5 Things I wish I knew Before Visiting NYC {+ Travel Tips}

July 27, 2018

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My Best Advice for Visiting NYC {from a small-town girl}

I planned SO HARD for our trip to New York! I made a custom travel map in Google (click here to read how to do that!) and wrote out our activities hour-by-hour, but it still wasn’t enough. Here are the top 5 things I WISH I knew before we visited NYC:

  1. Two words: GRUB HUB! I come from a small-ish town in Texas where you can’t just order whatever you want and have it sent to your house. But in NYC you have thousands of options in the palm of your hand. We wasted SO. MUCH. TIME walking to restaurants (and getting super lost on the subway) when we could have just ordered it and had it sent to our room while we were getting ready for our next adventure. (Use this link to get $10 off your first order and eat breakfast in bed like the QUEEN πŸ‘πŸ»Β YOU πŸ‘πŸ»Β ARE πŸ‘πŸ»)best travel tips for visiting NYC Manhattan dream downtown hotel
  2. The Subway System. I’m not sure if we are just extra special (😁), but navigating the Subway was like we were training for the olympics. It took three days for us to figure out what Google Maps was trying to tell us–In case you don’t know, it gives you many options to choose from (i.e. “A C F”) according to the time it estimates you will arrive in the substation. If you miss the first one, take the second one and refresh your directions! There were many times we were stuck going the wrong way, then we had to get out and go up and over to the opposite side of the substation. SO MANY STAIRS! With that being said, if your phone says you’ll be to your destination in 10 minutes, it is LYING πŸ˜‚. Give yourself plenty of extra cushion time, because it took us 45 minutes on one of our first rides when it said it would take 15. This is a selfie of us after we were on the subway for 45 minutes and waiting in line for the bus to Jersey. PS you CANNOT get on a bus to NJ with an NYC metro pass πŸ™ˆΒ And this is how we were 2 hours late to the Taylor Swift concert. The guy behind us was equally amused πŸ˜‚best travel tips for visiting NYC Manhattan bus and subway
  3. Taxis are cheaper than Uber. YES, I honestly can’t believe I’m typing that! We ordered an Uber for our early morning photo session on Brooklyn Bridge (more photos coming soon!) and he canceled on us, so we had the guy at the hotel desk get a taxi for us. it cost around $13. On the trip back, we Ubered(is that a verb? Let’s go with it πŸ˜‚) and it cost $18 for the exact same distance. We also got stranded at the T Swift concert (I feel like I should write a post just about going to her concerts!) and found an Uber driver that could get us back to the hotel for $140! For a 20 minute ride!Β best travel tips for visiting NYC Manhattan(Photo by Susan Elizabeth Weddings)
  4. Bike lanes hardly exist in the city. We were brave (or dumb?πŸ˜‚) enough to rent bikes to get to one of our destinations and most of the time we were in the same lane as traffic. It was fine, but kiiiind of stressful knowing how crazy drivers can be in NYC.best travel tips for visiting NYC Manhattan citi bike
  5. Pack extra clothes and medication! Especially if you are flying out of La Gaurdia (which I don’t recommend after sitting there for 9 hours) or JFK. Apparently they have an extremely high rate of flight delays and cancellations, and ours was no exception. In fact, Southwest cancelled about 2000 flights the same week ours got CANCELED. When we got to the check-in desk the lady said their next flight to Texas was in TWO DAYS. Luckily, another flight opened up and we were on our way 9 hours later, but we contemplated staying an extra two days. We had no clothes and I ran out of my supplements (and Southwest refused to compensate hotel costs), so we came home instead.

Extra Tips

  • bring comfy shoes for walking EVERYWHERE (literally, everywhere) and change into cute shoes when you get to your destination. I brought extra shoes, but I was just too lazy (and exhausted, starving, and cranky) to change.Β best travel tips for visiting NYC Manhattan _ Pietro Nolita
  • Wear a cute backpack instead of a purse–especially if you’re going to be brave and bike the city. I got this one online for $30! (click here for the direct link)best travel tips for visiting NYC Manhattan
  • schedule your ride with Uber when you HAVE to be somewhere at a specific time (like the airport). There were many times when we tried to get an Uber and they couldn’t get to us because of traffic, so they canceled. It was a complete waste of time.
  • bring your umbrella if there is any chance of rain during your trip. Most of NYC doesn’t have covered walkways, so you’re either stuck in your room or look like a drowned rat (where did that saying even come from? lol).
  • When planning your sightseeing, pay attention to Google Maps. It will tell you the busiest time of day for each stop (it also works for restaurants!). For example, Top Of the Rock is CRAZY BUSY at sunset, but not so bad in the morning.best travel tips for visiting NYC Manhattan top of the rock
  • Even though the subway may be a learning curve, it is still the best method of travel in NYC. Unless you just want to walk 10 miles every day πŸ˜….
  • you CAN ask for directions, but there are people who will expect to be paid for their time and effort. LOL I WISH I WAS KIDDING. We did meet a few nice New Yorkers, but I learned that a lot of people have an agenda. There was one guy who appeared to work for the city in the substation, and he was extremely helpful (one of the railways was under construction, so it was on a different letter that day) and didn’t ask for money (ha!). I’m not sure if he was legit or not, but he got us where we needed to go.
  • When you map out your trip on Google, clump activities together that are close in proximity. Don’t plan on going to Central Park and Staten Island on the same day. It would be more efficient to go to Staten Island, Governor’s Island, and the 9/11 museum since they are all kind of close together at the south end. Then go to Central Park, Top of the Rock, and Time Square in one day (you can walk around Time Square while you wait for your Top of the Rock time slot ;)best travel tips for visiting NYC Manhattan top of the rock empire state building

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xoxo, Allison

 Allison Jeffers is a photographer and educator serving sweet couples and helping other creative entrepreneurs reach their goals. She specializes in wedding photography, elopements, and proposals as well as Bridal and Engagement portraits in Texas. She is available for travel worldwide and has her passport ready!

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