Helpful Tips for First-Time New York Travelers

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People from around the world visit New York for so many different reasons—and all reasons are valid because NYC is indeed a place worth visiting at least once in a lifetime.

If you are travelling to the Big Apple for the first time, you’re in for what may be one of the best travel experiences you’ll ever have, so make sure that you make the most out of your stay.

There will be a few challenges though, because New York City is huge. Manhattan itself is large, and throwing the other four boroughs into your itinerary would require at least a few years to get in their nooks. 

Everyone knows that being a tourist doesn’t grant you the luxury of time, so while it’s sometimes a fun, adventurous move to skip the planned itinerary and just get lost in the city, doing so is not advisable in places as vast as New York.

Here are a few basic things to remember to make the most out of your first-time visit to NYC:

Make an itinerary

Allocating a day or two for just wandering aimlessly and exploring the crannies within the city is actually a nice way to go about it, but planning out certain days to squeeze in as much as you can while you’re in a certain place would also be a wise strategy. Of course, allotting ample time to fully appreciate a venue should be considered, and it’s really up to you which places to prioritize. For example, it’s a given that art enthusiasts make it a point to visit the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), which is about a 10 minute walk from the Rockefeller Center, a National Historic Landmark famous among architecture enthusiasts and visitors to NBC Studios. It really boils down to what your interests are, and planning out which places to go to accordingly.

Also, your itinerary doesn’t have to be extremely detailed, or filled up to the last minute. It’s simply a matter of knowing which sights are close together and could be visited on the same day. This will prevent you from wasting a lot of time navigating an area without knowing which places to visit in chronological order.

One important reminder, you need to make sure to get the visa first before paying for the plane ticket. You can find more information here.

Eat out as much as you can

This might sound familiar to you, as it’s been said so many times in recent years: New York City has enough restaurants that one person can eat out every night for 54 years and never visit the same place twice. While this may not be 100% accurate, you can still be sure you won’t run out of places to eat during your NYC vacation.

Save the home-cooking experiments for when you’re actually at home, and choose to eat iconic food at iconic restaurants around New York while you’re there. Try different cuisines, and don’t worry, there’s sure to be a full array of restaurants to choose from if you’re on a budget. A quick search on the internet about the best places to eat around New York will turn up so many options, and you’re sure to be covered for your entire stay.

Talk to the people

Making friends in New York City even for just the duration of your stay is not as hard and intimidating as you think. People are often friendlier than they appear, and locals are almost always willing to help.

It’s also great to learn about the rich and diverse NYC culture through different perspectives. Talk to chefs, farmers, and the locals who wait in line. Have a chat with people in the flea market, or go on a stroll with an elderly lady buying flowers. Surprise yourself with what you can learn from people in the city.

Do something you can only do in New York 

If you’re not sure whether circumstances will allow you to visit New York again, then it’s only fitting that you give yourself an “Only In New York” moment. Do it no matter how cliché it sounds, and bring a local friend with you if you can. Allow your New York friend to introduce you to activities that are exclusive to New York, and let him/her accompany you in buying souvenirs that will remind you of how much fun you’ve had in the city.

Wear comfortable shoes

This may sound like an extremely basic advice, but you’d be surprised how many people overlook this one simple reminder. In New York, people walk a lot, and most times, you may have to walk a lot, too. You’ll be on foot most of the time and may have to walk entire blocks, as well as some extra blocks should you get lost at one turn or another.

These are just a few tips when travelling to New York for the first time, which are also applicable to the other times you may plan to visit. Although when you visit New York for the second time, it could still feel like your first!

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