Family Travel: Navigating your kids through NYC, Flickr: kwl

A Taxi Ride Might Save Your Sanity!

Traveling in and around a bustling metropolis like New York City can certainly be challenging; add kids into the mix and you might face so much anxiety about getting to and fro that you have a hard time enjoying your activities once you get there.

For newbies traveling to NYC with kids, here are the best tips on navigating your little ones through the Big Apple:

Walking:
New York City is a beautiful city to navigate on foot, hence why so many New Yorkers do it themselves.  Although many streets are very crowded during rush hours, you will really get a taste of the city while walking the city on foot.  Due to crowds, stairs, and uneven surfaces, sage advice says to ditch strollers entirely.  However, for families with very small children, this can be an impractical request to make.  Your best bet is to use a lightweight umbrella-type stroller that can easily collapse for quick transitions. 

Subway:
New York’s subway system is the largest in the world.  While the vast network does provide some amazingly efficient modes of transport, they can be tricky to navigate, and due to tunnels, tight spaces, and stairs, are recommended for families traveling without a stroller. 

Tips:
•    Get a map.  It sounds like a pretty basic concept, but you are going to need a good one. 
•    Plan on crowds.  Before and after business hours, the subways are packed with commuters.  Prep your kids in advance for the crowds so they don’t get too overwhelmed.  Local trains stop more frequently (taking longer), but are typically much less crowded.
•    You will be hard pressed to find a restroom in the subway system, although they do exist in small number.  Make sure your little ones have prepared accordingly.
•    Although the subway system is color coded, locals are not familiar with the colors, so it is useless to ask them about colored routes. 


Bus:
Like the subway system, the bus routes offered in NYC are incredibly vast.  Paper maps are helpful for bus transit information, but I recommend utilizing smart phone map features.  Google maps feature NYC bus routes and compare route times with walking and driving options. 

Bus & Subway transportation fares are $2.50/ride.  Kids 44” and under ride for free with a paying adult.   Unlimited MetroCards can be purchased for discount rates if staying more than a few days.

Taxi:
If your kids (or you!) get overwhelmed in crowded spaces, skip the subways and busses, and opt to take a cab.  Although it can be more expensive than the public transportation counterparts, you might just make up for it with sanity.  Plus, if your group is larger than three people, the cost of the taxi might just pay for itself.


Tips:
•    Groups larger than four require two taxis, so plan on doubling your fare (kids younger than seven are legally allowed to lap sit on an adult, although this is not a very safe way to travel).
•    There are no car seat requirements for taxis in NYC, although you are certainly allowed to bring infant car seats to buckle into cabs. 
•    Most fares in and around Manhattan will run you $10-$12.  Don’t forget to tip your driver a minimum of 15%.
•    Available cabs have only the center lights lit.  To hail, just stand confidently with a raised hand. 


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photo: kwl

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