Even though New York is very welcoming and exciting, the city can be a little bit overwhelming for visitors. The wild traffic mixed with many tourists and New Yorkers trying to go about their day can be chaotic. Knowing useful travel tips and hacks can help you in navigating the city better and can make your trip hassle-free. So here are a few tips for your visit to the Big Apple.
7 Travel Tips for New York City
1. Figure out a Budget
Who doesn’t like extra money? New York can be a very expensive city, but correct planning and budgeting beforehand can cut your costs by a huge margin. There are many ways to travel on a budget in New York.
There are many free things you can enjoy in New York. Central Park, Staten Island Ferry, and Grand Central Station are a few iconic places that you can visit that don’t cost a dime. You can also explore the iconic parks of New York. They are free and a great place to truly see NYC.
Places to Avoid
It is completely okay to want to visit very touristy spots but exploring non-conventional spots is an awesome way to explore a new place. You can skip or spend less time in places like Times Square or the Statue of Liberty. These places are overcrowded and very expensive. It is worth it to avoid such places to see an unseen side of New York.
Look for less Expensive Activities and Excursions
There are many activities in New York that you will enjoy thoroughly and they won’t strain your wallet. The boardwalk and rides at Coney Island are cheap and very enjoyable for your entire family. Comedy Clubs are popular and it is not very expensive to watch a stand-up act. A food tour of Flushing, Queens is a great way to spend an entire day. It is also relatively cheaper as compared to other food tours.
Budget Hotels or Hostels
Hotels like Pod 39 are not very expensive and they are located in a great location. They have all facilities like internet, food, and clean rooms, at a relatively cheaper rate. You can also stay in hostels if you are traveling alone or with a friend. However, hotels are a better, safer, and more convenient option, especially for families. The right amount of research and exploring will get you a very nice hotel at reasonable prices.
2. Explore Boroughs other than Manhattan
If you research from blogs or the internet, you will find that the most famous attractions are located in Manhattan. However, exploring Manhattan alone would not give you the complete feel of New York. There are four other boroughs in NYC apart from Manhattan- The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. All these places have their charms and attractions and you must see all of them.
3. Transport and Parking
New York offers many means of transport for visitors to get around the city. You can take a bus, subway, train, taxi or cab.
Traffic in New York is very hard to navigate. Roads are very crowded with cars, buses, cyclists, and pedestrians. Taxis and cars are slow and expensive. Try to use public transport- subways, buses, and trains. The entire New York City is covered with subway and rail lines so wherever you will want to go, there will be a stop nearby. If you are visiting attractions that are located close to each other, you can walk or use a bicycle. These options are cheaper and more efficient.
New York has 6 ferry lines, 21 ferry terminals, and 28 ferries that connect Manhattan with Brooklyn and Queens. Ferries are very efficient to navigate through the water bodies in the city.
At all major restaurants and destinations, valet is common. If it is available, opt for valet services as entrances are narrow and traffic is too dense. It also saves your time and energy.
There are long parking lines so be prepared to wait for at least 10-15 minutes before a parking spot might be available. The wait might be even longer at times, depending upon the time and popularity of the destination. You must be patient and arrive a little early to not miss your event.
Tipping for parking isn’t compulsory but if you feel like giving a tip, anywhere between $2-$5 will be fine.
4. Restaurants and Dining
New York City has some great local food to offer so it is advisable to not eat at chain restaurants like Olive Garden and Subway as you can find these anywhere in the world. Instead, go for local eateries.
Another great food tip would be to avoid Little Italy if you want to eat Italian. It has a few mediocre restaurants left that sell very average food. You should instead eat at Bleecker Street in Greenwich Village. The entire street is dotted with restaurants like Lupa and Morandi that sell authentic pizzas, cannolis, and Italian desserts.
There is an ATM every 2-3 blocks in New York. They are also located in a few delis, pharmacies, and fast-food restaurants. Most restaurants or establishments would not require cash. It is the local places that are mostly cash.
If you are planning to use your ATM card abroad, it would be wise to inform your bank beforehand as many banks freeze accounts if large withdrawals are done internationally.
6. LGBTQ + Acceptance
New York is a very accepting and queer-friendly city. Hotels and other establishments are neutral so queer couples will not face any problems.
Many LGBTQ+ centered events take place in New York, especially in neighborhoods such as Hells Kitchen and Christopher Street. You can visit websites like www.gaycenter.org and www.timeoutny.com to see a detailed calendar with all such events listed.
New York has been working to make the city accessible to everyone. All major attractions like The Rock and 9/11 Memorial are all accessible with wheelchairs. All NYC buses have wheelchair facilities. They are also equipped with ramps and lifts. Not all taxis are disabled-friendly but over 233 taxis are equipped to adjust wheelchairs. Not all subways are accessible so it is recommended to research and plan ahead. You can easily get around on the roads and sidewalks with wheelchairs.
New York is friendly and safe but like any other place in the world, it is wise to stay cautious and alert, especially as a tourist.
- Don’t carry around unnecessary expensive items like laptops and luxury watches.
- Have emergency contacts such as 911 handy.
- Don’t fall for tour scams. If an offer seems too good to be true, it is most probably a scam so don’t fall for it.
- Don’t leave bags unattended at airports, pools, etc.
- Don’t wear headphones with loud music at night in the streets.