My Evernote is (figuratively) bulging at the seams. I’ve finally seen fit to organise my notes into folders, and right now my note containing Things To See And Do In The US is grossly inflated. That’s mostly thanks to New York, skewing everything! It looks like we’ll be there for a full week in September, but I doubt we’ll be bored somehow. If you’re looking for things to do in New York there are plenty of resources online, plus I’ve got no shortage of recommendations from friends.
A few weeks ago I went into a slight panic when one of my best friends (who’s off to Minnesota, I think, for a conference later in the year) asked if I’d applied for our visas yet. As far as I knew, the only places we wouldn’t get a waiver would be Cambodia and Vietnam. But in its paranoid and profit-seeking ways, I guess the government has to make things complicated and take its cut:
International travelers who are seeking to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) are now subject to enhanced security requirements and will be required to pay an administrative fee. All eligible travelers who wish to travel to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program must apply for authorization and then pay the fee using the following process…
And so I paid the $30 fee and went through the ESTA rigmarole online. I tried not to freak out when we weren’t both immediately approved. Thankfully, a few days later I checked back in and found that we’d both been cleared. That’s about as much as we can do; from here on in we’re at the mercy of airport officials when we land, I suppose.
I’ve booked an apartment rental for our last few days in New York through a Wimdu host with good reviews (we want to stay somewhere nice for T’s birthday), but I’ve yet to decide what we’ll do for the days before that. Hospitality exchange hosts generally don’t want to commit until a few weeks ahead (I personally prefer not to when hosting) but given it’s New York, waiting seems risky when accommodation is so in demand. Do we wait and hedge our bets on finding an awesome free/cheap host who’ll show us the city from his or her POV, or shell out now for a guaranteed place to lay our heads?