Traveling in the wintertime can be loads of fun, the brisk air, the frozen lakes, skiing, the magical snow covered streets – but it can also be a royal pain the ass trying to get around. If you have ever arranged a trip during winter to areas that get snow, then you have to always think about the possible snow storm.
I live on the East End of Long Island, New York, and today our weather max was 59 degrees Fahrenheit, which for New Yorkers feels like spring time! I was excited because soon enough I’d be experiencing 86 degrees Fahrenheit in sunny Cancun, Mexico. As I work hard to tie loose ends in my office prior to leaving on a 4 day getaway, I start to get texts and Google weather advisories about the fast approaching snow storm. It will be one inch they said, no big deal, surely one inch is nothing to be alarmed about, but then suddenly that one inch became a grower, and it grew to six inches.
Now I thought, six inches, hmmm, maybe I should start looking at alternate traveling plans. Then six inches became 10 inches and then I got a cancellation text from my airline! I guess 10 inches is hard to take, even for airplanes!
So I quickly called my airline and asked about options and suggestions. My airline agent spent almost 35 minutes going through all the airports in alphabetical order until we got to the R, just to help me find a way out to Cancun. I was supposed to be on a 4 and half hour flight from JFK airport directly to Cancun, Mexico – instead I ended up with an overnight stay in Richmond, VA, to an early flight to North Carolina and then a midday trip to my final destination Cancun. As it turns out, other than spending the night in Virginia, which was not in my original plan, I arrive to Cancun only about 30 minutes after my original arrival time.
I was rerouted through La Guardia airport, which apparently has become a mecca for traffic! It took us an hour and 15 minutes to get to La Guardia, pretty average timing for us, but then we spent almost 30 minutes stuck in horrendous traffic just trying to get into the airport. I thought, surely this is just because a lot of people are being rerouted tonight due to the storm – but to my surprise – this is apparently normal for La Guardia airport, which I think it’s absolutely awful! It has become so bad, that I saw many people getting out of their cars, a la Walking Dead or any other end of the world movie, and people would just grab their bags and start walking from the middle of the highway all the way to their terminals. Finally, I got over my shock and decided to grab my stuff and walk myself. As I was weaving in and out of traffic, all I kept thinking was how strange this was, and again I thought I guess the snow storm is causing all kinds of trouble. There were cops directing traffic and people, I thought for sure they would give me a ticket for jaywalking, but no – they were there to assist all the walkers, I mean travelers. But, seriously, I later found out from the person seating next to me on the plane, who flies this route to Richmond, VA from La Guardia airport weekly, this sort of thing happens all the time. He has had to walk over the 94th Street bridge, about a 20 minute walk, to his airport terminal 3 times already in the last month. Imagine, this horrendous traffic is the first impression for many visitors to New York City, and also the last impression of our city. Hopefully this is just due to the redevelopment program, after all they host over 25 million travelers on a yearly basis.
So be sure to plan ahead, and keep your options open – who knows – that one unexpected night away from your route or extra walk might turn out to be pretty fun after all.