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I am flying into Newark airport (NJ) on Tuesday and should arrive about 5:45 pm. I will need to get to a hotel that is pretty close (5 min walk) to Penn Station. What is the best/easiest way to travel from the Newark Airport to the Penn Station vicinity at that time of day.

Two days later, when the conference is over, I'll need to travel back to the airport as well. My flight departs at 11:45 am, so I should be to the airport no later than 10:15 am. If there is any reason I should use a different method of transportation at this time of the day, please let me know.

I have done some basic research and know that the options are generally a taxi and public transportation. I think I'd like to avoid the taxi due to traffic & cost. But there are so many options with public transportation that it's confusing.

I thought the NYC Airport Shuttle might be a good idea:

NYC Airporter

But then I looked up the Yelp reviews and decided against it. One of the Yelp reviews recommended the AirTrain:

The Port Authority Of New York And New Jersey

which seems like it would get me to Penn Station (which is my goal) with a train transfer. However, the "transfer" part makes me hesitate a bit, I'm not sure what to expect with that.

So, what I'm really looking for is someone who has experience traveling in New York, with these various methods, and can speak from experience about the best mode of travel to/from the locations described at the times described.

I will only have my backpack, no other luggage, which I understand might influence the decision.

I'm asking ahead of time because I've always lived in areas of the country where traffic was minimal and we drive almost everywhere we go. So, having to rely on public transportation is new experience for me and I'd like to have a plan in place and know what to expect.

  • OK the downvotes are unwarranted, but it does seem strange that you're arriving at 6pm, you have a conference that's not over until 5? 5am? Could you clarify the timings? And what day of the week as well, as that may make a difference. Best to edit this into your question. – Mark Mayo Oct 10 '14 at 7:10
  • Randy, you would have to clarify the times involved. – Fattie Oct 10 '14 at 7:32
  • possible duplicate of Best way to get from Laguardia to Penn Station at 10:30pm (and back)? - actually, sorry I realised you changed airports :) – Fattie Oct 10 '14 at 7:34
  • I think when he says "I'll need to travel back to the airport the next day" he means "the next day after the conference". – Flimzy Oct 10 '14 at 13:10
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    Updated my question, thanks for the feedback. – Randy Syring Oct 10 '14 at 20:02
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Let me expand on the "train transfer". It's pretty easy. I would say this is the best way to go, all things considered, especially because your hotel is right by Penn Station and so you don't have to navigate the NYC subway. Buses or airport shuttles might be cheaper but are subject to traffic; taxis cost quite a bit more.

AirTrain is just an airport monorail that can take you from the airport terminal to the "real" Newark Airport train station (aka Newark Liberty International Airport Station). From there you take a NJ Transit train to New York Penn Station. You can find timetables here. (There is a popup that tells you about construction on the line, but if you look at the date it is in the past, so doesn't affect you.) Be sure to buy your ticket from a NJ Transit ticket machine at the Newark Airport station before boarding NJ Transit. (If I recall correctly, there are also ticket machines in the airport terminal, just before you board AirTrain.) If you forget, the conductor on the NJ Transit train will sell you a ticket, but there is a surcharge. The fare is $12.50 (part of which goes to pay for AirTrain). There are no assigned seats on NJ Transit, just sit in any seat you find.

NJ Transit runs quite frequently on weekday evenings (several trains per hour) so you should not have to wait long. Just watch the signs on the tracks to make sure you get on a train going the correct direction, north towards Newark and New York. I believe all of the trains from Newark Airport go directly into New York City without an additional transfer; you could confirm this with the conductor who takes your ticket. New York Penn Station would be the end of the line.

Note that there is a Newark Penn Station which sounds confusingly similar to both Newark Airport and New York Penn Station, and is an intermediate stop between the two. So don't get off there by mistake.

There are also some Amtrak trains that stop at Newark Airport station and also go to New York Penn Station, but they are less frequent and cost more. Just ignore them.

The way back is similar, though as kdgregory says you will want to allow some extra time to find your way through New York Penn Station. Check the timetable linked above to work out which train you should take, based on when you want to be at the airport. (Allow an extra 10-15 minutes for the AirTrain connection.) You will first need to find the NJ Transit area (the station is also served by Amtrak and the Long Island Rail Road). Buy a ticket at a machine. Then look for a big board listing upcoming departures. You will want either the Northeast Corridor or New Jersey Coast line (double check the timetable I linked above). The board will tell you which track to go to for your train. Get off at Newark Airport station and take AirTrain to the terminal.

Finally, keep an eye out for employees in maroon jackets. They are present in the Newark airport and the train stations and will answer any questions you have regarding which train to board or tickets to purchase, etc. (Thanks Randy Syring.)

  • Just a little hint about Penn Station (New York): NJ Transit uses tracks 1 to 4 (normally). Trains stopping at Newark Airport (should) have "EWR" in the list of destinations. Another hint: Newark Penn Statin and Newark Airport station are very close together (about a mile or so). And finally, when getting into New York, you will go through a longer tunnel (under the Hudson River)… – Max Wyss Oct 13 '14 at 16:47
  • I'm back from the trip and this answer was soooo helpful! I didn't have any problems. Thanks again. – Randy Syring Oct 17 '14 at 16:58
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If those times are on weekdays, traffic will be very bad. I would recommend the train, connecting to a NJ Transit train to Manhattan. The reverse when you leave.

  • Actually 4:30-5pm isn't that bad on a weekday. Worst of it is between 5:30-7pm – Karlson Oct 10 '14 at 14:20
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The Northeast Corridor railroad connects Penn Station and Newark Airport, and the train trip is less than a half hour. Options include Amtrak and New Jersey Transit. NJT has more trains and is cheaper, while Amtrak has fewer stops (actually, looking at the map that might not be true -- it appears that the NJT train doesn't stop until Newark).

In either case the airport provides a shuttle train from the rail station to your terminal.

I recommend taking some time to familiarize yourself with Penn Station. It's quite large, and if you're used to European train stations not very well laid out. Also, be aware that there are two stops in Newark: the airport (Liberty Airport) and downtown (Newark Penn Station).

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