Travel Tips and Tricks

Mid Express

Have your Mid use the NYC Parents Club Mid-Express for travel from USNA to NY Penn Station (8th Avenue and West 33rd Street)  for a round trip during Thanksgiving Leave and to return to USNA at the end of Winter Break.   From the drop off point at NY Penn Station, your Mid has a lot of travel options:

  • NYC trains and buses
  • continue on to Long Island using the LIRR from Penn Station
  • continue on to New Jersey using NJ Transit Trains from Penn Station
  • walk to 6th Avenue and West 33rd Street to take the PATH trains to New Jersey
  • walk 9 blocks to the NY Port Authority Bus Terminal to take a bus into New Jersey
  • walk about a mile to Grand Central Station for Metro North trains to Westchester and Connecticut

.Details regarding this year’s Mid Express should be available mid to late September.

Midshipman Parent Pass (MPP)

Shortly after I-Day, you will be sent a temporary Midshipman Parent Pass (MPP) that should be valid through the end of August.   This MPP along with acceptable id, will allow you to drive on to the Yard to pick up / drop off your Mid.    Parking on the Yard is extremely limited  and only permitted on the weekends.

As the parent of a Midshipman, you may apply for a MPP that will be valid for the four years that your Mid will be attending the Academy.    You should apply for a separate MPP for each parent so that you have a backup just in case you lose one.

Guard the MPP with your life.  You won’t be able to drive on to the Yard without it.  You don’t want your Mid doing the mad dash from Gate 1 or Gate 8 in order to report in on time.   If you lose your MPP, then your Mid will need to apply for the replacement.

 

Driving

Avoid the traffic on I-95 in the Baltimore area by driving through Delaware and across the Bay Bridge.

Instead of using the New Jersey Turnpike between Exit 1 and Exit 7, you can use I295 and I195 to save $4.35 each way for a passenger car.

If you have a New York or New Jersey EZ-Pass, you can enroll for the Port Authority Carpool Plan (PACP).   This plan will allow you to pay a reduce toll (currently $6.50) at the Port Authority crossings provided that you have 3 or more people in the car and you use a staffed lane to confirm occupancy.

If your Mid can only get a ride to New Jersey, see if they can get dropped off at a PATH station or NJ Transit train station.    They can then take the train into NYC.    The Secaucus Junction Transfer Station is especially convenient for a drop and run since you can hop off the Jersey Turnpike at Exit 15X, drive a mile to the station, drop the Mid and hop back on to the Turnpike.  Almost every NJ transit train to NYC stops at the Secaucus Junction Transfer Station and you can be in NY Penn Station in under 10 minutes.

 

Trains

The closest Metro station to Annapolis is New Carrolton which is about 20 minutes by cab or car from the Yard.   From New Carrolton you take the Metro to BWI to catch Amtrak or a plane

Military discounts are available for select trains on Amtrak.  Amtrak has an excellent rewards program, which Mids and parents should join.  Over a four year period, it’s easy to earn several free trips even with limited use.

When your Mid takes Amtrak back to NYC, you could also pick your Mid up at the Metropark/Islen, Newark Penn or Secaucus Junction stations in Jersey instead of NY Penn Station and avoid the traffic in Manhattan.   Just be aware that the bridge, tunnel and NJ Turnpike tolls could cost you up to $28 depending on the route you take so getting to the Amtrak stations in Jersey can be quite expensive.   At least you can save some money by gassing up in Jersey.

 

Planes

Check to see if the airport your Mid is flying out of, passing through or flying into,  has a USO Airport Lounge.   Your Mid will be able to relax in the USO lounge rather than the airport waiting areas.  USO Airport Lounges come in all shapes, sizes and flavors but at a minimum, provide comfortable seating, snacks, TV and internet access.

JFK Airport has a smallish USO Lounge in Terminal 5  near Baggage Claim 3.

Newark Liberty Airport has a USO Lounge in Terminal B, Level 2.

The USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore has lounges at the Washington area airports

 

Buses

Beginning January 10, 2018, Megabus will be running buses between the MTA Truman Park and Ride to 11th Avenue and West 33rd Street in Manhattan.    So far, the schedule only has two buses that leave Annapolis in the morning and two buses that leave NYC in the afternoon/evening.

Greyhound has buses that run between NYC Port Authority Bus Terminal and Downtown Baltimore Bus Terminal.

Bolt Bus has buses that run between 11th Avenue at West 33rd Street in Manhattan and Downtown Baltimore.    Because these are curbside pick ups and drop offs, they might not be too desirable in poor weather.

 

USO Centers

The USO runs over 160 USO Centers around the United States and internationally.

The USO of Metropolitan New York has centers located at JFK Airport, Fort Hamilton Army Base in Brooklyn and the Port Authority Bus Terminal.    A USO Center is opened on July 21, 2016 at Newark Liberty International Airport in Terminal B.