phpcSXTw4PMIt can be rough finding great vacation experiences and values during graduation week in a college town. So I was prepared to be a little frustrated during my son’s graduation this month in New York City. Today, back in Pittsburgh, I can reflect on the wonderful memories, laugh at some of the disasters, and share with you some tips for enjoying a Big Apple Graduation Vacation.

#1. If hotel prices near campus seem outrageous, consider options in another area but make sure transportation prices don’t wipe out your budget.

#2. Prepare for rain (I’m talking from experience on this one!). Give yourself lots of extra time for rain travel (especially if this includes hailing a cab).

#3. Be faster than normal. If a person from the Midwest and a person from NYC both hail the same cab at the same time, I can guarantee Ohio’s NOT gettin’ the cab. I’ve lived it. Most out-of-towners don’t feel right jumping in front of another person.

#4. If your child’s graduation ceremony is at the Javits Center, or anywhere with limited cab activity, and there are looming thunderstorms, hire a car to pick you up after the event.

#5. If your child’s graduation ceremony is at Yankee Stadium, it is acceptable to dress a little casual (i.e. skip the Sex In The City Shoes–and pray the person who’s squeezing by you and stepping on you isn’t wearing them either.).

#6. Get local endorsements for restaurants. My favorite: Buenos Aires (513 E. 6th Street) recommended by my son’s Argentinean friends. Our favorites-empanadas, provoleta argentina, and grilled skirt steak (The food was delicious, the portions generous, and it was a great value (for NYC) and experience. PS. We paid for our meal.).

#7. If your kid ditches you at 6 p.m. to hang out with his friends, remind yourself that a) he’s going to miss his friends, b) you’re glad he has friends, and c) it’s your opportunity for a little fun. Consider a Broadway or Off-Broadway show–There are often plenty of wonderful last minute options. Keep an open mind, check out a few box offices from 6:30 until 7:00 (show time), and find something fun. You deserve it!