One of my road rules is to never fly in or out of New York (or any other metropolis) during rush hour. It can be unpredictable and add undue stress to your trip. But on a recent trip to the Apple, I had no other choice because I needed to make an event. I would have never made it taking a cab or car from the airport into the city – it was that close.
That’s how I discovered NJ Transit.
The trick is to fly into Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey. At Newark, the AirTrain Network makes frequent stops at all the airline terminals, rental car facilities, etc. But… it also connects to NJ Transit which has rail lines to take you to Penn Station in Midtown Manhattan.
AirTrain comes every three minutes, except on Sundays, and it takes about 10 minutes to get to NJ Transit from your terminal.
If all goes smoothly – no delays, etc, you can be at Penn Station 40-45 minutes after starting at the airport.
Although you can’t always count on it taking 45 minutes or so to get into the city – always plan for more time just in case – what you can count on is saving money. While a car may cost you $70 to go to the airport or into the city, the train costs a mere $12.50! Round trip that is a nice savings. If you want to stay on the budget route, take the subway from Penn Station to your next destination for $2.50.
Granted, if you are out for comfort, or have a lot of luggage, you may want that car or cab. The train isn’t uncomfortable at all, it just involves some shlepping However, I love the rush of a train station – I’m energized by the hustle bustle, the great people watching, and all the street performers doing their thing underground.
Tip: Buy your round trip ticket on the first leg of your trip so you don’t have to wait in line on the return portion of your trip.
Many other cities offer train service that is cheaper and convenient – BART in the Bay Area, or the “L” in Chicago.