A trip to the Big Apple is usually a great experience for the most part, but as with every city, there are certain features that can make New York City a difficult place for novice tourists to navigate and enjoy. On the other hand, with the right approach, an NYC vacation can easily become the home of some of your favourite vacation memories. Thus, the actual level of enjoyment and entertainment you’ll encounter during your trip will depend entirely on the steps taken in the weeks and months prior to the trip departure date. With that said, here are 8 ways you can make any trip to New York City easier and more affordable:
1. Carefully Compare Flight Tickets
Since the majority of tourists who travel to New York City arrive by plane, this is the most widely applicable and noteworthy tip that will help you save money and unnecessary hassle. Due to the abundance of airlines that fly in and out of the NYC area, it’s possible for travellers to either overpay or wind up finding a great deal. In fact, the NYC metropolitan area has the busiest airport network in the United States, servicing more than 3,000 flights daily, which adds up to more than 1 million flights per year. With that many flights to choose from, it’s important to go with the right airline and ticket type if you’re on a budget. For example, Porter Airlines are known for providing economic flights to New York. You can compare prices and book one-way or round trip flights to NYC using this section of their website: https://www.flyporter.com/en-ca/book-flights/where-we-fly/usa/new-york.
2. Conduct at Least 8 Hours of Research
The classic saying “sleep on it” usually refers to returning to a thought process or decision on another day with a fresh mindset. However, since you’re supposed to sleep for 8 hours every night, doing 8 hours of research on a topic is also like “sleeping on it,” in away. You can knock all of this research out in one 8-hour shift, or spend a little more than an hour on it per day for one week. No matter how you split up the work, anyone can manage 8 hours of due diligence, and it will ensure that you’re optimally prepared upon arriving in NYC. As far as what you should be researching, read through lists of attractions, hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues, events, transportation routes & options, neighbourhoods to avoid, surrounding scenery, parks, and any other information that will keep you safely entertained and accommodated during your stay.
3. Create a Detailed Itinerary
There are two general approaches for tourists who visit NYC – spontaneous or scheduled. While it’s good to incorporate a bit of spontaneity in every vacation, showing up with a mostly scheduled approach will help you avoid caveats and have a more enjoyable experience. Wandering around NYC without any particular goal in mind could have you wasting a lot of time and money unnecessarily. Use a trip planning or itinerary creation app to make this process easier and bring it with you in your mobile devices.
4. Visit During the Right Time of Year
You can save a lot of money and avoid the crowds by visiting during certain times of the year. During the holiday season, everything becomes more expensive and more crowded. Case in point, if you show up in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, you should expect there to be a massive crowd, the likes of which you’ve probably never witnessed in person. The cheapest flight prices are typically found from mid-to-late January to the end of February. If your priority is having nice weather without facing huge crowds, the periods of April to June and September to late October are most ideal in terms of warm weather and privacy.
5. Start Your Travel Days Early
If you’re only going to be spending a limited amount of time in NYC, why would you waste a portion of the day sleeping in a hotel room? Starting your daily city exploration right before the sun rises will give you a valuable head start. Not only does starting your day early help you make more memories during your trip, it’s also a great way to stay ahead of the infamous New York shopping crowds and traffic congestion. Plus, after a long day of sightseeing, you could return to your room for an afternoon/evening nap and then re-emerge for some night life fun.
6. Let Someone Else Drive
Whether you choose to go with a rideshare ap like Uber or Lyft, an actual cab or taxi, or even the bus or subway system, virtually any option is more relaxing than driving yourself around in NYC. Due to the dense number of motorists and pedestrians moving about in this metropolitan area, there are driving challenges around every corner. You don’t want to ruin a portion of your vacation dealing with an insurance claim after getting into a fender bender or knocking a cyclist off of their bike because they were weaving through traffic without using a crosswalk (a semi-regular occurrence in NYC). Let someone else do the driving and spend your commute time planning the rest of your trip on your smartphone.
7. Opt for Safe but Affordable Hospitality Accommodations
The cost of living is high in New York City, even in the relatively poor areas, so don’t expect to find a “cheap” hotel room, at least not in the sense that you might use that term to describe prices in other cities. Likewise, looking for the cheapest possible room in the city will probably land you in some seedy areas, so it’s important to aim for a balance between affordability, safety, and convenience. Generally, the lowest prices you’re going to find per night for a safely located and well-maintained hotel room in NYC range from about $80-$120.
8. Know Which Neighbourhoods and Routes to Avoid
Since NYC receives about 60 million tourists every year, it is an unfortunate inevitability that a small percentage of those visitors wind up putting themselves in potentially dangerous situations and even become victims of avoidable crimes as a result. Luckily, if you stay away from certain neighbourhoods in the city, you should have no problem staying safe. Likewise, and perhaps more importantly, you need to know which subway and bus routes to avoid and pay attention to which stop you’re supposed to get off at. There have been stories of people falling asleep on the subway and winding up in less desirable areas than they had planned for. While it’s unlikely that such a diversion would cause anything more than an inconvenience and a brief scare, nobody wants to be waiting outside of a NYC housing project waiting for a cab at 2am.
Use Your Common Sense and Be Prepared
In closing, you can sum up all of the above tips and develop a mindset that will help you stay safe and entertained throughout your trip by heeding this simple rule: apply discretion to every decision and have a game plan for every outing. That double-sided approach to safety and planning will help you avoid most of the common mistakes that are made by inexperienced tourists who have never visited NYC before.