How to Beat the Holiday Madness at JFK Airport
Tips and Tricks at JFK Airport
With the holidays coming up quickly, millions of people around the country are going to be traveling to see family, hosting events, and participating in fabulous celebrations. If you live in New York City, you know that the holidays are huge for tourists coming in and locals going out, and that means extra stress for everyone.
If you want to beat the holiday travel blues, we have a few JFK airport tricks up our sleeves to help make your travels – or those of your friends and family – as tension-free as possible.
- Book Early
The holidays are prime travel times of the year, and as such are a bit more expensive. Ticket prices for nearly any location skyrocket the closer you get to the date of travel at any time of year, and the big holidays toward the end of the year are no different. With everyone in a rush to get back home to see Aunt Muriel in Kansas, airlines take full advantage of this high demand and raise their prices exponentially.
To avoid paying outrages prices for flights, make sure to book at least six weeks in advance. This is the time when you will most likely see the lowest prices for in-demand tickets. And the same goes for hotels as well. Most hotels will raise their rates for major travel days around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but if you book early enough, you may catch them before those rates have been changed.
- Use the Cellphone Lot
If you’re having family come to New York to visit you for one of New York’s outstanding Halloween parties, or other upcoming holiday events, take advantage of the cell phone lots.
Usually, when you go to collect someone from the airport, you have to find suitable airport parking, where you can wait for your friend to collect their baggage and come to meet you. With the holidays being so busy, there are going to be even more passengers than usual, whose family will also be using JFK airport parking to wait for them. That is, unless they try to avoid paying for parking and simply do the loop to swing around to the passenger pickup lane over and over until their friend arrives.
You’ll have a much easier time beating the crowds and saving some cash with the free cellphone lots available at each of the main airport entrances. Simply pull in, find a spot (of which there are 373 in one lot and 127 in the other), and wait until your passenger gives you a call that they are already at the pickup curb. You won’t have to deal with the infamous New York airport parking, and you’ll avoid a ton of crowds!
- Park Off-Site
If you are the one traveling and you’re leaving from JFK airport, avoid the airport parking at all costs! It will be an absolute madhouse during the holiday rushes, and you’ll find yourself stressing out to find an available spot that won’t require you to walk forever to get to your check-in desk, if you’re able to find a spot at all.
Instead, avoid the rushes and parking crowds altogether by parking off-site. It may sound inconvenient to park away from the airport, but don’t worry; you won’t have to face traffic in your own car, which means you’ll arrive at the airport in a much better mood than otherwise!
There are several JFK airport offsite parking options available, so you’ll be sure to find the option that works best for you. Here are just a few of the best options:
- Jamaica Center – If you’re looking for the absolute cheapest option for alternative JFK airport parking, this is it. At just $4.50 per day for a covered self-park option, Jamaica’s prices can’t be beaten. It is open 24/7, so it doesn’t matter if you’ve snagged a red-eye flight on the cheap and need to park at one in the morning. There is no free shuttle from this location, but don’t worry; you can easily grab the E or J train just one station over to Sutphin Boulevard Station, then take the AirTrain JFK two stops to the airport. This will only cost you $5 for the trip. If you’d rather take an Uber, it’s only a 10-15-minute drive to the airport.
- Park & Travel – If you’d rather avoid public transportation or extra costs, check out the Park & Travel. It’s only slightly more expensive at $4.95 per day for outdoor self-parking, and it is also open 24 hours per day. There is a free shuttle that runs to the airport every few minutes, and as the closest airport parking lot, you’ll only need to ride it for 5-10 minutes.
- Hotel Parking – A final option for the best alternative to New York City airport parking is to park at a nearby hotel. Many of them will offer parking services even if you aren’t staying there. The JFK Inn, for example, offers outdoor valet parking for just $10.49 per day. This hotel is located 5 minutes away from the airport, so you’ll have plenty of time to park up and head out on the free shuttle that runs 24/7. If you have any concerns, just check with the 24-hour front desk for help.
- Treat Your Attendants
The holiday travel rush is hard for everyone, passengers and airline employees alike. Everyone is dealing with extra crowds, heavy luggage, delayed flights, and every other airport issue that can go wrong. It is important to remember that a little kindness can go a long way to make your flight a happier experience.
If you want to express appreciation for the employees that ensure your safety and comfort, consider preparing a few goody-bags for the flight attendants on your plane. A simple zip-bag filled with chocolate, mints, or even pastries from the airport café will do wonders to lift their spirits as they face yet another long flight. Plus, it’s the best way to get on a flight attendant’s good side, and they may repay the favor by spoiling you with an extra snack or glass of wine! And what better way to make your holiday travels a bit less stressful?
Things to do in NYC
Not for nothing is New York known as the ‘city that never sleeps’ – there’s never any shortage of things to do in NYC today or at any time of any day. Want to explore all the best places to visit in New York and cool things to do in NYC with no hassles? The New York City Explorer Pass is your best option and definitely worth buying. It offers skip-the-line access to most of the top New York attractions. You could also opt for a hop-on hop-off tour of New York.