Newark Airport to JFK Airport
Our travel hacking skills have improved over the past few years, and we are able to use our credit card points to pay for our flights to and from Africa. Wanting to use the least amount of points possible, we book our flights out of New York’s JFK airport.
Since we wouldn’t wish the drive to JFK airport on anyone, we arrange to be dropped off at the Newark airport in New Jersey.
There are no restaurants around the hotel we will stay at for the night, so we sit down for a meal.
Our next goal is to find the shuttle that travels from the Newark airport to the JFK airport.
We’re impressed by the bright, clean, bus area.
The staff are helpful and friendly. We have two options. We can take the regular bus, where we will have to get off of the bus in New York City and then transfer to the JFK airport bus. Or, for a few extra dollars, we can take the express shuttle that will take us directly to the airport. We opt for the express shuttle.
After loading onto a comfortable van, we are on our way.
The traffic in New York City is BONKERS. It takes us two and a half hours to drive to La Guardia airport, where a fellow shuttle passenger is dropped off.
Our shuttle driver asks the rest of us which JFK terminals we are flying out of. As it turns out, we are all flying out tomorrow. We’re simply going to the airport to meet up with hotel shuttles.
After asking us the name of our hotel, the driver proceeds to drop us off at our hotel’s front door. He definitely did us a solid.
Finding a hotel to stay at around the JFK airport that 1) doesn’t cost us hundreds of dollars and 2) doesn’t have multiple reviews from people stating, DON’T STAY HERE, is a challenge. The hotels also book up fast. I would find a place and plan to book it the following day, only to come back and discover that there were no rooms left.
We stay at the Sleep Inn, in Rockaway. The location feels a bit sketchy, and the hotel overall is painfully basic, but our room is nice, clean, and the bed is comfy.
In the morning we head down to the free hotel breakfast. We’re pleasantly surprised. They have just about everything, eggs, bacon, waffles, cereal, and yogurt. Whatever type of breakfast fare you’re craving. The coffee isn’t half bad either.
The hotel’s airport shuttle is prompt, and soon we are navigating our way through the JFK airport.
JFK Airport-Johannesburg-Victoria Falls
I’ve heard countless horror stories about JFK’s security, so we are sure to arrive to the airport extra early. It is a wise choice. The more camera and video gear I pack, the more I’m destined to get my bags pulled for further inspection. There is a back up, so it takes over twenty minutes until they finally get to my bag. The man searching my bag is nice, but I cringe as he yanks items out of my bag, oblivious to the amount of time it took me to meticulously pack it. He then hands the bags back to me opened and jumbled.
We still have plenty of time before our flight, so we giddily traipse to check out our very first airport lounge.
One of the perks when we signed up for the Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card, was obtaining Priority Pass airport lounge cards. We can use any of the airport lounges that qualify for Priority Pass and anyone who is traveling with us can enter the lounges as well.
The lounge has a nice spread laid out for breakfast. There are snacks, and a plethora of drinks. Since we already ate breakfast at the hotel, we enjoy some juice and cookies.
We find the lounge to be a nice respite from the chaotic hustle and bustle of the airport.
It is finally time to board our South African Airlines plane. At 15 hours, it is our longest flight to date. I’m excited to take off and settle in for the long haul.
It ends up not being as bad as we thought. The airplane staff are exceptionally friendly. I read, watch Lego Batman, and listen to some podcasts.
It has been years since we’ve had airplane meals, so it adds to the novelty of the flight (the Snickers was a nice touch).
We land in Johannesburg for a brief layover, before boarding the plane to Zimbabwe.
We finally land at the Victoria Falls Airport.
The line at immigration is long, partly because it seems that people did not do their research ahead of time and are having issues deciding which visa to get.
Important information: (based on being visitors from the United States) There are three types of visas you can get when entering Victoria Falls/Zimbabwe
- Single entry visa- With this visa you can only be in Zimbabwe. If you want to travel/walk to the Zambia side of Victoria falls you will not be able to with a single entry. We witnessed a couple who seemed absolutely perplexed as they stood at the immigration window in Zambia and were told that they could not visit the other side of the falls because they only had a single entry visa
- Double entry visa-With the double entry visa you can leave and return to Zimbabwe twice during your stay. This is a good choice if you only plan on crossing over to the Zambia side once during your trip.
- Kaza Univisa-With this visa, you can leave and return to Zimbabwe as many times as you would like during a 30 day period. This was the visa we requested. We knew that we would be leaving Zimbabwe twice during our stay. Once to go to the Zambia side of the falls and once to go to Botswana for a day. The double entry visa would work too, but just in case for some reason we happened to decide to do an activity where we would leave Zimbabwe again, for peace of mind, the Kaza visa was the best choice.
Victoria Falls-Cape Town
After five days in Zimbabwe, we head back to the Victoria Falls Airport, to make our way to Cape Town, South Africa.
We have time to relax in the Victoria Falls airport lounge.
We snack and have tea and coffee before boarding our airplane.
I always love the experience of walking across the tarmac and climbing actual steps to get on a plane. It feels more adventurous than boarding the plane from a sterile walkway.
Usually I can never sleep on planes, but the combination of heat, constant activity, and exercise, leaves me exhausted. I completely crash.
After our week in Cape Town, we sadly return to the airport for our journey home.
We spend some time in Cape Town’s airport lounge. It is the best one we’ve visited so far. There is a ton of yummy looking food and the seats have outlets so you can keep your electronics charged.
We board our Emirates plane for a 14 hour flight.
We’re excited to fly with Emirates for the first time. It did not disappoint. Even in economy, we felt fancy. They feed you, and feed you, and feed you. There were meals and snacks and drinks being offered constantly. The chicken korma was my favorite airplane meal of the trip.
Before we land, they give us a hot towel to freshen up.
On our 14 hour flight they gave us breakfast before we landed. When we boarded the next flight, they served breakfast again. We politely declined 2nd breakfast and the flight attendant in the sweetest tone said,
“Madame doesn’t wish to eat?” I felt like a Princess.
One of the other things we are looking forward to on the journey home, is our layover at the Dubai airport. Being the land of excess, I imagine that the Dubai airport will be grand and sparkly.
We are disappointed. The airport is just a normal airport, and it’s too far away to get a meaningful view of the city.
We still have a 9 hour flight ahead of us, and at this point, all we want to do is board our plane and get home.
JFK Airport-Newark Airport
We land at the JFK airport feeling delirious after over 24 hours of travel. We locate the bus area. It’s not as nice as Newark’s, the staff are surly, and there is no express shuttle. We load on the bus and are dropped off in the middle of New York City, near Bryant Park. We wait for what feels like an eternity, for the Newark airport bus. Visions of my bed dance in my head.
Finally, the Newark bus arrives. The bus staff are not pleasant. Fortunately, it is later at night, the traffic isn’t as crazy, so it doesn’t take long to reach the Newark airport.
Everything went smoothly during our travel days. I always find it funny how on the way to your destination, the long hours in the air don’t seem to matter as much. It’s all part of the adventure, but on the way home, I curse that teleportation has not been invented yet. All I want to do is get home.
After witnessing the insane traffic traveling to the JFK airport, taking the shuttle from Newark was a great option for us. I would do it again if we got a good price on flights.
I’m totally on board with airport lounges. I’m thankful for our Priority Pass, giving us the ability to have a place where we can rest, eat, grab a water or soda, and charge our electronics. Though our pass came with a credit card, you can purchase a Priority Pass. I would say it’s worth it if you are someone who travels a lot. I look forward to checking out more airport lounges in our future travels.
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