20 tips for traveling to New York
Today we bring you 20 tips to travel to New York for the first time and have a movie trip!
Recommendations to make the most of your days , tips to save a little and some points to keep in mind to enjoy the Big Apple without hassle or complications.
After visiting the city on several occasions and living a season, today we tell you all the tips for traveling to New York that we would have liked to know before going!
20 Tips for traveling to New York
Tip for traveling to New York # 1:
You always have to leave a tip
This is something that clashes a bit with our culture the first times you travel to the US, it seems that we do not make much sense to the fact that you have to leave a tip, but you see that you get used to the idea.
The famous “tips” are mandatory in any restaurant or service you hire. Restaurants, taxis, beauty salons, tour guides …
Employees in the service sector tend to earn rather little and their salary is supplemented by tips, leaving a tip is common there and no one considers not doing it.
You have to leave at least 10% if the service has been bad enough, 15% if it has been good and from 20% if it has been super good , in the places a little picky on the ticket it already indicates 20% directly or even more.
Most of the time, three amounts are indicated on the restaurant ticket, so that you do not have to go around taking accounts, and you choose how much you want to leave.
This has its good side and it is that they are usually very friendly and helpful so that you are happy and leave a good tip.
In fast food restaurants like McDonalds it is one of the few places where they do not expect any tip.
Tip for traveling to New York # 2:
Prices do not include taxes
Any price you see, be it a coffee at Starbucks, souvenirs, supermarkets, cosmetics, jewelry or a restaurant menu, does not include taxes (TAX) and they are added once you pay.
The tax amount is around 9% of the total price.
Especially in restaurants keep this in mind, to the price that appears on the menu you have to add the taxes and the corresponding percentage of tips.
Clothing and footwear are saved, taxes are only applied if the price of the item is higher than $ 110.
Tip for traveling to New York # 3:
Apply for the ESTA but be careful where you do it
To enter the United States with a Spanish passport, we do not need a visa but we do need the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) visa exemption .
It is a procedure that is carried out online on the official website , it costs $ 14 and you normally receive it approved in a day or two at most.
Unless you have visited a country with which the United States does not have very good relations, such as Iran. In this case, you will have to go to the United States embassy and apply for a visa.
There are many companies that are dedicated to carrying out this procedure for you by pretending to be on the official website and then charging you a commission, be careful!
Always do it on the official website, it is a very easy procedure to do that will not take you more than 10 minutes, it is also in Spanish.
Advice for traveling to New York # 4:
Take all the travel reservations printed
It is common for the passenger control when landing in New York to ask us our purpose of the trip , how many days we will stay or in which hotel we will be staying.
Sometimes to verify this information they ask you for some reservations and it is best to have everything printed, especially if English is not our strong suit.
For example hotel reservations, excursions, tickets to sites, transfers to the hotel …
It also does not hurt to have our ESTA authorization printed.
Mini tip for traveling to New York:
If you decide to put a lock on your suitcase, make it a TSA lock so that the airport authorities can open your suitcase without breaking it in case of inspection.
Advice for traveling to New York # 5:
Plan your trip to the fullest
It is a well-planned takeaway trip, otherwise your days will pass with the feeling of not having had time to do anything.
One of our most important tips for traveling to New York is that you take practically every scheduled day from home.
It is also interesting to leave in the planning some free hours to simply let yourself be carried away by the New York atmosphere, but the more tied you carry everything the safer you will feel when you arrive and the better you will take advantage of your hours in the city.
Our post about planning your trip to New York on your own can become your great ally when organizing a trip to the Big Apple.
Advice for traveling to New York # 6:
Plan the visit to the most touristic sites first thing in the morning
One of the best tips for traveling to New York that we can give you is to get up early!
We can assure you that you will save a lot of time in queues if you plan visits to the most touristic places first thing in the morning.
You are in New York! Your time is worth money and it is not cool to waste it on unnecessary queues.
Get up early to be the first in the most famous attractions, it is also a pleasure to visit the places with almost no people.
Some of the places that we recommend you visit first thing in the morning:
- Statue of Liberty. We got to the ferry without doing any queuing, when we returned around 12 noon the queue went around the park!
- Top of the Rock. Another must in New York and one of our favorite viewpoints. The last time we visited New York we were the first to go up and we were practically alone, we were able to take photos like the one below and enjoy the viewpoint first thing in the morning with an unbeatable zen atmosphere .
- Empire State. One of the New York attractions in which more queues are formed and it is normal, everyone wants to go up to the most famous viewpoint in the city.
- The Edge . At the latest and most innovative viewpoint in New York, it is also interesting to get up early to visit it.
- World Trade Center Observatory . Another of our favorite viewpoints, we also entered without doing anything in line, a great treat!
Sunset, although with more tourists, is also a beautiful time to visit any of them.
Advice for traveling to New York # 7:
Assess whether it pays to buy a tourist pass
The first thing is to be clear about the attractions we want to visit, if it is your first time in the city and you want to see everything (or almost) it is most likely that it will be worth buying a tourist pass .
It depends on the time you are going to spend in New York and what you plan to visit, you will be interested in one more than the other.
Our post on New York tourist cards can help you decide if, in your case, it is interesting to buy one.
Advice for traveling to New York # 8:
Get to know the neighborhoods of New York
New York is so much more than Manhattan! Although it is also true that most of the interesting things to see in New York are concentrated here.
Still, our advice for traveling to New York is to get out of Manhattan a bit and visit other neighborhoods.
If you do not have much time to explore the neighborhoods at your own pace, we recommend you do the contrasts tour , where you can appreciate the great differences from one neighborhood to another.
This tour is a must on any trip to New York !
We did the VIP contrast tour , unlike the normal one, this is done by a smaller bus with fewer people, they pick you up at your hotel, it makes an additional stop and it lasts less as it does not have to be mobilizing so many people. A great plug to save time!
You can read here our experience and advice on the New York contrasts tour .
Advice for traveling to New York # 9:
eye! In the metro there are Local and Express trains
On some lines of the New York subway, there are two types of trains , the “local” that stop at each and every one of the stations, and the “express” that skip a lot of stations and make stops only at the important ones.
Be careful if you do not want to see your station go by at full speed from the train and stay with a stunned face, we tell you from experience!
Advice for traveling to New York # 10:
Buy the unlimited MetroCard and save
To move around the city we recommend using public transport, the metro is very fast and efficient ! With many stations spread throughout the city.
The bus is also a good option because you also have views of New York, unlike the subway.
With the Unlimited Ride MetroCard you will have unlimited trips for 7 or 30 days ($ 32 and $ 121 respectively) to take all the buses and subways you want, and I have no doubt that you will take a few and it will be very costly, from another One way the single ticket costs $ 3.
You can buy it at any vending machine in the metro stations.
More info on how to get around New York like an expert @ in this post.
Advice for traveling to New York # 11:
Travel insurance for New York
Our most important advice for traveling to New York : don’t forget your travel insurance.
Healthcare in the United States is not affordable at all, if something unforeseen happens (a fall, appendicitis …) and you have to visit a hospital in New York, it can be very expensive!
It is not a point to be taken lightly, we always advise you to travel with Iati Estrella insurance , it is the one that offers the most medical coverage today.
You will also have other setbacks covered such as luggage or early return due to illness, among other things.
We have had to use it three times and they have always responded to us the first time, that is why we continue with them after so many years and we can recommend it knowingly .
We leave you a 5% discount to take out your travel insurance , and save a little bit at this point!
Tip for traveling to New York # 12:
Book accommodation in advance
It is one of the most budget points of a trip to New York , staying in this city is not a bargain!
The sooner you start looking for accommodation in New York, the easier it is for you to find a hotel or apartment at a good price.
On our last trip we stayed at the POD Times Square hotel , highly recommended! For location and price, it is also a new hotel.
In the post on cheap accommodation in New York you have more advice about some hotels that we know.
It is also interesting to know the best areas to stay in New York to have a perfect trip.
Other recommendations for accommodation in New York without losing a kidney and with good evaluations are:
- CLUB QUARTERS HOTEL WALL STREET , well priced and close to two subway entrances.
- POD 39 , very interesting for price and good opinions.
Advice for traveling to New York # 13:
Save on Broadway musicals
If the prices of the accommodation have left your wallet shaking, calm down!
You can save up to 50% on tickets to Broadway musicals by buying tickets at the TKTS booth in Times Square.
This is the most famous place, but you can see other points of sale they have in New York on the TKTS website .
In TKTS they sell the seats that are free for that day at very good prices, although sometimes it is difficult to find for the musical that we want or that there are two seats together to sit next to our companion.
Another way to save on tickets to Broadway shows is by participating in the lottery on this website , if you win you have 60 minutes to pay for your tickets online (you can buy two tickets per user) , just as in TKTS they are tickets for the same day.
This is all very well if you don’t care about the show and where you are going to sit.
But if you don’t want to miss your favorite Broadway musical, don’t play it in the lottery or wait for offers on TKTS, buy your ticket online and secure your seat!
EYE! Do not buy tickets from individuals near Times Square , they will surely try to sell you some if they see you looking at the TKTS booth, they are also quite heavy and in our opinion very unreliable.
Advice for traveling to New York # 14:
Beware of currency exchange fees
Be very careful with the commissions for currency exchange if you pay with a card or withdraw money from the ATM.
We have already mentioned it to you on several occasions but it could not be missing in this list of tips to travel to New York , to pay with a currency other than the euro without having commissions we use the N26 card which is free and never fails us.
And to withdraw money from the ATM without commissions, the Revolut card .
eye! Some ATMs charge fees for withdrawing cash. Always try to withdraw from bank ATMs , not from an ATM in the middle of a tourist street, in a Deli or in a store, because most likely these ATMs charge a fairly high fee for withdrawing money.
Currency exchange before the trip
If you prefer to change euros to dollars before the trip, we recommend doing it in Ria, you also have a discount from our link !
Advice for traveling to New York # 15:
Having internet on your mobile will come in handy
To check directions, schedules, Google Maps, the Living Travel blog …🙂
We no longer imagine traveling without internet on our mobile, we use it a lot!
To have internet in the US we carry the Holafly SIM card (you have a 5% discount from our link) and we do not waste time at the destination looking for a telephone company.
You have more info in the post on how to have internet in the United States, SIM card .
Tip for traveling to New York # 16:
Another tip for traveling to New York is that you have these applications installed:
MTA application. Location of buses in real time, incidents in transport, routes, how to go from one place to another, etc.
• YELP application . To know the reviews of the restaurants, it is the application they use the most in the United States, we consult it a lot!
• RESY application . You can make table reservations through it or get in the “virtual” queue at a restaurant, it’s great!
• GOOGLE MAPS. This one may be obvious but it is the best of the best. I no longer know what we would do without it, we use it a lot when we are traveling.
These apps will make your days easier on your trip to New York !
Tip for traveling to New York # 17:
Electricity and plugs in New York
And almost finishing this list of tips for traveling to New York, you should know that electricity in the United States works at 120V and in Spain it works at 230V.
With most electronic devices this is not a problem, but some small appliances such as hair dryers may not work or if they do go to “half power”.
The plugs are not the same either but we fix that quickly with a plug adapter like this one .
Tip for traveling to New York # 18:
Letters A, B and C in NY restaurants
As soon as you set foot in New York and pass through the door of a restaurant you will see these signs, they are always visible on the door with an A, a B or a C.
These posters have a mission and it is to inform the public of the hygiene status of said restaurant , it would be great if it were in restaurants around the world!
This score is awarded by health inspectors who make an exhaustive examination of the restaurant evaluating the state of the food, the hygiene of the place and workers, pest control and other points.
The best thing is that you always go to restaurants that have the A sign , and pass the ones that have a B or a C if you don’t want a stomach ache (among the best that can happen to you).
Advice for traveling to New York # 19:
Don’t miss any of our articles on New York!
We have a lot of first-hand information published about this incredible city!
Do not leave any to read and we are sure that you will have a great trip.
And if you have any questions, leave us a comment below and we will respond as soon as possible.
Tip for traveling to New York # 20:
Book a shared transfer from the airport
When we land in New York, between the jet lag, the hours of the plane, the hours of waiting to cross the immigration control… at least we are quite dizzy!
We recommend that you book a shared transfer , it is cheap and they will leave you at the door of your hotel without having to think about transfers, bus changes, etc.
You have much more info and data in:
And here are our tips for traveling to New York!
Did you already know them? Have you been surprised by any? If you’ve already read our New York travel guide on your own , plus all these tips to visit the Big Apple , we have no doubt that you will have an unforgettable trip.
For any questions, we are waiting for you in the comments! 🙂