The alarm went off at 4:30. After hurriedly getting dressed and snagging a croissant from a street vendor, I headed to NBC Studios for four-and-a-half hours of waiting in line. My friend went with me, and although it was brutal getting up so early to do something so boring, it would be great to have some company.
We made some friends in line, and the time passed faster than you’d think. When someone finally came out to give us our standby line tickets, I couldn’t have been more excited. We were told to come back at 3:30, which was around the time people with actual tickets needed to be back as well. For a full recap of my Tonight Show standby line experience, see my Yelp Review of the Tonight Show.
We arrived late morning to Newark airport and took a car service into Manhattan. Our hotel was the Sheraton at Times Square, which was in an easy walking distance of the majority of the things we wanted to do and see. Although we could have found some place cheaper, the trade-off of cutting down on taxi and Uber rides made the extra expense worth it to us.
After my tour of Europe, I assumed I’d stay put for the summer… I couldn’t have been more wrong. I had told a friend of mine earlier that if she ever got tickets to the Tonight Show, I’d go with her. This was months and months ago, and I hadn’t given it a second thought since she’d already been trying for years to get tickets. But, of course, while I was away having the time of my life overseas, she finally scored Tonight Show tickets. More specifically, she scored one ticket, which meant if I went with her I wouldn’t have a guarantee that I’d see the show, but I’d have a good chance of getting one if I was willing to wait in the standby line.
Some people I talked to before I went on the trip couldn’t believe I’d pay the $1,400 for a group travel experience when I could have done it on my own for cheaper, but, in reality, traveling with Expat Explore was cheaper for me as a single traveler than on my own. Also, I’m the type of person that hates to travel alone, so paying just to have some company would have been worth it for me. I’m also the type of person who isn’t fond of being in charge of travel plans, so having the logistics mapped out was an invaluable benefit.
And another croissant-filled breakfast! I was still feeling bummed to be leaving Paris so soon, but I’d never been to Belgium and was curious about what we might discover there. Several couples from the tour left the group to stay in Paris, and it was a sad goodbye to them before we headed off.