want to see them all. The youngest will still be nursing so he is definitely coming. We had thought about just bringing the three oldest but then the two remaining younger kids wouldn't get to see me and vice-versa.

The grandparents are going to be helping out a lot while I'm gone and we all get along together well. Plus if they come along then at times we could go out in a smaller group while they stay with the other kids, i.e. my wife and I get to go out and have dinner together.


I was going to get the NFCU card for the $500 cashback offer but just after I got the $500 from the Capital One Savor card Doctor of Credit pulled that card from his recommended list and I couldn't find a link to that offer anymore. Hopefully it will come back around.


I appreciate the feedback. As we get further into planning we may well decide that another location makes more sense. My wife has a friend online with 8-9 kids that took a trip to NYC - though they were on the Steve Harvey show so I think they had some additional help. Honestly just going to the grocery store with six kids can be challenging but with four adults I think we'd be ok. No question that whatever we do will still be tough but that's the life we've chosen.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2019, 07:52:57 PM by Michael in ABQ »