Now that I’m just back from my sixth visit to New York City. I feel that over the years I’ve gathered up enough tips & tricks.
Tips and Tricks for getting about the city and surviving in the city that never sleeps. I have learned so much and feel like it’s time to share with you all. Sharing the best ways to get about the city, things to do in planning for your trip. Ways in which you won’t get cheated out of money. Ways to make the most of your time in the city too. It’s all in here. I hope this post helps you if you are ever visiting New York City.
Geo Tags / Instagram Accounts
One thing I do before any trip is check the geo tags or location tags on instagram to find any new places. That little location mention at the top of someones instagram post is your best tool for travel.
This is one of my favourite research tools for finding unique shops or great restaurants. The week before I left I sat down and searched NYC on instagram and started scrolling. I clicked on my favourite blogger accounts to check out their geotags of places they’d been too all to find new places to go. This is the best way to find the out of the ordinary places that you may not find on tourists sites.
Okay I’m going to mention this one because while I do think it’s a handy tip for NYC, I’m still in the fence about it. If your flight arrives at JFK you can take the Air -Train into the city it’s really easy and it only costs $7. But once you get into the city you have to get the subway and navigating the subway with a suitcase isn’t easy. It can also takes a long time getting through each stop but that really depends on where your hotel is. Like I said I’m still on the fence about it.
This was also the first year I’ve done it and I arrived in NYC early afternoon so it was a good time to travel that way. In the past I’ve always taken a taxi but they cost $72 which is pretty pricey considering you usually do it two ways during your trip. This also depends how much luggage/ people you are traveling with lucky I only had one bag and one suitcase so it was easy but there were still a few issues.
Take the Subway
One thing about the New York Subway system is that it’s the easiest way to get around the city. The subway lines basically run either uptown or downtown and are easy to switch to different lines. If you’re just visiting the city for a week I recommend getting the 7 day unlimited pass which is about $32. This means you can use the subway as much as you like without having to worry about topping up your Metro Card.
It’s well knowing that Americans live on Tips wither that’s in taxis, bars, cafes or restaurants. Know the right amount to tip for each place. For taxi’s I usually have a couple extra dollars. For meals where I sat in I tried to round it up to the nearest $5 or $10. Just be cautious of how much your tipping as I ended up under tipping a great restaurant and way over tipping a not so great meal.
Walk as Much as Possible – & pack comfy shoes
I’m always amazed at how much I walk in NYC and always leave there in agony with all the miles I’ve walked. But trust me it’s worth just make sure you pack comfy shoes. You get to see so much of the city this way and it’s surprisingly easy to walk 5-10 blocks without even realising you’ve walked that far. You are so focused on what’s going on above or surrounding you that you don’t realise how much you’ve walked until you stop And can’t feel your feet anymore
Restaurants + Meals should you book?
In a city full of the most amazing restaurants you are spoilt for choice on where to eat. Apparently if you were to eat in every restaurant in New York it would take you 3 years to do it. So when you’re only visiting for a few days you have to narrow it down to a handful of great restaurants. Do your research beforehand look at the menus to pick the best ones. Depending on how big your group is I’d recommend booking some tables just so you don’t miss out. I made some reservations for a couple of place but because I was myself it wasn’t needed. I could have walked in and got a table no problem. Also if you’re planning on eating at peak times then booking a table would be best so you’re not disappointed.
Read my New York City Restaurant list here
See a Broadway Show
You can’t come to New York and not go see a Broadway show. There is something for everyone in the wide variety of shows on broadway. There’s a few of ways you can buy tickets, you can pre book them before your trip. You can also ask one of the ticket sellers, they are usually walking about Time Square or you can go to the box office.
I’ve done both, with the ticket sellers I’m always a bit wary about being over charged. They don’t usually but I sometimes think they know we’re tourists and can overcharge a little bit. The box office will be a standard price plus tax and you can sometimes bag a decent seat for a good price. There are also things like queuing in times sq for the ticket office but that can take hours or there is daily lottery draws where you can win tickets but these obviously don’t guarantee you will get tickets.
The State of New York adds tax to everything. Everything. This sort of ties in with the Tip one as the tip is usually added on top of the tax. It’s not usually a lot of tax but you notice it when you go to purchase something say for $20 but you end up getting charged that plus tax. Just be cautious with how much money you intend to spend and budget for that little extra.
Budget for your Trip
On the subject of money. New York aint cheap. You can do your holiday on a budget, $1 dollar pizza anyone. There are cheaper places to eat and drink it all depends on your lifestyle, how much money you want to spend and the places you want to go. There are also plenty of free things to do in the city. Central Park, Museums where most take donations rather than a entry charge. Just budget your trip before you go and take into account cab fares, subway tickets for the week, tips all that good stuff.
Getting in & out of Brooklyn
If you are every in Manhattan I definitely recommend you visit Brooklyn. Just a short walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and you’re right into the waterfront neighbourhood of Dumbo. There is plenty to see and do in Dumbo and you can venture further into Brooklyn to visit Williamsburg and more. Like I said it’s just a short walk across the Brooklyn Bridge although it’s a busy walk. Brooklyn Bridge is one of New York’s tourist spots so the Bridge is always packed with people.
Don’t get me wrong it’s a must see if you’re visiting for the first time but just be warned it will take you a while to get across the bridge. That is why I love telling people about the Manhattan Bridge just as short from the Brooklyn Bridge you can take the Manhattan Bridge back into the city. It give you views of lower Manhattan and of the Brooklyn Bridge. It takes you right back into Chinatown and is a lot less busy than the Brooklyn Bridge.
If you don’t feel like walking you can also take the subway back into Manhattan too.
Empire State Building or Top of the Rock
While both the Empire State Building and The Top of the Rock are must see spots in the city. You really only need to do one. In my opinion Top of the Rock is better. You can get that famous New York Skyline shot including the Empire State Building from the Top of The Rock as well as sweeping views of the city.