Sunday, 31 December 2017

11 things you should know before going to New York

11 things you should know before going to New York

It may have been a few years ago now that I went to New York but I still forever want to go back and do it all again. It really is an amazing city, and was exactly as good as I expected it to be and more. Although, I did walk my feet clean off I wouldn't have had it any other way. I'm not yet to go back, though it is on my list, as there is so many things I didn't do when I was there. There is a lot of things to squeeze into your trip to New York, we only went for 5 days so it isn't all that long really. I did contract some sickness bug on my last day too so that wasn't the easiest to get around a busy city with. With my experience behind me, I know exactly what I would do differently if I was to go again.. and things I would do all over again!

11 things you should know before going to New York

1. Plan your visit! I know this seems the obvious one, but I thought I had planned quite well in my head until it all came to getting there and it went to pot! Probably the thing we planned the best was our journey down there, with our hotels in Manchester already booked and our parking all sorted we knew we could get there with no rush. However landing and being excited in New York really takes over your plans. I really regret not visiting the High Line and Central Station!

Write down your plan in an itinerary - write your ticket prices down so you know how much you will need, what you will be doing each day and locate the food places you want to try in it.

2. Get a NYC Hop on Hop off Pass. If you want to do lots of sightseeing I found this the easiest and cheapest way to get around.  There is different prices for different lengths of time that you are there, but I found it to be so much easier to get into places. As well as some locations being free, some you get discount off with your card. So you can get into The Empire State, Top of the Rock, 9/11 Memorial and Madamme Tussauds, rather than paying roughly $30 plus for each separately.

3. Don't take the gifts off the streets! This was the hardest thing to drill into my friends that I went with, think we had been there 10 minutes when one of them took a CD from a seller. These 'free' items are not free. As soon as you take these they will want money off you, and it's very hard to say no!

11 things you should know before going to New York

4. Go on a guided tour of Central Park. This is one of my favourite things I did on my trip, we went on a Pedicab/Rickshaw tour and it was amazing. The tour guides were the most helpful people ever and knew exactly where the best places were to get photos, like the Friends fountain! You also feel like an ant in Central Park.. it is huge!

5. Use the Subway to get around. I still don't know why we didn't use the Subway, it was probably out lack of planning. So this is why we missed out on visiting so many places as we insisted on walking everywhere. Which A) Takes forever, and B) Means you don't get to see everything as quickly.

6. Remember to tip! I know this seems obvious, as it's the norm in the UK. However many staff rely solely on their tips to survive on their wage. So the recommended is to tip between 15-20% of your bill to your waiting staff, or cabbie, concierge etc.

7. Arrange your transfer from the Airport! This seems obvious, but some people just grab a taxi from outside the airport and some can be extortionate! Order and Uber or alternatively book a shuttle. We used Go Air Link NYC and they were fab!

8. Don't spend forever at Times Square. As much as Times Square draws you in with it's lights, there isn't much going on there. There is a few chain restaurants if that is what you are wanting to try, however there is so so much more to see than spending 2 hours standing there. You need to go visit the museums (especially the 9/11 one) and other sights! But don't forget to get your amazing photos! I much preferred it there at night!

11 things you should know before going to New York

9. Check the average weather forecast for when you want to go! I always thought of New York just staying about 20 degrees and not much more. But it gets pretty warm in the Summer, think about 30 degrees and sweating heaps trying to be a tourist, but without a pool or sea to dunk in. I went in December, and although it was cold, it wasn't half as cold as January/February can get!

10. Keep your belongings and yourself safe. I know this seems obvious but New York is so busy you wouldn't even know if someone took something off you. At night time New York can be quite scary, so crossing between the streets like 4th and 5th Avenue can be sketchy. There is a lot of homeless in New York which is quite saddening, and a lot sleep between these Avenues. So it is a little strange to walk through. I was also advised not to visit Central Park at night as there can be a lot of crime.

11. You don't have to spend a fortune to stay! I only paid about £700 in total for my hotel, flights and transfers, but now I look back, I could have done it even cheaper. The Radisson Blu was lovely and I would recommend it. However, you can get amazing stays with Airbnb that are a fraction of a fancy hotel and even in better locations, don't be afraid  to stay in Manhattan, it's beautiful! also offer a range of apartments and hotels which you can pay when you arrive!

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Have you been to New York, or are you planning to? I would love to go back in a heart beat!

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