In this article we want to give you all kinds of useful information about New York City, both to prepare your trip to the city and during your stay there. Here is our list of tips and recommendations:
Before the trip to New York
Fill in the ESTA document
On 12 January 2009 came into force the ESTA regulation (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), which forces us to fill out a questionnaire on the Internet 72 hours before accessing the means of transport (plane or ship) that takes us to the United States.
This procedure replaces the green form that was given to us on the plane before landing on American soil, and in which questions are asked, ranging from the name and passport number to where we are going to stay in the United States, diseases contagious or the intentions of the trip.
- To fill it out, you must enter https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/ and rigorously follow the steps that are indicated.
- If it is admitted, you must pay 14 dollars to be accepted, this authorization having a validity of two years or until the passport has expired.
For more information, go to the FAQ section of the official ESTA website or to the official USA travel site, if you are from other country and you need a visa. You will find websites and agencies that for $ 80 or more will do this process, but it is really simple and it is much cheaper to do it on your own.
Plan your trip before going
Before making your trip to the Big Apple, it is always good to plan a little the days that you will be, but then surely something will have to improvise. For this, it is good to have a map marked with all the points of interest, for this I recommend you read our article where we indicate the best maps and maps of New York to take on your trip and we allow you to download them. You can also read our articles Plan for an unforgettable week of vacations in New York y Plan for 5 days in New York to choose the places you are going to visit during your trip. If in spite of everything, you keep on flying, or you do not have time to prepare the trip, always You can hire our service personalized plans for New York, in which our team will prepare your trip to New York offering you a service adapted to your tastes, needs and time of stay in the city.
A lot of people ask me about if you need travel or health insurance for your trip. To try to solve all the doubts, we have written the article Travel insurance for New York where we try to solve all the queries they make us.
Are you interested in a tourist card?
For those who are going to be several days and want to visit several tourist attractions and museums, you may want to buy one of the four Tourist cards They offer us in New York: New York Pass o Sightseeing Pass, which allow you free access to over 100 sites based on the number of days you choose, including the most important New York attractions, CityPASS, which is somewhat cheaper but only allows you to visit the 6 main tourist attractions and museums in New York or finally the Go New York or Flex Pass, that allow you to select the number of tourist attractions that you will visit between more than 80 and depending on the number of attractions will increase the price. . If you want to compare what each tourist card offers, visit our page where we help you choose the best tourist card for your trip to New York.
Tickets for Broadway musicals
A New York classic is going to see a musical on Broadway, if you want to secure tickets for shows with more demand you must buy tickets well in advance. I usually do it in WePlann o Hellotickets, the one that offers the best price for the musical I want to see, both offer good prices and allow us to select the seats in most of them, always in Spanish both the Web and support any questions that may arise during the purchase process To see all the possibilities that exist, I recommend you visit our article with tips and recommendations for buy tickets for musicals in New York.
Book a hotel in New York
Hotels in Manhattan tend to have small rooms, and to give you an idea, a hotel in the United States usually has the rating “inflated” stars with respect to Spain, being probably equivalent, as a rule, to a hotel with one less star in Spain.
To read reviews and comments of the hotels and so get an idea of what I’m going to find or where it is located, and even to make reservations, then automatically find the best price on several hotel websites, I usually use to book the hotel specialized websites, such as Booking.com, who have a good selection of hotels at the best prices on the Web. For those who go with a tight budget, I recommend you read our article about where to sleep in New York at a good price to help you choose your accommodation.
Another option to stay in Manhattan, which I do not recommend, is to rent an apartment, cheaper especially if you are several people on the trip but after the latest legislation change is becoming increasingly difficult to do. In this case, I recommend renting the apartment as close to Manhattan as possible (I would rent it between 10th and 90-100th streets) and do it with an agency known as, for example, Airbnb and not to do it in any case to individuals (I already know several cases of scams in this case) Just indicate that the apartments offered in Manhattan are usually old houses not very high, so you tend to suffer from the noise of the street, and in Many cases are floors without an elevator, so check the conditions and opinions of the apartment before renting any.
During the trip to New York
Use our app to move around New York
For those who go to New York and have an IOS or Android device, whether mobile or tablet, I recommend you download our application, Destination New York, which will guide you indicating the points of interest and closest routes you have in New York. In addition, you will have a map with free WiFi points, to be able to connect you in the Big Apple. More information in Destination New York.
The New York subway
The subway (which is called Metro in NYC) opens 24 hours a day, and it is quite safe, although yes, from the 10-11 of the night the schedules between trains are extended, in such a way that you may have to wait a quarter of an hour or more for the next train. I recommend buying the card for seven days, because with 2 daily trips in the metro you amortize it. A single ticket costs $ 2.75 and the seven-day unlimited travel card, which can be purchased at any subway station, costs $ 34 (Metrocard information y Subway and bus map) Be careful because sometimes 2 or more metro lines pass through the same platform, check which one you have to take on the maps of the station lines or the platforms. Finally, indicate that if at the entrance of the subway, on the street, you see a green lamp means that it opens 24 hours, and if the lamp is red indicates that this subway is closed at night and has restricted hours on weekends and holidays. For more tips and tricks, I recommend you read our article 10 tips for using the New York subway.
Data connection and WiFi in New York
In all metro stations we have free Wi-Fi available, at city hall stations along the streets, which are called LinkNYC, in the parks and in many bars and restaurants, for more information visit our page with information on How to get free WiFi in New York.
Now, if you do not trust public WiFi networks, you will do very well not to use them to consult your personal accounts, your banks or make a purchase or a reservation of an entry, you always have the option of buy a card with unlimited dataAs Holafly, for example, that allows you to buy unlimited data for a certain number of days and maintaining your WhatsApp, so through this application you can send photos of your trip to your friends or talk on the phone with Spain. That is, you only have one restriction that is easy for you to comply: you must have a free mobile, and that is not linked to any operator (if the phone was purchased by you in a normal store it sure meets that condition) In the case of the United States Also, after the purchase of your Holafly card you will receive an email, so that you indicate, at least three days in advance, when you are going to use that card, in such a way that they activate it for the US operators for that date. For more information, I recommend you visit the Holafly website, following this link you will get an 5% discount on your data card and you can consult your doubts in your chat, with very friendly and efficient.
The tip in restaurants and services
The tip that should be given in restaurants is approximately 15-20% of the cost of the service if this has been good, and not give less than the 10% if the service is not good, the salary of the waiters is based entirely on the tips that They give customers and can mount you unpleasant scenes if you do not give it. If the tip is not included in the restaurant bill, multiply by 2 the rate (in New York the rates are 8.75%) and you will have the approximate tip you have to give. By the way, asking for the bill in a restaurant is “can I have the check, please” and not “can I have the bill, please” as the English would say. In taxis, the usual tip is 10%.
Use electrical appliances
The current is 110V instead of 220V as in the most places of the world, and the plug is different, buy the adapter in your country. However, certain electrical appliances, like most hair dryers, will not work even with the adapter, so this will be especially useful to charge the batteries of the camera, laptop or mobile but not It will be worth much more.
The weekend Americans usually take brunch, which is a very strong breakfast, so they usually eat later, so be careful with opening hours to eat. Anyway, in New York you do not usually have problems eating or dining at any time of the day. I recommend that one day you go to a deli, you buy the food to the weight and go with the tupper to eat at one of the many parks in New York, something very New York.
Chinatown and its imitations
En Chinatown They sell you all kinds of imitations and it is always good to haggle. It is the best place to buy all kinds of travel memories (on Canal St. Or in Mulberry St. there are very good stores). In the area of Battery park people often sell imitations, or stolen things, pass them or you can find a problem.
Purchase of electronics
If you want to buy some electronics, digital cameras, tablets, … buy at Best Buy, at B & H, Adorama or at Apple stores, but do not ever fall for the trap of the Asian stores that are on the 4th and 5th avenue near the Empire State, with very competitive prices. While in the first you will change it if you try it during your stay and have a problem, in the second they will tell you that you did not buy it there. For cameras other than going to B & H, which is worth the visit just to see if you are fond of photography and is located very close to the Empire State, you can go to Adorama which is another good store located in Manhattan.
Shopping and discount cards in department stores
For your purchases, I recommend that you read our articles Shopping in New York, where we indicate by neighborhoods the best places to go shopping and Specific purchases in New York and Manhattan, where we make the same recommendations but depending on the purchase you want to make (clothes, shoes, electronics, …)
Macy’s and Bloomingsdale’s are chains of department stores throughout the United States, very similar to the Spanish El Corte Inglés. If you go to New York and want to make any purchase in this mall, go to the Customer Service department and indicate that you are tourists to give you a card with which they will make the 10% discount on all your purchases.
Go to the suburbs of New York
Lately people ask me about going to see the Bronx and other peripheral neighborhoods, for this I recommend you hire the contrasts excursion that they will offer you in all the agencies, like for example WePlann, in which you will go with a guide in Spanish through the Bronx, Queens or the most unknown Brooklyn of the Orthodox Jews, although in these last two neighborhoods you can move quietly on your own.