There is a reason Frank Sinatra once sang about New York, United States;
It’s a destination in it’s own rights.
NYC is jam packed with things to do, places to go, and people to see. It’s no wonder as to why the Big City is always in a hustle.
Now, as a born and raised Californian, my first trip to New York was a bit of a shell shock. I’d gotten tons of advice from family and friends who had been there for different lengths of contrasting seasons, so much so that it was difficult to piece out the useful advice from the useless.
That’s why I’m sharing with you what I found to be the most helpful, efficient Travel Tips in our two weeks there.[Left to right: The streets of Manhattan and the view from the Empire State Building]
AIRBNB outside the city:
Let’s face it: New York hotels are ridiculous expensive. We couldn’t find anything in the actual city under 200 dollars a night, so that was not an option–especially not for a week long stay. Luckily, we though, we just so happen to frequent AIRBNB enough to have compiled a stack of great visitor reviews, so we can still stay in the city all week for under 1,000 bucks! Right? Wrong. To rent an entire place in the city will cost you about the same as it would be to get a hotel room.
In addition to this, (and unbeknownst to us until mid-visit) New York residents aren’t allowed to AIRBNB because of the new law that was passed; hosts can be hit with huge fines if caught. Therefore, if you want to stay somewhere for cheap around the city, the trick is to book in the bordering cities of New York, New York and Manhattan. Even renting closet to Manhattan puts you just a metro away from many frequented tourist sites. In addition to this, there are often attractions within the border cities as well; Manhattan is home to The Met, Central Park, and many other museums, comedy clubs, and night life. Even Elizabeth, NJ is just a train ride away from the big city–and about half the price!
“Never rent a car in NYC!” = A bunch of bologna.
I’ve had plenty of people tell me that driving a car in New York is hell–this simply isn’t true. If you’re from a state that isn’t heavily doused in traffic, I can understand this assumption, but Los Angeles traffic is just as bad, if not worse, as New York traffic. The most annoying thing you’ll encounter is parking, and even that isn’t horrible. There are plenty of parking garages (many of which you can rate check on yelp) that offer all day parking if you decide to get into the city, then wander on foot. If you don’t want to use parking facilities, there are always the meter parking space on the street–just beware of idlers; cars in New York do this thing called “standing” to avoid having to park and it can really back a street up. Another good reason to get a car is it’s a great way to travel to bordering states; a car may actually be a better option for you than metro or uber. There’s a catch though: renting a car anywhere within the tourist hook of New York, however, is a big “no no.” Car rental prices skyrocket at least $200-300 dollars in this area. You’re better off renting from one of the surrounding states and driving in.
You may not need to bother with a travel pass.
Tons of people recommended the New York Pass, even the Explorer Pass as a cost efficient way of getting around to seeing more than one thing. We looked into them, and they really are a great means of saving money if you’ve got a big list going of attractions you want to see. However, if you aren’t going to be in New York for more than a day, you may not want to bother with the passes; you may not be there long enough to get around to everything on the pass. If you’re planning on a longer stay and want to see all the tourist hot spots, however, these passes are real money savers. Costco offers some great discounts on them as well, as low as 80 dollars per pass. In addition to this, there are many attractions you can see free or for a low fee; museums are a great example of this, as is Central Park, the Statue of Liberty, and Times Square.
Don’t visit in the summer, unless you like the smell of trash.
The trash piled up on the curbside can be a real turn off for anyone who isn’t a New Yorker (and even for New Yorkers; the cities trash complaints have skyrocketed in the past few years). Reasons for the pile-ups include: construction, trash trucks failing to make pick-ups, and the ridiculously high amount of people living in a relatively small amount of space. Lucky for winter-goers; the smell isn’t very present during the winter and spring months while it’s cold. Still, even residents vocalize their distaste for the heaps of trash when summer rolls around. The smell, we have heard from city-dwellers, is unpleasant to say the very least.
Plan around “peak hours.”
The Empire State Building had a 20 minute wait around 4-5pm, but just an hour later it spiked up to a 60 minute wait. This is also true for many popular food joints and bars. Thus, a useful thing to do is to plan around peak hours of places–in order to avoid long waits and huge crowds (people here seem to have no problem with waiting in long lines, maybe it’s just a tourist thing). Google and many other sites have ‘peak hour data’ that you can find from typing the name of the business into the search bar. In addition to this, it may be a good idea to post up somewhere during rush hours (5pm to 7pm or so) as even public transportation times come to a halt.
There are numerous sites to see in this beautiful city, so following these simple travel tips is just one of the best ways to make sure you are in and out and onto your next adventure.