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East Coast Jan 2015 - itinerary, weather & risk

East Coast Jan 2015 - itinerary, weather & risk

Feb 10th, 2014, 04:22 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Feb 2014
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East Coast Jan 2015 - itinerary, weather & risk

Ok, my wife, 7yo son & I have a 5-week window starting Dec 26 through to late Jan 2015 that we'd like to have a family holiday across the US East Coast.
After arriving in NYC, the plan is to use the train to visit Boston, Philly & DC. From there we would head south, driving from Charleston, Savannah before reaching Orlando (taking in DisneyWorld that week between the Marathon and MLK weekends) . We'd then fly across to New Orleans, then back to NYC for a few nights at the end of January before the long flight back to Australia.
We accept it's going to be cold (freezing!), but I'm wary that the weather at this time of year may wreak havoc with our holiday plans in terms of flight delays and cancellations.
Have I done enough with the itinerary above to reduce this risk (e.g using trains in the colder areas at the start), or is a holiday to the East Coast in January just too much of a gamble with the weather?
Appreciate any advice or comments
Bugsy71 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2014, 05:33 AM
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If you are going to start with Boston, why not fly there to begin trip? Then go to NYC and finally fly home from somewhere closer to New Orleans? You are doing what seems to be a lot of backtracking.
DebitNM is offline  
Feb 10th, 2014, 08:56 AM
  #3  
 
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There is no way to tell in advance.

NYC is actually about 100 miles south of the snow belt (wherre it covers the ground all winter).

Some years we get practically no snow. Some years we get a lot - can be multiple small storm of 3 or 4 inches, or blizzards of up to 25: or 30: - or sometimes both. This year is very snowy - so based on odds next year might not be.

But you have to come prepared for major storms (clothing, boots et al) and also to roll with the punches if your plans change due to being snowed in.

For Boston = or anyplace north of NYC - the chances of sotrms are even greater.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 10th, 2014, 11:21 AM
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To clarify - it takes a mid size snow fall to close the airports - but a larger one will stop the trains as well (trees fal on the tracks due to ice on the branches - of electircity can go out).

Typically only a larger storm - 15/16" or more will delay or stop the trains - but we have had storms that stopped tain service for 3 days. (But very unlikely.)

All you can do is be prepared to improvise.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 11th, 2014, 01:28 AM
  #5  
 
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Ultimately, nytraveler has your answer: be prepared to improvise!

Let me suggest a revision to your trip if you haven't yet booked your tickets.

Start in New Orleans right after Christmas. It is not high season, so it wont be crowded or bitter cold. American schools reopen the Monday after New Year's, so that is a good time to go to Florida. Then Washington, NYC, and Boston. No backtracking on flights. You will be traveling south to north and can look ahead to see the weather. This is not generally the busiest time of the year, so you will not have to book accommodation in the northeast very far in advance.

You can acquire cold weather clothing as you need it rather than having to guess what you require and carry it with you. We have discounted clothing chains like Marshall's, TJMax, and Kohl's, which sell clothing at reasonable prices, reasonable enough in terms of the total cost of your trip tat you can afford to give them to a charity shop when you go back to Oz. In particular, I would not want to carry boots I didn't need. Certainly New York and Boston will do a reasonable job of clearing sidewalks and an excellent job of clearing streets in all but the worst storms.

Two pieces of advice from someone who spent many years flying ion business.

1. If your airline expects significant delays or cancellations, they will announce on their website that you may change your flights without fees. It is very much worth disturbing your sleep by doing this at some time like 3:00 AM. Set your alarm, call their toll-free number, and deal with a person while most travelers are asleep. Then you can go back to sleep, relaxed.

2. Never go to the airport unless you are sure your flight will leave. People will sleep on the floor, and you do not want to be one of them. They will run out of food. Stay at your hotel. Tell the desk you are going to extend your stay. They may not be happy about this if they think they will be fully booked, but if you can't get out, incoming guests cannot arrive. Every business traveler has had a reservation go blooey because guests in place haven't left, so I don't think they can throw you out, though they may offer to move you to another property.

No matter how much bad weather a city has, the local weather people on television go insane. You will think that western civilization is about to end. It may at the airport but you will be fine elsewhere.
Ackislander is offline  
Feb 11th, 2014, 04:48 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: May 2003
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I like ackslander route of starting in the south and heading north; very sage advice.
DebitNM is offline  
Feb 11th, 2014, 05:19 AM
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Boston and Philly in the winter are far from charming... I would drop them from the trip and do NYC to Washington to charleston/savannah to New Orleans to Orlando and then a flight back to NYC... you will always feel better getting warmer and with less weather stress... after all its a vacation...
garyt22 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2014, 07:41 AM
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This year is a bit unusual, but the south has had several (at least three major) snow/ice storms that have shut down roads and most travel, sometimes for days at a time. In the northeast (I live half way between NYC and Boston) we've had an average amount of snow but there hasn't been one day that I wasn't able to drive. The northeast knows how to deal with snow/ice, the south doesn't so even if they (meaning DC and south) get a few inches it shuts things down. You will probably be fine driving in the south in January, but no guarantees. NYC and Boston are not going to shut down except for extreme storms. Trains between them, public transportation in the cities, all operate as normal in most snow storms.

January is January and from beginning to end the chances of bad weather will the same so it doesn't matter if you go north to south or other way around. Flights are the most likely to be canceled due to weather. You might want to consider skipping New Orleans because except for that you are train/car traveling.
isabel is offline  
Feb 11th, 2014, 04:29 PM
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Thanks all for the responses, appreciate the advice, definitely some food for thought.
Bugsy71 is offline  
Feb 11th, 2014, 05:18 PM
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And you often don;t know the details until it happens.

We know there is a storm coming Wed night/Thurs. If it stays very close to the coast we may get just very cold rain/sleet in NYC. If the track of the storm is slightly more out to see we could get 12" of snow. We'll know for sure when it happens.
nytraveler is offline  
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