World Arnold Chiari Malformation Association
 Travel Hints

Thanks to the dedicated WACMA members that shared their information to help compile this page! 

Helpful airline information:

Restaurants: Restaurant.htm

Check with the hospital that will be doing your surgery. They can often provide a wide variety of housing options, from nice hotels, to room and board places, to condos for rent; many of which give special hospital rates (in Seattle area). Also listed may be free shuttle serves as well as reduced parking fees, etc.

Check with your insurance company about possibilities of what they will pay for. Some pay for airline tickets if tests may are not be available in your area.

Be aware that if someone travels with you that you can take that off on your taxes (US) - estimated amount is $50/day for each day that you have someone with you.

Research on the web about the area you will be staying. The Chamber of Commerce in each area will help you with questions.

NOTE: All prices are subject to change. Contact services before you count on a firm amount.

Canadian Travel: If you contact Travelodge hotels in advance and let them know you are there for medical purposes, the charge will be to cover cleaning the room. The price is approx. $34.00 per night, as opposed to $69.00 and up.

Airfare in Canada: Westjet is most often the least expensive. Air Canada offer's a 30% discount for medical travel needs. Angel Flight is also offered in different parts of Canada, so always check their website.

If anyone is coming into the Vancouver, BC Canada area to either attend Children's or Vancouver General - The Sheraton Villa is about 55 minutes away from either and will give discounts if told the reason for being there.

Travel to New York City:

       Okay folks, here is the run down on my stay in Long Island during my visit to The Chiari Institute.  It is long, but has all kinds of useful information if you happen to go to The Chiari Institute.  Fly into LaGuardia because Islep is at the other end of Long Island and it is more expensive to fly in there, and a cab/shuttle service from there would be high.  Use Classic Transportation Shuttle Sevice to get you from the airport to your hotel and from your hotel/Chiari Institute back to the airport (reserve 24 hours prior to go back to the airport too).  Call Classic Shuttle service the day before your trip to reserve.  Tell them your approximate time of arrival and who you are flying with. Then call Classic Shuttle as soon as your plane starts to "actually" taxi in for deboarding.  Anyone who has been to LaGuardia knows that you may circle the airport in the air for an hour before landing, and your plane may sit on a ramp for an hour more before you even get off the plane.  If you land, taxi, and deboard fast, consider yourself one of the lucky ones.  My husband is a pilot and flies in there all the time, and when I flew in their I was one of the unlucky ones.  When you pick up your bags, go to the Shuttle Service desk and call Classic Shuttle service again (the lady/man at the shuttle service desk will tell you where to wait for your shuttle.  Don't let any taxi drivers or shuttle drivers hustle you into taking a cab with them.  Be polite and tell them, "No thank you."  You might just take the scenic tour if you take a cab with an unlicensed cabbie.  The reason you need to call Classic Shuttle service when you are about to deboard is if you wait until you get your bags, you may be waiting for the shuttle for 1 - 1 1/2 hours.  Use Friendly Cab service to get you from point A (your hotel) to point B (the hospital, Chiari Institute, MRI office).  Phone #'s and prices will follow. What I have told you is the cheapest way around and believe me I researched it.  If you want to rent a car you can, but be aware that you will have to pay exorbitant parking fees each day at your hotel, at the hospital, and anywhere else you want to go and park.  If you want to take a tour for a day or two hours, Friendly Cab Service will take you around Long Island.  Someone else spoke about hiring the cab service for an hour or two and it was pretty inexpensive and cheaper than renting a car for a day.  I've posted this information several times now, so everyone that is going to New York needs to copy this into their files so I won't have to do it again<;)  Okay, if someone is desperate, I'll post it.

Inexpensive places to eat:
The Chiari Institute - If you step out of the front of the building and look across the street and to your left, two buildings down.  Go inside the front of that building down the central corridor, turn right and go down the next hall and a Deli. is on your left.  Good food, clean, and not bad prices.  If my directions are a little confusing, ask the staff at The Chiari Institute - they know where it is.

North Shore Hospital - There is a nice coffee shop inside the hospital and there is a very good cafeteria.  Prices are inexpensive here too.

Manhasset Diagnostics - The MRI place -  There is a deli/bagel shop right through the entrance and to your left.  Also, there is a Lord & Taylor's shop within walking distance (you can see it if you stand outside of the building facing the street and look to your left).  A big grocery store was also being built across the street from the diagnostic center when I was there in August 2003 and they may be finished with it now.
Take a tour of Long Island.  It is historical and beautiful.  Or you can go to the
train station and go to Manhattan if you have the physical energy and time (I barely had the physical energy but I did it anyway).  Not sure how much it was for a round trip ticket (cheaper to buy round trip instead of buying a ticket at each point), but I thought it was worth it.  Also, I was tired of sitting around the hotel.  Go to the ESPN sports bar in Times Square.  They have televisions on the ceilings in the toilet stalls and they are also mounted over the men's urinals (my husband told me this) on the walls so you won't miss any key plays or shots during football and basketball games.  Only in New York!  Or, you can just walk around Times Square, buy a coffee, and look at all the people and lights.

The Chiari Institute:
865 Northern Blvd., Ste. 302
Great Neck, NY  11021
FAX: 516-570-4444

Friendly Cab Service -
From my hotel to hospital, from hotel to Chiari Institute, and from hotel to Manhasset Diagnostics was about five bucks each + tip.  They were quick to pick me up from each place, and if I had to be somewhere early in the morning (i.e. hospital), I called the night before and reserved a specific time to be picked up.

Classic Shuttle -
$25.00 + tip from airport to my hotel (they will quote you prices and you won't find a shuttle for cheaper).

Besides the list of hotels/prices that The Chiari Institute will send you which includes the address/phone # to Variety House, here is the name of an inexpensive hotel (when you compare it to $150.00 and up hotels).

Floral Park Motor Lodge -
$65.00 + tax
Did not stay here personally, but someone else said it was decent and inexpensive.  Not sure if they served continental breakfast, but there were breakfast places nearby and a donut shop (I think).

Meals at the inn are all vegetarian and very reasonable. The website:

Cab fares are pretty high, but there are some volunteers at the Inn who may drive you for a very moderate fee.


Again: Thanks to the dedicated  WACMA group members that shared their information to help compile this page.


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