For those who follow my Instagram or are close family or friends, you will know that my now husband and I went to New York recently to get married.
I will be getting around to doing a few wedding theme posts including how to actually get married abroad if that is something you are interested in. Right now my lovely photographer is in the process of editing our photos so once I have a perfect selection I am happy to share them with the world.
For now I would like to focus on the holiday side of this trip and give you my top tips for getting the most out of the city. I have been to New York before seven years ago when I first started uni (and yes I almost threw up thinking about how much time had passed) but this trip went above and beyond the initial experience.
It is a fascinating city and I want to make sure that you all get the most out of your holiday if you are planning a trip. I know that I will be back soon and to make the holiday extra special there are a few things not change, but tweak to make sure I get the most out of the experience.
Plan Your Hotel Wisely
New York is huge. Central Park BTW, same length as my home city. It is important to get your base, you home for the next few days in the right location. What may be my best pin point may not be yours, it is all about what you want out of the holiday. I chose The New York Edition Hotel; part because of the faux fur rug and Instagram worthy rooms, but part because it was smack bang in the middle of everything. I wanted to go everywhere, Upper East Side, Brooklyn, West Village, East Village, Wall Street, Soho. I have a friend who is going to NYC in January next year who is actually staying on Long Island as they are a pro at public transport and its a short journey to Times Square. You may want to stay South towards the bottom of the island. Do your research and get it right for you.
Flights is another thing to make sure you time well. The flight from the UK is seven hours and when you land, you go back in time five hours. Getting to NYC was okay for us. Yes the jet lag killed me for the next few days but we took off at 1pm and arrived at JFK at 3pm (technically 8pm according to our bodies). I would advise to try and stay up as late as possible, ideally 11pm as you will be better suited to getting your body clock right. Going home I would also chose an afternoon flight. We actually had a departure flight at 11pm and due to a really early start, airplane seats and travel from the airport to my bed, I was awake for roughly 27 hours straight. If you need to fly at night, go first class so you can get a chair that turns into a bed and snooze away. I only got about 2 hours sleep broken and I was broken once we were off the plane.
Dollar, dollar bills y’all!
When planning your spending money, accommodate some for tipping. In Europe and the UK mainly, tipping is not a common thing. We mainly tip at fancy meals and thats usually consists of the change rolling around in our wallets that we don’t want anymore.
In America you tip for everything. And whilst there are some that I accept such as waiters and waitresses (tips pay their wages), there are others than I don’t (such as dickhead of a taxi driver who thinks he can be sexist to me and still demand a tip). The average tip you give is no lower than 15%, 20% is a good mark. Tax is also not included in any prices and even as a foreigner, you have to pay it. Roughly a day, we were paying $150 dollars for food, including tips.
The best things to invest in are the money cards, they are effectively a credit card with a chip so you can carry your money safely. Don’t be worried when you give your card in a restaurant and walk away with it- the payment system in NYC is nutso! Your card is swiped first and then you sign the amount you want to pay. We didn’t use the chip and pin system once while we were out there, simply because no one accepted it.
One the food subject, portions are huge so don’t think you must have a large brunch, lunch and dinner. When we were having brunch, our evening meals were usually lighter and vice a versa with dinner. We all speak English, but there is a slight language/ accent barrier. If you are polite, most people do not mind going about explaining what it is, as the lovely donut guy who had to describe what brown butter was to me (butter with sugar heated up till its brown- caramelised butter basically).
Go by foot as much as possible but do not try to walk from one end of New York and another. NYC is full of great architecture so it’s worth just spending an afternoon wandering, looking it up and taking the local culture in.
The title oft this section is misleading, as whilst they are so iconic and are very pretty to grab a picture of, I would not recommend taking a yellow taxi. It is one of the slowest ways to move around the city. If you need some speed, take the subway- it cost’s $2.75 and one metro card can be be used between people. Its not like London where you have to swipe once you get to your stop, its a fix price for wherever you go. Lee and I got into a rhythm of one of us going through then passing to our other half. If you are not pro, do NOT attempt this at rush hour, commuter New Yorkers have no time for your nonsense.
Should you need to take wheels, I would recommend an Uber. Our UK app works in US. Your cards are still link and the bank charge to spend abroad is minimal (mine is 41p per transaction). And no tipping, unlike said yellow taxis.
When moving and planning your day, I would stick to one area of NewYork a day to ensure you get the most out of it. Also, ensure if you want to see Lady Liberty and Ellis Island up close, book now as it is always six months booked up in advance. Plan ahead but allow a little time for some spontaneous adventures.
I will be doing more posts on best places to eat, to visit, etc. For now I wanted to give you a little mid week inspiration that might help you be inspired to start your own adventure to the big apple.
What are your tips for NYC?