Monday, May 25, 2015

How To :: Plan a Trip to New York City

When my mom and Aunt told my cousin and I that they wanted to gift us a girls trip for our 30th birthdays, it didn't take long for us to unanimously vote for an extended weekend in New York City. I've been lucky enough to travel to NYC quite a few times and learned early on from my dad that trip planning is crucial when visiting the Big Apple. You all know I am type-A as can be, but when traveling to a GIANT city like New York this often annoying trait really does come in handy. Because Manhattan is so huge, if you don't have your trip planned out, you'll waste so much time commuting from place to place. It really is in your best interest to have a trip mapped about before you hit the subway stenched streets running. And so, today, I bring you my tips for planning a trip to New York City. 

1. Make a list. I know, shocking that I am telling you to make a list! But seriously, the best way to start is by making a list of all the things you want to see and do. Depending on the length of your stay, you'll likely have to narrow down your list, but start by getting everything down on paper. 

2. Find a place to rest your head. I'm a firm believer that a hotel in midtown is the best place to stay in NYC. But if you have friends or family or a hookup - by all means take it! Hotels in NYC are spendy, so stay where you are able and then you'll plan your trip accordingly. 

3. Map it out. Google Maps just became your new best friend. I spend an inappropriate amount of time on Google Maps looking at Manhattan but it really helps to take a look at your list and find out where everything is in relation to your hotel and each other. 

4. Make plans by location. Once you see where everything you want to do is located, you can start grouping plans and restaurants by location. Manhattan is enormous so grouping things together geographically will not only save you TONS of travel time but also TONS of money - cabs are expensive! For example, if you want to take a stroll through Central Park, visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and have a glass of champagne at The Plaza Hotel - do those all together because they are all within steps of each other! Want to visit the 9/11 Museum, have lunch in Greenwich Village and go on the Statue of Liberty Ferry? Plan all these the same day because they are all waaaaay downtown. Picking up what I'm throwing down?

5. Narrow it down. There is so much to do and see, you can't possibly fit everything in. So once you see what is near each other and convenient, narrow down your list and pick your must-do activities. Piece of advice - the Double Decker bus tours, while incredibly nerdy, are in my opinion the absolute best way to see the city! They allow you to hop-on and hop-off the bus so you can use it like a mapped out taxi service. You get a guided tour of the city and will see things and learn about things you never would when in a cab, or even when walking. 

6. Plan transportation. If it were up to me, I'd walk absolutely everywhere. I love to walk and would much rather be on the streets amidst the hustle and bustle than in a stinky cab. However, sometimes walking is just not an option {whether it be due to weather, distance or simply your choice of footwear} so figure out the best mode of transportation. Approximately 20 New York City blocks equal a mile, so if I'm wearing the right shoes and something is within a 20 block radius, I'll walk. If it's slightly more than that, I'll cab it as the fare won't be too outrageous. If I'm traveling to the opposite side of town, I'll hit up the Subway - it's the cheapest way to go the furthest distance. 

7. Leave extra time for EVERYTHING. Whether there's more traffic than usual, a train is delayed or you just need a little extra time in Tiffany's & Co. plan for extra time. While an itinerary is super helpful, you don't want to miss out something that may come up as you go! So leave yourself plenty of wiggle room for unexpected delays.

8. Make reservations. Again, there's nothing I hate more than wasting time in NYC waiting. I want to get the most out of my time when I'm there so I always make dinner reservations. You never know when a restaurant will be packed and have a long wait - so plan ahead and make sure you can get right in. ESPECIALLY if you're eating in the Theater District, restaurants are jammed before showtime so be sure you have your spot reserved. 

9. Live it up. You're in NYC! The greatest city in the world! Go crazy! Have a blast! And don't waste your time sleeping, the city doesn't sleep and neither should you! Utilize every single second you have in the Big Apple. 


ajs {of MN} said...

#BestPlannerEver.... while hiring you for my next party, also hiring you as my travel companion! hahahaha

Erin LFF said...

Seriously, ditto^ !!!! I will absolutely be recruiting you too help with my future Nyc trip bc it's a must see for me! I know you guys got to see/do so much thanks to your type-a!! ;)

Erin LFF said...

Seriously, ditto^ !!!! I will absolutely be recruiting you too help with my future Nyc trip bc it's a must see for me! I know you guys got to see/do so much thanks to your type-a!! ;)

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