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Dovahkiin

New York travel/first time abroad THREADS MERGED

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Hey guys so in January, I will be heading to New York for 7 days on my own just after my 21st birthday, Does anyone have any experience traveling on your own that you could hand me some tips and advice?

Edited by Dovahkiin

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Where are you staying? A long long time ago, I 'did' New York at 18 years old. I stayed in hostels as they were cheap, but they can be in dodgy areas. That said, I went to some cool places with randoms in the hostels. Make sure you talk to people - the security guards, the waitresses, the guy in the shop etc.

I like walking and public transport to learn a city. Walking around helps you get your bearings, especially in the cities. Take a bus (and the Staten Island ferry) rather than the subway as it's a 'free' tour. Walk around the parks and soak up the atmosphere - Central Park is iconic; Washington Square park often has street theatre etc (a bit like Covent Garden). Look around - everything will seem familiar as it will have been in SO many tv shows and films.

For New York, remember there is more to it than just Manhattan and don't try to do it all (you'll fail - there is too much to do).

Have fun. Enjoy yourself.

I am not in any way jealous. No. Not at all. Not me. Nope.

(Please note, this is all based on nearly 20 years ago :-( )

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I was in NYC staying very near Times Square, on my own, 4 years ago. I have to say that for all the reputation, I felt safer there at 2 and 3 in the morning than I do in any town in the UK now. However, I was probably there with tourist eyes and arguably a New Yorker would say the same about visiting London.

Nonetheless, take usual precautions: never carry more money (or cards) than you need. Whilst not being paranoid, be wary of those standing too close or trying to distract your attention. Leave your passport and other documents and valuables in your hotel room at night, in the safe if it has one, and excess money and cards at any time, but of course there's a nagging doubt about hotel staff if there is no room safe (which really should not be an issue, that's your judgment in the end, but do use the room safe if you have one). That said my medical insurance (an absolute must) I always had with me during the day in my backpack as it was no hassle, as well as my passport. At night the insurance stayed in the backpack which stayed in my room as there was no need for it, really. If you don't feel comfortable in leaving excess money/cards in the hotel during the day when they service rooms because there is no room safe, keep wallet(s) in a button down pocket if you can, or deep in your backpack which makes it harder for pickpockets. At night no staff is likely to enter your room for any reason. All things you'd do on a day out in London.

I paid for an airport transfer to my hotel but be aware the jams are horrifically true, so watch your return flight like a hawk. Do not mess with return times! Truly it's better to be there far earlier than needed than think 2 hours is going to be enough. It really might not be. The next time, if I go back I will stay very much in the same area of Times Square, I will get the train from JFK to Pennsylvania Street Station since it's but a short walk from there.

Use the underground with pretty much no fear especially during the day, though it can get 'cosy' during rush hours, and other areas can be walked. But beware, it seems like you need a degree to work it out. Like London it can sometimes be more hassle to get back to the underground to the next station - you just might as well walk. And unlike London the underground seems to make no sense and you can have adjacent stations that don't link to each other or one will not go where you want to go! But to stand in Central Park with the grass under your bare feet is just amazing, and to see all those places you see on TV/films is just awesome: standing on Broadway thinking 'I am standing on Broadway' is just amazing.

The USS Intrepid aircraft carrier museum is a good place to go if you had not considered that and adds to the usual retinue of Statue of Liberty and Empire State etc. My brother suggested I go up the Sears Tower (or was it Chrysler I forget) because the only place you can't see the Empire State Building from is - the Empire State Building! I did a lot of walking but it was worth it.

As well as a good guide book, a pocket sized map is invaluable. I managed to get a 'snap map' before I left, tough and resilient it opened and closed easily and has most of what you really need on it and easily slips into a back or top pocket.

Edited by David
Tidied and clarified

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Thanks for the tips and advice so far, I'm going to be staying at the Affinia Manhattan which is on 7th avenue and just across from Madison square gardens. I'm behind excited for this!

Edited by Dovahkiin

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I've tidied and clarified a sentence re. passport and valuables.

By the way, I don't know how anyone else feels but after 5 days I felt I had had enough time in NYC. My own (very) personal opinion is 7 days is the absolute maximum you'd want to stay.

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It's really important to have your health insurance number on you at all times, as well as some form of ID.

The Rockerfeller Center is great for views of the Manhattan skyline, and of the Empire State.

There are so many places to visit, though. Central Park (as well as Strawberry Fields, close to John Lennon's Dakota Apartments), Flatiron Building, Macy's Department Store, the West Village, Grand Central Terminal, Brooklyn Bridge, Chinatown, Little Italy, MoMA and some other museums and galleries, if that's your thing. The list goes on and on.

Whatever you do, you'll enjoy it! It's an amazing place.

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My next tip for any travel is to scan all your documents (tickets, passport, insurance etc) and email them to yourself (especially to an online email service/Dropbox etc). If you do lose stuff, at least having a copy of it securely is useful.

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Enjoy a great city - tray and pick flight times that are not the busy ones otherwise you end up waiting fro passport control for 2 to 3 hours.

Remember to do your ESTA - get it via the state department website - there are lots of other out there that charge you more. You may want to drop down to Washington DC for the day - there is a quick train.

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I've never been to NYC, but in a general sense I'd say get yourself a decent guidebook. They can be a but expensive but if you're gonna spend that much on a holiday then a few quid more to make sure you've got your bearings and know the do's and don't's is well worth it.

And make sure you read it before you go, not just once you're on the plane (or in the city). Make an itinerary too. You don't need to stick to it, but it's got to be better than wasting an hour trying to decide where you're gonna go first and if you can kill two birds with one stone because two things you want to check out are right next to each other. Less time travelling in the underground is more time spent looking at cool stuff!

Have fun, let us know what you got up to...

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I loved New York, went with my school two years ago. Best trip ever.

I felt pretty safe and we were staying at a hostel in Harlem which is considered pretty dodgy. Be wary of your pockets in crowded places, and try to remember to tip, even if you dont think they deserve it. they get really antse about it....

Go for the Statue Cruise and that is a trip under $25 and there will be some amazing views.

Have fun!

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I know one thing is for sure I'll be heading to the 9/11 memorial to pay my respects, I'm hoping the Observation deck will be finished on one world trade center As that would have a nice view of the city. Will be deffo going on the Statue Cruise for $25

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The Bronx Zoo, and the Staten Island Ferry. The NYC Police Museum is temporarily on Wall Street. There is also a fine Fire Department museum in Manhattan. NYC is not a cheap place. You can find any sort of restaurant that you can imagine.

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I will deffo be updating a thread with pics once I go, if anyone would be interested. Hopefully the Christmas lights and deco's will still be up , Also been told the Ice skating is free in some parks (shocker)

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