New York Travel Tips
Welcome to the city that never sleeps and my home for over 12 years. Any New Yorker can tell you they have a love-hate with this city, but overall New York is one of the most bucket-list-worthy cities to visit in the USA!
This New York travel guide covers everything you need to know about traveling to New York City and beyond. From New York travel itineraries, the Subway, NYC photo locations, travel tips, Long Island, and beyond.
This comes with years of experience living in New York and my whole family being born and raised across the state!
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What to Expect When Traveling to New York
New York Capital: Albany – Nope, it is not Manhattan!
Manhattan Population: 1.629M
New York Population: 8.38M
Language: English is the main language in New York and unfortunately, you won’t run into many people who can speak a second language, so if you are rusty in English, Google translate is your best bet! Stay up-to-date with some NYC Slang!
Currency: The Currency is in USD.
Cards/ATM’s: Credit Cards are widely accepted and ATMs can be found everywhere. Smaller shops might ask for a minimum dollar amount of purchase so it’s good to keep cash on you.
Popular banks you will see around NYC include Chase, TD, Wells Fargo, Capital One, and Bank of America.
International travelers can also use the Revolut card. It offers 28 in-app currencies and acts like a debit card.
Tipping in New York: Tipping is expected if it was not added to your bill. 15-25% is the average tip for sitting down at a restaurant. Even when the service is not that great, a tip is still expected since the servers work on tips.
New York Safety: In General New York is very safe. I went to college and lived in NYC and have always felt safe. That is not to say you shouldn’t practice general safety and precaution.
New York Airports: The most popular airports to get to New York include JFK, EWR, and LGA. All are close to Manhattan and have public transportation. Find New York flights here.
Power outlets: New York and the USA uses standards of voltage between 110 V to 120 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz. I recommend using a universal adaptor.
Getting Around New York: It is very easy to get around New York City by using the NYC subway system.
New York boroughs (Queens, Bronx, Staten Island, Brooklyn) are still fairly easy to get around with public transportation, but depending on your destination you might have to rent an Uber or Lyft.
Heading to Long Island, New York is also fairly easy on the LIRR, but getting around Long Island once you arrive is difficult without a car.
I would only recommend renting a car if you plan to go to Upstate New York, staying in one of NYC’s boroughs, or out on Long Island.
Useful Apps: Google Maps, City Mapper, LIRR on time (for Long Island), HERE WeGo (downloadable map if you don’t have service).
Cell Phone Reception: If you are visiting NYC from abroad, getting a sim card is not as easy as it is in other countries. Phone plans are quite expensive, but pre-paid plans are available. Use wifi when you can or what your current carrier can do for you.
Carriers in the USA include Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Sprint. T-Mobile tends to have pre-paid plans. Make sure your cellphone is unlocked to accept another sim card.
Travel Insurance: Protect your New York Vacation with travel/health insurance. Find plans here.
Additionally, if this is your first time in New York, here are 25 tips to know before visiting New York City!
Best Time to Travel to New York
New York is great all-year-round since you can experience all 4 seasons. The busiest time to visit New York City will be during the Summer and December. December in New York is when many come to see all the winter holiday displays or to spend Christmas day in New York.
New York City in the Spring (April- June): Visiting NYC in Spring is great because you will see fewer crowds and the temperature can range between 45F – 80F. This means you can see some warm days and the city will start blooming with tulips, magnolias, cherry blossoms, and more.
New York City in the Summer (July-August): Summer in NYC is when the temperatures are usually very hot and humid around the 70’s-90’s. However, because of summer break, this is when you will see most hitting up the tourist attractions. On the weekends, many local New Yorkers actually leave the city to go to the beaches on Long Island and other surrounding places.
New York City in the Fall (September – November): The Fall in NYC is another great time to visit if you are looking to avoid some of the crowds and see beautiful foliage. The temperatures tend to be around 70F- 42F towards the end of Fall. If you love all things Fall/Autumn, New York really goes all out with pumpkin-flavored everything and lovely decor.
New York City in the Winter (December – March): Besides December, winter is when you will see the fewest crowds in NYC. The winter temperatures can be brutally cold and even a handful of Nor’easterns. Temperatures generally see a high of 42F and a low of 28F, although you can expect lower than 28F degrees. Winter can still be magical in New York City, especially if it has snowed! Towards March, you can start to possibly see some spring blooms and even warm days in the 50’s and 60’s.
Getting to New York
New York is fairly easy to get to since it’s a major city. Common airports to fly into are JFK (John F Kennedy), LGA (Laguardia), and EWR (Newark, NJ).
I have flown from all 3 and usually pick whichever airport has the best pricing and more direct routes. To find the best flights, check with Skyscanner!
If you plan to stay in New York City, there is no need for a car. From the Airport, you can schedule an Uber, Lyft or Car Service pick-up.
The Yellow Cabs outside the airport tend to be very expensive.
Additionally, you can also take public transportation. All 3 airports have air-trams, subways, and buses going into NYC.
Google Maps or City Mapper will be able to give you the exact directions and trains you need to take.
New York Travel Guides and Itineraries
Believe it or not, New York is a huge State! While most people come to visit Manhattan, there are tons of things to do in the surrounding boroughs and cities.
Below, find New York itineraries, tips, and guides for the best experiences in New York!
Additional New York resources include tours and New York passes which allow you to receive a discount for the major NYC tourist attractions like the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, etc. The best passes and tours can be found at City Sightseeing Pass | Hop on Hop Off Bus | Get Your Guide NYC Tours | City Pass
If this is your first time in NYC, I’d recommend checking out:
Where to Stay in New York
You can find tons of accommodations across New York City. I use Booking (dot) com for almost all my stays.
If you plan on staying in Manhattan, I’d recommend staying in Midtown, Chelsea, or Soho, personally.
I know most people want to stay in Times Square, however, it is not for everyone.
Here is my detailed guide on where to stay in NYC including the best Neighborhoods and hotels for all budgets.