New York City is an incredible city with a lot to offer visitors. Today we share these tips for visiting New York for the first time, so you can plan your first trip here with ease.
Planning a trip to NYC
Create an itinerary
This first tip may sound obvious but New York offers so many things to see and do and you don’t want to find yourself missing out. Make a list of all of the attractions you want to see and plan these into your days in the city so that you don’t miss anything. Also, use this itinerary to book tickets in advance or get a NYC pass to skip long queue times at popular attractions.
Allow more time
Whilst you are planning your NYC itinerary, make sure you allow more time than you think to get from one place to another. Google maps may say something is only a 10 minute walk BUT, with the crowds in NYC, double that. Plus, if you are catching an Uber or cab, remember that NYC has one way roads and traffic. Moreover, the subway often has delays so just plan extra time to get from one place to another.
Use a map
On a similar note, when planning your itinerary, make sure to use a map. You will find that you will be able to see a lot more of NYC if you visit chunk attractions together and spend a morning or afternoon in one area.
For example, whilst visiting Time Square, allow time to also head over to Rockefeller Centre, take in Broadway, see Radio City Music Hall, visit Bryant Park and you can even Wal to Grand Central Station and the Chrysler building.
Learn the rules of tipping
Whilst in NYC, you will be expected to tip, whether it’s in a cab, restaurant, bellhops and more. A general rule is 15 to 25% of a bill in a restaurant whilst cabs have an automated system where you can select a tip percentage.
Getting to and from the airport
As you arrive in New York, you will be inundated with transport options. Avoid unofficial taxi companies by ordering an Uber or heading straight to the Yellow cab taxi stand. Alternatively, you can catch an air train from JFK to Howard Beach Stop and change to a local subway or get the M80 bus from LaGuardia into Manhattan.
Hailing a cab
When getting around New York, you may want to hail a cab. To do this successfully, you will first want to make sure the one-way traffic is heading in the right direction to your destination; if it isn’t then walk a block either way. Then, when hailing a cab, make sure the light is on top of the taxi, if it is off then the cab is already full.
Save money on your trip
Visiting NYC can be expensive so make sure you save some money when you can. Get yourself the New York City Pass for the best attractions in the city at a discounted rate. You will need to let go of your heavy luggage load for a while in order to make full use of that city pass. Make use of a reasonably priced facility like Luggage storage New York to save more money and explore the city totally hands-free! Visit the free attractions in the city too and use the TKT booths for cheaper Broadway shows – we have a blog post on how to save money on Broadway tickets over on our website, see the link in the description below.
Don’t be afraid to use the Subway
When travelling around NYC, try to use the subway to save money and in some cases, time. Download a subway map on your phone or use Google maps, buy a metro card, read the signs carefully and ask if you need help.
One more tip for subways, avoid the empty one. Sometimes you will find a train has an empty subway car but there is probably a reason for this; perhaps it doesn’t have air-con or there is an unpleasant odour, but follow the locals on this one.
Whilst in NYC, it is definitely tempting to stop and take pictures all the time. If you want to stop in the street for any reason, make sure you move to the side. This is a city that never stops moving and New Yorkers are not afraid to show their annoyance and frustration when a tourist slows down the crowded sidewalks.
Eat at the local restaurants
New York is home to all sorts of amazing restaurants and food choices but for the best deals and flavours, head to a local place. Use Tripadvisor, blogs and Google to find some of the best local places in your area and stick to them – they always taste better and have much better value for money.
We hope you have an awesome time in New York, let us know what your favourite thing to do in the city is in the comments below.
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What to pack
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