Finally back after a hiatus and wanted to jot down some stuff about my recent 2-week Canada + US trip while my memory is still fresh (and the jet lag has not hit me yet) I have received some questions with regard to my itinerary, mainly on costs, hotel accoms, flight, etc so I suppose it would be good for me to share here on my blog.
This is my first time to US and my fren and I have done fair bit of research. You wouldn’t want to waste your trip there not knowing where to go and what to do after flying for 20 hours in air.
In terms of staying connected, we rented Changi WIFI but it didn’t work well during our trip. So we got refund for that and activated my personal overseas data roaming instead.
In addition before all of these, you would need to apply eta to enter Canada and visa for US.
We booked Korean Air in May, preparing this trip in late Oct. We flew into Toronto first to see Niagara Falls, cleared immigration at Niagara Falls border and took a cab into Buffalo airport to take a flight to Washington DC. Thereafter, we took Metro Bus (4-hour ride) into New York City, and flew back from JFK airport to Singapore.
1. International flight via Korean Air: SGD 1.45K per pax (Do note it is best to book only when you have a rough idea of your overall itinerary)
2. Domestic flight via America Airlines from Buffalo Airport to Washington DCA Airport: USD 148 per pax
Review of flight:
1. Korean Air offers a relatively good stopover time at 1-2hour before the next flight. This is my priority when it comes to selecting flight as I do not want to be in limbo for too long. My experience of the flight was alright; food was good but the return long haul descent had too much pressure and got me feeling really unwell.
2. Domestic flight for America Airlines had 1 hour plus flight delay but it seemed to be the norm there. The airplane was so small and compact that it is smaller than our SG buses. Those with claustrophobia issues, you may not survive this flight with the tight space. But it is only a 1 hour flight so just have to bear with it.
1. Best Western Fallsview Hotel: SGD 166 per night on Saturday (Do note that hotel rate doubled only on Saturdays. Also, if you are recovering from jetlag, you just need a basic hotel to sleep and recover from it.)
2. Marriott Fallsview Hotel (room with Niagara Falls view): SGD 226 per night
3. The Architect Hotel in Washington: SGD 771 for 3 night stay
4. Amsterdam Court Hotel in NYC: SGD 2314 for 6 night stay
So looking at flight and accommodation alone, it will set you back around SGD 3350 per pax for a 2-week trip.
Review of accomodation.
1. Let’s start with Best Western. The reason why I chose this hotel was that it’s a 5-min walk away from Marriott Fallsview Hotel and it is also close to Niagara Falls. In addition, it offers a good rate on a Saturday night. Security wise, we were given level 1 and it was so noisy and rowdy at night that we woke up few times during the night. No water or kettle was provided, except a coffee maker which looks old. A bottle of water anywhere will cost you CAD 5! after all the insane tax.
2. Marriott Fallsview was amazing. Please book this with Niagara Falls room view and you will thank me for it! 🙂
Complimentary water bottle was provided once only; their reception water was too sour to drink. In the end, we had to buy water. 🙁
3. The Architect Hotel is just 5-min walk away from the White House and all main attractions nearby. It was considered the most affordable stay in the area and the room was small, just nice for both of us. We do see some people seeking refuge at the lobby during night time for water and away from the cold weather. Hmm, well it largely depends on how you look at it though. This may compromise the safety of guests somehow.
4. Amsterdam Court Hotel was few mins walk away from Times Square, with the cheapest rate around the neighbourhood. Initially I booked a hotel around Times Square area, thinking that it would be safe. However, I felt that Times Square area tend to be rowdy and messy, especially if you are an Asian walking around in the day or night time. I had my fair share of experience though.
On top of it, the hotel does not seem to have any security in place and anyone (really) can walk into the hotel and access the rooms. It was kind of creepy and there was once whereby a man just ran into the lift when the door opened as we were about to alight. He looked like he had done something wrong and wanted to get out ASAP. We were so shocked. In addition, we noticed few rooms had their doors left opened but a “do not disturb’ sign was displayed. We suspected it was dodgy business, if you know what I meant. No wifi was provided at hotel rooms but only their lobby. WTF. What era is this already.
Other than these nonsense, the hotel is conveniently located at broadway muscial theatres, times square, cafes and food places that we really love.
Additional travel/transport expenses
1. Taxi from Toronto to Hotel: CAD 179 (Fucking ex and we got a shock)
2. Marriott Hotel to Buffalo Airport: CAD 103 (including immigration clearance)
3. Mega Bus from Washington DC to NYC: USD 24 per pax
4. Airport transfer from NYC hotel to JFK airport: USD 26 per pax
Total Estimation of travel/transport expenses: SGD 220
1. Metro 7-day unlimited ride in NYC: USD 33
2. Washington Uber rides: USD 30
3. Washington Hop on/Hop off 1-day bus tour: USD 29 (please don’t take this)
4. Flynyon helicopter ride: USD 260 per pax (including insurance)
5. Uber rides in NYC: USD 200
6. Personal expenditure in Niagara: SGD 225 but we didn’t foresee so much tax and expensive transport cost. We had to use card most of the time. Approximately another SGD 300 expenditure.
7.Personal expenditure in US excluding all the transport expenses: SGD 1800
8. Shopping in US using card: SGD 800 (there isn’t much shopping in US except when you set foot in Woodbury outlet haha. I think I fare well and didn’t overspend.)
Total misc expenses: SGD 2612 per pax
So overall, my estimated total expenditure is SGD 6182. I would say it is still a reasonable amount given the prime locations of our hotels in this 2-week trip. I hope this information is useful to you and I would share more in my upcoming Part 2 travelogue entry.