New York is often high on any must-do travel list. The city boasts some of the best tourist attractions in the world and you’ll never get bored – there’s always something to see or do. Its not known as The City That Never Sleeps for nothing! Planning your first visit to New York? Then have a look at some of my first time travel tips for this amazing city.
On your first visit to a big city, I think it’s important to stay somewhere centrally located and in easy walking distance of the city’s sights. For your first trip to NYC, you should probably stay in Manhattan. The first time I visited New York, I stayed at The Salisbury, which is in a great location – a close walk (10 mins) from Times Square, with Central Park on our doorstep. It was a convenient base for dumping our shopping at and heading back out. If you’re booking a package holiday, make sure you check the location of the hotel you’re staying in. Also, take COMFORTABLE walking shoes. And don’t pack your favourite pair! The streets are absolutely filthy!
Do a bus tour
Consider taking one of the bus tours on the first or second day. By the end of the route, you’ll have been able to see a lot of the tourist sites, and go back to any that seemed worth more time. I’d recommend you pre-book if you want to visit the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty because the queues can be horrendous.
- Get a MetroCard – there’s three to choose from depending on how often you’ll use it.
- A one way ticket is currently $3.
- Check whether your train is express – if it is – it misses out lots of stations, so you could find yourself having to double back.
- They’re really cheap – but you must have a Metrocard (see above) or cash change.
- You can get a day pass and ask for a free transfer if you’re jumping from one bus to another
- You can hail them in the street – just wave your arm and shout “taxi!” (you’ve seen it in films).
- It’s paid for by the meter so you can keep an eye on costs – remember to tip at least 10%.
- Take a boat trip around Manhattan to see the skyline and sights.
- You can also get a free ferry over to Staten Island to see the Statue of Liberty.
Unfortunately since voting to leave the EU, the value of UK pound against the U.S dollar has slumped and a lot of popular items now cost the same, if not even more than then they would at home. However, you can still make your money stretch by shopping smartly. Consider taking a train from Penn Station to Deep Park, Long Island where you can hop on a shuttle bus to the Tanger Outlets. They’re much cheaper than to Woodbury Common.
Also, register your email address with any stores online, that you’re interested in shopping at. America is home of the discount coupon and you’ll be emailed discounts by the likes of GAP/Old Navy, Bath and Bodyworks, Victoria’s Secrets, et al
Looking for naughty knock-offs? Then head down to Canal Street. Being led through secret doors at the back of unassuming shops to an Aladdin-style cave filled with faux Prada and Gucci is quite the experience!
I’ve stayed in New York during what was a blazing hot heatwave during summer and a sub-zero temp winter, so have experience of the two extremes. Summer in the city tends to be very warm and sunny, but can also get overbearingly hot and sticky at times, so be prepared. Make sure you carry a bottle of water which will come in handy, especially when you’re stood on a busy subway platform waiting for your train – the humidity on the subway platforms is intense!! Thankfully, the trains themselves have air conditioning.
The Rockefeller Centre at Christmas
If you visit during winter, make sure you dress suitably for the cold – a warm coat and suitable footwear are a must, as it often snows. Wear layers (thermals are your friend, and don’t forget your legs too!), and obviously wear the essentials such as a hat, scarf and gloves to ward off the freezing winds.
I hope you have fun planning your first visit and it’s as exciting as mine was!
*This is a collaborative post with Travelplanners