I hope that this information will help anyone who is traveling to NYC for the first time! It is such an exciting yet overwhelming experience the first go around so hopefully this will answer some questions and worries. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!
- Buy a weekly metro card. If you are staying for more than three days or if you know that you will be on the subway a lot, I would recommend it. For the price of $33.00, you get unlimited rides on any subway or bus in NYC. It seriously saves you so much money since it is $2.75 per entrance into the subway. For example, if you were on the 1 train and had to transfer at 42nd street to the BDFM train, you would have to pay $2.75 again because you exited the subway and just got on another one which you can’t reach underground. Also, buying the weekly metro card will help you from having to worry about making sure there is enough money and also to prevent left over money that will remain on the card. Personally, I purchase an unlimited monthly card which has been the best decision. If you are visiting and don’t need to commute every day to get to your destination, you can sign up for a pay-as-you-go card but that will take time for it to arrive to your mailbox. You may also want to try speaking to an MTA agent for the best option, if needed.
- Download a photo of the subway map. I have a photo of the subway map saved on my phone and favorited so it is in a separate folder and easily accessible. Not all subways will tell you what stop is next so it is extremely helpful. Also, if you screenshot directions before you leave with the stops you need to take.
- Read the signs for local and express trains as you enter the station. For example, Times Square is one of the busiest, if not the busiest station in NYC. So, the best thing to do if you are overwhelmed is step to the side and look around. If you wanted to go uptown on the 1 train, follow the Uptown & The Bronx sign as you reach the area to the 1, 2, 3 train. The 2, 3 are express while the 1 is local. The local train hits every stop while the 2, 3 hits every three stops and also veer away from each other. If you have a question, do ask someone who is waiting as well as they will likely have the answer. New Yorkers aren’t that scary, promise!
- Comfortable closed-toe shoes. I know that for the first time you will want to take pictures of the memories but wear comfortable shoes. I promise that your feet will love you so much. Even though I wore tennis shoes that I had broken in for two years, my feet were ruined with blisters when I came up to New York because I was legitimately walking almost non-stop for 8 hours for four days because I was walking everywhere in the garment district trying to get work done. Also, wearing closed-toe shoes will keep you from stepping in some of the gross things that are on the sidewalks in NYC.
- Have three things in mind per day. I use this method of planning with all my trips but when it comes to NYC you will be severely overwhelmed with the transit system, amount of people, and how much stuff there is to do. Pick three things within a relatively close range of each other. There is nothing worse than not being able to enjoy your time when the subway stalls and stops in the middle of your travel. If you pick three things that you want to hit per day, you will hit your goals and have time to do other things too! There is so much to do in every single part of the city and you won’t get bored.