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February 22, 2011 7:05 PM   Subscribe

What's the best transportation option for visiting NYC, then going to Long Island for a wedding, and then getting back to La Guardia?

My husband and I are going to NYC and Long Island for a wedding in a few weeks. We're trying to figure out the best combination of lodging and transportation options.

We're flying into La Guardia on a Friday afternoon. We'll stay Friday night in the city--probably somewhere in midtown, given that we are hitting up Le Bernardin (51st Street and 7th Ave) for dinner. We don't have a hotel picked out yet, but we'll probably go with one of the Marriott properties in the area since I have rewards points we can use.

On Saturday morning, we'll need to head out to Long Island for the wedding. This portion of the trip will require a rental car somewhere along the way--the ceremony is in Centereach, the reception is in Great River, and from what we understand it might be tough to get cabs in that area). Some options:
(1) Pick up a car in the city and drive out--in which case we'd need to return the rental car to the city or to the airport on our way out on our way out of NY.
(2) Take the LIRR to Ronkonkoma, take a taxi or airport shuttle to rent a car at Islip airport, return the car to Islip, take the LIRR back into the city, then cab/bus it to La Guardia.
(3) Are there other reasonable options I haven't considered?
posted by Terriniski to Travel & Transportation around New York, NY (16 answers total)
Neither of these options are very good but if it were me I would just get a car at LaGuardia and drive it around until it's time to drop it off and fly out again. If you can deal with getting in and out of the city, and finding an overnight garage, the rest of the drive isn't bad at all (on the weekends.)

Another option would be, if you could find someone to carpool with; maybe they could pick you up at the Ronkonkoma station?
Also, there are usually/always cabs hanging around the train stations, and if not you can call and they will send one.
posted by amethysts at 7:15 PM on February 22, 2011

I'd either go with a zipcar from nyc to l.i. and back or hire cabs in long island. both easy options.
posted by ranunculus at 7:22 PM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]

If it were me, I would rent a Zipcar on Saturday morning - you could find one near your midtown hotel to make it easy to pick it up - and use that to get yourself to the wedding and the reception. Zipcar is easy and free to join, and even their most expensive rates are cheaper than the traditional rentals agencies like Hertz or Avis in the NYC area. You won't have to pay to garage a rental car overnight on Friday, and you also don't have to pay for gas.

Coming back on Saturday after the wedding, you can drop the car back in midtown and get a cab (easy, probably about $30) or an express bus service (also easy, $11/person these days, I think) our to LGA.
posted by minervous at 7:23 PM on February 22, 2011

Ugh, this is logistically annoying. You will not really find cabs way out there.

On Saturday, go to the Hertz 3 blocks from the Hicksville LIRR station. Train runs from Penn to Hicksville every 20 minutes or so and the trip takes 45 minutes. Drive out from there on the LIE (go north on 106/107, which runs right under the train station) and you'll hit the LIE in 5 minutes. Arrange to return the car the airport and just drive there.

If any other LIers know of a car rental place by their LIRR stop, those would be good options, I live in Long Beach which is way out of the way.
posted by Brian Puccio at 7:40 PM on February 22, 2011

I don't know if this works for you logistically (I really don't know the area), but the few times I've had to fly into LaGuardia and get a car for driving around Long Island, I have been really pleased with Enterprise (the ones right by the airport). They were really understanding when we had some tricky scheduling issues, more so than any of my other rental car experiences.
posted by phunniemee at 7:44 PM on February 22, 2011

Response by poster: We don't have a Zipcar membership, so the cost of the Zipcar would be annual membership + application fee + standard rental rate. It looks like that would be $60 + $25 + $115 = $200 (if I'm reading the Zipcar site properly). Given that we probably won't be using Zipcar any other time within the next year, I'm not sure that it's more cost effective than renting in midtown and returning to LGA.

I posted the question because I don't know a lot about the universe of options, so there's probably a lot I haven't considered. But for comparison to Zipcar costs, I did a quick quote on Hertz, and it looks like renting from midtown and dropping off at LGA would be about $160. Taking the train and renting from Islip would probably be about $90ish (although it seems like there would be a lot of pieces to coordinate with that option).
posted by Terriniski at 7:47 PM on February 22, 2011

If Le Bernardin is in your budget, I wouldn't be surprised if car/limo service fits in your budget too... it's a lot cheaper / more common in and around NYC than most anywhere else. You should at least price it.
posted by Perplexity at 7:48 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you're cool with driving in NY, by all means, just rent in manhattan when you're ready to head out east and drop it off at LGA. Some people are not comfortable driving in NY traffic, in which case I'd just take a train ride out and pick something up in the suburbs.
posted by Brian Puccio at 7:59 PM on February 22, 2011

Best answer: Here's my $.02 as someone who lives near LaGuardia:

Fly into LaGuardia, take a cab to your hotel (cab fare, probably about $35 with tip as long as they don't take the RFK/triborough bridge).

On Saturday, take a cab (or the N train to the M60 bus) to enterprise/budget/alamo, any one of the companies out near LaGuardia (cab fare probably less than from the airport into the city, around $30).

When you return from LI, they all have shuttles that will take you to the airport.
posted by aloiv2 at 8:08 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Le Bernardin isn't in the budget so much as it's been budgeted for through trimming costs associated with other travel expenses (using airline vouchers, using hotel reward points) and our regular expenses.

I hadn't thought about renting and returning the car to LGA. The rental fee seems to be cheaper there (no fee for returning to a different location), and it would be convenient for our return flight. Still open to other suggestions, but that one is sounding good. Thanks, all!
posted by Terriniski at 4:38 AM on February 23, 2011

One last point: if you are staying at a decent hotel, it is likely that they have shuttle service to-and-from the airport that you can book and will be cheaper than a cab.
posted by chiefthe at 5:06 AM on February 23, 2011

I live on long island and can help you but i would need to know which catering hall the wedding is in. Somne are by the water and a pain to get to any other way by car and some you can take the train. Post back here with the response.
posted by majortom1981 at 9:38 AM on February 23, 2011

You sure you cant fly into macarthur ? IT would make your life A LOT EASIER. Since your catering hall is not that far away and there are a lot of hotels in that area.
posted by majortom1981 at 9:41 AM on February 23, 2011

This works best if the wedding is the day before you have to go back to the airport. It doesn't seem like this is the case from your description:

I just did this on a recent trip to NYC, but the event was the night before we had to get to LGA. We rented the car in Manhattan, went to event, returned to Manhattan, parked on the street (lucky) and then used the car as a "cab" to get to the airport the next day. Just be careful, Manhattan car rental dealers don't always have a car for you, even with a reservation. I booked my car 2 hours earlier than I needed it knowing this fact. They had no cars ("still waiting for your car to be returned") and one finally showed up 90 minutes later.
posted by teg4rvn at 9:58 AM on February 23, 2011

First, I just have to say that Le Bernardin is amazing; get the tuna appetizer.

Now, as to your actual question, for ease, I'd just take a cab from LGA to midtown (about $45, depending on traffic and whether they take the 59th st bridge or a toll crossing). Then I'd rent a car in Manhattan and return it to LGA on the way out. Hertz doesn't usually charge for different-location returns (did a quick search for a 1 day rental from midtown to LGA and it's about $140 w/ tax for a compact). I would not rent a car on Friday night b/c you'd have to find and pay for parking in the city. With gas and tolls you're looking at maybe $250 for transportation for your trip.
posted by melissasaurus at 3:41 PM on February 23, 2011

Response by poster: Rental at LGA was about $70 per day, including tax. So even with the cab fare from Manhattan back to LGA, it comes out cheaper than renting in Manhattan and returning to LGA. So we're going for that option.
posted by Terriniski at 8:50 PM on March 3, 2011

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