So, you want to go to NYC but don’t know where to start? These are the things I can recommend:
Let’s start with how to get to the Big Apple. Use flight search engines, this way you can make sure to have the best available price within the dates you want to go.
- Google Flights: My personal favorite.. it helps you to see the best prices for a range of dates, advises you on when/where can you save money (or even propose new destinations if you hit the explore map)
- Hipmunk: my double-check option. Very friendly and easy to use.
- If you still want to check for other opinions: priceline.com, cheapoair.com and, of course, expedia.com
Remember that you have 3 different options: Newark, JFK and La Guardia. I haven’t arrived to LaGuardia, BUT, I can say that between JFK and Newark, try to arrive to Newark. Lines in JFK are insane, and what you may save in transportation, you will lose it in time. Try to arrive between 9 and 11 pm or 2 and 4 pm. The airport will be alone, and it will take less than an hour to be on your way.
And a very important advise: ALWAYS ALWAYS stick to the same airline alliance and collect the miles. Once you win some status, you will get a lot of benefits that will make your travel experience much more pleasant.
Where to stay?
You have to choose which type of accommodation fits you. A party bigger than 3? Airbnb is the best choice. If it’s you alone, there are plenty places, hostal type, that go from USD 50 to USD 100 per night.
- Option 1 – HI New York Hostel: Cheap, well-located close to Subway Line 1, very clean, in one of the most quiet areas. Down side? It is bumper beds, and you 6-8 people sleeping in your room. It is quite an experience, but it is not for everyone.
- Option 2: The Bowery Hotel: Neighborhood is very attractive, it is slightly more expensive than Option 1, but you’ll get a private room (only the bed)
Right now, my favorites are close to Line 1. The Line 1 goes from Uptown Manhattan, all the way to 911 memorial (passing through Time Square, Central Park, 5th Avenue, etc); so you will save time (not changing subway lines) and money on the way.
Now that you are in the city, how you will move around?
NYC is a huge-big NO for rent-a-car. It is unnecessary, and very expensive. If you don’t want to use the train, then you can use Uber or Lyft (this one is cheaper). Important to remember:
- Each ride in the subway will be between $1.5-2. You have to buy a Metro Card, but you can store it and use it every time you go to the city.
- Uber: Try to always go with Uber Pool. But take into account that each ride might be around $10/12. To/from Newark Airport USD 65 to 80.
What to do?
The best part of this city is that there is always something going around. Once you have your dates, make sure to check what it is in town. Concerts, Basketball, Baseball, etc.
Now, still, you will have plenty of things to do:
- There is a thing call nycpass (nycpass.com); which covers pretty much all the important places in the city. The good thing about this pass is that you don’t have to worry about carrying around a bunch of entrance, and pay each one separately. Yet, it is sold like something that saves a lot of time, and this is not exactly true, or, at least, when I used it, it didn’t make much more difference.
- Take time for the Moma and/or the MET.
- Pick between Empire State or Top of the Rock, but you have to do one observatory. Try to go on weekdays, around working hours. You will save tons of time.
- 911 Memorial & Museum: The memorial is breathtaking. Take 30 minutes, seat and enjoy the peacefulness of the place. The Museum is all you would hope from US, but it may be too much if you are traveling with small children or sensitive person.
- Broadway: there are several ways to do Broadway; you can buy tickets online or you can go to the theater and buy them on stand-by (usually is cheaper, but you may not find enough if you are traveling with a big party)
- Shopping? If you are a lady, try to write to the guys of H&M 5th Avenue. You can get the experience of a personal shopper, for free 🙂
Where to eat?
Best advise? Download Google Maps. The great thing about this is that it will tell you what locals prefer. Just open the app and hit explore around. It will give you different options depending on type of food and search around your budget.
You can also search for top restaurants, but my own experience is that the best food is what locals recommend.
Let me know if these tips help you in any way!