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New York and DC with Teens

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I have been studying the boards for a trip to New York and Washington DC. We are a family of 5--kids 16, 14 and 11. I could use help with logistics and with lodgings.

Would like to do a family vacation starting in late June in NYC and ending in Washington DC over the 4th. Additionally, we would like to drive up to Ithaca NY to see Cornell, as my son really wants to go there and it seems stupid not to take that opportunity too.

We are from the West Coast. I have been to NYC, but it's the first time for everyone else. In NYC, we want to see things in the city. While in DC, we might want to go to Mount Vernon and/or Monticello, maybe Manassas so we would need a car for part of it.

Could use some advice on the logistics: Do we rent a car at the airport, then go straight to Ithaca, then continue with NYC? Then should we train or get another car to DC?

Length of vacation: could be up to two weeks total if I can find lodgings to stretch my budget.

So, hotels: A big problem has been that we have 5 people, not 4. In New York, there are no roll-aways allowed in almost every place I have called, so things get expensive fast. Essentially, in most places I need two rooms, or a suite. Ideally, from past vacations, we would love an apartment but I have studied these boards enough to know the horror stories in NYC especially.

So I am looking for a chain, or a quirky or older hotel somewhere in Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Queens in an area less famous and sought after. Boring and suburban is fine. We are also totally okay with urban and lived very urban BK. If you have any suggestions, that would be great. I have spent a lot of time looking on here and oyster and more, and made a lot of calls but decided it's time to post for help.

I know the big question is price. Definitely I'd like to keep it under $300/night. Given my druthers, I'd really like $200. I recognize that may be impossible in NYC, even queens so then the next question is, which of the Jersey suburbs is most convenient to the commuter trains into the city. Or would we be better simply staying by one of the airports? I have been comparing maps and my head is spinning.

Regarding DC lodgings, my friends with experience in DC tell me that commuting in is fast and probably my best option and it will likely be less expensive. Any suggestions there also welcome!


Thanks,

Five Alive

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