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The Absolute Travel team in New York City

A regular visitor to the USA in younger years, I hadn’t been to New York city for a good while, so what would I make of it now? Our extensive and successful programme of study trips to the “Big Apple” was more than enough reason to head back across the pond in March with a couple of senior colleagues. We had a full itinerary planned……

Staying at the Hotel Edison, just off Times Square, proved the perfect base for a few days crammed with meetings, educational visits, relationship building, hotel audits and sightseeing! In an extensive behind the scenes hotel audit at the Edison, we were all impressed with the focus on fire safety and security and this was matched by a similar approach at the other accommodations we visited in Manhattan. Fortunately, our suppliers also demonstrated an excellent understanding of the requirements and expectations of British clients, looking after the many school and college study groups that we send them. Finding the right accommodation in the right location at the right price is an absolute key to delivering a successful New York trip and I was more than reassured that the product we offer represents outstanding value for money for our groups. That’s incredibly important in gaining and maintaining the trust of our existing and new clients, year after year of course. It’s such a diverse and vibrant city that selecting a programme of activities and visits can be a headache for group leaders and our advice and expertise can be a massive help in ensuring the best use of time and resource in the city. The subject specific options allow for specialist workshops or tours in areas as varied as history, politics, finance, media, business and performing arts. We met a number of our key suppliers, all entrusted with the expert delivery of everything from talks on Civil Liberties to workshops on Musical theatre. The added value that this affords should never be underestimated. Getting around Manhattan can be a challenge and so time-management and planning is vital if your students are to get the very most from the experience. A metro pass will help give you flexibility and value. Because, while the educational elements will always be important, the extra-curricular rewards are also vital too. That’s why you may also want to consider catching a live sporting event, a behind the scenes tour of an iconic venue or book a show on Broadway. We were lucky enough to see Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden during our stay but next time it might be Chicago or Hamilton if we get lucky! Our guys in New York will always help secure the best deals. Naturally there simply weren’t enough hours in the day to do everything we wanted, but we did make time to audit our regular coach company and check out some new hotels which we think will work well for our groups as well. We loved walking the “High Line” down to Greenwich Village and stopping for food in Little Italy. We enjoyed the One World Observatory experience for some stunning views over the city. The 9/11 Memorial was humbling, but we didn’t visit the museum on this occasion nor take the ferry across to the Statue of Liberty which many of our groups enjoy. Such is the choice of themed restaurants and diners here that groups are obviously spoilt for choice. It’s not a cheap city but despite the relatively weak exchange rate against the dollar at the time, there are still good deals on meals. We can book these in advance – always a good idea for larger groups. Breakfast options are more limited, so you may wish to include breakfast in your package if this is an important consideration. The city felt safe yet exhilarating and it has an infectious energy which is hard to describe. It’s easy to see how student groups love the life-experience that is a visit to New York and why it remains our best seller for educational trips. For my part, I can’t wait to go again in the Autumn! Ashley Gowing, Managing Director, Absolute Travel and Tours  
phone 01279 647566

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